Author Archives: CaityJMcK

Heteronormativity: The Invisibility Curse of the Bi Person

One of the things some people in the closet may not realise is that once you’re out, you have to keep coming out. All. The. Time.

Really, this is true of any sexual identity, even the 100% straight and the flamboyantly gay stereotype. And really, in the long term, it’s a good thing if everyone has to do it. It shows that we’re moving past our assumptions, like we are by asking people what pronoun they would like to be referred to by, or whether or not they like chocolate cake (you’d be surprised how often that’s an assumption).

Photo by: 'freakgirl': http://bit.ly/1bixI8t

Photo by: ‘freakgirl’: http://bit.ly/1bixI8t

And you know, heteronormativity isn’t just an inconvenience. It hurts. It hurts because the erasure of parts of your sexual identity shows on your friends’ faces; that they don’t recognise parts of you, like that part belongs to an imposter, or worse, a poser. I imagine this experience is not unique to me, and not unique to identifying as bisexual, but I’m just going to speak for the experience I’ve had.

Heteronormativity hurts all the more for the femme, bi woman. Or just that bi person who doesn’t dress towards the gay stereotype for their gender. Why? Because the ability to participate in society, in your family life, in your social life, as a person attracted to the traditionally opposed gender makes you (the real you) feel all the more invisible to those you love, all the more guilt ridden, all the more fake, all the more closeted, all the more sidelined in the event you make yourself explicit.

guilt

One of the symptoms of this, which many bi women I know suffer from, is Man-Guilt: the guilt you feel from seeing, dating or sleeping with someone who identifies as a man, because of the conviction of self-imposed erasure you place upon yourself. You feel like you are betraying all the effort you’ve put into coming out. Personally, I don’t suffer heavily from Man-Guilt thanks to the loving long-term relationship I’ve been blessed with, and all the support and security that has come with it. However, this is not a mild symptom; I have comforted some friends through seriously depressing periods of this guilt, which, coupled with the insecurity of externally imposed erasure, can come out pretty debilitating.

Having part of your identity placed as subordinate to it’s other half, in my opinion, is worse than having that whole aspect ignored completely. I would rather be viewed as a puritanical victorian prude woman (read: does not have a sexuality) than as simply straight with that extra bit that we don’t talk about (ssssssh).

So when you’re next faced with a heteronormative challenge, whether it’s coming out to whom feels like the millionth person, again, or having your family ask you when you’re going to bring a nice <insert traditionally opposed gender here> home, spare a thought for those who might have less certainty, less security than you in that same circumstance; I know I’m sparing a thought for you.

 

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THE GAY AGENDA IS PROUD: CAITY

This week, in the lead up to Glasgow Pride we decided to interview some of our writers to find out what Pride means to them!

What’s your name, age and where do you come from?

My name is Caity, or Caitlyn if you met me online before in the real world. I’m 22 in 2013 and I was born and raised predominantly in Australia, but am not very good at sitting still.

Why did you get involved in The Gay Agenda?

I got involved as I’m an avid blogger and love communicating with people through this medium. I thought my sexuality would be a new angle for my blogging, as my primary blog is about law and politics over at Stateless Diplomat. Plus, I hope I can add these angles in here.

What do you write about?

Law, politics and bisexuality. All of these are central to me 🙂

What do you do in real life?

I’m studying a joint honours MA in Law and International Relations, drinking f**k loads of tea and travelling.

Why is Pride important to you?

Pride as in the idea, not the event, is important to me because as someone whose sexuality can be easily erased or halved it’s something that keeps me sane, and gives me a feeling of belonging with the whole proud community. My pride keeps me secure in who I am, and is something I can share with my LGBT+ friends in a kind of mutually-refueling sort of way. I also think Pride as a protest is still hugely important to our social development, and a great experience for those who love it.

I’ve never been to a Pride parade, as I’m not one for loud street events. They scare me a little.

If you had a placard for Pride what would it say?

Purple and Proud

What’s your Pride soundtrack?

Spice up your Life – The Spice Girls

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of the little toe I have out of the closet, and all the anxiety and fear I’ve overcome to get the support I have. I’m proud of the UK moving forward on equality, and of Scotland leading the way.

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