Long time, no drivel. Not much, and you?
Quick update: No accidents, no drama, still love my new job. Oh, yeah… and I’m out again.
One of my concerns with moving to my new job was that dreaded “outing” task. Every time I start over, I’m torn between having “the talk” and appearing like a nut job (does anyone in the high tech world care what my sexuality is?)… or not voicing my sexuality and feeling like a hypocrite.
This time, I opted to try to work it into conversation naturally. How hard could that be? 5 months later, I knew exactly how impossible! The effort started well. In week one I was discussing the local Fetish Flea (bi-annual alternative lifestyles flea market). I followed it up with a chat about volunteering to help sex workers organize.. Got a buzz cut.. Discussed escorting guests into Planned Parenthood. Mentioned watching porn (not as shocking as it might seem else where; my company’s roots are in porn technology). I explained how my “House” avatar should be “number 13” (“the one that goes both ways?” Exactly!). Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Sandwich.. Torchwood… Visiting my dominatrix friend in Canada. Gay marriage in CA. Nothing.. I mean nothing.. worked. I couldn’t understand how my coworker was that dense.
I was getting ready to leave explicit pictures involving myself “accidentally” lying about, when 2 events occurred within minutes of each other.
Derrick (the guy from the subject line) asked me how come I hadn’t added him as a friend in myspace. Derrick is savvy/streetwise enough for me to know – if he’s seen my myspace account, I’m out to him. If he didn’t spot by self identification or my queer friend base, the blog would give it away.
Big D is a man’s man – volunteer fire fighter who can hold his own in a fight, but he’s a freak, in a good way. He’s pals with my younger, more innocent coworker. If Joe had yet to figure me out, Derrick would explain my facts of life.
As I was letting that sink in, Joe and I started discussing whether anyone was bothered by the Patriot Act. Me, being the flaming liberal I am, was. I was explaining how I was not naïve enough to think anyone interested didn’t know me via google (I mentioned BiNet USA). He admitted he had googled me before I started working here.
For the past 5 months the two of us had been playing chicken. With Joe trying to make me say the word, while I was awaiting him showing a clue.
This all happened a couple months ago. I’m still not certain whether he was taunting my attempts as self outing or being respectful of my privacy. Our receptionist has offered to tease them back by having a torrid affair with me (they all kind lust after her, at some level). So, all in all, being out is a good thing.
Honestly, I've been less enthused about the "gay marriage" vs same sex marriage debate than I was the trans inclusive enda; with the ENDA battle, rights were being held up... With the marriage debate, it could be argued.. as some have done.. that the semantics (word choice) will not result in a lack of benefits. After spending time with the amazing Moira, I got to understand how some decisions are being made and can respect that.
One of the reasons so many "state DOMA" legislation's passed, imo, was that national figures imposed their beliefs and did not listen to local voices.. who better knew what would work in their neck of the woods. I am definitely enjoying listening to several CA voices on this list discuss the strategy pros and cons.
I believe the passion form the bi/trans communities on this issue comes from years of baggage and mistreatment from the gay/lesbian community. Since Stonewall (even before), bisexual and transgender individuals have been the back bone of the gay/lesbian movement. We have marched, planned the first pride marches, spoke before congress on DODT, and volunteered tireless hours to effect change for the entire GLBT community.
Yet, time after time, the gay/lesbian leaders have conveniently omitted us - from press releases, proposed legislation, web pages, magazines, etc, etc. The expressed pain comes from the long history of being welcomes when work is needed, yet shunned when convenient. In this particular case, there appears to be no reason for the omission. Does anyone really NOT know what "same sex marriage" refers too?
The gay and lesbian community does a disservice to it's own cause when they remove us from a discussion. Same gender marriage effects bisexuals and transgender individuals in a different way from gays and lesbians, which they would understand if they included us in the process.
One may argue that 2 bisexual females are in a lesbian relationship. I would counter - your individual experiences, feelings, and yes, sexuality effects your relationship. If not, why would so many gays and lesbians be afraid to date us? it's merely a "gay" relationship, right?
Warning: Like many phoenixes (phoeni?), everything seems to revolve around me this week. Hang in there and you just might witness a self-outing.
My job coach has forced me to picture my ideal job; not what I can do or am qualified to do, but what I want. It turns out even my ideal job is bisexual: part software engineer, part support, part management.. A little from column a, a little from column b, yet something much more. The people who recognize the value in this role are rare; so many companies are mono-taskical.
I managed to find a company who realizes the power of complexity. I had a second interview on Wednesday. And I nailed it (cue the balloon drop)! I'm waiting for the offer (it must be coming; my soon-to-be coworker spent our interview time training me). I am not a good waiter.
I've started my second stint as Lammy judge this year (not in the bisexual category this time; I'm not allowed to tell you which one until after the awards). As I wade through the 20+ submissions, I've learned that the bisexual category is not that unique. Last year we debated how to compare bi fiction to bi memoir; how unfair it all seems. This year I'm having the same problem. My genre is one I've loved forever, long enough to know the subgenres and have strong biases.
Any large category has sub categories. Go up to your average sci fi geek and ask them if star trek fan-fic is more literate than star wars. LOTR or Harry Potter? Biography or memoir? Hard boiled mysteries or cozies? Every book is unique. How can one judge art? This must be when an oscar judge feels like.
I picked a fight with Andrew Sullivan this week. or more precisely, I countered his biphobic blog with a Blade quote. He questioned the recent Hunter studies results (saying half the LGBT community is bi), saying he doesn't "see" us. It's tough to see anyone when you're only looking at yourself.
Several weeks ago, I developed a crush.. on a tv reality show contestant (no.. that's not my "outing," but it is kinda pathetic). Tila Tequila's Shot of Love has the most amazing soul (at ,least, she's filmed that way). Dani, the "butch lesbian with a heart of gold," made me love her - not because she's physically my type (though she is), but by constantly taking the high road, avoiding drama, always seeing the good, and being completely accepting. Ok, so what can I say.. Opposites attract.
I've avoided this long enough.
There's something about me that few people know. Something I'm not ashamed of, but I do avoid speaking about because the announcement is always followed by the difficult responses... Why? Are you afraid? You can change if you want to!
This is something that I've come to consider part of my identity. Yet its something I'm being forced to change. At times, this change is painful, but it's time.
I have never had a driver's license. Yes, the 40-something, adventure loving, world traveling, rural home owner has never been able to jump in a car and go.
After losing my job working from home, I know it was time to get a license. I'm 5 weeks into driver's ed. My hope to to take the test next week. I was going to take it today, but I was in a car accident this week (rear ended at a red light; NOT my fault!!!) and have lost my test car. Today I start relearning in our only other car (a big SUV - parallel park anyone?). Wish me luck.
Long time, no blather. I wish I had a tag line, like, "it's been a quiet week at Lake Wobegone...", something that would instantly put the reader at ease, snuggled in and ready to hear the latest chapter in the Curried Spam saga. I'll have to work on that.
In the mean time, suffice to say that life's been throwing me a mess o' lemons. I won't bore you with the whole lost job/Tucker's knee surgery & rehab/trying to get a drivers license for the first time at 42/mourning loved ones lost/trying desperately to keep others alive through the new year. Darn it! too late.
Any hew.. The point is, we all have times in our lives when everything gets turned upside down and we're forced to reflect on our place in the universe, the choices we've made, and the upcoming decisions we must face. Let's call it the phoenix period.
As terrifyingly stressfully overwhelming these times can be, they are also freeing. When your entire routine is shattered, you get to build a new one. It's like a cosmic "do over".
Activists get to reexamine their time spent trying to change the world. Is what we're doing time well spent? Or is it merely a distraction from the rest of our routine? Something to make us feel like we haven't simply sold out and become "the man"?
The bi activist community has been having this discussion on one of the justice league, super secret, ultra cool listservs dedicated to ending bi phobia in our life time.
We tend to still act - us old time super heroes - like we must protest for bi inclusion at every opportunity. But while we were fighting for this, something weird happened.
For the most part, we got what we asked for. There are bi leaders in most major GLBT organizations, there's that bi lammy. I'm judging a GLBT lammy category this year, as we have too many bisexuals involved to stay ghetto-ized in just one award. More and more lesbians can shake my hand without flinching as I come out. And the new generation is increasingly scratching their heads when listening to us old folk talk about biphobia. They live in a new, better world.
Yet bi activists have been slow to change. Have we won everything? No. is there more to do? sure. Do I like to answer my own questions? you betcha.
The main problem is - why would anyone change a tactic that clearly has worked?
Each of us, at one point, will be forced into a phoenix period. One by one, we will have to examine why we do what we do, how effective it is, and how best to move forward.
While reflecting on this, if you happen to know someone who works at a high tech company in in need of a high tech type bisexual in the New England area, drop me a line. My job coach says I should be networking to find that next job adventure
As bi groups around the globe prepare to recognize the 9th annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Sept 23rd), I'm trying to learn to let go.
As the event continues to take on traction, there's a morphing of the name in some circles. Some groups call their event a "bi pride" event or they celebrate "Bisexuality Day". This drives me insane.
Why? Shouldn't I be proud that this is growing, regardless of the name? Sure. Absolutely. If you had told me 10 years ago this would be still going on, I'd have thanked you for being so overly optimistic.
Perhaps it's because 3 of us spent 6+ months brainstorming on a name, a date, and a theme. The name is not just a name to me - it was out gift to our community.
So, here's my last attempt (this year) to define what went into making this celebration and why its named as it is.
In Early 1999, 3 BiNet USA national coordinators: Michael Page (originator of the bi pride flag and original owner of the Bi Cafe), Gigi Raven Wilbur (first weekly bi themed radio show hostess, out of Texas of all places), and I started brainstorming on bi day.
In the 90's, much of the bisexual activism involved one of three actions:
1) "we're here too" at "gay" events; trying to prove we were an important part of the GLBT family
2) countering the belief that bisexuality is just a phase. Because so few people identified as bisexual in the previous decades, we'd prop up the one or two people we could find who had identified as bi for a decade or two and say "see? it is possible to be bi for life!"
3) Fight our biggest obstacle - invisibility. Because most people at the time see other's sexuality based on their current partner or whom they see you eyeballing, few bisexuals were/are recognized as such, but misidentified as straight or gay
The common theme in the above actions is a kind of defensiveness. we ARE here; we ARE queer; gosh darn it!
Many of us felt like we were on this endless treadmill, fighting the same battles every day. We'd see colleagues drifting away, burnt from years of the same battle with little "real" progress.
If you really study civil rights/diversity acceptance, you'll see that people start to respect people once they respect themselves. As long as we were in this endless begging for inclusion, we weren't addressing the respect issue.
So, those two themes - wanting to respect ourselves and wanting to celebrate the previous year's battles were the dual driving forces behind CBD.
We wanted to celebrate our fabulousness and remind our peers to celebrate THEIR fabulousness. On this one day, who cares is the less enlightened can't see us or if the national GLBT groups/media weren't including us? Who cares if some ignorant lesbians see us merely as disease carriers?
The day was not an about education day. It was not a coming out day, it's not about glbt partnerships building or proving ourselves to anyone else.
It's not a "pride" day, though many of us our proud. it's not about usurping a gay event and making a smaller one for ourselves. it's a truly unique day, just for us.
What we asked people to do was find some time on this day to celebrate who they are. That could be lighting a candle, saying a prayer, buying a bi pride flag, getting together with other bisexuals for brunch, having incredible sex, march somewhere, whatever they desired.
We picked September because it was Freddie Mercury's birthday month (though not his actual birthday because it didn't fall on a weekend day that first year). We finally went with the 23rd as it was one of our birthday's.
And we sent out a bunch of emails. the rest, as they say, is history. Michael, Gigi, and my gift to the community was the seed. However you all chose to grow that seed is up to you.