On why I’ve never ‘come out’

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It has been four years since I knew that I was genuinely attracted to women and three years since I’ve accepted the emotional and sexual fluidity that bisexuality allows me. Despite never hiding my sexuality since then however, I have never really come out of the proverbial closet and I think because of this, many persons view me as the hot-tempered heterosexual writer girl, who may be a LGBT sympathizer but does not particularly belong to them.

In a way, I guess this can be seen as a ‘coming out’ of sorts and to my friends and family learning about a part of me through this post, I’m sorry that I’ve had to become a label to justify my queerness to you. Hopefully, we can continue to have the same strained conversations we have all grown so accustomed to over the years- But let me for a minute explain why I’ve never come out.

Honestly, I think the whole thing is a bit too dramatic. I just could not see myself having a sit down with family and friends to tell them I ‘like like’ women. Awkward. I know it may sound weird but for some reason I felt, and still feel as if me having to officially announce my sexuality to individuals somehow gives off the vibe than I am ashamed of who I am when in actually it is something I revel in.

Another reason I’ve never seen the necessity of it was that I generally don’t understand the pressure persons belonging to the LGBT community face to come out because their sexuality is not considered normal and as such, needs to come with theatrics. My reasoning is, if you’ve never had to come out as heterosexual to me, I should not be pressured to come out as queer to you because my sexuality does not define who I am. You feel me?

I do not want to be known as that bi girl and oddly, I feel that when you come out as part of the LGBT community to people, they tend to dehumanise you. You are no longer a person, you are a sexuality, one either to be fetishized over or to be angry and hateful towards.

I realise I’m beginning to sound like one of those persons who encourages others to keep their sexual identity to themselves but that is very far from what I am trying to say in this somewhat incoherent post. Many of my friends and family realised I was interested in women from the smallest of things, a facebook post, a casual comment, seeing me flirt with or kiss a girl in front of them. Legit, me casually kissing a girl in front of her was how one of my friends found out and I was secretly so happy and proud when she didn’t ask any questions and just went along with it.

Anyway, I think that’s the way it should be. We shouldn’t be pressured to justify and made to feel tremendous guilt at our sexuality, it should be a normal part of our lives, because believe it or not, we are pretty normal-sometimes boringly so.

 

 

 

 

The Orlando shooting

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With every mass shooting, bombings or acts of hate and terror in countries such as the U.S and U.K, the world watches in grief as the often-grisly murders are explained to them. Often, these killings overshadow similar ones in continents such as Africa and Asia as mainstream media decides who gets our sympathies and who does not.

Whether it is acknowledged or not, the attitudes and opinions we hold on certain tragic matters are largely influenced by the media and the stories they harp upon.

This is one reason why we hardly heard a peep about the 49 persons who died in Syria and the 35 others who were injured in shooting and shelling and hardly anything about the rise of Boko Haram and their countless victims.

Before I go on, I should say that I am in no way trying to undermine the brutality of the act of hate mixed with self loathing which resulted in the death of 49 persons and injuries of over 50.

The speculated reasons behind the assault are many, with the most popular one of late being that the shooter himself was gay and was struggling with an identity he was conditioned to hate from childhood.

To an extent, it can even be considered an act of terror, which was very particular in its nature, as was the case with the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

It should be noted that the shooters ghastly act not only wounded the gay community but also served to add fire to the proverbial flames of anti- Muslim sentiments in a time when followers of Islam have been singled out for hateful political rhetoric.

Whatever the reason behind the work of that deranged mind however, I know that the attack has caused LBGT persons in the U.S and around the rest of the world to feel less safe than they had just a few days ago.

Even here in Guyana the tension and unease amongst the gay community can be seen and felt as many persons openly share their sentiments which are largely urged on by religious views, that the man’s act was justified.

For every one of these bible thumpers however, there are maybe five who are sympathetic to the shooting. The sympathy and expressions of condemnation have been so overwhelming that it has caused me to wonder whether us Guyanese would have the same sympathetic response had such a shooting against LBGT members occurred here.

While we have never had such a mass shooting, over the years there has been a continuous rise in violent attacks often resulting in death against homosexual men, particularly those who are transgender.

Despite the deaths of these men, public response to these murders were miniscule at best with only a selective few seeing the clear trend of hate driven crimes that was forming. The years, 2013 through to 15 saw these targeted murders rising but yet, the larger public remained oblivious and even the police force did not seem to see the significance in the crimes nor the need to actively pursue and solve them.

In 2014, there was even a march against the slothful way in which the police were attempting to probe into the murders of several homosexual men with several citing the reasons for sloth as being trans-phobia and homophobia deeply ingrained within the psyche of the police officers.

While it is no laughing matter, I cannot help but find it amusing when I heard some of our nations leaders protest against the shooting and comment upon the need for tolerance and acceptance when nothing substantial is being done to protect those belonging to the LBGT group in their own country and removing outdated and dangerous legislation which makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens.

If nothing else, this tragedy has offered us at home and abroad the opportunity to confront the often-unchallenged anti-gay rhetoric and actions touted and carried by friends, family and acquaintances. When these views remain unchallenged all they serve to do is contribute to the acceptance of hatred and violence against those in who their distaste lies with. Too often, these messages of hate and discrimination come from our churches pulpits and podiums when there is an urgent need for messages of love and acceptance. Too often, these messages of hate are passed down to the minds of our children. Regardless of what religion one belongs to, efforts should be made to ensure harmful ideologies, which discriminate against each other are not adapted.

It has been a bad week for bigots

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Earlier today, I received a call from a friend of mine. Normally a very soft-spoken person, I immediately knew something was wrong when I answered the phone. She bombarded me with the unpleasant sound of what can only be described as a cross between gurgling and screeching. After some careful coaxing, I finally got her to calm down enough to tell me what the problem was. Imagine my surprise when she told me that the USA  had legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 of its states and how worried she was that the Caribbean would soon be following suit because, “everybody like copy the Americans.” I believe sometimes I’m slow because I could not figure out for the life of me what this possibly had to do with her calling me in a panic and I asked her this, only to realize where my problem lay when she replied, “we can’t allow them to marry here, they gonna sink our country.” I momentarily forgot my problem and became curious at this point because I was trying to figure out whether she meant this metaphorically, as in our country’s development may become stunted upon legalization of same-sex marriage or whether she meant this literally. Did she believe our country like the fabled Atlantis would sink because we upset the Gods?

Coming to the realization that I would never know what she meant as she continued rambling on about sins, I hung up the phone and tried to objectively look at my problem, because aside from being an avid consumer of food, I also enjoy solving problems. Before coming to my decision, a bunch of possibilities popped up, such as, “don’t comment on it,” “ignore it” etc. but these posed new problems as I am a very opinionated and vocal person and I just cannot stay silent on issues which concern me. Bigotry, religious extremism, male chauvinism and babies in Aeroplanes are all issues that I believe need my prompt addressal. My problem is that I always seem to end up with friends who have intensely different religious views or different political views than my own. I believe I have them mostly just to show everyone how open-minded and accepting I am of everyone elses belief systems. I realized however that for the preservation of my sanity, I would have to give these people up and be branded as someone who is intolerant of other people’s beliefs and rights. Although the irony hurts, I realize how necessary this is to preserve the modicum of self-respect I have for both myself and my few remaining religious friends.

Instead of celebrating or at the very least, being accepting of the strides made by the USA today to further push equality forward, I see my social media feeds dripping with hate and disrespect of the grossest manner. There are the outright ones who clearly state how wrong and immoral this is and then there are the ones who take a more errrm political approach to it while still displaying their biases. Although there appears to be a few level-headed persons amongst the mixture, this number is alarmingly small and speaks of how intolerant our great nation is. To the ones who say they should not get married because it is a Christian concept, I say to you, please do some History. Marriage was a legal contract long before Christianity even existed and dates back to the code of the Hammurabi 1790 BC. I realize that years of social and religious conditioning has changed most of us for the worse as we are allowed to pick and choose our morals, but wouldn’t it be nice to love someone as they are rather than hating them for it?  I applaud the USA for its decision and I can only hope other countries do follow them soon. It has been a bad week for bigots. I can’t say I’m sad about this as I hope that in the near future these bigots will be hit closer to home. It’s unfortunate that some of you are so riled up, but it’s about time you have had a bad week when the rest of us have had bad decades and centuries.