We all have our own personal coming out story. Here is mine…
I can’t say exactly which date I came out, as I see it as a long process. One that I am still busy following.
I think I first started becoming curious about guys when I was at university at the age of 19. In hindsight, this seems to be a lot later than many guys, but it is an individual thing, so it doesn’t matter. I started becoming interested in the idea of masturbating with other guys, and wished that I had opportunities in my teenager years that I have read about other people having. I didn’t think that I was gay at this stage… just curious. I mean, why would I be gay?
Around this time, I had started getting back in contact with an old friend of mine, and while texting it sort of came out that he was not straight. And I thought to myself “I have similar feelings as my friend, maybe I am also not straight.” So I told him that I might be bisexual.
At that stage, I think it was more about the idea of being physical with guys rather than being in love. Until I met my current boyfriend…
'When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.
Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link, and get free' Catherine Ponder
Oscar Wilde said that to forgive your enemy was the greatest revenge.
I think that he was right.
I know that one of my greatest lessons and challenges has been forgiveness. I have an elephantine memory and I have in my time remembered infractions going back to primary school days.
They say that nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. However, I think that another certainty seems to be the unnecessary conflict between homosexuality and religion. Most major religions reject homosexuality, claiming it is a sin. Or if homosexuality on its own is not a sin, the sexual acts that go along with it are definitely labeled as sins. Each religion usually has a couple of quotes in their religious books which can be interpreted to outlaw homosexuality.
This has unfortunately isolated many religious gay people, and turned them away from their religion. Many feel abandoned by their religion, and now feel lost. Some gay people have rejected religion, and some even hate religion. One can understand all these emotions, as us gay people just want to be accepted and loved. We want to fit in, and also be welcomed by religion.
Lesbians have issues. I have issues with lesbians. The world has issues with lesbians. Lesbians have issues with the world. And we all have issues with ourselves.
I have kept myself removed from more distinctive lesbian flocks for the majority of my happy-go-lucky life. Until recently.
In an attempt to overcome my judgements, I like so many tortured souls before me, have turned to writing. Well blogging. Cos it’s quicker and easier and people might actually read it. And this is all I will say on the matter.
Lesbians are different. We chose to not accept the typical ways of hetero life as what we want. We WANT different. And then we hate being branded as different. The inacceptance of not being accepted is mildly amusing to me most days.
I am horrified by the incident between clashing sections of the LGBTIQ community at Joburg Pride this year. It deeply saddens and angers me that divisions within a community already much-maligned by society at large turned on each other. The fact that the Pride organiser shouted out of the window of her luxury car to a group of people paying homage to the rapes and deaths of queers in the townships that “this is my route” is just abominable and speaks of the classicism, depoliticisation, commercialism and narrow-mindedness that Pride has been associated with for too long now. I don’t want to go into the issue of the horrific stand-off that happened between Joburg Pride and the 1 in 9 Campaign* this past weekend (the YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Hnxip-T_Hnw&fb_source=message and a selected article http://www.mambaonline.com/article.asp?artid=7478 are provided here though if you haven’t seen them online), but the point I want to make is that what happened stems from the danger of homonormative* politics, from placing people under the same umbrella for the sake of making people who do not, or do not solely, identify as homosexual, more palatable to the straight community.
But engaging in political rhetoric is a futile, blood-pressure raising effort to eat an elephant in one go. (My father once shared this quirky metaphor, and it’s stuck). The only way to eat an elephant is spoonful by spoonful. My politics extends as far as my ability to change things goes. And my ability to change things only goes as far as me living my truth and sharing it with others, spoonful by spoonful, one person at a time. So that’s what I’ll do: speak from the personal, the individual, the private (as this is where all politics stems from, is it not?)
I chose not to attend Joburg Pride this year, for many reasons. I also choose to identify as queer rather than gay, lesbian or homosexual. This identification is very confusing to many people. I’ve had numerous conversations with my girlfriend, who identifies as lesbian/homosexual, as to why I choose queer over lesbian. The term ‘queer’ is misunderstood in both the straight and LGBTI communities and I will explain here why I insist on this identification and why I did not go to Pride.
Why do I want to write about this and share this? Because it’s very important to me, and because it’s very important to the LGBTIQ community: this community is as diverse as every person who is part of it, and it is the lack of recognition of this diversity that leads to the misrepresentation of ‘straight’ and LGBTIQ people. And if we’re not represented properly, how can our rights be protected properly? It might appear to be a case of splitting hairs, but the bracketing of these diverse groups into one ‘gay’ group is extremely problematic when it comes to recognising and respecting the huge differences within the ‘gay’ community.
I raise a sternful eyebrow at lesbians that don’t like bisexuals. And mutter a confused, ‘what the fuck’ under my breath when listening to their justifications.
When did there become a moral upper ground on sexuality?
And then even more quizzical: Why would we have it?
It’s almost baffles me to the point of struggling to write this blog.
I really do struggle understanding how people can hear the shit coming out of their mouths and then believe it.
It’s like dumb and dumber. The monologue.
Having cheated on my husband, and since I credit this as part of my path to becoming polyamorous, I must confess I am biased in the argument over whether polyamory is of any use in resolving cheating. If cheating is symptomatic of a grave and incurable narcissism in a partner then certainly polyamory will not resolve anything. However there are other reasons why people cheat.
I think very often one of the true motives behind cheating is treating love as a currency in relationships, and assuming you are poor. I certainly know this to be true of my own relationship before we became polyamorous. Furthermore there is a great deal of insecurity and distrust in relationships where one or both partners cheat.
In most monogamous relationships there is a quite common idea that states that, upon marriage/dating/co-habiting all your romantic love now belongs to your partner.
In this context having another relationship essentially involves you giving your love, which does not belong to you because you are part of a couple, to another person. If love is a currency, then having a second relationship is like buying one partner with your finite measure of love, then taking the love back and buying another with the same currency. Apart from the pain of the implied rejection, there is a great measure of outrage over the fraud implicit in this scenario. Even if this is done by agreement it will be very painful for at least one party in the trio.
Some of you may remember my previous post (Surviving Cape Town: A Single Lesbian’s attempts). A lot has happened since then, and it deserves an update. I was stunned and amazed by the response my post generated, as I had no idea that so many women felt the same way. I’ve had lesbians seek me out on social media, and I even landed a little freelance writing work. I’ve even had girls contact me from faraway places: Thailand, Australia, and Simon’s Town.
I’ve met lesbians who were going to get married, lesbians who secretly eloped to Paarl to get married, and lesbians who have been married to men. I’ve communicated with caffeine-addicted PR hotshots and psy-trans hippies. I’ve met a single gay mum, a girl with a ‘chequered past’ (her mother’s words), and a woman with the most beautiful sense of urban Woodstock chic you’ve ever seen. I’ve also met an ADD artist, and a lesbian who’s never been with a woman. My orgy of Sapphic coffee meetings wasn’t limited to the Mother City, though. During a recent visit to Jo’burg, I even met a talented tattooed photographer, whom I now dub ‘ladydude’.
I’ve been introduced to concepts like masculine femininity, queer and gender fluidity. I’ve learnt about Unitarianism, Sado-Masochism and Political Lesbianism. I’ve also discovered that a ‘flat white’ is Capetonian for cappuccino.
Insane? Yes. Wonderful? Yes. Filled with gratitude? Totally. Screw up my coffee order again? Not a chance.
I have lesbians coming at me from all directions, from out of the woodwork to out of the closet. But this isn’t a brag-fest. I want to share my insights and observations with you. Read and learn, introverted lesbian grasshoppers.
First thing’s first. Contrary to popular belief, women won’t know you exist if they can’t see you. Flying beneath the radar will only result in you bumping your head, on rather low things. Granted, it’s taken me a while to figure this one out, but – finally – I get it. Write for AllThingsQueer, or go to a CTL discussion evening (which, by the way, I have yet to attend. I have ‘lesbian inundation’ as an excuse to give to Lara). Don’t be over-zealous at first. There’s no need to work the room, or go balls-to-the-wall at Beulah. Start off small and meet a couple of people at a CTL event. Get their contact details. Then, meet one-on-one for coffee, a beer, or shark cage diving. Whatever you’re into, really. Social media is also great for creating a dialogue to get things started – just don’t use it arbitrarily. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you send someone a friend request, introduce yourself and say something interesting or mildly amusing. A ‘bbm me bby’ usually isn’t part of the Forging Meaningful Connections 101 syllabus.