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Pride Month: Day 11

Your favorite LGBT book (or one you’d like to read)

Yikes, I realize I haven’t read that many.  Do graphic novels count?  If so, definitely Fun Home.  Alison Bechdel, she of the Bechdel test, writes/draws her adventures growing up with an in the closet dad, eventual figuring out that she’s queer herself.  There’s a musical version coming to town this summer and I am So. Fricking. Excited!

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Pride Month: Day 10

What does marriage mean to you?

I answered this question during the 30 day challenge I did in December, here is my answer:

Marriage is a bonding together of at least two people because they feel they can make a life together.

It is likely something that I will never have – to be honest, I am less disappointed with that idea than I used to be. I like the idea of committing to someone like that – with poly it doesn’t have to be just one person and it doesn’t have to be forever (though for me, long-term is preferable – I love the comfort of long-term relationships).

To expand on this – marriage does not necessarily need to be romantic or sexual, but I think that the choice to remain together, choosing each day to be with each other, for whatever reason(s), is important. But that’s important in any long-standing relationship and is not limited to marriage.

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Pride Challenge: Day 9

What do you think about LGBT Pride? Is it helpful or hurtful? Encouraged or unnecessary?

I think it is fabulous.  The focus is in the process of changing though, to be more inclusive of everyone who isn’t a white cisgender gay man, and I like the direction that is heading.  Pride organizers need to remember though, that any sort of shaming of non-monosexual and non-binary people at Pride events is unacceptable – just because we don’t conform to your queer narrative does not mean that this is not our holiday too.  Please remember us in your events!  

Also, for the love of all that is holy and unholy – do not forget that Pride happens because of a group of non-white transwomen who had the gall to stand up to the establishment for their right to exist without harassment (and worse)!

I have been going to my local Pride parade for the last, I think, 7 or 8 years now.  Ever since I started going I haven’t missed one.  It is one of the few events where nothing else gets scheduled – that Sunday is sacred.  Last year was the first time I marched in the parade (loads of fun), with our local leather contingent (I’m adjacent to that scene, but it still didn’t feel quite right).  This year I’m going to be marching with our local bisexual women’s network (they are all gender/no gender inclusive), which feels a lot better to me – I do think I’m going to try to rep the non-binary angle for that.

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Pride Challenge: Day 8

What do you think the closet or being closeted means to you?

The closet was a safe place at one point in time, where I could be while I was still figuring out who I was and how that could fit in to my family as that person.  Fitting into society as a whole hasn’t really ever been a part of it – I’ve always been strange enough that I was never quite going to fit in to any social group or pass as a “normal” person for longer than about 6-8 hours at a time (and even that probably doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny).

I have tended to only come out of the closet when there was a compelling reason to do so, or I just couldn’t hold it to myself any longer.  However, coming out as a concept has become much more complicated for me over time – I prefer to be out, for sure, but the idea of the necesssity of making a big deal out of it has been starting to strike me as weird.  I mean, being bi, poly, non-binary – these are normal things and I should be able to talk about them in ordinary conversation without it being a big deal.  

They say coming out reduces the stigma around marginalized groups, but I think that it doesn’t have to be a big deal to do it.  Heck, think of a world where it isn’t a big deal for someone to off-handedly mention their same sex partner when talking about vacation plans (even when they’ve never talked about them before) or mention that they prefer they/them or xie/xir pronouns without someone picking on their grammar.  Imagine a world where this is a normal ordinary thing for people to do.  I like that world, so I do what I can to create that world, by trying to talk about my sexuality, gender identity, and relationship styles without implying that they should be anything but normal and ordinary.
Granted, as much as I like the idea of that world, I grew up in this one, where these things aren’t normal or ordinary.  So, sometimes having a foot in the closet is necessary to maintain economic security or safety.  And sometimes my ideals don’t match my situation and I am a hypocrite – I am slowly introducing my parents to the idea of non-cisgender gender identity, so I can talk about my situation comfortably eventually and know that they have the whole context in which to judge it.  I am sharing my experiences with my partners on Facebook and slowly widening what I am comfortable sharing about any of my relationships and the group of people I am comfortable sharing it with.  I am hoping that I can bypass coming out as an event to my extended family by just presenting my life as it is to my family on Facebook.

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Pride Challenge: Day 7

How your parents took it or how you think they might take it

Bi/Queer – Quite well.  I actually came out to them on National Coming Out Day, when they’d come up to where I was going to university for a visit.  We ended up splitting up at the bookstore after lunch, so I told them separately.  My mother said that she knew already and had for awhile (I don’t know how she knew if I hadn’t for very long).  My dad said ok, whatever makes you happy – his response to most things, really.  He has asked me a couple times if my bisexuality was still a “thing”.  Oddly enough, he hasn’t asked since I came out to them as poly and I introduced them to Lola.

Non-Binary – Haven’t done this one yet.  I did get the perfect opportunity in January to do a Trans 101 session with them at my father’s birthday dinner and was careful to use language that was inclusive of people outside the binary.  They were genuinely inquisitive and curious about the subject and gave me space to be the expert, which was really nice.  I think that there is more to talk about before I tell them for sure about being non-binary and I think even when I do, getting my preferred pronouns used will be an uphill battle.  But I’m not super worried for the time being – I am ok with being called she/her (except by people who know otherwise/who know that they/them are my preferred pronouns).  We’ll see when we get there, I guess.

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Pride Challenge: Day 6

Did you face any problems regarding religion?

Nope.

The only thing I ever encountered in the way of problems regarding religion has been with family members who were less accepting of my queerness because of their religion.  One of those folks, my aunt, said once that she may disagree with my lifestyle but she still loves me because I’m her niece.

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Pride Month: Day 5

Thoughts regarding inner turmoil about your sexuality; Did you have any? Did it escalate to self-injury or suicidal thoughts? 

The only thing I can think of that fits the “inner turmoil thing” is fears about not being seen as queer enough to occupy queer spaces, especially when I’m in one of my Kinsey 2 stages (I swing between Kinsey 2 and 4).  I date mostly men (as a bi AFAB person, this is the statistical normal), but do date women, and when I’m out with one of my male partners and it’s just us, in most cases we will be read as straight.  Which squicks me a bit – it erases my queerness to be judged by the person I am with and nothing else.

My inner turmoil regarding my sexuality never has lead to self-injury or suicidal thoughts, and I know I am lucky in that regard.

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Pride Challenge: Day 4

The first person you came out to and that story?

Bisexual/queer: Probably someone in my very early freshman year.  I was eager to explore what that meant, so I don’t know who it was I told first.

Genderqueer/Gender fluid: I had been having thoughts about it for at least six months before I told anyone and I did it on my first date with Diplomat.  I’m not even sure he knows that.  I just gave the thought words then.  They had been brewing for awhile beforehand.

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Pride Challenge: Day 3

How old were you when you knew? What was that like for you?

Being bi: For sure?  I was 18.

It had occurred to me that I was different in that regard about midway into my teens.

It was no great revelation, just a bit of an opening up of my options and a realization of attractions.

Being non-binary? Probably about a year ago or so.  I’ve more or less been a tomboy forever.  It didn’t occur to me that this was “abnormal” until middle school, so I quickly feminized when I decided I wanted to attract guys, because that was the only acceptable look.

But when I went back to college, I reverted to what was comfortable to me: teeshirts, hoodies, and jeans.  The tomboy thing.  But over time, I learned how to adjust my clothing to account for my sensory processing issues, but with the bits of femininity I liked.

I had some feelings of gender dysphoria early on, I suspect, but didn’t have the language to describe my in-between state.