Guest Post: An Update on Nikki

Back in April, Nikki, who identifies as a bisexual woman, wrote “I Still Don’t Know How To Be Me”, which a lot of readers seemed to relate to and wrote in about. She was kind enough to keep us updated. Here’s Part II of Nikki’s story so far – and please, folks, keep sending me submissions, we are all different and this is not a one person show around here. I want this blog to show our community(ies) existing in all their diversity – and for that, the blog needs all of you! 

Here’s the latest from Nikki:

An Update On Nikki

First of all, I would like to thank Ollie and Antonia for their encouraging comments under my last story.

To the delight of myself, and my husband, I have actually met the woman of my dreams. She is more than I could have ever asked for. She is in my boat, married with a young child, beautiful, kind-hearted, everything I would want in a lover and a best friend. We have had a couple of dates–one of which was a play date for our kids, and another where it was just us and we finally got to make out. We’ve cybered, skyped, flirted, chatted, talked, and divulged for countless hours. We are even talking about getting our families together, and maybe even taking a trip together… just me and her. I’m enraptured!

As exciting it is to frolic through a field of newfound love and pleasure, what has been most rewarding is the quality of life it has given to my marriage. My husband has been terribly gracious and open, which has allowed me to be terribly honest about my feelings. This openness has enhanced our communication incredibly. Our sex-life seems to be on a skyrocketing rise to a cure. We have had more sex in April than we’ve had, probably, in 2011. Expressing my feelings about my lady love, and giving him racy details about my Sapphic rendezvous is like instant Viagra, and then we’re fucking like rabbits. He likes that she is a part of our lives, even though he hasn’t met her in person yet. He’s walked in on us skyping, and he didn’t skip a beat. In fact, he joked that maybe he should take off his pants, too. Haha! I couldn’t have loved my husband more than in that moment! He lets me be me. He loves me. He doesn’t feel like he is sacrificing, or getting the short of the stick. I think it’s kind of difficult for him to think otherwise when we’ve had more and better sex now than we’ve had since we were dating. When we are in the love-making process, I can even mention her name, and it fires him up even more. It’s this whole strange, yet functioning, symbiosis that I didn’t even think was possible.

Venturing into this unconventional means of marriage, love, sex, and sharing of the self has opened my mind and my husband’s. We have been fighting much, much less since overall communication has increased tenfold, and sex has become exactly what we both have wanted it to be for us all along.

As for my gal, she is angelic. Of course, I have to be cautious and take things slow. I don’t think her husband has come to the level of comfort that mine has, so at every step, I try to make sure that I don’t push my limits. I respect her marriage as much as I respect mine. This will work best for the both of us if our marriages are good, so the health of her marriage means a lot to me. Her husband seems like a cool enough guy, though, and someone that my husband and I would be friends with anyway, so maybe building that friendship will help solidify trust and comfort with the entirety of the situation. And maybe, someday, lead to something even more interesting???? Hmmmm… I’m not saying that’s a goal. For now, my goal with my lady is to deepen our connection to create in each other a sanctuary of comfort, healing, and delight. And then… to consume that gorgeous masterpiece with every sense fathomable…aka, fuck her till we can’t walk.

What a remarkable place to be in my life, at this moment–the culmination of the many years of torment and uncertainty has led to this. I’m hoping it lasts, because damn, I think this is what “feeling whole” must feel like.

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EVENTS: Boston Bisexual Resource Center hosting “Bisexual Invasion” this Saturday + more


For those in and around the Boston area, Bisexual Resource Center is hosting a “Bisexual Invasion” house party this coming Saturday, May 19th.


RSVP and find out more by e-mailing brc@biresource.net.


Other goings on:


Boston Pride is coming up June 9th, there will be a bisexual-oriented booth, probably a bi contingent, and I don’t know if anyone is planning a pan, fluid, questioning, or otherwise not-straight-not-gay-and-not-in-the-bi-box-either group, but I would support it. Get in touch with Bi Resource Center to start, maybe? brc@biresource.net.


There’s a Kate Millet Festival coming up in NYC in honor of the bisexual author, June 24th. Details HERE.


Also in NYC, wanted to make folks here aware of Bi-Perspective, “the longest-running social, discussion and support group for bisexual, bi-friendly and questioning men, women and couples meeting in the New York City area.” If that sounds awesome,  meetings are on the 1st Sunday of the month from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th St. in NYC. For info, contact Michael: michaeltalmo@aol.com or call 908.355.4051.


For those in the NYC area, the New York Area Bisexual Network has tons of other great events and information, definitely check it out.


 I’m sure there’s a lot more that I missed… comment away, or inquire for your area, maybe somebody knows something.


Mia McKenzie on “Love, QPOC style”

A friend pointed me towards the Black Girl Dangerous tumblr, and there I found various articles by Mia McKenzie, who identifies as a writer, smart, Philadelphian, “a black feminist and freaking queer,” among many other things, and who is brilliant. On this blog are many writers who are brilliant, and you should go read them all.

This here’s a quote from Mia’s article “Love, QPOC style”:

It’s scary for everyone. For us, for queer people of color, it is exceptionally scary. As POC, we are taught by the people in power in this world that we are less, and are therefore less deserving of things like freedom and justice, education and employment, respect of our minds and consideration of our bodies, and, surely, the best thing of all—love. As queers, the messages we get aren’t much better. As queers of color…well…

As queers of color, we are both invisible and reviled. The world sees race and sexuality as mutually exclusive. You are black or you are gay. You are brownor you are a lesbian.  White people are the only people allowed to be complex enough to be queer. Because white is the default, the normal, the expected, white people can be anything, and more than one thing simultaneously. The rest of us, not so much.

If you think you know what the conclusions are going to be based on these paragraphs, you don’t.

Do yourself a favor… read the whole thing.

A personal addendum: I’m white, my writing reflects that, and I have a concern that my personal background will unduly influence this blog. I want this blog to be a good, constructive space for all bi, pan, nsng, fluid folks, and others of this ilk who may have different labels along the same lines. But if race goes unaddressed in our queer communities, if structural racism goes unchallenged, then queer people of color get left out, hurt, and stomped on, and that sucks BIG TIME. It just won’t work, in terms of creating a movement that works for all of us.

In terms of this blog, I hope that I’m able to recognize where my white privilege is influencing my experiences, and to not universalize my experiences in a way that is alienating. I hope that this blog is felt as a space that is not just white people’s space, AND I recognize that there are a lot of reasons why bi / pan / + people of color might not feel like it is, might be marginalized, might have lots of hard experiences with white-people-run queer spaces. I would like to challenge this blog (and myself) to make this more than white peoples queer space. I also recognize that I am limited in my ability to do so, and that trust building across lines of history, white supremacy, historic betrayals of queers of color by white queers, among a lot else, is gonna take time.

I’ve been in some queer spaces where people (lots of times white people) seem to think that race just isn’t, or shouldn’t be, an issue, because hey, we’re all queer. The issue of race is all pervasive in society, and I am very, very suspicious of the attitude that “we don’t have to worry about race because the issue is sexuality” or something like this.  It sounds to me like a way to leave the centering and normalizing of white queer experiences unchallenged, to the marginalization of everyone else. That doesn’t work in movement building.

There is much to write here. And, I don’t want to take too much focus off of Mia’s article. Gonna put in another quote and let y’all CHECK IT OUT RIGHT NOW: 

We do all of this while carrying the nearly incalculable weight of oppression, while resisting racism and heterosexism and transphobia and xenophobia and colonialism. In the face of all of these things, any one of which by itself should be enough to shut us down, we find ways to love each other more and better. Which really, when you think about it, makes us great at love.

Sarah Stumpf wrote a list of “Books Every Bisexual Should Read.”


Books!  Aw yeah.

I’ll start by saying: this article’s from 2007, so while I think it’s still very relevant, a lot has been written since then… so add your favorite books relevant to bisexuality, pansexuality, fluid sexuality, not-straight-not-gay, +, to the comments below!

That said, Sarah identifies in her article as a librarian, bi girl, feminist, and a lot else. She has this to say, and a whole lot more:

I’m a librarian (just finished my MLS, looking for a job) so to say that books are important to me would be a gross understatement. Books saved me as 15 year old bi girl growing up in conservative Catholic Wisconsin, where I didn’t know any GLBT people and thought there was something wrong with me for thinking my boyfriend was hot and female friends were too. They helped me understand that I was not alone. They were my friends when no one understood, my rock when I needed support, and my joy when I read something particularly smart, funny, or just wonderful. I wouldn’t be as well adjusted and intelligent if not for queer books in general, but as a bisexual, the books on this list represent some of the finest nonfiction I have ever encountered on a subject near and dear to myself.

So what are Sarah’s fav books for bisexuals?

Check em out here! 

Relationships: When Things Don’t Work Out

Hey, Cha-Cha here.

It’s been a minute, I know! Forgive me – this blog is very much alive, and for all the bi/pan/fluid people out there, keep sending me submissions! silenceendshere@gmail.com – I am checking it, I do get your submissions, and they will be up SOON. For new readers, see the “About” tab for the submission guidelines. 

Life’s been hectic, as it always is. So here’s a piece about relationships. If you feel so moved, give feedback and share in the comments. Or if you want – send me a post! /shameless.plug – on to the article! 

———————————–

When Things Don’t Work Out

I think that because of the position that LGB* people are put in, as differing from the norm, as not right or desirable, at worst as evil, we tend to celebrate Things Working Out: Marriages Working Out, Protests Working Out, Lobby Days Working Out, Our Organizations Working Out, etc. Varying themes include Wins, Successes, Celebrity Moments. It’s understandable: in a society which places an “everything you are is evil / sinful / doomed to fail” onus over all our heads to one degree or another, we can’t just expose the horror stories of prejudice, discrimination and violence that we face for being who we are. Those of us interested in same sex partners also wind up pressured to show that being LGB can Work Out, that this Makes Us Happy, that This Is Okay, etc. That our lives can be good, fruitful, happy, loving.

In my experience, this “positive pressure” is especially true in the realm of Relationships Working Out.

And I’m not saying it’s bad to celebrate Things Working Out! Not at all. I mean, for the Record, Things Can Totally Work Out, everybody, they totally can, and frequently do, and thank goodness or there would really be no point for me at least, and all would be horribly depressing!

But what I have noticed is that the pressure to defy the increasingly vocal and scary bigots, from the God Hates Fags people to the slightly more politely worded Professionally Bigoted Politicians, to even in some cases our own parents and community,  can manifest as a weird pressure to grin and make everything okay.

When it comes to bisexuals, this pressure to show Things Working Out, in my experience, can be even worse.

This can manifest in a lot of different ways:

–  “See? I’m a real queer! See how great my relationship with my same sex partner is!” 

–  “See? It’s possible to be bi and be happy! Look how normal (read: good) my family with my opposite sex partner is!” 

–  “See? I’m not crazy / a slut / a bad person! Look how great my relationship with my six partners of various genders and orientations is, and on top of that, our pets love us!” (Alternatively: “See! I’m married and monogamous! I’m not one of those slutz! Accept me!”)

There are about 10 million variations on the theme.

But here’s the thing:

Nothing works out, all the time, for everyone.

Especially, relationships don’t always work out. This is true for humans generally, and I know this is gonna be a shocker, but it’s also true for bisexuals, pansexuals, and more fluid-sexual people.

But when it comes to our community, somehow, way more can wind up on our plates than the heartbreak of a relationship that’s just ending. And a lot of it has to do with how society at large perceives same-sex relationships, and on top of THAT, how both straight society and mono-sexual gay and lesbian communities perceive bi, pan, fluid people.

Recently, folks, I had a relationship not work out.

It happened to be with a same sex partner. It happened while I am still with my primary, opposite-sex partner. It happened with a person I don’t know too well. And it happened in a community where I am very spottily “out” – meaning, in some spaces, not in others, and the city is small and it feels like everyone knows each other. (I feel like “out in some places, not in others” is a theme in my life as a bisexual – blog topic for another day.)

In the spirit of exploring how a combo of homophobia, biphobia, and “positive pressure” contributes to break ups like mine being more uncomfortable and challenging than they would otherwise be, here are the things that happened to me when myself and this other person, also a woman, ended up having problems and not being together anymore:

– A lot of my straight, guy friends didn’t appear to understand what the problem was, that this was really painful, or that this was a serious thing at all. It took a lot of hard conversations to get certain men to understand that this was not a lesbian-themed porno-fantasy** they were watching, this is my actual life, and it actually hurts, and they should actually give a crap. In other words, that it was actually at least as big a deal as any other relationship painfully ending. I feel that this lack of understanding had partly to do with the fact that it was about two girls, but also to do with the fact that several of them knew I had a male partner. It was like I should be okay because (a) I still had one partner and (b) the underlying assumption that it was only about sex with her. The reasons for these assumptions are complicated, and this paragraph really only scratches the surface, AND it’s not intended to slander the men involved, who are good people with good hearts – none of us can know about what we haven’t been exposed to, especially in a society that pretty much relegates girl-girl relationships to fantasies for men. AND at the same time there was learning involved in this experience, and we are (mostly) closer for it – AND at the same time, I didn’t really sign up to be that learning experience, and kiiiiinda could have done without, coz I have a lot going on in my life. And I wonder if maybe, if I’d been more out, we would have learned sooner and been better prepared, as friends, for Things Not Working Out, AND there were all kinds of reasons why I didn’t want to be out. And all of these contradictory feelings are true, in the sense that I really felt them all, sort of all at once.

– More things I felt: that this experience was further confirmation that I am a fake queer – the fact that I couldn’t Make It Work with this woman.

– Experiences: A lot of folks called to ask if I was okay. They were overwhelmingly queer women and queer men, and also trans folks of various orientations. Their concern was touching, AND there were times if I wondered if my straight, cis friends… noticed… anything wrong. Or were they just afraid to say the wrong thing? I’ll probably never know.

– I felt insecure about being poly. Maybe it’s a lifestyle that can’t work out, I thought. Intellectually, I know this isn’t true. But emotionally, I feel colonized by ages and ages of one-person-oriented people giving me crap for being poly-oriented, and it all came up again for me.

– As a bisexual, I worried that my being poly is just contributing to the stereotype of us as “sluts” who “can’t settle down.” Again, my intellectual brain was like, “Oh stop, you are so far above this.” But emotionally, I’m not. I’m fighting internalized bi-phobia and internalized poly-phobia like so many others. It sucks.


– I worried my parents were right about me – that this is wrong, that I’m wrong, that I’m a cheater and a fake and just trying to be “different.”

– I felt terribly guilty about bringing my bad moods about the situation home to my primary. I thought, “if he were with a straight girl, this wouldn’t be happening.” I wondered if I should pretend to be straight again. I know that this won’t work… I’m embarrassed that part of me still wishes it would.

– From an LGBT-oriented relationship help hotline, I experienced a very nice young woman who clearly didn’t know what to do with me or my call. She kept sounding really uncertain. I have no idea what part of me was throwing her off, or if she was just having a bad day, but I hate having to wonder.

– I worried that I am just “bad for women.” What does that even mean? I don’t know. But the thought kept rolling around in my head.

– I experienced, from a lot of straight people, pretty much total disregard for the situation. It was like they just couldn’t believe it was so painful – I mean, I have a boyfriend right? Also girl-on-girl, nothing serious, and HAWT, right. I would get so angry, on top of everything, about this.

– From some straight people, mostly men, I experienced INCREDIBLE solidarity, respect, and support. From these folks, I learned what it would be like to be in a world where my orientation, relationships, etc, is truly nothing to bat an eye at, and when there are problems, we deal with them as a community.

This post, like so many of my posts, is not intended to be a Conclusive Statement On The Issue. It is definitely not to say I Was Right and somebody else was Wrong, or I’m a Victim, or anything like that. What it is, is a collection of thoughts and experiences, exploring the impact of “positive pressure”, biphobia and homophobia on the issue of relationships (and other things) Working and Not Working, and I think it gets written as much in the comments as it does on my computer. It’s definitely influenced by the fact that I’m a woman, that I’m cis, that I live in the communities that I do and have the background that I have – would love to hear from some people with different backgrounds than I have: is any of this similar, is it all different, how is it for you?

So what do you think, readers?

What have other bisexual, pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, + folks experienced, when things don’t work out?

* Transgender people can be of all orientations. While some of this article may parallel some transgender people’s experience (or maybe not), it primarily has to do with reactions and experiences based on my sexual orientation. As such, I felt funny adding “T” to “LGB” in this context, because transgender and cisgender have to do with ones gender identity, not with sexual orientation (ie, transgender people can be lesbian, gay, bi, straight, etc… just like cisgender people). I have a concern that lumping “T” in with “LGB” all the time sometimes creates confusion as to what “transgender” means, and sometimes winds up erasing the sexual experiences of trans folks… as tho there is “sexual” LGB and then this non-sexual  T “other”.  So, in this context, I didn’t add “T” to “LGB”, because LGB and for that matter straight should already be presumed to include transgender people as well as cisgender people. At the same time, I get that transgender visibility as anything other than bigot-heavy “tabloid stories” is, still, very limited in the mainstream, and it is important to create an alternative narrative that reflects transgender peoples humanity (so sad that this is still needed). I don’t want to erase the “T” in “LGBT”… but at the same time, I have concerns that lumping them all together, all the time, winds up making the “T” invisible, anyway. Would be curious about feedback on this, especially from transgender readers and writers. 

 

**  Not that there’s anything wrong with porn! I love porn! But it’s a delightful fantasy! And my life is real! With real, complicated, sometimes yicky feelings! To be processed! Okay!

Mindy Townsend starts a conversation on bisexual science fiction characters

Here’s one of those articles I come across where the comments actually are an interesting part of the conversation – and that’s not a sentence I write often.

Mindy Townsend over at DoctorHer.com (“more than just companions” – as a Doctor Who fan, I love this) has written a great post entitled Jack Harkness and How We Judge LGBT Characters.

Battlestar Galactica and Serenity have also come up in comments so far. The article starts with Torchwood’s Jack Harkness, who also comes up in Doctor Who. For those who don’t obsessively watch these shows like me, background is in the article and on wikipedia.

For the rest of you, here’s an excerpt:

“In some ways, Jack is the emotional opposite of the Doctor. The Doctor likes to keep his human companions at an arms distance, while Jack seems open to close, emotional, and physical connections. (see, Ianto Jones). He never apologizes for these relationships, nor should he. Jack’s relationships show us that, despite his immortality, he is inarguably human. And that makes him more relatable and likeable. I understand where Jack is coming from even though his life experiences are far different from mine. But does this make Jack a good queer television character?”

I remember watching Jack’s very intense kiss with a man, after watching him pursue Gwen Cooper for episodes and episodes, and having two distinct reactions:

1) FINALLY. On American TV, I felt, they’d never let a guy just kiss another guy without him being the gay character, ie without having his gay-ness define him and be the only thing we really know about / care about with regards to him, and it was really good to see something else, and

2) Could it be… finally… a really bisexual character? Or as Jack has framed it, omnisexual? Oh please?

Afterwards I went back and forth. Sometimes I got frustrated with the shows portrayal of Jack’s seeming promiscuity. And then I’d be like, wait, what the hell is wrong with promiscuity. I think where I’m at with it is that Jack is a really interesting character for lots of reasons, and I get annoyed when I feel like the show writes his sexuality to overshadow everything else, in a way that seems to make his sexuality comic relief, instead of writing it as one part of a complete character. On the other hand, it’s an important aspect of who he is, and I’m glad it’s out there… when I saw that kiss happen, I realized, all of a sudden, how conditioned I was to only expect to view straight mono-sexuals, and the presentation of an alternative was awesome. 

Annnnnyway, enough from me, go read Mindy’s article here, and join the conversation:

http://doctorher.com/?p=698

Guest Post by Jesse P: “Why Your Bisexual Boyfriend Left You.”

Jesse does social work and community outreach in a mid-size New England city. 

Why Your Bisexual Boyfriend* Left You:

We’ve all heard the famous myth of how you “can’t trust” bi people. That we’ll always leave or “abandon” you for the “other side”. I’ve heard these myths quite a bit myself, and they always sting more when you hear them from folks you’re trying to date.

 

So, as a little tongue in cheek, I wrote down a list of reasons of why your bi boyfriend probably left you or wants to leave you. This list is based on things that I have actually experienced or been told, many of which almost put me off dating monosexuals forever. So, here is my list of reasons why your bisexual boyfriend left you:

1. He got sick of going with you to the straight bar/club/house party and hearing your guy friends hate on “fags”.

2. He got sick of you asking him how guys have sex with each other.


3. He was fed up with your friends at the gay bar making “fish” jokes.

4. He felt uncomfortable when your friends looked at him like he farted when he let slip about his old boyfriend Jack.

5. He was annoyed with you constantly saying how you would “just die” if he left you for a woman.

5. He was so done with you repeatedly asking him how he could “eat pussy”.

6. He was put off by you asking him if he’d decided he was straight or gay yet.

7. He got tired of you saying “you’re gonna leave me for a man” whenever you had an argument.

And that’s what I’ve got so far. If folks have anything they’d want to add to this list, feel free to join in in the comments.

*While writing this list I was asked by more than one person “what about girlfriends/women?”. I’m not a woman and didn’t want to try and imagine or pretend as to what their experiences are. I encourage bi women who want to make a similar list or share similar experiences to do so using their own voices.