I met someone while working in Holland for the month. Someone with whom I had an immediate connection. Someone who has me seriously considering dropping everything and moving to Amsterdam.
Much to the surprise of myself and others, she is a straight, cisgender woman. Now, she’s very involved in the queer community. In fact, she dressed and made up all of her friends in drag for her birthday, and has a gaggle of gay and bi friends. She’s also had some trouble dating straight men in the past, because they are often overbearingly masculine or set in traditional gender roles. (Neither of which describes me…)
While I’ve always been honest about my attraction to all genders, I always imagined that the person I would spend the rest of my life with would be man.
I’ve discussed this in detail before, especially in the piece “I May Never Date a Woman Again, But I Still Identify as Bisexual,” but in short, the reason I saw myself ending up with a man is because my lifestyle is so gay. I very much dislike straight spaces, especially bars, which is often where one meets people. I go to queer events. I live for RuPaul. All my coworkers are queer, given that I write almost exclusively for queer publications. To be honest, in my day to day life, I speak to very few straight women (or straight men).
I also know it would be difficult to go to a gay bar with a woman, where I’ve had sex with half of the men at the bar. This may make my female partner feel uncomfortable (in addition to the fact that she might not be feel welcomed at the gay bar to begin with because she is female).
So I figured, given where I spend my time and the people I meet through my profession, that I would end up with a man.
And now, as I think about uprooting my life to naively chase love, the one fear in my mind isn’t, “Will this work out?” because if it does, fabulous! If it doesn’t, that’s okay too! I will learn so much about myself and get to spend some time living outside of the U.S.
It’s this fear that I won’t feel or be perceived as being queer.
It’s a fear that I won’t be welcome in certain spaces with my partner. And even if we’re accepted, or rather tolerated, we’ll still be side-eyed.
As you may or may not know, I lived with my ex-boyfriend and his wife for a year. We were in a polyamorous relationship. One thing that frustrated my ex-boyfriend to no end, was always being the “bisexual man with a wife”.
He was never just a queer man. His relationship with his wife always seemed to be the focal point of his relationship (both platonic and sexual) with other gay men. He felt he was viewed differently, somewhat negatively and like an outsider, because of his relationship with his wife.
I don’t want that to happen. But I’ve noticed that gay men tend to not necessarily respect me more, but rather see me as a peer, when I date a man as opposed to a woman.
Here, however, is what I realized.
I’ve made it my mission not to let straight people influence my identity, attractions, relationships, or behaviors. I wear my crop tops. I scream, “Yass” at the top of my lungs. I hold men’s hands while walking down the street (despite the risk of being shot down for doing so).
I need to expand this to people of all sexual orientations, not just straight people. While surely there will be gay people who don’t think I’m “queer enough” being in a relationship with a cis/straight woman, I can’t let that get to me. I also can’t let my own insecurities about how I’m perceived by members of the queer community influence who I am.
So often, gay and queer communities talk about “living your truth” or “living as your most authentic self”.
It would be hypocritical of me to only allow myself to “live my truth” with men, but then not with women. It’s about living all of one’s truth.
Additionally, there will be gay men, straight people, and non-monosexuals who do accept me (and I’ll bet there will be many more in Amsterdam than in the United States). I don’t want to make it seem like every single gay man I meet is going to think of me differently because of my relationship with a woman. Plenty won’t, and I will surround myself by those men and women — the people who accept and embrace me for all of me, not just the side of me that’s attracted to men.
Because at the end of the day, I should not, and cannot, let other people dictate my relationships. I like women (and all other genders) too, and I really like this one special woman who I’ve connected with. I shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit that to anyone.