The problem with stereotypes is they take one detail of the story and make it the whole story. Marginalization employs stereotypes and assumptions to create false narratives. These false narratives push a person outside of the boundaries of community and proclaim absolutes. The absolutes are that are based on a stereotypes, deems one unfit to participate in the story or opens you up to become a spectacle; a vague and distorted version of who truly you are. I've always been incredibly uncomfortable with my privilege. I married a cis male. I bought a house, adopted a dog, and drove my three kids around in my mini-van. To most people in my community I looked heterosexual enough to never be threatening. The struggle for the bisexual woman in a heterosexual marriage is that she is erased from the queer discussions. Despite the fact that I experience the same oppression and struggles as most queer women, my participation in what appeared as a heterosexual marriage made me invisible. I found myself having to come out over and over throughout the last 11 years. "Yes. I married a man, but I am gay. I am bisexual. I am queer." I'd say. S0me folks would shrug and often dismiss that admission. Other times, when my heteronormative cover was blown, people expressed their extreme discomfort with my identity. The inevitable questions that always seemed to follow left me feeling stereotyped and marginalized; a spectacle. Folks don't understand that focusing on these details keep queer and other marginalized people from being fully seen.
- But have you had sex with a woman before?
- Do you have a hard time not cheating? If you like both that is so much temptation.
- Does your husband want you to have threesome?
- You are heterosexual now, though, right?
My sexual orientation has never been dependent on my choice of intimacy or sexual expression. In fact, I was gay before I had sex with a man or a woman or any individual in between the binary. Did you know that who you have sex with does not determine your sexual orientation in the same way what you wear doesn't determine your gender identity?
Can you see how the stereotypes hurt? I am more than a single detail of my story.
Details of my separation and divorce are public. My complicated marriage has never been a secret, just like my sexual orientation has never been a secret. When your life doesn't fit into the mold that many people are comfortable with, the stereotypes and assumptions arise. People use them to try to make sense of something that doesn't fit in their paradigm: they refuse to re-write their story to make room for people different from the most. Rather than expand their worlds to allow someone very different from their traditionalists framework to exist in their story, people would rather engage in a, often very painful, inquisition.
- It makes sense you'd want date a women after surviving such a hard marriage
- Did you get divorced because you wanted date women?
- Is it hard to be faithful because you are bi?
- Aren't you going to confuse your kids?
- Sure you'll fool around with women but if you "settle down" again you'll marry a man, right?
- There is no way you don't miss penis.
I was gay when I was married to a male and I'll be gay no matter who I am married to. I am more than just one detail of my story. You are more than just one detail of your story. Like anyone I just want to be seen for who I am fully. I am not gay now. I've always been. Is there room in your story for someone like me?