Bi-ing Me, Be-ing You: Visi BI lity. Blog for Bi Visibility Day 2016

(Note: due to only writing this morning this is the rough draft of the rambling and often medication and brain tumour-muddled brain of a cis bisexual disabled activist who isn’t always too good with words. If I have unintentionally erased anyone, made things sound too binary, confused terms or identities or muddled gender and sexuality while trying to explain anything, please give me a gentle nudge and I’ll be happy to edit accordingly.)

It’s Bisexual Visibility Day in Bisexual Visibility Week.  If you haven’t heard of either of those celebrations of bisexuality yet it’s OK. Exercise is good for the mind. Let the brain cells dance a bit. In particular I want to stretch the grey matter on the problem of people telling bisexuals we are ‘just confused’ or that we ‘don’t know who we are yet’.  If you are unsure why that is rude or what “bisexual erasure” is there are plenty of articles out there. If you haven’t read any of those kind of articles yet go and Google “What Not To Say To Bisexuals” or “How to be a Bisexual Ally”. But if you’ve done all that and you still feel like querying someone’s sexuality based on who you think they may have slept with (or who they have been open enough to tell you they have slept with) for the record, that is  their business and you don’t get a pass to be intrusive, rude, crude or cruel. If you have heard or passed on the rumour taht ‘bisexuals are confused’ or ‘everyone is a bit bisexual’ from a lesbian or a gay man  or a LGBT magazine article they are pulling you into the  game of erasing bisexuality.  

The easiest way to let someone find out who _they_ are is to let them get on with it. If it is no threat to you, or them, or me, I do wonder how so many of yet another generation have turned into their parents and are telling anyone who isn’t their doppelgänger “You don’t know what you want” or “You don’t know who you are yet.”  Telling us we are “confused” is gas-lighting us. At best that’s rude and if you learn to do one thing differently as a friend to a bisexual person, a family member or another member of the Pride umbrella communities, please learn that it’s not OK to tell someone they are confused. It’s NEVER OK. Endless carping , identity questioning by those subjected to the nitpickers and erasure of, “But you went out with a boy/girl/straight person you don’t know who you are yet/you’re confused.” I’m 39 and trust me, I get it from the 60-year-old, the 90-year-old and now people my own age or younger. I’m 39 and STILL being told I don’t know what I want by folk with a shopping list of things they think I ought to be.

Telling people who to be and what to do is a surefire recipe for them never learning what their truth is, because you keep trying to tell them first. If folk say they are bi they are bi. They don’t ‘claim’ to be bi, they are bi.  You need to accept that say, “Hey great and are you good/OK with that?” throw them a damn party and then let them get on with it, checking in if they seem to be at genuine risk of harm. What if after checking ourselves – and search engines if necessary -for sticky-beak syndrome and the unintended consequences of our assumptions, nosiness, invalidation or prejudices, we accept what we are told by anyone over 16 or 21 or whatever the heck we consider a suitable age to send kids to warzones- and BELIEVE THEM until we are told different, at which point we accept that, too? Hey, it means more parties to throw – and most importantly – listen – it’s the respectful thing to do.

Could we all just live and let live and quieten down the ‘what if’? Life can be miserable enough. People who get a kick out of criticism for the sake of it are not fun. There is too much assumption and judgement of other people around. In truth, assault, abuse, ill-health, commitments and stress can all change the way people feel attraction and desire. That does not mean their identity has changed, though others may see them differently. I’m a proud bisexual woman whose potential for attraction is my business and whose identity is not defined by notches on a bedpost, by what you think you see, or by what I wear but I am often read as straight, married, non-sexual, fragile and – frankly in this disablist and body-shaming culture simple-minded and uncertain or ripe for manipulation and abuse.   It seems that even if _I_ know who I am, or my friends do, _others_ see a set of stereotypes and the results are not pretty.  We’ve all heard the variations of stigma on bisexuality: “Confused, greedy, sleeps with men, has threesomes, desperate to sleep with anything, too proud of our sexuality, too unsure of our sexuality. With a flood of poorly thought-out assumptions like that around is it any wonder any minority group is disenchanted and there are so many unhappy individuals out there  and not a few will be confused and distressed about ‘being different’ or treated poorly in a world that gives most attention to heterosexuality and monosexuality as the thing to be.

If we base sexual and romantic identity on who someone thinks about sleeping with aged 16 a lot of different possibilities will come up and some folk will come out as bisexual because thank GOD we no longer have to come out as only heterosexual or monosexual, nor do we all have to identify with the gender assigned to us at birth.  Our teens and twenties are the age most feel most desire and good luck to it! Hormones are rampaging and in a world that is here, queer and here to stay if young (and not so young) people think they might be OR KNOW THEY ARE bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, agender, asexual, pansexual, genderfluid, non binary or anything in between then you know they are ALIVE and more importantly, THEY know they are alive.   The miserable alternatives of child abuse, forced marriage, trauma, neglect and domestic abuse are all out there, and very, very real for many of us,  so thank God there are teens who can feel desire before the world comes crashing in before you think that your teen demonstrating a healthy desire for any sex or person of any gender, orientation or sexuality troubles your heart!

Heaven help those of us that has already happened to, and hooray for those with the courage or support to pick up after all that and keep going and a candle for those who didn’t make it. Let folk be shag-happy because somewhere out there are folk who feel abuse has left them with no sexual identity, folk who haven’t found themselves yet and can be abused or patronised for not putting out that same vibe that is condemned where it is seen and folk that society is still too narrow-minded to see as sexual beings or potential sexual partners. Life is actually for living not for criticising.

To my fellow bisexuals: don’t be afraid, to the uncertain about anything whether it is your sense of self as a person in a minority group or your attempts to rebuild yourself after abuse and rejection, you are ‘enough’. You may feel broken but you are human, you may be ill physically and mentally but YOU are not wrong, you have BEEN wronged.  Your  sexual feelings or lack of them, your closeted (or out) sexuality, your orientation, wherever you are now it is yours and it is not worse or less valid for being uncertain unsure or derided by others as something imperfect or unfinished. No true work of art is ever ‘finished’.  If you feel unsure, confused or alone, you are far from alone in that. It’s a messed up world where people band together to be ‘in the group’ for safety. Not fitting is down to a social glitch in human nature that pushes some of us out to the margins of any group while welcoming the loud, the strong or the seemingly confident to the centre.  Don’t be ashamed if you find yourself ‘outside’, even if you are an outsider every time. You have a unique view on what still needs fixing and you’ll never be complaisant. No one ever ‘chose’ to be negative, or depressed, or less happy than those around them no matter what people tell you. Life IS harsh for many people and it is OK to NOT be OK with that, that makes you one of the healers, one of the fixers of broken places.

Be kind to yourself when you can, because ‘positive’ isn’t everything – even batteries have a negative end and even if you are on the losing side AGAIN it is better to have something stolen than to be the thief who takes it away. Society may not accept this but in a deeper sense of values where the hurt is, no one should ever tell us we are less for being the victim of marginalisation, illness, injustice, treachery, or poverty.  Don’t be a people-pleaser if you can help it, because no matter how much you try for the approbation of critical people it will never be enough. You are a bisexual [or whatever you choose to call yourself under the bi umbrella] You do not have to be a chameleon always changing, always trying to blend into your background for safety, unless you choose to be.   your soul will wither trying to be all things to all people and your head will explode like a Boggart trying to be all things to all people . I know this is me saying it, but, enjoy the debate and avoid the embryo gas-lighters and remember to step away and do self-care: don’t drain both ends of the battery at once. Remember to seek support from the bisexual community  and any other communities you identify as a part of but remember you are you, not them, you are made up of YOUR experiences and they are valid. You don’t have to have done, or been or seen the things others have to be you. We don’t have binormativity yet, thank goodness. Let’s make difference a virtue even as we stand together and find community.  Let’s make bi-normative when it comes, inclusivity and acceptance, the ability to let others be who they are and if the phrase ‘binormative spaces’ is ever a reality I hope people will be able to say that what that is the space to find ourselves and be in ourselves as we are in the travelling present.

To our allies: Learn what it means to be a bisexual ally,  read about what not to say, write and speak to people who erase or gaslight or demean us, BE our allies and don’t just say you’ll be there for us.

To lesbian, gay, monosexual, heterosexual and non-bisexual people: if someone makes a perfectly good point and if it isn’t identical to yours what _you_ get is a debate.  What is NOT up for debate is WHO we are and what we call it. There is a B in LGBT and this is what it looks like:  Here, queer and here to stay. Just like you.

 

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Disability and Bisexuality

Bisexuals have activism and exposure. and online forums and Facebook groups like “BiNet USA,”and in the UK [….]  magazines and e-zines like  ‘Biscuit’, magazines like  Bi Community News, and events like BiTopia BiCon  and bi media in general, work against the common erasure of bisexuality and the biphobia of media output of  “straight women” who cheat” or “cheating bisexuals”. Bi groups also have stalls at larger Pride events though not enough.  This enables bi activists to challenge stereotypes such as the idea that bisexuals have “passing privilege” or “straight Privilege” (the freedom to move between both the heterosexual and the bi/gay/straight worlds)

However the current  academic definition of bisexuality is ” the “capacity for attraction to your own and other genders” or the potential for attraction to “our own and other genders.”

For many of us , involvement with “our own and other genders” could mean we have had bi/bi relationships gay/bi partnerships or  relationships with trans, non binary , genderfluid or ace individuals as partners and so on plus a number of possibilities I have not listed.

Bisexuality, attraction to “two (or more) genders” often attracts the prejudice of the ‘greedy, indecisive or ‘confused’ bisexual” but such prejudice actually overlooks the fact that bi not only covers a range of possible attractions but overlooks the fact that many bisexual individuals will lack the attraction to certain other genders, certain orientations or particular personality types within the genders orientations we are attracted to due to prejudice, past experiences or other social or biological factors in our personal makeup including trauma*.  (*This is expressed in sexual politics as “the threat you pose overrides any possible attraction to you”)

There  are many survivors of sexual abuse who lack the capacity for attraction to a particular orientation or style of individual within that orientation and this is am issue often discussed by feminists and lesbians yet a distressing element of being  bi the “capacity for attraction to your own and other genders” (the common academic definition of bisexual)  is often read as meaning that bisexuals are necessarily attracted (or have the potential to be attracted to heterosexuals.  As with many gay or lesbian individuals  a bisexual person’s entire engagement with the world of hetero-sexuality may have been  abusive. It may have been so limited by circumstances such as cultural background, disability or religious prohibition or a social world in which attraction to anything but ‘the opposite sex’ was even discussed or deemed possible. And where homosexuality was mentioned but the world ‘bisexuality’ never crossed their path.

For many others the presence of straight men or women in their life is almost incidental based on the fact that they hadn’t found a word for their feelings or the style of their attractions before society started to stamp its assumptions and heteronormative cultural framework on their  life.

Many bi people who may have had little or no consensual heterosexual contact are read as straight in a world where norms and assumptions are framed by heteronormative and  monosexual assumptions that bisexuality means attraction to _two_ genders. The common bisexual erasure  that an apparently het couple are both straight may also be complicated by social assumptions around disability

Disabled and non-neurotypical men and women who are often assumed to be either straight or to have no sexuality (or too much!) may also be read as straight if their carers are straight and may be read as straight all their life because so little thought is given to the sexual preferences of disabled people.  They be subjected to hostility (monosexual biphobia) when in queer spaces and read as straight  and subjected to either biphobia or homophobia in straight spaces if their carer is *same sex* even if they are straight! (less commonly)

With  the exception of two brief and non-consummated consensual relationships between the age of 16 and 19 all my relationships and non consensual encounters have been with heterosexual men for complicated reasons that have very little to do with love, mutual attraction or consensual sex and far too much to do with notions of heteronormativity and a disablist ablebodied hegemony and a disabling society.

Any look at feminist blogs  a library  or the bookstore will tell you that  heterosexual  male privilege  can be difficult to shake off because they start with the assumption that any woman they fancy is a) straight and b) unlikely to say no. The assumption of straight can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It is a distressing element of being  bi that a “capacity for attraction to your own and other genders” (the common academic definition of bisexual)  is often read as meaning that bisexuals are attracted to heterosexual men.  In such a context ‘Passing privilege’ is NOT a privilege.  And even less so when if people who ID as gay or queer or bi are read as ‘not gay enough’ or people with straight _carers_ are being read as straight and subjected to biphobia and  confrontation on the basis of a _non- existent privilege and non existent relationships! .

The assumption that you are bi means you move between straight-gay orientations is as common incorrect assumption. Monosexual prejudice (gay/lesbian) is so prevalent that  people don’t take the time to ask or listen to bisexuals about what it means to them.  As with homophobia  biphobic people insert what they read in the press about assumed orientation based on  prejudice about a particular orientation is. For one thing many bi people have no preference at all for straight men or women: a bisexual may be bi and still have  never slept with a heterosexual person just as a gay person may well know they are gay long before they sleep with someone of the same gender.  I did not know I was bi when I was 18. I don’t know that I’d even heard the term. I DID know I was not a lesbian and I had worked out what it meant because of a regrettable homophobic incident at school. I had worked out that there were gay males. I hadn’t worked out there were other options and nor would I do so for another  15 years.

 

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_Lady Crookback’s Mini Blog_ 101: _Ranting on Madness

A hell of a lot of people who tick the boxes for sociopath/psychopath are the ones whose families end up addicted, mentally ill themselves, or killing themselves. And those same manipulative, powerful, people bullying on a daily basis RUN the show! If mental health problems contribute to political choices this would mean a lot of supposedly sane Tories and Britain First bods ought to be in psychiatric treatment. MY mental illness has made me only try harder to be a better person but then again, trying to be a better person because the Tories around me all told me how awful I was actually caused my PTSD. The only ways mental illness influenced my political choices was that I finally saw the so called ‘mental differences’ of my youth (anxieties and insecurities and a tendency to care what people thought) as the product of years of bullying by a particular social group whereas the Left seemed more tolerant of mental illness, learning difficulties and of people who tried to be NICE. Trust me, I’m revising that opinion as I read this week! I think I’d quite like to live on an empty boat with no one on it atm!
PLEASE try to remember folks that right now many people with mental illness are terrified lefties with additional disabilities scared their support will be further eroded. Labelling Mair as mentally ill lumps US the mentally ill, whether you like it or not in with the bad guys in the minds of our neighbours, families, co-workers and ESPECIALLY our psychologists, Community Adult Mental Health Teams and the police. It makes us more likely to get tasered or shot if police with little mental health training see any distressed person they are called to as a potential Thomas Mair, and believe me, given the state of mental health services at present, it is FAR more likely to be the police you’ll see than a mental health team if things get bad, whether you have lashed out at someone else or tried to kill _yourself_. After all, who would most people on here call, if someone was threatening suicide? You would, and do call the police.
With the kind of language currently being used of Mair and the Referendum, it won’t only be the Tories responsible for people’s despair if you can’t show a little sense and compassion in your choice of language. Sue’s point actually was we need to _stop_ defining certain actions as ‘mentally ill’ or ‘mad’ just because it makes people with no mental health record feel it is ‘over there/not me/not a wider and dangerous societal issue coming to boiling point.
For the sake of those of us who live with mental illness, please change the derogatory and generalised language around mental illness,it really isn’t helpful. WE live with the stigma day in and day out and it gets very tiring. It has been a LONG time since I considered ‘suicide in case I hurt someone’ but for many years I fought the urge to off myself because a mediocre psychiatrist who had not even read my notes, labelled me as dangerous to my husband. Yet they still discharged me, to live with no support and only the fear that I was a horrible, terrible dreadful, DANGEROUS person, in fact only feeding the fear that had led me to seek help in the first place, an idea that I had first had instilled in me by emotionally manipulative and yet apparently ‘sane’ people. By the time I was 14 years old I had so far an idea of my ‘badness’ that when my sister verbally attacked me, fought spat and verbally abused me to get control of the telephone and my brother was hurt in the scuffle, I (and she) blamed me. I only failed to hang myself because I couldn’t tie a slip knot. My brother was fine, and my bitching little sister is now an ex-BBC Tory, Home Counties yummy Mummy who is making the family’s life hell, but has no psychiatric label despite twice nearly driving me to attempt suicide. And unlike the sister she bullied and abused no-one is stopping her from continuing the cycle of hate with her own kids.
The far right are evil. Cannot we call it that? Millions of innocent people don’t have that term on their medical notes. I’ve also heard Mair called ‘retarded’ (what I grew up being called by my peers and my mother) a ‘nutter’ a ‘fucktard’ and various other words generally applied to the disability community. PSA: You don’t GET to NOT mean disabled people when you call someone a retard, nutter, moron, spastic or any of the rest of the common slurs used to mean us by plenty of people. And we would all, disabled people, mentally ill people and chronically sick people and disabled mentally ill chronically sick people , like you to BLOODY STOP IT.

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Sylvia Kirby
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Round and Round and ROUND the “Fraud” Conversation…

I’m going to have to write more on how the UK benefit bashing situation came about. A traumatised woman who needs 24-hour care who is an abuse survivor has her local council fighting her care budget on the excuse for the gross invasion of her privacy and autonomy of checking her needs (and presumably that   she is not a fraud). is that the state tells them she *might* be committing fraud that could cost the ORDINARY citizen/taxpayer. Does this sound familiar?  _Any_ dialogue on disability is reduced to THAT stereotype instead of to the real issues at stake! Almost everyone including disabled people falls for this Every. Single. Time. The four narrative myths of disability issues: CARE, COURAGE, FRAUD, and LEGITIMACY… Despite a focus on her physical validity people can STILL only see the potential for _fraud_?

The press have made the myths and we’re stuck with them! And they are soooo very, very old that most people don’t even realise they are talking of stereotypes that have been around 700 years! The helpless disabled person, the fraudulent cheat and the able bodied role as protector, abuser and arbiter of legitimacy! Study the history of persecution particularly of the poor and the marginalised and you’ll soon see that cognitive dissonance is in action. We KNOW we should do better by people than we do, then we feel guilt and guilt is unbearable so we project blame because guilt must be assuaged by blaming the victim of our anger. This can be seen in everything from pogroms to ‘gay panic’ to the witch trials of the 1600s.

The projected argument for persecution in any welfare state is always fraud (right back to 1390s and particularly in the 1520s- 90s you can see this in the popular literature of the time BUT….: NOTHING to do with halting fraud which was 0.3% or 0.5% across pensions and in work benefits . Yet the public sees a wheelchair and glares and the THOUSANDS of deaths by starvation, suicide and homelessness are so many and the suffering for ALL poor people in the UK now such that that even a THOUSAND times that number of frauds could not excuse it!

David Nicholas Kirby wrote a marvellous piece on how so much of the disability demonisation is being falsely projected from the able world to the disabled one: If you think about the amount of fraud that is organised criminal gangs, or that for example the majority of THAT is pensions or tax related working benefits .., the cases that are prosecuted have what in common: Someone ABLE BODIED claims to be disabled. Therefore: benefit fraud is mostly perpetrated by the able bodied yet it is associated with disability? WHY? The history of this particular scapegoating trick is old….In times of economic downturn the foreigner, the poor, the infirm and the outsider become suspect. it is assumed to be disabled people committing benefit fraud because disability is the benefit that can be easily demonised. Welcome to 1935!

If you are not a convert to the able bodied version of disability (a ‘supercrip’ of Paralympic- level inspiration who can work full time no matter what your disability or can’t be ‘cured’ by hard work for no pay as part of a Govt ‘workfare’ scheme or ‘cured’ by being listed as ‘fit for work’ even if you are in a coma or dying of cancer or MND (often referred to as the ‘Atos Miracle”) housebound or agoraphobic by being too afraid to leave the house or losing all your support and unable to leave one day you starve or go under a train or drop from a heart attack ….. few die from the effects of a beating but those exist too.

“We always hate those we have wronged.” To me that quote demonstrates why in the US the whole ‘Welfare Queen” stigma started with women who had suffered generation on generation of racial injustice and poverty. In the case of a disabled person: “Oh well, they aren’t THAT disabled says the bus driver when he doesn’t want to load your chair, “OH THEY are all frauds anyway” says the person who decides to park without a disabled badge. “There’s a lot of benefit fraud” says the umpteeth person reading of swingeing cuts to care packages and physical violations of privacy and humanity and doesn’t even realise they have reduced it to the same phrase that every other reader has: “We must protect vulnerable people from these other people”. Even as those very people die for a LIE .

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Paralympic Gold…..

I just won the Gold medal for “Walking while hanging onto my chair instead of being tucked up in a care home or giving up and going to Dignitas” And 2 minutes later I got the ‘hard stare whisper whisper mutter” of two Paralympic judges who were appalled that anyone who had legs and could walk would get INTO a wheelchair!
 
Oh and the STARE OF THE CHILD who expected me to do something amazing like the people on the TV!
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“Yes I can imagine it But- I don’t need to” : ‘Imagining’ ableism in women’s health settings

 The blogger who wrote ” Now that the NHS has finally agreed to sterilise me, I can relax. I don’t have to keep taking pills that make me sick or worrying about replacing a patch or coil. I don’t feel sad or regretful, or worried that I’ve made the wrong choice. In fact, when the consultant signed the form, I felt elated – something I’d never get from a positive pregnancy test.  And I’d like to see the day when both choices are respected equally.” So would I. I have been there, where my choices are not respected.  I have sat and raged or screamed internally and felt the blankness of utter despair.  The comments are always the same, whether from strangers, friends or medical professionals. When someone hears my decision, they tend to assume I’ve made a snap judgement without considering the implications. They don’t even stop to ask ‘”Why” and then without waiting for an answer: they try the guilt trip. “Don’t you think that’s a bit selfish?” (yes the irony is not lost on me!) if you want to know more the rest is here: https://ladycrookback.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/choice-is-optional/

This “non-essential operation which will be risky and painful” was proposed for me by several people before I was 25. I am disabled and we still live in a society in which a certain proportion of people would prefer if I did not have children, so much so that they hint, suggest, nag, coerce and criticised me for not getting sterilised and were prepared to come out with statements like “A miscarriage would be better in your case”  when I tried to discuss my desire for children.

The concept of pressuring young affluent women to have children seems to be as toxic as its opposite. Like many  women of my acquaintance this gulf in the experiences of the white able bodied feminists and the rest of us is one reason I am ‘outgrouped’ by those in society who frequently claim to be wholly on the side of human rights for all and especially women’s rights.  I have had hate from social workers of feminist groups more than I suspect she could imagine. In the end power wins. I could paraphrase her and say that I have wanted kids since my late teens and always known I wanted them. I’ve wanted them for years, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy decision to make. It’s one I’ve researched, considered, weighed-up and defended, over and over again. And I have had to defend it every bit as hard as any woman who didn’t want kids.  The idea that ALL women who want kids get instant approval, shows a lack of research or total denial that disabled people fall into the category of ‘people’ at all. In fact many of those who choose to have kids ARE questioned and belittled repeatedly on their fitness for parenthood and are in extreme cases refused the privilege through forced sterilisation, forced abortion or forced adoption.
But to pick up where this writer left off, the kicker is usually, “Who’ll care for them/you/your husband? What will you do if he dies?” As if I were totally incompetent to parent or even care for myself! And yes, I wonder who will care when I am old?” Not FOR me but about me, the way we cared about our parents, the way I saw my mother care about her mother, her aunts and the sense of community that middle class houses with kids over for long summer days exudes…. I know _I_ won’t be around to help my mother in old age. Or maybe I will, even if she did advocate her own daughter’s sterilisation and give zero emotional support when the doctor accused me of selfishness, and then advocated destroying a potential burden on the free healthcare rather than thinking taht my child might be the support that rich women are often told they will need. .

Sterilisation is drastic: a big, irreversible, serious decision. Made by someone else for ‘your own good”. Would they say the same to a 26-year-old woman who decided to have a child? Yes if the woman is poor, or has a history of familial abuse or is disabled, so does she say ‘woman’ and see only her own group? The GP thought I would “change my mind” if threatened enough. Can you imagine a woman in their late twenties having to go to a doctor over and over again to beg permission to have a baby? That’s what I’ve had to go through and if she cannot imagine that then she really should not have tried to get support for the reverse side of the article. I have a great deal of respect for the choices of individual women but when they assume taht their situation is unique and then layout an ‘impossible’ scenario that is actually as familiar as their own skin to many women, they are no social justice advocate!

It’s been surprisingly hard to convince the NHS that _my_ decision was valid.Impossible in fact. I’ve been on every form of the Pill since age 16 had everything from near psychotic mood swings to no periods for 3 years. Ended up with PTSD that was ultimately used to PROVE that I would be an unfit mother but that very PTSD was brought about by the abuse, inherent, structural and internalised ableism in society taht set up in my mind and in the mind of all those around me that I am not fit to have children and that this is NOT eugenics, this is “choice”.  My mobility issues and previous jaundice and puts me at increased risk of blood clots but never once in all those years was I asked did I smoke, did I want to be on the pill or was I feeling OK? In other words the first time i really realised my GP was failing to do proper checks on my well-being while on the Pill was when a friend said, “But surely they check you every year?”

No. I’m disposable.

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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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