Bi out

May. 18th, 2009 12:00 am
jreilly4261: (Default)

An acquaintance recently came out to his mother as a bisexual man.  According to him, she all but disowned him.  She didn’t really, but that’s how he felt.

I thought back to my own coming out experience sixteen years ago.  I know going into it I feared the worst--that my family would cut me off.  I was prepared to be financially cut off, and even a bit socially ostracized.  What I didn’t think I could handle was to be emotionally shut out, disowned, abandoned. 

I called my aunt, someone I (and everyone in my family) knew to be a lesbian, to ask her advice on coming out.  When I asked how my family, and particularly my mother, responded when she came out, she surprised me by asking, “What do you mean ‘came out?’”  I suppose I got to “out” the family to her.

That call gave me some confidence.  I knew that my family loved her and supported her even when she thought wrongly that she was hiding herself.

I called my Mom.  I explained that I had dated women and I had dated men.  I wasn’t comfortable claiming the bisexual label at that point.  I waited for a response, but there wasn’t much of one.  I wasn’t expecting what I heard:

“Oh, your dad and I have been talking about this for years.”  Really?  I suppose there were all sorts of possible indicators, but my own process of discovery had only taken months, not years.  Not only was I queer, but I was oblivious to my own queerness. 

“I’ve always thought that you just liked *people* regardless of whether they were men or women.”  Okay.  My mom was not only more tuned into me than I was, but she understood the essence of bisexuality, that it wasn’t about liking men because they were men and women because they were women—it wasn’t about the dichotomy, the binary, the sex.

Fast forward to a few months later.  Life was in disarray because I was 19 years old.  I’d gone to a military recruiter, taken the ASVAB and essentially signed up to join.  I called my dad, a retired veteran, with the good news.  Aside from telling me I’d need to get in shape so that basic training didn’t kill me, he warned me, ominously, “If they ask, you will need to lie.”  Being a naïve 19 year old, the thought that my mom might continue having discussions about me with my dad hadn’t entered my mind.  “If they ask me what?”  “You know.”  “Ohhhh, you talked with mom?”

I didn’t join the military, in large part because of a surprise visit my dad made shortly after the phone call with a wonderful heart to heart conversation, and in larger part because I knew I didn’t want to join anything on the pretense of a lie.

In retrospect, I see that my parents couldn’t have responded any other way.  That’s got to make me luckier than a lot of people out there.  My parents acted with love, tolerance, acceptance and sound guidance, the way they always have. 
jreilly4261: (Default)

Wednesday April 15, 2009
6:00pm-8:00pm

Join a diverse group of bi-identified friends to shoot the breeze and plan social activities which might include dinners, coffees, picnics, kiddy play dates or group outings (no pun intended). We'll break the ice with Totally 80s Trivial Pursuit.

There will be children and I'll make sure there are some kids games, crayons, paper, neutronium, etc.

I'll provide some treat's from Coffee Social's terrific menu.

Coffee Social http://www.coffeesocial.net
113 W Indiana Ave
Spokane, WA 99205
Open Daily 7am-10pm
(509) 327-7127

Contact Joe Reilly for questions re: this event
509-536-7518 jreilly4261@gmail.com

This may put it on your calendar for you:

jreilly4261: (Default)
I had the great fortune to see k.d. lang's Watershed concert last night at the restored and appropriately gaudy Fox Theater with my wife last night.    [livejournal.com profile] hippybear has a great review.  I agree 100% with his assessment and add only that I was laughing and crying throughout the night.

Before the concert, the wife and I shared a leg of lamb, a goat cheese mashed potato dish, and a mushroom sauce that were delicious, thanks to the skilled chef at Vin Rouge.  We attended the Watershed pre-event party hosted by The Inland NW LGBT Center, Inland Northwest Business Association, Odyssey Youth Center, and OutSpokane.  It was a lovely gathering with many familiar faces and some that were new to me.  A lovely gentleman named Steve, who previously found and returned my indispensable thumbdrive, and Bridget Potter, Diva of OutSpokane and other ventures, greeted us to check in.  Representatives from the four organizations, Cat Carrel, Marvo Reguinden, Sandy Williams, and Christopher Lawrence, respectively, made impassioned pitches for shared donations.  It was a very pleasant event.  They auctioned a signed Watershed CD for $500 and announced they'd received another $500 from the Pride Foundation.

Once we were seated for the concert, we found ourselves next to another male/female couple.  At a point in the conversation, the woman in the couple commented that she thought we and they were the only heterosexual couples at the pre-event party.  I was stunned and stupified.  It reminded me how invisible an important part of me is in my own community.  I know that. technically, heterosexual is an accurate term to describe our relationship as we embody different sexes.  But I'm pretty sure her comment was meant to communicate that the people in the relationships are heterosexual.  Hmmmm....

I saw a special on k.d. lang once in which she told that she had decided to not reveal her sexual orientation in order to support her stage/character presence.  Her act as an artist is to entice everyone in the audience regarless of gender.  A revelation of her personal life, could cause some of her audience to become disinterested or put off.  She engages each of us of every gender and sexual orientation.

I saw a shirt today online displaying "100% Bisexual."  This dispels several myths:
Bisexual people don't exist.
Bisexual people are part gay and part straight.
Bisexual people divide their attention between men and women in a measurable fashion.
Bisexual people are confused and don't understand their true sexual orienation.

In truth,:
We exist.
We are not partially or wholly gay or straight.  Bisexuality is a unique and valid sexual orientation.
Bisexuality is complex and not easily described by using ratios and percentages of attraction toward various genders.
We are certain about our sexuality, our social lives, and our attractions.  No need for confusion on our part.

I hate to wear labels, but I may wear this shirt, especially to lgbtqa events, in the future.  It may alleviate some confusion on the part of onlookers and save me some frustration.  It is, after all, a better brand than Wal*mart.

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