The Kinsey Scale attempts to show that sexual attraction does not go only one way for everyone. While extremely limited, it is a start. There are many people attracted to multiple genders. However, the treatment they get within the LGBTQ community is enough to chase a person back into the closet. Some women who are attracted to women are repulsed by the idea of dating men. That then translates into the ill-treatment of women who are attracted to more than just women. If someone is a male who is attracted to multiple genders then the level of disdain raises even higher. A friend and I joke that the B in LGBTQ is silent.
It took years for me to allow myself to even be open to the idea of dating women. However, all it took was a few weeks being out as someone attracted to two genders for me to believe that I had to “choose a side”. At that stage of life, I was fine with dealing with heterosexual people who no longer wanted to talk to me. I was not at all prepared for the level of passion filled mean this brought out of some people within the LGBTQ community. I was not strong enough to want to deal with it then.
People that are attracted to more than one gender are judged for being greedy, confused, selfish and unable to be in one relationship. It’s acceptable for them to be the butts of jokes, snubs and downright disgust. I completely understand, for example, the idea that someone not attracted to men would not want to sleep with someone who does. I also, though, support people loving who they love no matter the sexual orientation, race, culture, religion or spiritual way of life, for example. Someone choosing partners differently than I personally would, doesn’t make them bad people. I always wonder what the point of creating Us Vs. Them dynamics within already marginalized communities is?
Like many people, I have a long list of ways in which I could be marginalized in society (race, sexuality, gender, child of immigrants, burlesque dancer, etc.). However, on an emotional level, the biased treatment pales in comparison to that from some of the LGBTQ community. Unlike, say, race attraction to multiple genders cannot be visually determined so it’s easier to hide from that judgement. Or is it?
It was like coming out of the closet all over again when I started dating men and women. There were people who suddenly stopped talking to me, treated me differently or would do their best not to acknowledge my presence. It was upsetting because all of my relationships have been real. It was as if they, were now rendered into nothingness. The good news is that I have grown strong enough that other people’s opinions about me hold little weight. That’s their business. The esteem that I have for myself is what truly matters as I navigate life day-to-day. That’s way more than enough for me to wrangle with on some days. I don’t really have the space for entertaining the opinions of others. Most of the labeling doesn’t really work for me.
Even outside of the LGBTQ community the fun doesn’t stop. Some people assume that because someone is attracted to multiple genders, they are attracted to anyone. Couples feel free to proposition you with invites to a threesome without any mutual attraction ever being there. Somehow, the person attracted to multiple genders is suspected of being attracted to any and everyone. Women who think it’s cool to “mess around” with women but never be in a serious relationship with one pop up everywhere. No thanks. There is an assumption that a monogamous relationship with one sex isn’t possible. Lovers become paranoid: “I have to worry about you being attracted to men AND women.” Uh, wrong. The only worry is making sure that we are both getting what we need within the relationship. Then there doesn’t have to be a worry about anyone. Where does it say that having multiple attraction to humans means no choice in what type of person to date and an attraction to everyone? Was there a memo, a meeting, an e-mail that I missed?
Things have certainly changed for the better in some ways. For one, I now see queer teen age couples arm and arm on the subway and walking around openly. I realize, though, that I live in a major city with a great deal of LGBTQ support. So, for the person who does not live in a major metropolis, I pray for a world with acceptance. For the person who wants to speak their sexual truth, I pray the right circumstances and strength for you to do so. For all of us I pray for the ability to treat people with love or at the very least respect no matter who they love.
I’ve had more difficulty accepting myself as bisexual than I ever did accepting that I was a lesbian. It felt traitorous. A few years ago, I admitted to myself that I was still interested in men in more than a “Brad Pitt is slick hot sexy” kind of way. But I worried what my friends, exes, and the Community would think. I never even broached the subject with my parents. Because what bothered me the most was that people would think that being a lesbian had been a phase for me, when that was so very not the case. What I feared was that I would no longer be part of a community, that I might be seen with my boyfriend and not be recognized as something not the same.
― R. Gay, First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far)
ESSENCE REVEALED – Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. She got her BFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.