Sexual orientation is an odd one for me. I guess not sexual orientation as such but MY sexual orientation.
I am bisexual, but very much straight presenting. I am married to a man and my dating experience is full of men. I have never been in a relationship with a woman. I have heterosexual privilege and I acknowledge it.
I have always been bisexual. And it is funny because I have always spoken about being attracted to women but I never felt that I could claim to be bisexual until quite recently. Almost as if they were two completely different things.
I know I am not the only one, I have now encountered other women in very similar positions. Women that have always liked other women, feel attracted to them and have maybe even fallen in love with them, but never felt like they qualified to publicly claim their bisexuality. Of course we couldn't. Of course we were not bisexual enough. We kept it quiet, secretly wondering if saying it out loud was simply just an attention seeking strategy.
Of course my husband knows about this (how funny would it be if he found out in this blog!?), we have been talking about it forever, but it is only recently that he has fully acknowledged my bisexuality as a reality (see the above message he sent me after filling in our census form) and not just as a couple's inside joke. I think it is only recently that we have both started seeing my bisexuality from a woman's gaze, my gaze, and not the default men's one.
Lesbians and bisexual women have been very much fetishised and represented in society based on men's desire. A lot of men find the idea of women together as something erotic, as something for them. I think I never assumed that I was bisexual because it felt like some kind of bait, a sexy quirky extra for men's amusement. It felt fake.
I also never felt like I qualified enough. Is 'bisexuality impostor syndrome' a thing? I genuinely think it is! You somehow fall into nobody's land, or maybe everybody's land, and it seems that "being sexually attracted to people independent of their gender" is a too small checklist and there are some extra secret conditions that you don't meet.
I remember talking with my (how cliche!) gay best friend about sexuality being a spectrum, he was telling me that he read somewhere that the scale is 1 to 7. He claimed to be a total 7 (his loss!) I said I was a 3. In that moment I still considered myself a heterosexual woman who felt sexually attracted by women as well as by men.
I am doing some personal work around my sexuality and it always feels emotional... I wonder how living my old life with my new mentality would have been, I wonder how it would have been to date women. I don't feel that I am missing out, I am in the relationship that I want to be, with the person I want to be with, but it would have been very enriching to have fully included all my preferences in the mix when I was single. I sometimes ask myself "what would I want for Nora" when not sure how to judge a situation about myself, and in this case, I would want for Nora to fully explore her sexuality and orientation with much more freedom that I did.
Being bisexual (or pansexual, or omnisexual, or let's leave it as queer) is part of who I am and I now want that part of my identity to be unhidden. I am not talking about telling people out of context, but I want to unapologetically talk about it when it naturally happens in the conversation. Because we need to normalise it and because I would have loved to have had people around me speaking about it, inviting me to explore more and, as a result, shake away the self-doubts.
For me it is important that my kids know, it is important that they understand sexuality as a spectrum (I don't care if one measurable in 1 to 7 or 1 to 100) and that they don't grow up, as I did, presuming that everyone is heterosexual until proven contrary. I was never judgemental about homosexuality, but I never felt that I had enough evidence to support my own cause, so I just lived my life under the presumption.
Erasing that presumption of heterosexuality no longer just feels like a gift for my kids, but also a responsibility towards them and those around me. Maybe me speaking up will invite others to check inside themselves, maybe it will feel like permission to embrace their position in the spectrum. Maybe this more official coming out allows me celebrate this pride month, which I have always fully supported, with an extra bit of pride!