Several years ago, an acquaintance of mine asked if I’d bought my car used.
“No, I bought it new. Why?”
“Well, there’s a rainbow on the back and I wasn’t sure you knew what it meant.”
I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area; I’m not sure I could have ignored the meaning of the rainbow symbol if I tried. There was more that needed to be said, though, once I caught my breath.
“I’m not straight. The rainbow is on my car because I support people who are LGBT, but also because I’m bisexual.”
“You are? But…but…you’re just dating a guy!”
I managed to keep from laughing that time.
“Well, bisexual doesn’t mean that I’m always dating more than one person. It’s a common misconception and it is really irritating. I tend towards monogamy. It’s less complicated. If I’m single, though, it could go either way. I lean a little more towards men, but I had a serious relationship with a woman, too.”
“I don’t understand.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re bisexual. You can’t do monogamy.”
For some reason, that acquaintance didn’t blossom into a friendship.
I have had various people tell me that I’m just confused, that I can’t be bisexual, that I must be interested in sleeping with anything that moves, and that at some point I’ll grow up and realize who I really am. The most provoking part of this is that I’ve gotten it from both the straight and queer communities. I don’t feel much like I fit in either place because both groups want me to just settle down and decide. I don’t fit into their boxes.
At this point in my life, I mostly don’t make a big deal out of it. I’m married to a man. I’m happy with him. I’ve never cheated on him and I won’t; I love what we have together and I wouldn’t jeopardize it for the world. When I’m in a relationship I don’t look outside it for completion. I work, as he does, to make our life together as good as it can be. From what most people can see, I’m a straight woman. They don’t look farther than that because, chances are, that’s all I am.
I’m not just straight, though. I loved a woman. It was a good relationship in many ways, too. It’s over now, but that doesn’t make it meaningless.
I haven’t had many relationships in my life. I am pretty comfortable with that. I do know, however, that if I were single again (which I don’t want to be – I love my life!) that it really could go either way. I guess that’s what makes people uncomfortable. I’m not as predictable as I seem to be. I’m a stable, reasonable person in general (well, I think I am, anyway) but if my life changed, they might not be happy with me if I showed up with a date for a dinner party. The other person might not be who they expect.
I don’t talk about this much. I’m not embarrassed by it, but it isn’t a huge part of my life right now. It is a part of my identity, just as being Daniel’s sister is, or being right handed. It’s part of me, but I don’t see it as a huge revelation. Once in a while I catch people off guard with an offhand comment that I’m not straight because it happens to come up in conversation. I’ve lost a few friends that way. That’s life.
I’m a married bisexual woman in a strong relationship. I exist. I’m not that weird.
I realized I hadn’t written about this before. I thought, somehow, it was about time. We’re working on raising Katja to know that families are made with love, not with rigid guidelines. She already knows people who are not in straight relationships and she will grow up being comfortable with that. It shouldn’t matter very much. In some areas it doesn’t. Just because I ended up with a man does not mean that the LGBT community is no longer important to me. I’m still part of it. I’m just not very visible at the moment.
So, yes, in case you didn’t know before, I’m bisexual. Doesn’t actually change anything, does it?