To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{February 1, 2010}   Technically bisexual, sure, but…

It’s been a fucktard of a week. Okay, actually, it’s only been fucktardian for the last few days; the early week was fine. But the last few days have kind of killed me.

Anyway.

Over the last few months, more than a couple of people have asked me if I’m identifying as lesbian now, rather than bi. I keep telling them that I don’t know; ask me in six months when the shiny of butch has worn off. But recently, I was trying to fill out a personal ad (that’s a whole other story that involves the desire to kneecap someone) , and I realized that the traits I like in butch women are the same traits I like in men. I mean, sure, there are some differences, but if a guy with all the butch traits I listed came up to me, I’d be just as happy. Difference is, when I see them in guys it’s often accompanied by sexist domineering.

Something to think about.

So I guess that means I really am bi, because both turn my heads. I’m also in this class on sexuality right now. “Class” isn’t the right word; it’s more like a discussion group. It’s looking specifically at sexuality that falls in between gay and straight. Bisexuality and polyamory.

Technically, I’m bi. But… it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t sit comfortably. I’m not attracted to both men and women. Or rather, I don’t care what their sex is. I’m attracted to masculine people, and the bits are, imo, secondary. The men I’m attracted to feel queer to me. Not gay, per se, but queer. Odd. Not Like Normal. A little bit dominant, a little bit edgy, a fair dash of knighthood, interested in exploring gender and sexuality, even if only from the sidelines. I often find men in eyeliner REALLY HOT, and metrosexual men in general make me weak at the knees.

When I imagine The Perfect Person, biology doesn’t factor into it. There’s some sex-specific traits: if it’s a man, I want someone actively interested in equality, and if it’s a woman that’s not as important as long as they aren’t sexist. If it’s a woman… well, she’s already subversive if she hits my other ideals, so she’s got a leg up. OTOH, men are more likely to have broad, muscular shoulders. (Mmmm. Shoulders.)

BUT, before I distract myself with shoulders (mmmm. Shoulders) the point I was making is that I don’t feel bisexual. To say I’m attracted to both sexes feels like a technicality. I feel like… I’m attracted to masculinity. Male or female doesn’t matter — and so bisexuality, while technically correct, is only a bi-product (ha ha) of what I AM attracted to. Does any of this make sense?

OTOH, looking back at what I’ve written just now, maybe it’s not masculinity, even. Maybe K was right and I’m attracted to transgendered people. I mean, the more I think about the guy I would be attracted to, the more I realize there are some differences in what I like between a guy and a girl — but in both cases I’m pulled by breaking gender rules. Is there a word for that? For being attracted to transgender folks? I was starting to identify as masculine sexual, if that’s possible, but… well, I don’t know what this would be. I wonder if there are other people who hit this.

Or maybe there isn’t a “this” at all. Maybe it’s just a quirk, like some people like brunettes. They don’t call themselves brunette-sexual, and if someone came along who wasn’t transgendered but was perfect in every other way… if that person were male, I might date them. As long as they were also feminist and interested in gender and things like that, which, to my eye, seems a bit queer anyway. Guys who are interested in things like that are often also more willing to experiment. So, uh, I guess I just talked myself out of thinking I’d date someone non-queer/transgendered. If that’s a priority, then, if I don’t find myself attracted to other people, is it considered a sexual orientation?

Hm. My head hurts.

J

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nezumiko says:

Hmmm. Could it be “otherness” that attracts you? I know that’s a factor for me, otherness. Im bi, and I tend to be attracted to the kinds of men you describe. And women. Although I’m also plenty attracted to femme lesbians, as you well know, but even femmes are, by their very definition as women who sleep with women, other.

A lot of the things you mentioned here fall into that category, to my eye. Men who don’t act or look quite like culturally typical heterosexual guys, women who don’t look or act like culturally typical heterosexual women. Although that skirts dangerously close to the whole problem of defining “culturally typical.”

But anyway, it’s there. Otherness, which implies open mindedness and a willingness to violate the standards that mainstream society has established. You, yourself, are other, and you want someone who can appreciate your otherness, who is likewise other. Someone who shares your values and mores. Or at least that’s how it is for me.

I comfortably identify as bi because there’s no other word that really so succinctly expresses the notion that I am not particularly concerned about genitalia and chromosomes. I still have preferences within the context of bi. Perhaps your discomfort with the word comes from the common conflation of bisexual with omnisexual– the idea that if you are sexually attracted to both some males and some females, you must be indiscriminately attracted to all males and all females.

Maybe, like me, you are both bisexual and picky. πŸ™‚



JB says:

Other — you know, we talked about this the other day in sexuality class! A different sort of ‘other’ than you’re talking about here (there, it was ‘other’ as in ‘other, not like me’), and how some transsexuals, after they transition, are attracted to the opposite sex than they were before. (So a transman might be attracted to women before he changes, but is attracted to men after.) This doesn’t always happen, but occasionally does. Interesting stuff!

Annnnyway. It could be that I’m attracted to other. Maybe it’s the rogue in me; I’m attracted to people who aren’t socially acceptable. ;-D And it probably IS the bisexual = omnisexual I’m reacting to. I know that on a logical level, but on an emotional level I still struggle with the idea of claiming bisexuality. Maybe I’ll have to look at that a little more…

J



Muffinmadness says:

Have you considered Pansexual as a label. Despite what it says in this article it is not the same as omnisexual. Pan sexual is very similar to bisexual, however it embraces the idea of non-binary gender. Bi indicates two, Pan indicates all. It’s why I much prefer the term pansexual to bisexual for myself.

πŸ˜€

Soph



Jen says:

To be very, very cliche here . . .

Why bother labeling yourself? You like what you like. And I agree with Nezu, maybe it’s the “otherness” in people you’re attracted to.

I mean, most people wouldn’t consider me bisexual by any technical standard because I’ve never really had any kind of relationship with a woman. I just don’t feel a need to place limits on the gender of my attractions. And, like I said, it’s not like I haven’t made moves . . . they’ve just been rejected.

“Bisexual,” as a term, is really just a technicality. In my brain, at least. For me, it’s having a connection. If your brain can stimulate my brain and I find you attractive, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. It’s the same way I feel about the word “sexy.”

For the way I feel about “sexy,” see this poem:



JB says:

Re – labels. I have a WHOLE POST going up about labels, and why I use them. So check back in an hour. πŸ˜‰

As for the rest, I suppose it is just a technicality, but it still feels like a wrong technicality. You know, I hadn’t realized it until now, but it feels like the technicality of, “I am either male or female, because those are the only options and technically, biologically, I must be one of them.” But that leaves out everyone intersexed, and all the trans people who might have been born female and therefore, technically, are, but they AREN’T female at all. That’s the kind of technicality it feels like. The this-doesn’t-fit-but-there’s-nothing-else technicality. Which is why, I think, I chafe at this description.

Besides, I’m a writer. I like accuracy. ;-D

Oh — that is an awesome poem. *grins*

J



Jen says:

I have more poems where that came from. πŸ™‚ In fact . . . here, have one about feminism from the Brave New Voices 2008 Youth Poetry Slam (seriously, these are some badass poetry writing kids here):

That was B. Yung from the NYC team.

And one about transgender from Alysia and Aysha (from the Philly team):

If you want to see more, it would behoove you to get the HBO documentary, “Brave New Voices” on DVD. The poems contained therein are some of the most powerful pieces I’ve ever heard. I’ve watched it a few times now and the poems still move me to tears.



Mel says:

So, aside from the fact that for a ridiculously long time my sexuality could be described as “Solitary” I generally identify as Bi, but like you say, it’s not “I am attracted to men and women”. I explain it to people like this. Everyone has a list of things that they’re attracted to. Y’know, like this sort of shape, this sort of look, this sort of personality. We all have this, we’re not all attracted to everyone, even of the preferred gender. And I have quite the list. But my list doesn’t have a Male/Female ticky box. I have a particular sense of humour, and random things that make me hot (brown eyes! Glasses! Smart arses!) but I don’t have one that says “Boy!” or “Girl!”

Which doesn’t make me any less discerning, or, in fact, my range that much wider, it just means I don’t have that one.

Heh. In the great Guess Who? Game of Life, you don’t get to ask that question.



JB says:

*laughs* I think this response has made me more comfortable than any other. The idea that we all have ticky boxes and I just happen to not have that one is appropriate. πŸ˜‰ Funny how reframing a concept makes it easier to swallow!

J



Mel says:

I think the tickybox explanation came up after I had a similar concern over the labels as you’ve been having. Certainly, I found the attitude that somehow the fact that my attractions were not limited by gender meant that I must be into EVERY man and EVERY woman (within socially acceptable, not too ugly limits) a bit confusing and not fitting how I worked at all.

There is a LOT of social/cultural crap about bisexuality, and a lot of gay/lesbian stuff buys into it as well, which is depressing. Because all of a sudden, not only is there the whole mystery of how to find and have a reasonable relationship, but there’s grief about what gender the person is, and how the rest of the world and your own internalised perceptions deal with it. When all I really want is a smart arse who likes good food and is hot in the way I see is hot who wants to watch BBC crime shows with me. πŸ˜‰



I have to comment on this one! And I agree with Jen, labels are inherently limiting. That’s why I stay away from them, for the mosty part.

Subversivism! That’s what I callbeing attracted to Otherness. I have a bit of it myself, I must admit.

I categorically reject relationships with men, but I wrote a post a few months (?) ago entitled Gender Fetishism which touches on some of your concerns. For the moment I’ve concluded that “bi-sexuality” is better understood as a person who is attracted to both feminine AND masculine people- regardless of sex/chromosomal arrangement. To say that someone who likes men and butch women is bisexual, overlooks the gender (masculine) similarities between these two groups.



JB says:

Re – labels: check back in an hour for an entire post on them. πŸ˜‰

*laughs* Maybe subversivism fits. πŸ˜‰ I definitely have it, and always have. For a while I thought it had to do with liking bad boys, but… well, actually, that too. ;-D

*nods* I think it’s why I think of myself as masculine-sexual. It’s not that I like a wide variety of people, it’s that I like masculine ones, whatever the sex. Though now it looks more like genderqueer ones, not masculine per se… Man, this sexuality stuff is hard work. πŸ˜‰

J



which is why I identify as a queer femme. haha. because queer is quite versatile, and if people ask what you mean you can expand upon it by saying “I’m attracted to masculinity, in whatever gender it happens to inhabit.”

I agree, to a certain extent, that labels are inherently limiting, and to hell with them, and all that. BUT, I also know (from my own experience) that they’re comforting, and they can be very liberating if you land on the right one. So, I’d say, if you decide that you don’t want a label, great! And if you want to keep looking for one that fits, best of luck πŸ™‚ I’m sure you’ll find one (or several, or many…).



JB says:

Soph – Hmm, I’m not sure about that one. It kind of depends on how they’re using gender! If they mean sex, then yes! But if they mean GENDER, then I’m pretty specifically attracted to a gender. It’s just queer. ;-D

Jen — Thank you! Now I’m going to stay up too late watching. Wait. DAMN YOU. πŸ˜‰

Alphafemme — *laughs!* I need to just start identifying as queer, and then I don’t have to worry about it anymore! ;-D I mostly already do, actually. And then when people ask me what that means for me, I can tell them. ;-D



[…] bisexuality, Mel said this: Everyone has a list of things that they’re attracted to. Y’know, like this sort […]



Bond says:

Hey JB β€” Just wanted to say that it’s my impression that queer-masculinity-sexual is a (the?) common/classic femme orientation. This post sounds just like the stuff my girlfriend says about her sexuality.

πŸ™‚



JB says:

*grins* Then at least I’m not alone! Thanks, Bond!

J



[…] “Yes! Oh, that’s it, exactly!” I have as much trouble identifying as lesbian as I do/did identifying as bi. It’s the same problem: it just doesn’t fit right. In a conversation with Nezu at one […]



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