I found it in my saved drafts today (June, 2017), a year later. Trump is President. I'm also no longer "on" facebook. The horrors have been compounding and it is the least safe it has been in years to openly discuss such things as these. Also, I have recently re-dedicated myself to this blog and have re-focused it on the theme of "unapologetic weirdness."
So for the sake of my theme --which is the theme of my entire life -- and the sake of not being afraid and for the sake of my soul, I'm posting it now -- a year late -- but hopefully not TOO late.
Before I was molested by males, as a young girl, I was in love with another young girl. I continued to fall for other girls as I grew older, eventually being raped, again by males, as a young woman. Through these...let's call them...mishaps, and others, I learned that I was SUPPOSED to want men, my role in life was to please men & so I played the heterosexual game, trying to fall for boys, finding a couple here & there and eventually marrying a relatively nice one (though, not in the end, nice for me). The ENTIRE time I knew I loved girls, I fell for girls, I tried so so so hard NOT to fall for girls. I hated myself for loving girls. I was so confused about my love for girls.
Two weeks after I met my current husband (yes, I married again), I told him that I was Bisexual. This is a label I wore for a long time after my first marriage because the description of it felt right to me. I was attracted to both men and women. Period. Easy-Peasy. But this world is not so Easy-Peasy for bisexual people (nor is it so for gay, lesbian, transgendered, questioning, asexual, intersex people and anyone else who doesn't fall right in line with the hetero-patriarchal norms of our society). He accepted this about me (as I accepted that HE was a registered Republican at the time-- please forgive him, he's learned so much in the last fourteen years) though neither of us knew what it meant for the long-term potential of our relationship.
When we moved back to MI, after I had been away --and running running running-- for nearly ten years, it was time for me to face the sexual abuse I'd been through as a child. I sought counseling. I was taught that my normal sexual development had been arrested by the abuse and that it was possible that if I had grown up in a 100% welcoming and loving world, I might have simply grown up to just love women. Period. Easy-Peasy.
But it is not so Easy-Peasy to hear this news when you have grown into an adult with two children and a husband you love and respect at your side. It's confusing as all hell. For everyone. So, we talked divorce, we separated, and then we got back together because neither of us could live without our kids 100% of the time AND as it turns out, we were really in love. Like, REALLY.
So, these days, I privately consider myself Queer. This label means more to me, encompasses so much more for me than the label "bisexual" and it leaves room for me to love my husband enormously but in a way that doesn't diminish all that I am.
I have gotten about as far "over" being sexually abused as anyone can. I choose to speak about my abuse openly because I want other people who have been through that hell to know they are not alone, they can feel safe again, and it can and will get better.
So...this college woman gets raped by this college guy and it becomes an international headline because he feels no remorse and doesn't even acknowledge that what he did was wrong AND his slimy judge gives him no more than a slap on the wrist for his "actions." And this -- like all widely circulated rape stories -- triggers my trauma/ my diagnosed PTSD but I deal. I deal loudly and without apologies but I deal. I deal in a way I wasn't able to deal ten years ago. The wound gets cut back open but it heals quickly. I don't forget but I go back to living my joyful life because "Joy is an act of resistance" as the great poet, Toi Dericotte says.
Then 50 people get killed in a nightclub for being gay... because my country's government is being held hostage by the fucking NRA and any fucking crackpot idiot madman can get a semi-automatic weapon any time, any day for any reason they want to.
And Facebook constantly asks me what's on my mind.
My gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, asexual, transitioning, intersex, curious, and even just those who are still confused friends, students, colleagues, loved ones, family members, and former partners are on my mind. They are SO on my mind. Their fear, their anger, their sorrow, their grief, their feelings of helplessness, their courage, their strength, their love, their perseverance, their spirit. That's what is on my mind and heavy heavy heavy on my heart.
During my very first group therapy session in 2000, a young woman identified herself as "bisexual" to the room. I said nothing. As she and I struck up a conversation after the session, I came out to her. She was shocked and offended. "Why didn't you say something?" She said. "Why did you allow everyone to think I was alone in there?" I had no good answer for this.
Seven years later, a colleague was standing at my office door and we were talking about our families, our personal histories. She learned that my grandmother was Mexican. She learned that I considered myself "bisexual." She said, "So, you've been passing." And I learned that "passing" meant pretending to be part of the majority group when you're really a part of a minority group. You're Mexican but you live White. You're Queer but you live Heterosexual. In my defense, when I try to claim either of these identities, I am often quickly dismissed by people who don't know any better, because I look like a straight-up white girl AND I'm married to a big old man. And because I automatically "pass" by most people, I can't claim to suffer any persecution or discrimination due to these identities at all. So, I have always felt like a fraud either way. I'm not totally white but I'm not really Mexican. I'm not straight but I'm not gay either. It also hasn't helped that when I've tried to discuss this with some of my closest friends, they all have their personal opinion about what I "really" am. Straight friends who insist I'm straight. Gay friends who insist I'm gay. Straight friends who insist I'm gay. Gay friends who insist I'm straight. So, it's just easiest to pass and let people assume what they assume; know what they know; get to know me, as is fitting to the relationship. Sometimes it comes up. Sometimes it doesn't. Easy-Peasy.
But Mahatma Gandhi says: "silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly."
And I have always been haunted by MLK's words: "there comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."
I am a sexual abuse survivor and I stand with the victim in the Stanford rape case and all fellow-survivors, everywhere, always.
And I am a Queer woman and I don't stand with Orlando as an ally, I stand with Orlando as an accomplice.
A hateful gunman sentenced those victims to death. Whatever their crime was is my crime too.
I'll admit that I have been afraid to open this door. I have been afraid to be so clear and so obvious about who I am. I'll admit that I fear the repercussions of this declaration. I don't fear that I'll be in physical danger though perhaps I should be. I fear people's social reactions to me; consequences like being shunned or shut out of certain relationships. It's a risk. I am making sure my husband and my son are okay with this statement before I post it anywhere because I am also afraid for whatever consequences they might face from this (my daughter is just a bit too young to understand just yet).
But this occasion demands that I speak the whole truth and I am much much more afraid of the world my children will inherit if more of us who feel these fears don't have the courage to speak up. And I shouldn't have to be afraid to say who I am. No one should.
And there are those dear to me who have been keeping this secret for me (or whispering about it quietly behind my back-- haha) and they don't have to do that anymore.
I'm here. I'm Queer. Get used to it.
P.S. My husband has only one concern about me posting this. He wants you to understand that he is no longer a registered republican and was so only, as he says, "by default because I was a cop in the 80s & 90s." In the past fifteen years he has turned away from the dark side and found his inner-socialist, his inner-feminist, and his emotional intelligence. I think he should start a reform school for former political conservatives defecting to our rebel alliance.