SHM Pride Encore Guest: Sadie on Being Queer Enough

Hi friends! So, scheduling and craziness and look- things happen and it’s July but who wouldn’t want to revisit Pride? So that’s what we’re doing today with another delightful “guest” … only not, because Sadie is also a reviewer and formatter etc extraordinaire at ALBTALBS! <3 <3 But more seriously … I think so many of our Smithsonian Heritage Month posts are absolutely glorious, with so many people sharing such important parts of themselves, so I hope you take some time to read this post, and the others if you’ve missed them!

Sadie is a new reviewer on ALBTALBS and first time guest poster. Sadie is our final Pride guest for 2018! We hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s posts!

Being Queer Enough

When Rosa Diaz came out as bisexual on Brooklyn 99’s 100th episode, I felt this quiver deep in my belly. This glorious Latinix badass was one of us, and stood proud in her identity as a bisexual woman. I cried when I watched that episode. Cried even more when I learned that Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who plays Rosa, is bisexual. When I read her article in GQ I felt seen, acknowledged by someone who has never met me but who somehow knows my struggle just the same. Stephanie is so proud of her identity and so happy to be engaged to a heterosexual man who loves her deeply. She’s secure in her sexuality and in who she is. And she’s free to be out as queer. As bisexual. She embodies what so many people I know in the bisexual community want to feel – that they too are queer enough.

Bisexual Pride Flag

photo by Lucy Wayland via Flickr

I’m a bisexual woman who is married to a heterosexual man. I’ve been told from members of the community that is supposed to embrace me that I’m not queer enough because my relationship is too straight. Being bisexual means I’m sexually attracted to more than one gender. Being married to a man doesn’t turn off the part of me that is sexually attracted to women. Just because you can’t see the butterflies in my belly when a particularly pretty woman starts talking to me, or sense just how attracted I am to certain actresses when watching Marvel movies, doesn’t mean that sexual attraction isn’t there.

Being told I’m not queer enough kept me from talking about being bi for years. I lived this double life where I was supportive of people in the LGBTQIA+ community, but not a part of it. I was an ally, not a member. As far as the world was concerned, I wasn’t queer at all. I would avoid Pride events because they never felt like they were for me. I couldn’t be out there celebrating with abandon, especially with my heterosexual spouse. Better for me to stay home and cheer my friends on.

Double lives are difficult to live and are hard on the soul. I ended up in therapy for other reasons, but because my therapist was a gentle and safe person, I was able to talk about this duality in my life and why I felt I had to shut down this side of my being when I was out in the world. I learned that it was okay to own being queer and still be cautious and safe. That I didn’t have to shut down this side of who I was. I was queer enough, even if I was only queer enough within myself.

The first time I told someone outside the LGBTQIA+ community about being bi was when a friend and I were talking about sexual experiences and I told her about a one night stand I had with another woman. I waited while holding my breath to see if there would be any judgement. Would my friend make fun of me? Would she be disgusted? Would there be that gross curiosity that feels slimy and voyeuristic, where she would want to know every detail?

sticker of pride flag with the word Bi in the middle

photo by Andres Musta via Flickr

My friend simply asked if I had enjoyed my experience. I had, even though it had been a tad awkward, as one night stands tend to be. She didn’t ask any additional questions. She didn’t even ask if I was gay. I don’t know if she realized I had just come out to her in that moment. It was a soft coming out, something I would do again to test the waters by mentioning how a certain actress turned me on in a movie we just watched or how I would totally do a certain person. I finally used the word bisexual with her this year, six years after that first conversation. We’re still friends so I think that went well.

I have lunch regularly with a former co-worker, who is an amazing woman who also happens to be a lesbian. I have learned a lot about persistence from her. I’ve known her for over fifteen years and it wasn’t until last year that I came out to her. I apologized for taking so long to tell her, letting her know that it was my baggage, that it was because of all the other people before her telling me I wasn’t queer enough that had me holding back. That she had never indicated to me once that she held that view. Thankfully, she’s a woman of great compassion and understood.

Sadly, these aren’t unique stories for people in the bisexual community. Many of us are told we aren’t queer enough, that bisexuality is a phase on our way to becoming gay. That if we are in a hetero seeming relationship we can’t be queer at all. Some of us never find a place within the LGBTQIA+ community, so we wander alone feeling broken, trying to figure out who and what we are without a community to help us know we are beautiful and glorious and that there is nothing wrong with us at all. Sometimes we stumble into communities of other people who are bisexual and feel like we’ve found home. The ones who do are the lucky ones.

I’m casually out online, because it’s easier that way. I want to create a space for people who feel as I have, that maybe they aren’t queer enough, to explore who they are in a safe space where who they are in this moment is honored. For some people being bi is a journey toward being gay. For others it’s a journey toward being hetero, or ace. For some, like me, being bi is forever. And all of these are okay. There’s room for all of us and all our journeys. We are all queer enough.

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Thanks again to Sadie for our last Pride post of 2018! 

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