Young or old. Black or white. Short or tall. Fat or skinny. Big or little. Republican or democrat. Rich or poor. Jewish or Christian. Gay or straight …. This is America, and here, everything and everyone has a label.
Sure, there are in-betweens, maybe you’re not a Democrat or a Republican, maybe you’re multi-racial or Muslim or Mormon or Atheist. But we prefer things in, well, black and white. We like simple answers and concise labels. You are one or the other, and when you try to change a practice so customary to our way of life, well then things just get messy, conflicted, and downright tumultuous. Labeling, which most certainly dates back to the Paleolithic Era when you were either hunter (ancestors of moi) or gatherers, (the earliest PETA members), has evolved in such a way that we not only want to be label the world around us, but we ourselves want labels. Your mother is white and your father is black? Hurry, you better choose a race to identify with. Pick a color people. Mom’s a Jew and dad’s a non-believer? Do you want Bar Mitzvah money or not? You don’t get a dime from Uncle Saul if you turn thirteen and sprout your first non-believing pube too dangerously close to that dirty goyim foreskin.
Here in America we are one or the other, with very, very little room for gray area. I will now confess my exasperatingly mountainous dilemma … I am, if we are to toss out a label- a bisexual woman; not because I consider myself bisexual, but because that’s the only acceptable label for what I am. I am not just any equal opportunity lover, I am a woman with no past interest, attraction to, or experience with any other women aside from my current, only and first-ever girlfriend. Without her I can honestly say I would not be with another woman. As unbelievable as this seems, she is literally the only girl for me. Since I really cannot afford either therapy or a drug habit, I am stuck dealing with this delicate situation by choking down a near-lethal combination of the following:
Since I’m being such an open book here, I’ll be frank when I tell you; I have generally chosen option C as my go-to. Still, I feel like all I do is explain. Explain. Explain. People don’t get it. People who have known me since that age when sex was a dirty deed that none of us actually understood or ever, ever wanted to have any part of are now lumping me into lesbian world. Sure, some of my friends dress like total dykes but dare I leave the house in a Polo all hell breaks loose and I’m a one-woman pride parade. My love of baseball was never a problem until I started sleeping with a girl, who, by the way, couldn’t be less interested in sports. If I don’t know some stupid sexual term my friends use, they laugh that it’s because apparently I eat too much box, and I’m also supposed to have answers to every lesbian question they can muster up.
“Do all lesbians have a bush?”
Seriously. Seriously. Are you bitches effing kidding me here? What, you think that I spend most of my workday g-chatting with every single gay woman in North America and am always happy to take questions like these? We lesbians are all the same. See, I used a ‘we’ there, ownership. That’s now my label. Forget who I was for the past two decades, or who I am now, none of that counts for anything once you soar off into the world of gay.
I spent my junior high and high school years obsessing over boys, just like my friends did. And this was no façade, I was truly in love with “library boy,” why else would I have switched into his pre calc class? And Craig, the thug who failed out of my chemistry class. Only the soothing sounds of Sarah Brightman could ease the pain of that heartbreak. Who could forget my first real hook-up, with Vinny, the idiot who worked at the mall? If I’d wanted to motorboat boobs when I was sixteen, I’m pretty sure I would have, and honestly, I kinda wish I had. Why you wonder, why would anyone want to grow up GAY!? Because this has got to be worse. At least if I had spent my teenage years stealing glimpses in the locker room or getting wasted just to make out with girls at parties, at least I would have acknowledged, accepted, and dealt with it long before I hit my twenties. Instead, I have to choose. If I stay with this person that I am so completely in love with, then I have to identify as a lesbian for the rest of my life. Straight or gay. Guys will ask the inevitable, “Do you think you could ever be with a guy?” What, am I supposed to honestly respond to that, “Please, I’ve bagged throngs of you douchebags.” And when they beg for a chance to convert me, and ask me if we want to have a threesome, or what sex is like with my girlfriend, how many times do I take it before I haul off and jam my fist in their faces? All these questions may stop once we have babies or start looking over thirty, but for the time being, they just keep coming. But on the other hand, if I get hit on in a bar everyone will laugh about how I don’t swing that way. Or if that God-awful Katy Perry song comes on everyone will point and sing in my direction since I’m the token lesbian friend. Dammit. I didn’t want to be the token anything. I just wanted a really tall boyfriend.
Gay rights were never my struggle, not mine personally at least. My advocacy of gay rights was always just my awareness of right and wrong. It’s wrong to deny anyone equal rights. There is one of those all-American, simple answers we’ve come to know and love. I always supported gay rights because I had gay friends, friends whose weddings I wanted to get drunk at, friends who deserved to be just as miserable as everyone else who committed their lives to one other person, eternally. I never paid my dues. I never had secret crushes on girls in gymnastics. I never felt ashamed because I went to the dance without a date … okay I did feel ashamed, because I never went anywhere with a date but I still wanted one! A boy one! So why is God screwing with me by dangling this person before me, this person I love, who makes me happy, but who doesn’t have a penis?
I realize that no one believes you can be straight and just whoops! fall in love with someone of your own gender. I try to tell people it’s like falling in love with your best friend. Maybe you’ve been friends forever and you just don’t think of each other in that way, in that sexual, romantic way. One day you wake up and Bam! You are hot for your buddy. These things can’t be explained. Everyone knows you can’t choose who you love. We all have these imaginary soul mates picked out in our minds, and we just keep waiting to find them. We imagine our similarities, his sense of humor, how strong he is, how smart. We create this mold that we just cannot wait to fill. Only the truth is, for most people lucky enough to find love at all, we soon realize that this perfect mold we’ve created is useless; a living breathing human being cannot be shaped into something else, and nobody can possibly fit your mold. So we accept that our perfect him or her is really a pain in the ass who snores, watches cartoons, can’t cook, needs to lose ten pounds and cannot drive for shit. So I had my mold, and it was ready for a handsome dark-haired, hilarious, baseball-loving, intelligent, open-minded romantic, no shorter than 6’3” MAN to come and lay his perfect body in. I suppose I always knew I’d have to make sacrifices. I just didn’t know I’d have a dark-haired, not so hilarious, baseball-what?, comic-book-loving, 5’4” GIRL on my hands. If that on its own isn’t enough to make a nice girl manic, than throw the part where you have to try to explain this to friends and family.
“I’m in love … with a girl.”
“Oh my God Jesus Christ You’re a LESBIAN!”
“But you’re gay.”
“You hate men?”
“No I think they’re totally hot and adorable.”
“I don’t understand you. You’re crazy and we’re having you committed.”
“But mom, there’s one more thing-“
“Oh God you’re pregnant … no you can’t be, gay people can’t have babies! Jesus makes them infertile for the good of humanity.”
“That’s not it. She’s Jewish.”
Not only was my mold-ready dream guy supposed to be a guy, he was also not supposed to be Jewish. It’s not like I have anything against them, I love my little Japs, even if I’m always throwing in more money to cover their cheap asses when the bill comes … It’s just that, while I don’t consider myself a practicing Catholic, I like my family traditions. I’m unwilling to give up Christmas, Easter, and all those other holidays I should give up meat for. Do I remember the last time I got ashes on my forehead? No. But I am glad that I was Christened, that I confessed (even if it was only that one time) that I got to buy a killer white dress for my first Communion and I am glad to have been Confirmed in the Catholic church. So I like tradition, kill me. If I have kids with this little Jesus hater than do I give them Christmas and Hanukkah? I guess we can have Seders, I mean I freaking love matzoh ball soup. But spend my whole day in temple? Hell no. I paid my dues back in the 7th grade when I had to sit through that crap to get to those big parties all the Jewish kids had when they turned thirteen.
I guess I’ve got one thing working for me, if you’re raising kids with two mommies, you can pretty much break all the other rules anyway. So I suppose I can keep my Catholic traditions and if they really wanna spend their beautiful sunny days in Hebrew school, well I’m not gonna stop them.
There’s another brick wall I’ve hit. This is America- why the hell would I want to bring children into this world when they will be ridiculed for having two mommies? Sure, it’s all fun and games while I’m young and everyone thinks it’s hot, but when we get old and I’m fat and wrinkly I’ll have to deal with reality, and the most loaded question of all. Dare I attempt to raise children outside of the city? If so, I’ll be forced to move to “gay friendly” ‘burbs. Can I take them to Disney World? Anyone been there lately, because last time I went, with my girlfriend no less, the first thing I saw when I stepped out of the car was an old crappy Buick with a bumper sticker that went something like this: Stick figure man + stick figure woman = Marriage.
Just the memory of that moment fuels a whole new rant but, honestly, that’s for another time, this is not a gay rights piece. I don’t want my kids to be stuck going to meet Mickey Mouse on Gay Day every year, when all the other little kids with two moms or dads are running around. I’m not making this up either, gay day is real, and although I have no idea what politically correct name they’ve given it. Not that gays are banned from Disney the rest of the year, but seriously, they don’t have black day in Disney World. They don’t have Muslim day or little person day … okay maybe they do have that actually, but that sucks. It sucks. Case in point, if I’d known I was a big lady lovin’ lesbo from day one than I would have accepted these obstacles earlier in life, or at least I would acknowledge that there was really nothing I could do about this crap. It’s the fact that if I just ended this relationship then I would never have to deal with any of this, that’s what kills me. I would find some guy that I loved maybe half as much as her and we would take our kids, autograph books in hand, to meet Cinderella any damn day of the year. Nobody would stare if we held hands. We’d still get asked for threesomes ‘cause we’d be such a smokin’ hot couple but nobody would try to convert us or ask us all-encompassing questions about other heterosexual people. We wouldn’t be some exhibit for everyone to gasp at. We could go to any restaurant, any bar, and if we stole a quick kiss nobody would care. We wouldn’t be confined to straight bars to feel comfortable. Your invisibility becomes immeasurably precious when you lose it.
I don’t expect a response to my lament, or for the stigma to fade before my future children are born. I also don’t fool myself into thinking the trouble is entirely with the rest of the world. I know that half this battle is within, that even if the world would wake up and acknowledge love in all its forms, that I will still wonder why mine was delivered with the wrong parts. What I dare to credit myself with is the strength to know that however I choose to come to terms with my fate, that I won’t ever give up on option C. Doing whatever the hell feels right. To deny who you are because it doesn’t seem to make sense, or it doesn’t fit some label created to divide and separate, is to give yourself the worst label of all: Fraud.
Submitted By: Laura L.S.
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