I’ve been married to my husband for almost two years now. Mr. Shoshie is awesome and supportive and I love him very, very much. But sometimes I wish that we hadn’t gotten married so soon.
Well, actually, I wish that we hadn’t started dating so soon.
Let me back up.
I’ve liked girls pretty much as long as I’ve liked boys, meaning, about as long as I can remember liking anyone. I mean like liking anyone. But I didn’t come out as bisexual (well, actually pansexual) until I was 21 or so. I was never afraid of what my friends would say. I have wonderful, accepting parents who love me regardless of sexuality. I went to a fairly liberal high school and had a good number of queer friends. Then I went to a pretty queer friendly college. So it wasn’t really fear or concern that kept my mouth shut.
It was that…and, well, this is kind of embarrassing…it was that I really thought I was heterosexual until I was 21 or so. Being heterosexual was always presented as the default. Then, if I didn’t like boys, then I could be homosexual. Easy peasy. Like one of those flow diagrams.
Question 1. Do you like boys? If yes, then you are heterosexual. If no, then proceed to question 2.
Question 2. Do you like girls? If yes, then you are homosexual.
So, for the first 20-odd years of my life, I never got to question 2. I liked boys, so clearly I fit into the first category. Even though I had multiple crushes on girls. As many or more than I had on boys.
It took me a long time to learn how to date, being the wonderfully awkward person that I am. But, with some trial and error (OK, mostly lots of error), I figured out how to date boys. And it turned out that I actually got pretty good at it. But then, somewhere along the line (thank you, “But I’m a Cheerleader”!) I realized that oh, that attraction I had towards women? Well, just because I liked and wanted to date men didn’t mean that I couldn’t also like and date women.
Revolutionary, I know.
Of course, by the time I got this figured out, I was dating a couple guys simultaneously and was all sorts of confused because I was about to graduate college and start grad school and even though there were totally cute ladies who were flirting with me in the college coffee shop I felt so completely overwhelmed that I didn’t think I could really go on any more dates ’cause oops no time.
Then I moved cities. And, shortly thereafter, I started dating my now-husband. So at present, I’m a pansexual woman who has never even kissed another woman. Even though I love my husband so much I can’t even begin to describe it, I feel a bit of sadness sometimes. And anger when bisexual people are erased (I’m looking at you, Glee). I feel like something important has been stolen from me.
I feel like my sexuality is this weird, awkward thing that sits quietly in the corner until someone assumes that everyone there is straight, and then it has a big ol’ awkward party. It’s become a big question for me, whether or not to come out to people that I meet. Because, at this point, what difference does it make? What does it matter who I’m attracted to? Mr. Shoshie and I are monogamous, so I’m with one person for the foreseeable future. But then, sexuality does come up occasionally and then I feel weird because here’s this person that I’m friends with, that I’ve known for a year, who knows so much about me, but doesn’t know that I also like people who aren’t men. And who I find attractive shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow it is anyways.
So I’m coming to you all, awesome Feministe readers. Are these my own special insecurities, or have any of you felt the same weird conflicting emotions? How have you dealt with it? How do you avoid getting your identity erased when it’s not readily apparent? Assuming a person is in a safe environment, do they have a responsibility to be open about their queer identity? What about for passing privilege, in general? I’ll be honest that, while I’ve thought a lot about these things, I haven’t done a ton of reading, so these thoughts are maybe a little too convoluted and undeveloped. But I’m really curious how you all have navigated these kinds of issues, so have at it.