A Mind Dump: Hetero Men, Ending My Gaycation, and What If He Wants to Watch?

(I know I pretty much never write here any longer. Consider this my return.)

I have a lot of moments of sheer brilliance while in the bathroom. Don’t we all? In the shower yesterday, washing my baby fro, I thought about what happens when a heterosexual man tells me “lesbians are cool,” or something similar. As if being a lesbian (cisgender specifically, as trans* identified lesbians are often not on the straight dude’s radar) is somehow a pair of sneakers or a hoodie or some fucked up slogan tee shirt. Like someone’s identity can be or is trendy. Not a good look, straight dude(s).

Of course, these conversations have been had plenty times: male gaze, blah blah blah, I’m a person and not a fantasy, etc. But it’s pulling at me specifically because I am a queer identified (pansexuals, stand up!) woman who’s been seriously considering ending a self-imposed gaycation. That is, I stopped dating hetero men for a while — because I often found myself being stressed out by the dynamics of navigating these dealings outside of a fuck buddy relationship. I often found myself chirping up to defend and explain queer folks, queer culture, etc. It became exhausting. I chose to take a step back. Maybe I was too sensitive. Maybe it felt like too much work. “You can’t make everybody get it,” I’d tell myself. It was/ is true. Everyone isn’t gonna recognize their privileged thinking and or behavior. Everyone isn’t gonna stand down long enough to understand that intent doesn’t make oppressive behavior any less oppressive.

So, here I am, thinking maybe I can take another swing at dating straight men. And then the alarm bells go off in my head: BUT THEY’RE GONNA FETISHIZE YOOOOOU! Because some folks don’t get the complexities of queer identities. Because some folks (straight and gay alike!) still think bisexualiy is the place you go before you’re “just all the way” gay or something. I’ve basically given myself an unreasonable amount of around feeling safe when entering the dating world.

I decided that, instead of building my angst, I should identify what’s bothering me, and see if I can’t navigate it on my own. Here are my concerns, in no order of importance:

  • I am queer, and automatically perceived as a threat to any/ every heterosexual man’s sexuality.
  • I have to explain myself, and maybe even justify my existence to somebody.
  • If he asks to watch me have sex w/ another woman, what do I say?
  • I can’t bring these motherfuckers around my queer friends, I’ll feel like a traitor/ asshole/ saboteur if I do. I can’t prove that someone’s an ally, or that they are “okay” or cool.

I had to stop myself. Where was all this coming from? The short answer: kyriarchy.  The long answer: what I’ve lived through, what I’ve seen happen with other folks, what folks have told me about their lives. Because many USians are socialized to regard the experiences/ viewpoints of white hetero able bodied men as the norm, any single person who does not fall in line is considered “other,” right? So I’m black, fat, queer, and not interested in centering a worldview that counts me as less important. There’s friction. And I’m not afraid of friction. I just don’t know if I want to be The One Who Teaches You Better.

That is, I have made it a point to build a community of loving, affirmative folks around myself. Folks to whom I don’t need to explain my queerness, or answer questions like, “Why would you date a woman who dresses like a man, instead of an actual man?” or “What do you mean ‘self-defined woman’?” I’m tired of that. That’s the world I live in any damn way. I feel like I deserve sanctuary in my interpersonal relationships.

So I guess it could be argued that I ain’t for everybody. And I know I’m not. It would seem, though, that the thing that most sticks in my craw: what I do in bed w/ another consenting adult — regardless of gender identity — isn’t for anyone but the two of us. It’s not for anyone else’s enjoyment, not for anyone else’s pleasure, unless we make it that way. Further, the idea that anyone should watch two cis women fucking suggests specifically that the relationship between these two cisgender women is sexual only. That there is no romance. That emotional intimacy can only take place in a relationship in a cis hetero relationship. Not true. I mean, I know that. But why do I HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE THIS?

Ugh. More later. I’ve been at this an hour already and have somewhere to be.

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triggered. like a motherfucker.

my identity as a queer woman is hard-won.  through years of vascillation, denial, secrecy, and srategic planning dedicated to hiding myself from myself i am now working at being authentically myself. and a big part of that is being forthright with any potential lovers about my sexuality.  there is no introduction that goes, “i’m sparkle, and i’m bisexual”.  but there’s also no soap opera (or jenny jones) moment when i spring it on futureboo or presentboo in a space that she or he might find uncomfortable.  because that’s not how you treat folks.  my honesty has most likely cost me a relationship or three.  and i’m okay with that.  nobody wants to be in a relationship where they feel stifled instead of feeling edified.  so, it is with that knowledge i walk.  it’s not an easy walk: there are folks who don’t recognize my sexuality as legitimate compared to their own, there are folks who presume that i’m unaware of what i want in life (or in my bed), and there are also folks who believe that my queerness makes me impossible of being monogamous.

it is this completely erroneous belief/ assumption that makes me impossibly pissed off.  and it is this idea that made me want to write this blog post, because of a song called “think my girl (ay, ay)” by omarion.  this song gives what might be considered an inside view of a relationship between the narrator (whom i presume to be a hetero-identified person whose sex assignment at birth was male, who identifies as male/ man) and his girlfriend, whose behavior implies that she may be cheating on him with a female associate of hers.  this woman does not answer her phone when she’s with this friend, referred to as “the girl that doesn’t have a man” in the lyrics to the first verse. (you can listen for yourselves here, dear readers; i refuse to transcribe this shit.)  the hook of this song goes on to express that though the girlfriend is very physically affectionate with the narrator her behavior changes when around this friend of hers, has a better eye for attractive women than her paramour, and also presumes that the narrator is welcome in the bedroom with the girlfriend and whomever she’s cheating on him with.  the second verse includes some information about the narrator’s girlfriend and her friend having matching tattoos, and some “secret conversations” between the two women.

what bothers and upsets me is the fact that this song is a bunch of stereotypes and assumptions wrapped into one neat little sonic package.  this song is a symptom of the problem — it’s giving me hives when goddess knows i am allergic to bullshit.  this song neatly lists (for me, anyway) what seem to be the predominant, erroneous, widely held beliefs about bisexual women.

i have to acknowledge that  heterosexual privilege allows this song to exist.  heterosexual privilege allows the demonization of anyone who does not exemplify compulsory heterosexuality.

the narrator’s girlfriend is acting suspiciously (in his opinion, or per his explanation as narrator).  since there’s another woman involved in this (as either a friend or lover, possibly both), it’s implied that the girlfriend’s behavior can be attributed specifically to a sexual relationship with this other woman. so, this makes her hot-in-the-ass and unfaithful.  this also demonizes the presumed other woman; she’s got some kind of a stranglehold on the girlfriend’s mind, via sex. there’s no suggestion that the girlfriend is keeping company with this woman who “doesn’t have a man” because she’s sick. or because she’s got kids she needs help with. or an ailing relative. or something that is not about sex.  (could it be that only women sing/ write songs that discuss concern for other women? see: eve’s “love is blind”, destiny’s child’s “girl”, or the jazzyfatnastees’ “how sad”. i don’t think that this is the case, but i’m just asking.) let’s examine this: not answering the phone within an hour (verse 1), a friend with no man who’s often around (probably cuz she hasn’t got a man to keep her company), a knack for identifying a beautiful woman before her man does, and limited PDA when said manless friend is around — she’s just got to be cheating with this manless friend!  am i the only one who thinks this is rather base?  furthermore, bisexuality does not exclude any human being (male or female, cisgender or transgender) from monogamy! emotional immaturity may exclude one from being faithful to their partner.  (polyamory is not a condition of being bisexual, either. but let’s not talk about that right now.)

the idea that the narrator should try having an openly bisexual girlfriend implies that she’s open to having a threesome, which is also not a fact of bisexuality.  there are some bisexual folks who are not in any way interested in group sex.  this is also incredibly troublesome, as it feeds into the idea that the hetero man’s job is to conquer vaginae far and wide, that the sexuality is not valid if he’s not (a) involved or (b) giving approval to the sexual relationship.  hello: i’m autonomy, and i believe that i only need the person who utilizes me in order to be valid or legitimate. your dick hasn’t got anything to do with it, narrator (or anyone else).  that’s hetero privilege for you: you can do what you want, cuz there’s nothing “wrong” with the kind of sex you’re into.

bottom line, this song is offensive for a number of reasons.  ultimately, it turns a woman’s body into product, into object, into a commodity to be fetishized.  it takes away her humanity and reduces her autonomy to a jezebel’s supposed nature.  and no,  a pop song should not have the final say on how we as a larger society view sexuality. but, art often imitates life.  somebody, somewhere may think of this song and either identify with it on some level or forming opinions based on it.

of course, there are ideas that aren’t addressed in the lyrics of  “think my girl (ay, ay)”.  there’s nothing quite like the limited attitudes of some folks in the GLBTQ community to make a woman like myself feel even more boxed in.  there’s the idea that we are nasty, the flat-out lie that we are incapable of loving one person at a time, and most of all there’s the simple misconception that we are who we are because we’re hot in the ass.  not all of us are.  there are polyamorous heterosexual and homosexual people.  there are people who sabotage relationships by cheating, but that has nothing to do with their sexuality.  that’s an issue of emotional maturity, in my opinion.

the plight of the fucking year:

how am i gonna be loved and sustained when everyone’s either trying to fuck me because it’s cute, or make me their healer?
i am fetishized
i am othered
i am dismissed
i am misunderstood
i am desired, yes
i am sexy, absolutely
but what of it when you’re trying to get me to explain to you what sex with a woman feels/ looks/ smells/ tastes/ sounds like when it’s not about that to begin with?
what of it when you’re whispering behind my back to other women that i “just don’t know what [i] want,” that i’m greedy or confused?
that’s the same thing as telling me i’m being picky while i’m in the middle of an allergic reaction to fish.

fuck.
how do i deal with the isolation that seems to come from being dedicated to being myself?
what do i do when all i want is to be held, and to trust, to kiss & touch & build without being put on stage (or on blast)?

links for the week of 11 january 2009:

becoming a quality black woman, by monica @ transgriot.

if oscar grant were an athlete, by the super hussy herself.
grand torino: clint eastwood and the white man’s burden, by renee @ womanst musings.
aliyah’s choice, by melinda @ muslimah media watch.
i haven’t done a lot of blog reading this week. but if there’s more, i’ll come back with it.

keith olbermann on prop 8.

i respect his gangsta. you should, too.

so much things to say.

the united states has elected its 44th president; the first black president. wow. i’m feeling quite amazed by the fact. i have always doubted the united states’ potential in the way of destroying systematic isms and phobias that loomed like specters over the very existences of its citizens. even now, it may seem that the united states will not ever move beyond the constrictions of the isms which it so clearly runs on. the glass ceilings exist at different levels in various facets of life for people who live in the united states and are oft-accepted as the norm by those who dare not even tap, let alone try to break them.

i have always lived with limitations on the possibilities of black folks.

in my lifetime, the legal measures that have hindered black people have not always been as plain as jim crow-era laws. instead, they impact black folks disproportionately (e.g. minimum crack possession laws vs. minimum coke possession laws) and don’t get the same attention as police brutality cases, mistreatment in retail stores or discrimination regarding housing or jobs. socially, as i am certain we are all aware, the limitations placed on black people are numerous and have shown themselves in all possible arenas. i’m not alone when i say that i’ve been discriminated against for being black and/ or for being a woman. that is not to say that white people are sole owners of discrimination against other groups, as discrimination is a symptom of the root illness of binary thinking. the “us vs. them” paradigm is inescapable in this society. we see it in everything from sporting rivalries to our very own neighbors who may be the same race, but from a different nation (black americans vs. caribbean black folks vs. continental african black folks). the election of barack obama suggests, at the very least, that american voters have moved past the politics of exclusion when it comes to whether or not a black man could be elected to the office of commander-in-chief.

but, along with this major shift came the removal of and encroachment upon the rights of others. in california, florida, arkansas, and arizona, voters (who may or may not have come out to support barack obama) decided that openly gay people in their states should not have the same rights as persons who are or perceived as heterosexual. voters in california, via prop 8 (aka prop hate) repealed the law allowing same-sex couples to be married & receive all rights afforded to opposite-sex married couples. this was not a denial of rights, but a removal altogether. in arkansas, a ballot measure was passed preventing unmarried cohabiting couples (both opposite-sex and same-sex) from adopting children or caring for foster children. the florida marriage amendment defines marriage specifically as a union between a man and a woman, stating that no other unions would be recognized as valid by the state. arizona voters also passed a similar amendment to the state constitution, called the marriage protection amendment.

the fact that any voter feels that she or he possesses the right to restrict the rights of other fully-functioning adult members of society makes me sick to my stomach. barring legitimate threats to the public safety (e.g. those who traffic humans, persons who are physically violent within their communities), none of us has the right to go push a button or pull a lever (or check off a freaking box on a piece of paper) to limit the freedoms of others. these measures are plainly set forth to target the rights of same-sex people. i could blame right-wing evangelical socially conservative christians, i could blame the fact that the amount of money spent to campaign for the passing of these measures far surpasses the amount of money available to the opposition (specifically in the case of prop hate). but, there’s no one cause. simply, those who voted in favor of these amendments felt that it is their right to limit other autonomous, contributing members of society.

i do not understand what the problem is with same-sex couples marrying or caring for children. i presume that it’s because i never understood any arguments against being homosexual, least of all those attached to religious dogma. i don’t believe that homosexuality is going to destroy humanity (either by lack of procreation or general ‘moral corruptness’). i don’t believe that it’s wrong to love, or be attracted to someone of the same sex any more than i could ever say it’s wrong to be attracted to someone who is not of the same racial makeup as you. long before i was aware of my own queerness, i always questioned how any hetero-identifying person could ever legitimately have a problem with gay people. how could it be anyone else’s business what you do as a private citizen in your own home?

if christianity is one’s basis for discriminating against gay people (and it is discrimination, don’t get it twisted), i have to ask how that’s a legitimate basis. i don’t question the bible verses referenced in any argument against homosexuality; i question the whole book for reasons that can be discussed later. i question how it’s anyone’s christian duty to be less concerned with their own goodness as a person of faith than they are with whether or not their neighbor is gay. i question how it’s christ-like to disrespect the law of the land by seeking to overturn a law that does not even apply to you; i was always taught that the christian thing to do is to respect the law of the land. i question some of the assertions made: that gay marriage would be taught in schools as normal, that children would be “indoctrinated” in homosexuality, & the outright lie that the obama-biden ticket has ever supported gay marriage. what’s christian about making stuff up to win people over to your side? i need to know, most importantly, how one can justify the use of their faith practice as a reason to oppress others. for the people who are anti-racism and are christian: the bible was used to justify chattel slavery of africans in the americas as well as miscegenation laws (see: loving v. virginia). i do not believe that christianity automatically lends itself to oppression. i believe, instead, that some people will pull out all stops and use anything as a tool of persuasion.

i want to know: at what point do you simply understand all other humans to be worthy of the same respect you wish to have? from the teachings on christ i received as a child, the thing that stuck to me was not the miracles he worked, not the quotes that my christian day school classmates regurgitated constantly, but it was the idea that you are supposed to act lovingly towards others. it said nowhere in the bible that you had to be loving to your neighbors only, or only to people who share the same exact values as you. if this were the case (with any faith, not just christianity), i don’t think that there would exist charity without verification of the recipients’ worldviews. love is limitless, isn’t it?

so, i must ask this: if you are willing to limit any of god’s children, are you not limiting yourself?

b. scott is the shit.

i love b. scott to pieces! he makes me smile on the inside.

on a run-in with a squirrel:

on the LAX ho-stroll:

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