Monday, February 28, 2011
When I was thinking about this later, I was reminded of an event earlier in the year, at the now-infamous Stiles-Morse screw. While we were waiting to be processed by the officers coming around to check people's IDs, my (female) date and I were holding hands since we were so frightened. However, when the officer got within eyeshot, we both let go of each other without even making eye contact.
I'm out'n'proud with 95% of the people I interact with. Why is it that when around police, I (and I don't think I'm alone in this) tend to hide my sexuality? I've never personally been harassed by police officers for being queer, nor have any of my friends, that I'm aware of, and yet I've come to implicitly distrust them. Have any of y'all been in situations with police, positive or negative, where your sexuality has come into play? Is it unjust of me to mistrust them? Let me know in the comments!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Last winter it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The winter before that, it was Scrubs. And this winter break, it was that quintessential lesbian icon of television: The L Word. All six seasons. That’s right. I watched seventy 50-minute episodes in 3 weeks. That’s what I mean by a project.
Side note: yes, I did spend time with people. I’m not a recluse. I just didn’t sleep. No big deal.
I was rewatching the first episode of The L Word with one of my closest (and lesbian) friends the other night, and was of course obsessing about Shane. This led to a very interesting discussion, the question being:
Why does everyone love Shane?
This love falls into two categories, of course. (Or maybe three. You decide.) First, there is the incredibly-turned-on-oh-my-GOD lust-love (into which category I fall). And there is of course the oh-my-God-JEALOUS-I-want-to-be-her (into which category my friend falls). Of course, by the end of the pilot episode, my friend wasn’t sure about the strict categorization of her love. It seemed to cross boundaries, and maybe be an even combination of the two types.
So why do we love Shane? Is it her effortless charm, her “nipple-confidence” (as Tina points out in the pilot), or her amazingly adorable smile? Is it her body? Is it her shameless attitude towards sleeping around? Her sweet, damaged, loyal inner nature? Or is it quite simply the knowledge that she could easily get us in bed with a single word, and make it the best night of our lives? Every queer girl I’ve ever talked to about The L Word has something to say about Shane, even if she’s not their favorite character.
At my last count, I had ten pictures of Katherine Moennig saved to my computer. This has to mean something.
So I have a question for YOU, Sapphists. Why do YOU like Shane?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Uganda, I thought. Isn't that the place where homosexuality is about to be punishable by death?
The email I got from the career services people made no mention of the danger, and neither did the website of the program. If I didn't keep up with gay rights news, I might have applied to intern in a country where my bisexuality made me guilty of a capital crime. When applying to study or work abroad as a queer person, I am the only one responsible for guaranteeing my safety. Although Yale restricts travel according to State Department guidelines, there are no additional warnings for students who may belong to groups in acute and specific danger in certain regions.
Yale certainly can't cover every contingency -- I doubt they should warn everyone that students with albinism should stay out of Burundi and Tanzania -- but it would be great if the careers office had a one-sheet handout of known dangerous countries for out students and some links to reliable, frequently updated gay travel guides.
Until Yale offers support, it's essential to do research and make sure queer friends working or studying abroad have done their homework. A bisexual friend of mine was planning to spend this semester studying in a fairly progressive Middle Eastern country. I asked her if she planned to closet herself on facebook, and she told me she had decided to leave her data up, and see how it went.
The country where she had planned to study was Egypt, so the point turned out to be moot, but it was important that someone bring up that danger to her early in the planning process. It would be great if the warning came from Yale.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
This creates an interesting predicament for me: as bi, I could simply choose to be with men. Overall, making that decision would make my life a hell of a lot easier. I would never have to explain myself to my family, never have to worry about being disowned or abandoned by people I love, never have awkward moments with my mom in which I have to skirt my sexuality with very clever (not really) wordplay. While my sexuality is not a choice, my actions are, and my actions could fit into the heteronormative lifestyle my parents would prefer.
Mom and Dad Approved
The fact remains, however, that I won’t diminish or dismiss a part of me in order to make other people happy. I am aware of this. I am, actually, hyperaware of this, and a large part of me marvels at my selfishness for choosing to do this.
Why, though? Why take this path? Why not be self sacrificing, a “good daughter” of whom my parents can be proud? Pre-self acceptance, these questions circled around in my head every damn day, every time I saw a beautiful woman and wanted her, every time I kissed or held or fell asleep in the arms of a girl, I wondered what I was doing and who I was potentially hurting because of my actions.
Then I came out to myself. Or, really, I had a very liberating night and was forced to reevaluate my preconceptions about my sexuality (turns out, if you force yourself into the closet for 18 years, you emerge with a bang). I said out loud what I had always known, “I am bisexual,” and I found a community and a support group here that is better than any I could have imagined.
I no longer have those questions circling around in my head because I know who and what I am. Denying my attraction to women made me unhappy and incomplete; I was never able to be myself or to act on my emotions free of fear. Continuing on that path would be rejecting part of myself and cause me to be living a lie. I have come to the resolution that even if I did decide to be with only men, that would not make me any less attracted to women, and eventually I would have to face that. Yes, my sexuality may isolate me from people I love, but ultimately my life is my own, and I cannot and will not sacrifice my own mental and emotional well being in order to satisfy social norms.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Despite knowing this, I did fall for her...or at least it felt like I did. It was only until a little over a year ago that the real problems arose. Long distance relationships pose all types of challenges- the constant missing one another, the inability to share special events together, or, maybe the worst, the possibility of meeting other people in your separate locations. Mmm hmm... that last one can get you when you least expect it.
Sure, when we first started dating we agreed to keep our relationship open, enabling us to explore without feeling so restricted. I hooked up with a few girls during this period, but eventually I realized I only wanted to be with her. We decided to move into the exclusive territory and, although there were potential interests along the way, we stayed committed. Then, as all long distance haters would have predicted, the inevitable happened: she met someone. Before I dive into the shit storm that followed, let me give you a bit more background on the gf. She's a surgical resident in L.A, in her 30s, and had previously never been with a woman until me. And from the title of this post you know she was my first too. We were able to experiment and make mistakes with total abandon. We were discovering what it meant to be lovers, friends, and gay women together.
And then it all came crashing down. I went to visit for Thanksgiving and realized, despite having closed the 3000 mile distance between us, she still felt extremely far away. This feeling only intensified throughout the trip, and even when having sex for the last time, it was all too aggressive and detached. The warmth and intimacy had vanished; I had lost her without even knowing it. That was the last time I saw her. I soon found out that there was another, someone we had actually talked about before (speculating on whether or not she was gay). Well, turns out she definitely was.
Some more drama has passed since then, but for the most part we no longer talk, and the memory of the relationship has grown dimmer. However, the process hasn't been easy. They always say that getting over your first is the worst as it's the only love you've ever known and the only one you think you'll ever have. True, but it's difficult for so many other reasons. Your first is usually the first person you bare all of yourself to. You pour out all of your fears, vulnerabilities, and dreams. You share everything you are because you want to reach the highest degree of closeness...in all respects. Once you've reached that closeness and suddenly had it stolen away, what follows is the unavoidable heartache.
(me after break up)
No, but after the end, everything does seem unbearable for awhile. Reminders of her spring up where you never knew they existed, e.g., the way you now butter your toast, or stop to watch the frolicking squirrels (an animal you previously viewed as an oversized fluffy cockroach). These aftereffects linger, reaffirming your newly unwanted aloneness...but also the fact you had such an impactful relationship.
(Details I could be missing)
What I've discovered in the course of this year is that while having your first love leave you hurts (and hurts and hurts), the experience, like any other, allows you to learn and grow. Ok, gag, I know how cliché-ish that sounds, but hear me out. As much pain that comes with a break up, you also have to figure out a way to get over that pain, and embrace the woman you are without that person. In my case, I finally decided to focus on what I had learned about myself in the relationship, and how that applied to my life in general. By examining how I changed and what good came out of the situation, I've been able to more fully accept the loss and rededicate my life to me. While break ups can motivate those to a point of self-empowerment, i.e., getting in great shape or starting a new creative project, this only typically comes after a long mourning period. I didn't want to be one of those that was depressed for soooo long that I had to do something positive to free myself from it. In that respect, I think allowing myself to feel whatever I was feeling and finding the positives in the relationship beforehand, really gave me the chance to come into my own much sooner than what could have been. It's not always easy and clearly it's something I still think about (otherwise I wouldn't be writing this post), but I think our firsts provide us with some of the greater lessons to guide us in the perilous world of love later on. We gain some maturity and endurance, and hopefully a bit more sense...when it comes to long distance. Or...
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We start kicking asses and taking names.
If any of you have thoughts/stories to share on your firsts, please comment!
Bring on the next,
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I figured coming out to my mom as a bisexual wouldn't be a huge deal. I trust her a lot, and I know her to be a progressive woman; she's generally liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, she even played on a women's flag football team for twenty years where the vast majority of the members, her friends, were lesbians.
So I came out to her over Thanksgiving. The reaction was, while not the opposite of what I expected, still pretty surprising. It turns out my mom doesn't believe bisexuality exists. Its not that she is anti-bi, she just believes its a “phase” and that I'll “have to pick sides eventually.” She wasn't angry, and didn't treat me differently after I told her, but it was as though I had mentioned that I was having trouble deciding on a major; my bisexuality was something to work through, figure out, and decide.
The most frustrating part of the experience is how often I get similar reactions from people to the concept of bisexuality. Look, people: being bi isn't a stage in life that I'm going through. When I finally settle down with a guy or a girl, I won't suddenly be straight or lesbian. I'll have decided upon a person, not a gender. To me, that's why being bi is: having the ability to fall for people, regardless of their sex. Lyrics always say it best: “I just don't care whats under there.”
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
What can I update you on? Hmm.
I had my first threesome last week. (INDEPENDENCE, bitches). It was…interesting. Okay well it was a little awkward in the beginning. Okay, so it was sort of planned. I’ll back up.
Girl-I-like slept with this toppy Williams graduate a couple weeks ago but thought they were both a little too toppy for each other. However girl-I-like drunkenly said “Hey, girl-I’m-seeing (ME!) thinks you’re hot. You’re totally her type. We should hang out.”
We should hang out. Really?! Smooooth, Girl-I-Like.
However, it worked. Williams grad (WG) goes, “Hmm. I’m down. I’ve never been the odd man out. That’d be hot.”
Fast forward one week. Text from WG to Girl-I-Like.
WG: Wanna hang tonight
GIL: Well, girl-I’m-seeing will be here tonight. Wanna come over
WG: Am I interfering?
GIL: No. Not at all.
(I hope you read that last text as sketchily as possible).
WG: I’ll stop by around 9, then?
GIL: Perfect. We can play videogames and drink beer.
Make the situation non-awkward.
WG: K should I bring anything?
But come on, it IS awkward. At this point I steal the phone. Mind you, I have not met WG.
GIL (but really me): Naw, don’t worry about it. I have the video camera, and the girl-I’m-seeing has some rope
I could not stop laughing. Luckily WG laughed (via text) and offered to bring handcuffs.
Fast forward 6 hours. Girl-I-like and I are freaking out about the fucking lights in the apartment. I grabbed a beer to calm my fears of this going horribly wrong. What if she is really socially incompetent and can’t handle this? How is it going to start? Will it actually happen? If it does….what if I really don’t like watching Girl-I-Like and WG hook up? What if…I really like hooking up with WG….
I grab a beer while cleaning up the apartment.
“THIS IS SO AWKWARD.”
“Keep the lights off. It’s scary bright.”
“But it looks like we are mood-setting with just the little Christmas lights on. We said come over for VIDEOGAMES.”
“But we need to see the screen better, we need the lights off!”
“IT LOOKS LIKE WE ARE MOOD-SETTING. She’s going to walk in and be like…what the fuck.”
“Fine. Get me a beer.”
An hour later.
She walks in. Yeah, she’s hot. Kind of andro. Butchy, but wears eyeliner. Dimples. She’s a biker…so her body is…ahem…you know, alright. (I try not to squirm obviously on the couch with excitement in front of Girl-I-Like and who I want to continue liking me. BUT SHE’S GORGEOUS. )We continue drinking. Somehow and some point we even watch “Hitler in the Springtime” clips on YouTube. Girl-I-Like is Jewish (so it’s ok she put it on) and found it hilarious. Hitler prancing flamboyantly and very homosexually around on stage was much less funny when WG said her grandfather is a holocaust survivor.
Pour more whiskey.
Lots of laughter and shifting (oh so accidentally) to where I am closer to WG with each casual laugh on the couch. WG puts hand on my shoulder. Plays with my hair. WG kisses girl-I-like. Girl-I-like kisses me. WG kisses me. It was actually going to happen.
Fast forward 8 hours.
This note was put on the apartment door the next morning. (If you needed something to prompt your imagination about how the night went).
Things to discuss about threesomes at a later point.
1) How to avoid the cuddle slumber-party post sex. Three spoons is cool but not when I wanted to only cuddle with Girl-I-like.
2) How to control jealousy when hearing girl-I-like’s moans causally related to third-party’s touch. I may or may not have moved a hand so that I could be the one to…ahem. That is my job.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Instead of wasting that money on one day’s worth of superficial gestures, we are pledging to donate the amount we would have spent to achieving lasting equality for everyone.
We are choosing to donate to the Human Rights Campaign. From their website: “HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs.”
Sounds good? It gets better!
"For $35, your special someone will receive a cuddly, Rainbow Equality Bear."
I'm going to assume those bears are bought cheaper wholesale, but that's still a non-negligible portion of my donation that's being spent not on activism and advocacy, but on the chintzy, superficial gestures I was trying to avoid. And that's on top of any normal overhead costs.
A lot of charities and advocacy groups get slammed for the small proportion of donations that go to support the cause. According to leaked internal documents, HRC spent only five percent of its budget on lobbying efforts, and, in the eyes of gay Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan, that lobbying left a lot to be desired.
Supporting the movement is great, but it's important to make sure the money you give goes as far as possible. We have to do due diligence on the priorities and practices of the advocacy groups we support. HRC gets a lot of coverage, but their 'activism' tends towards merchandising and parties for Democrats who aren't really scared they're going to lose the gay vote any time soon. If you want your money to do good, give it to state campaigns for referenda get out the vote in the style of Maine's No on Prop 1 or help fund the groups funding gay rights lawsuits (and don't forget that that includes the ACLU!)
So next time you reach for your wallet. skip HRC and donate to Lambda Legal.
Monday, February 14, 2011
So sometime at 1 am yesterday as I struggled icing cookies, my best friend pointed out that I have the romantic abilities of a 15 year old guy. Not only was I (19 year old college sophomore, waaaay to old for this kind of thing..) baking heart shaped cookies for my girlfriend, I was obsessing over getting the icing exactly perfect and arranging the plate just right.
I think because I (like many queer girls) started dating a lot later than most straight girls, many college bi/gay girls are just learning how to navigate dating and relationships. We never had the middle school “practice” dating, and come to college wondering how we are supposed to flirt with, ask out or even date other girls. And that makes Valentines day that much more stressful.
That being said, whats not to love about a holiday that is all about chocolate and candy and love? Also, flowers! Like these- which are totally amazing and I wish they existed outside of photoshop:
Happy Valentines day!
- If you're closeted, all the focus on romance around this time can lead to some awkward questions/comments ("So when are you getting a boyfriend?" etc etc).
- If you're out, the ridiculous amount of heterosexuality all over the place can be suffocating.
- If you're out and are with someone of the same sex, then being super lovey-dovey with that lucky individual carries more risks than it might for straight couples.
- If you're bi and with someone of the opposite sex, being super lovey-dovey with that lucky individual can feel like buying into straight privelege.
- If you're involved in a poly relationship...well that deserves a whole post of its own.
So how do you lovely queermos deal with VDay? Whether single, attached, or "It's Complicated" on Facebook, February 14th opens up a different can of worms for all of us. Share your survival strategies in the comments!
I don't like bad chocolates, I don't like fuzzy teddy bears with high-pitched voices warbling cutesy messages every time you press their paws, and I absolutely detest those chalky little candy hearts. I mean, come on. Valentine's Day is just a day for cheesy slogans and bad puns. "BEE MINE" with a little bumblebee? Aren't we past that yet?
Valentine's Day fills me with ire and resentment about being single, year after year, and watching my friends get gooey about each other and exchange flowers and candy with increasing enthusiasm. No matter how many Anti-Valentine's parties I attend, I always end up feeling depressingly lonely.
This year, all that negativity got me thinking.
Valentine's Day, from the outside, can be seen as a consumerist excuse to sell chocolate and cheap trinkets to couples who can't keep their eyes, hands, or apparently wallets off of each other. Even from the inside of love, perhaps Hallmark cards are cheesy excuses for emotion, and those candy hearts still taste like ground-up sidewalk chalk.
But everything in our culture is consumerist. Even originally "religious" holidays like Christmas, the mother of all consumer holidays, are represented in the media as excuses to buy happiness at strip malls and in online catalogs. Does this take all meaning away from Christmas for those who celebrate it? Clearly not.
I realized this: Valentine's Day is a pretty great idea at its heart. It's a time of year when people who are in relationships, queer or straight, can remind themselves - whether through a handmade valentine or through a box of store-bought candy - of why they're a couple in the first place. It's a time of year when those of us who are single aren't in the foreground, and when staying in and watching a movie with your significant other isn't considered antisocial.
What's wrong with Valentine's Day? Sure, it makes me feel like crap once a year. But it makes my couple friends feel great. Maybe, just sometimes, love should be the main event, even if it is a little consumerist.
But hot damn, they are good.
And what better day to focus on the little purple sparkly things than Valentine’s? Vibrators are wonderful, cool friends who I am sure many of you lady queers have met before (although there are probs some babygay novices out there, too, Google=mass of info babygays).
Anyway, ladies, this is my question: Whether tied down, polyamorous, ridin’ solo (and gahh, this day tries to divide us into those categories – FIGHT IT QUEERS, WE HATE LABELS) …
How do you “love yourself”?
What’s your favorite music to blast in the background, covering that bzzz noise? Do you bring out your friend multiple times a day, once a month? Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever masturbated?
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day, all! And if your answers to my previous questions are lame, what day is better to change them? ;) I hope that you go out and find love queers, whether with that beautiful significant other or your similarly beautiful self!
Personally, I just love to watch all the cute things that happen around campus. For example, I found it absolutely adorable when I saw a good friend standing outside my class this morning with a rose behind his back, looking extremely nervous, just waiting for a particularly charming boy of interest to come out... no pun intended. It was really the cutest thing I've seen in a while!
Want to tell your VDay stories? Want to rant about how commercialized and consumerist today is? Want to send a shout-out to someone? Write on the Sappho Blog for this special day only (or sign up for a regular commitment to write)! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get set up as an author! Posts can be completely anonymous... or not.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Check it out and start anonymously posting your creeper-ness for everyone to see!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
I know how to flirt with men. I’ve been taught how, subconsciously and consciously, ever since I was a little kid and first read the titles on the cover of Cosmo. I know how to play hard to get, how to make eye contact, and how to drop those subtle hints. BUT OH MY HEAVENS do I clam up when there are sexy women around. Maybe it’s a result of denying my own attractions for so long, but attractive women make me so much more nervous than men! I get clumsy, I get giggly… I honestly think I just missed my pre-teen awkward phase with women, and now I’m entirely entrenched. I can’t stop playing with my hair, and I think I even batted my eyelashes once or twice. Pathetic.
I don’t know how to attract a woman’s attention. Admittedly, I present on the femme side of bi, and I suppose my interest in women is hard to pick up from a once-over. But I just want to know: how do I let women know that I like them too? I want to take advantage of being at Yale. I know so many wonderful queer women here, and the LGBT Co-Op parties are undeniably the most fun on campus. But I don’t know how to kick the quivering, nervous queer girl out of my chest and replace her with a woman who won’t trip over her own feet when a pretty girl looks her way.
Is that REALLY so much to ask?! Come on, ladies, notice me. I’m right here. You’ll recognize me as the awkward one giggling in the corner and staring at all the lovely faces in the crowd.