I grew up in a very LBGTIQ inclusive family. Even though both my parent’s families (their parents, brothers and sisters) are very bigoted, closed minded and racist – my parents were open minded, accepting and tolerant. My mother was a model agent and my father is an actor. I had exposure to the lifestyle and seeing same sex couples kissing and expressing affection was no different to me seeing a straight couple doing the same. When I was young, I related better to boys. I was very much a tom boy and most of my female friends were tom boys too.
My first kiss I was 10 and it was with a boy who I really liked and it was magical. A year later I had my first kiss with a girl that I really liked was it, too, was just as magical.
As young girl, I was always very honest and open with my family about the things happening in my life. I recall telling my mom about both first kisses. I don’t remember telling my dad (my parents are divorced). My mother was very supportive and explained to me what it meant to be bisexual. She always knew about my relationships.
For some reason, I never felt comfortable with telling my father about my feelings and experiences with women. Possibly a result of my social conditioning which tells me that men sexualise female homosexuality Maybe a part of me was afraid to expose that perceived vulnerability.
I had lots of bisexual female friends (many of whom are now lesbian) but we were not part of the community. I had limited exposure to the lesbian community. The experience I did have, I was marginalised for being bisexual and the girls that I did have relationships with that were gay, kept me a secret and I met very few of their friends and when we socialised it was mainly with straight people. I felt they were ashamed of me.
I met S when I was 14. We had an instant connection. We were best friends. I dated a few girls in high school and slept with many too. But she was who I wanted. She was bisexual. I think my mother was very concerned that she was a bad influence and didn’t care about me. My father thought she was a good friend just very needy. We decided to get into a relationship when we were 15 but there wasn’t much sex within our “relationship”. She was the first to sleep with someone else. She told me all about it, we were best friends after all. I was offended. She explained it was an ‘open relationship’. That was, in her words, one of the perks “of being bisexual”.
I went along with it begrudgingly. We kissed, especially if there were people to see us. We had sex, but mostly in groups that always included men. She got into a relationship with a J. He was a friend. I was in love with her, my heart was broken. I was angry and resentful. I had other relationships with men and women in that time, but I always sabotaged them because I was never really committing to any form of real relationship. S had my heart. If she ever wanted me for any reason at all, I was there. Day or night. This included sex with her in whatever form I could have it.
I recall my father having a confrontation with a friend because his friend had said he thought S and I were in a relationship. My father was very offended and when he told me the story, he told me how he ”defended” my friend and I. He said he told his friend to “fuck off” because S and I “aren’t dykes”. I told him I was bisexual and he took it light-heartedly, I got the impression he didn’t take it seriously. I brought boys and girls home to meet him and my mom. Both my parents were fine with me bringing them home and hearing about my relationships. My mother was more interested in both sides, my father was supportive with my male relationships but was never overly interested with my female relationships. I dated very femme girls and masculine guys when I was in my late teens. Usually younger than me. The older I got, I was drawn to the more masculine girls and more feminine / sensitive guys. L was the first butch girl I brought home (who was 12 yrs older than me) was when I was 17. My father was very defensive about having her stay over. I ended up going back to her place. When I got home the next day my father told me I can do whatever I want and sleep with whoever I want but “that (lesbian relationships) was not going to happen” in his house. L and I didn’t last. I met C (another butch girl) and we dated very briefly, she couldn’t handle the pressure from her friends to break up with me and I couldn’t bring her to my father’s home so we only ever saw each other in secret. We broke up. A few months later I met a man and I moved out shortly after that and moved to Cape Town.
J and I were together for two yrs and then we broke up. I had a few meaningless one night stands with men and women for a few years, interspersed with a 8 month and a 3 ½ yr relationship with two separate men.
I had no lesbian friends in the LBGTIQ community here in Cape Town. I had made some friends here with some of the gay guys on the scene and I was becoming regular at pride events, drag clubs and men’s bars but I hadn’t really met any lesbians in the circles I move in. My beard is a drag queen and he is the reason I have become so entrenched in the Cape Town LBGTIQ community and he is the reason I recently became a drag king (I call myself a drag prince).
I was put in contact with some other drag kings and for the first time in years, I am independently moving in predominantly lesbian circles. I felt immediately at home, I felt so comfortable. Finally around LBGTIQ women, something I have wanted for a long time but had not had the opportunity to.
Then, I had a chat to someone I have come to call a friend, and we while were chatting I brought up my bisexuality. She is a lesbian and she said – I don’t believe in 50 /50 . I think it’s a safe haven until you know what you are.
It stung. The bigotary I had mostly forgotten reared its ugly head again - the embarrassment and mockery my girlfriends’ friends had expressed came back to me.
I remember meeting L and C’s friends (my only two lesbian girlfriends). I remember them asking me “So, you’re bisexual? So you’re just confused? Have you even had a relationship with a woman? You know that if you kiss a guy while you’re with a woman, it counts as cheating?” As though to say that I was some kind of sociopathic pervert with no intention of taking my relationships with their friends seriously.
They told me that all the bisexual girls they had dated had ended up straight and that they wouldn’t let me use their friends as experiments – someone to do till I’d made a “choice”.
I remember how mortified I was. I remember how both L and C tried to defend the relationship we had but their friends were never supportive and both relationships ended because of it. Two women that I could see myself being with long term.
I was reminded again - Bisexuality is vulnerable to the darkside of LBGTIQ on LBGTIQ bigotry. Where we are judged by other members of the LBGTI community and we are labelled as unfaithful and sexually confused.
I am not confused. Those that judge us however, seem to be.
Let me explain - I have attraction to souls of ALL sexes.
My attraction is not only based on what sex people are physically - man, woman or other.
I am attracted to lesbian, bisexual, hetrosexual, transgender and intersex souls.
I can see myself marrying and having a family with any soul, no matter what sex that soul’s body has – and just because I marry one sex, doesn’t mean I’ve made a ‘choice’ – It means I’ve found my soul mate.
I’m not confused.
I know who and what I am.
I am bisexual.