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Emily

December 1997

Straight? Queer? What?

I'm not going to wax prosaic this month about the definitions, meanings, and usages of the words "queer" and "straight." Some people in the gay community detest being called "queer" and others have "Queer Pride". Some heteros don't like being called "straight" and some use the word "straight" to describe their sexual orientation. Everyone has their own system, so I was wondering where mine fit in.

A few months ago, I met an on-line friend for the first time for dinner and music. As we were waiting to be seated in the restaurant, she got really upset by a car that drove by. Turns out the car held her ex-girlfriend, and over dinner she told me all about this ex-girlfriend and why she left her fiance for her. I never asked about her sexual orientation, but she said some things concerning it that stuck in my mind. She said that she didn't want to say that she was gay, bi, straight, or any of those things because then she felt that she would be expected to conform to the stereotypes and accepted standards of that orientation.

Then a bisexual friend of mine, in talking about making new friends and some of them turning into lovers, wrote this: "That choice is really not mine. It either happens or it doesn't happen and it doesn't matter what sex, race, etc. that person happens to be. I think that it is normal for everyone to be open to both sexes but society shapes us and makes us believe differently."

In thinking about whether I'm "straight" I thought about these viewpoints and more. When I wasn't considering the possibility that I was anything but hetero, I didn't feel the need to think about the fact that I was hetero all of the time. It seemed like I was just being me. Now I see how slanted so many things (like the media) are towards heterosexuality. So why is it that now I'm reading and writing and thinking so much about bisexuality? Am I just being me again or am I relishing the fact that I'm not the only one out there? Is there some novelty involved? As you can see, unlike some of the writers of this magazine I don't know what I'm all about just yet. :)

I just read Patrick D.'s November column and it's somewhat related to my thoughts here. Normal ("straight-acting") vs. gay-acting. Most of my gay friends don't "act" gay. To me they're as normal as anybody else. I can see Patrick's point about the "novelty" of being gay, at least with one person that I know. She came out to a big group of us as bisexual, and after that it seemed like she was doing everything that she could to work gay topics into conversations. I must've heard the same story a million times about her "evil" ex-girlfriend. It became a joke with us, saying "Hey, did you know that she was bisexual?" Is she just happy that she can talk about this aspect of her life with us, or does she feel the need to show it off?

I realize that I've just been rambling a lot and asking rhetorical questions. I do that. Hopefully I'm not the only person that does, so you can relate. I have come to the point now that I don't want to go under any label either. I am just myself, a fallible, changeable person that's still figuring out exactly what she wants out of life and where she stands in it. I don't have much carved in stone because I think it's better to be malleable. Would anyone believe me again if I said something like "I don't think I could be compatible with any Asian people" and then showed up somewhere with my Japanese friend Jenny? Well, besides thinking that I was terribly close-minded and racist. But I think that's what being at least somewhat malleable is all about.

So while I don't know about going under "queer" I know that "straight (my mind always puts "and narrow" on the end) also doesn't cut it. And I don't think that I have to know just yet.

I'll end this mess with a happy story. Last month a friend came to visit me (yet another on-line friend that I hadn't met IRL, I have a lot of those) and we spent a lot of time talking and hanging out. I already thought that she was incredibly cute but now I think more so since I've met her. I didn't want to tell her though, I thought that it might freak her out and then we wouldn't be close friends anymore. However I told her (okay, so I was a bit drunk at the time) recently and she was cool with it. She even said that she was "curious" about women, but was pretty sure that she was hetero. I guessed she realized that I wasn't going to try to flirt with her or anything.

Oh yeah, I never did talk about my husband and our relationship. That would probably be a few more columns in and of itself. Right now I'll just say that we think of ourselves as polyamorous. If you want to know what that means and read more about it, check out http://www.polyamory.org. I'll get to that sometime...and please e-mail me with thoughts, complaints, whatever (just try to think before you speak and be somewhat intelligent about it) at spamily@usa.net.


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