Fear and Loathing in the LGBT Community: Other People’s Definitions of Yourself.

(Note this is an open work in progress: suggestions on edits are welcome from LGBTQIA friends  who think I have made errors of terminology. – writing tired. Very tired)

Outside the LGBTQIA+ community the friends I know are totally uninterested in telling me who that means I must love. The straight community might tell me I should not love other LGBTQIA+ Granted I lost many of those who told me how to feel while I was trying to sort my health and my marriage out some years back and granted most of those remaining are probably assuming it is immaterial that I say I’m bisexual since to all appearances I am married to a man. What I find distasteful is that while I’m sure I have many misconceptions about other genders and identities many of the people I’ve heard say, “I identify as X because bi means two/bi is transphobic” are just as capable of being transphobic as anyone else. I had heard over and over that ‘bi is transphobic’ for a whole year before anyone even managed to explain where on earth that concept came from. “I’m not transphobic because I’m pan.” OK. That individual pan person is not transphobic, I believe them and they shouldn’t have to prove anything. But should I have to prove I am NOT transphobic because ALL bi people are assumed transphobic because we are _assumed_ to only like two genders. Did I go through the angst of realising I wasn’t straight, realising I was bisexual, the risk to my marriage and yes as we all do the risk of potential hate from family and friends and heterosexual partner or ex partners did I do all that just to be so narrow as to only like +_two_ genders?
Did I think about it before I heard ‘bi is “transphobic” no I confess I didn’t but that would probably be because one of my first LGBT friends was trans and because my first experience of someone coming out was a trans colleague of my father’s. So it didn’t take me long to realise I’d be flattered if a trans man, trans woman or non-binary person wanted to date me, be my friend, hang out with me as I would be if generally. My criteria for dating? 1) I need to enjoy your company and 2) don’t creep me out by acting like any of the abusers I have survived. 3) Don’t be racist, ageist, ableist or so right-wing I wish we’d never met. 4) Don’t tell me who I can’t/don’t love/fancy/ like any more than anyone else in the LGBTQIA.
Especially 4. I’m getting tired of it – we all are – and I hate the thought that I might make fewer trans friends if they clock me as bi. Should my trans friends have an extra burden of worry that I MIGHT be transphobic because I ID as bi? I might be transphobic. But in the same way as anyone else I hope it will be because I’m an ass who didn’t read up enough or opened my mouth without engaging my brain, am not listening enough to trans friends/podcasts/reading enough articles not because I am bi and certainly not because I am trans-exclusionary.
I have the ability to love people of two or MORE genders mine or any others. And how the heck can I guarantee to be trans exclusionary even if I wanted to be? Some people I know may well not be ‘out’ to me. others I know are LGBT but I don’t know which ‘letter’.You should never assume someones gender, race sexual orientation, disability or sexual preferences just from looking at them! Granted some things may be obvious and humans use judgements. but assume makes an ass out of you and me.
Comments like “I couldn’t sleep with them because I wouldn’t know what was – you know- under their clothes, it would be like sleeping with – disabled people” shocked me to my core not only because I am disabled and the person in question said taht to my face but because if I don’t get to KNOW people before I think of sleeping with them what right have i to know what to expect? What right have I ANYWAY? That’s just me, but if you are ‘scared of what you might find’ then open casual sex probably isn’t for you either!
The rest of the non monosexual and monosexual community should NOT get to dump all its transphobia on bisexuals. Actually troubling to learn from, talk to and engage with trans people and bisexuals – and trans bisexuals before judging would actually teach a lot of people within and without the community how wrong they are about what bi means and also about what trans means. Rather like the illogical of bathroom bills however, this problem did NOT arise out of lack of knowledge so much as a need to have someone else to put their fears onto. I am not the repository for everyone else’s unacknowledged or internalised transphobia!
My next date could be trans. I know I wouldn’t be there ‘in spite of’ their gender or genitalia any more than they’d be there in spite of my disability!
Oh and yes: one last thing. When they folk forget that bi people can _be_ trans as well isn’t biphobia and transphobia just what they _are_ doing?
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