I complimented a black woman on her hair the other day, and my motivations were weird. I keep thinking about it, and keep being like “it’s a compliment, she was probably happy, I should just forget about it” but I can’t hide from myself. I know it was weird, and that’s why it keeps bugging me. See, I know I have the tendency to compliment natural black hairstyles – in America. (It’s worth noting that how I perceive black people in England is different from how I perceive black people in America, and I act differently accordingly.)

Oh god, I just figured out the root of my compliment, and it’s super embarrassing. So, I’m going to ease into it with an analogy.

Back in high school, I shaved off my hair, and some self-identified feminist high-school guy said to me “oh, I liked your haircut before” or something.

And, I said “I don’t care what you think,”

And he responded with “Good for you.”

Like, he was well meaning, but he still couldn’t drop the mindset that somehow his opinion *mattered*. Even after I told him I didn’t care what he thought, he felt the need to communicate his approval of me. The idea that he might be irrelevant to my decision making process was sort of incomprehensible to him.

Anyway, my compliment had a similar vibe to that. I feel the need to congratulate black people on their natural hairstyle choices because deep down, it is incomprehensible to me that they wouldn’t want my approval. This type of behavior is called a microaggression because, in a small way, I invalidated the autonomy of another human by implicitly assuming the increased validity of my own opinion. I’d actually use the word “micro-manipulation” to more accurately describe what I felt. I didn’t feel very aggressive, per se, but I did feel a bit manipulative. I mean, I guess manipulation is a form of aggression – but, if you think you ever may be on the aggro-side of this (and, most of us fall into at least one dominant “culture” of sorts – white, straight, cis, or male) I’d suggest feeling for where you’re acting a little manipulative. It probably won’t feel like anger or dislike (and, if it does, it may not be a “micro” aggression.)

I’ve been on the other side of this too, and it feels – confusing. When I started dating my now ex girlfriend, I found people would just ignore the fact that I was in a relationship. One instance was when a straight couple made up of two friends of mine suggested that one of their friends might be a good boyfriend for me, and I was like “hello, I already have a girlfriend!” Like, if I had to guess at what they were thinking, they were probably thinking “oh, wouldn’t it be fun if the four of us went out on a double date together!” But, the fact that I already had a gf was nowhere in their brains, because “woman-woman” relationships just didn’t register as a “real” relationship the same way a “man-woman” relationship would.

I don’t mean to judge them, since clearly I do this stuff too. But, in that moment I felt – lost, confused. Ignored, as if what I wanted wasn’t important. It was also really hard for me to call them out, since they are a very queer friendly couple in a lot of ways, and would have been mortified to see themselves doing this. (I did actually explain this to my friend eventually, and I think he got it.) But, it suckkkks to be the bearer of bad news. “I hate to inform you, but you act a little homophobic in sometimes.” Yeah, try telling that to your liberal friends and see how well it goes over.

Perhaps a useful guideline to start thinking about this stuff is “am I doing this to support what this person wants for themselves?” For instance, if I had a friend who recently changed her hairstyle and I was like “hey, you look great!” that’s seems fine, since I’m supporting her decision for how she wants to look. On the other hand, if I have a friend who every time her hair gets a bit longer I’m like “you look great!” right before she gets a haircut, then I’m sort of trying to manipulate her into a different hairstyle choice than the one she wants – one that makes *me* comfortable, not *her*. Not that this would all be considered a “microaggression” necessarily, but it’s a place to start looking. Also, on a larger scale, trying to support people to live the lives they want to live rather than the lives we want for them is a good step to work toward a generally less fucked up society.

Seeing Yourself as Human When You Have Privilege

I just read this article by Jezebel Delilah X about growing up in an affluent, black family. She talks about how her teachers treated her differently in school, and encouraged her classmates to be more like her.

That sort of dynamic fuels a resentment that goes far deeper than jealousy; it fosters the fear of not belonging, not having enough, not being worthy of respect, not deserving of goodness. It’s a feeling of displacement, of loneliness, of failure. No one wants to feel that way, and as history has taught us time and time again, people will fight for their equality and dignity. Each time my classmates attacked me, that’s what they were doing: fighting against the injustice I represented to them. I received privileges and affirmations, not fully of my own merit, but because I represented a juxtaposition to the stereotype that was projected onto so many of my classmates. Though there were no white people around, there was still privilege present—class privilege—and I was the one who benefited from it.


She provides important insights as someone who straddles unorthodox societal lines (oppressed by race, but not by class, except when race acts as a stand in for class) however her article is missing one thing.

How did she feel? How did she feel? How did she feel?

She goes at lengths to humanize her classmates by exploring their feelings (“That sort of dynamic fuels a resentment” – “it fosters the fear of not belonging, not having enough, not being worthy ” -“It’s a feeling of displacement, of loneliness, of failure”) but I have no idea how she feels. She only references her own feelings once, and then only tangentially.

The quality for which I was culturally ostracized—talking “white”—provides me with access to money at the expense of other Black people.

It hurt me, and my classmates, so much as a child.

She spares only three words for herself alone “It hurt me.” That’s all we see of her emotional reality as a child – hurt. She was hurt. How was she hurt? What was this pain? OH MY GOD, IT IS SO IMPORTANT – what is this pain?

It’s a delicate point, because “underprivileged” groups of various sorts are also typically under-represented in media, so I understand the impulse to shed light on their experience if you are given a platform. However, any sort of deep appreciation of the subjective experience of another human will have to begin with a deep appreciation for your own.

It is telling how Jezebel X’s father comforted her after rejection by her peers:

I was about six years old, sitting on my father’s lap, crying about being bullied by my classmates—yet again. My father did his best to lovingly comfort me: he pulled out his bank statement and showed me the tens of thousands of dollars he had in savings.

“Baby,” he said. “Those kids are mean to you because they are jealous. You think their parents got this in the bank? No. Plus, you’re smart. Keep getting those grades and one day you’re going to be the one writing their paychecks, determining how much money they take home to their families, and deciding whether they should have a job or not.”

All his words of comfort centered around their family’s higher objective value than value of their peers because of their money and measurable intelligence (grades.) Jezabel X has recognized how much this objectification cost her peers, but has not discussed how much it cost *herself*. She is important because her experience is important, not because of her money and her intelligence. That she was bullied as a child is sad, not because she is “better” than those children, but because her subjective experiences *matters.*

We don’t really have space for people to talk about the pain their privilege has brought them, and this is a problem. That we don’t have a space is sort of understandable – people with privilege tend to use it to co-opt safe spaces (e.g. a meeting of issues for People of Color will become a discussion about white guilt) so they get kicked out – but still problematic. The heart of discrimination is objectification of the other, and objectification of others usually stems from objectification of the self. A large part of the objectification of women in society is because attractive women will enhance the status of a man who “has” her, but for a man to care about this status is to objectify himself. A man who derives his self worth from his wife’s bodacious breasts and large bank account has failed to see that the true jewel he carries is his own consciousness. Instead, he has fallen in love with things that carry no life.

How can he appreciate anyone else’s consciousness, someone else’s humanity, without first seeing his own?


My Most Valued Posession

I was on the train, and a young black woman was solving some math problems on the seat across from me. She dressed femininely, with a purple skirt, and little white flat shoes, and this big gold ring that kept flashing as she worked through her problems. But, the part of her that carried the most life was her face which was unsmiling, set in deep concentration – real concentration. When I watch actors on TV work through “math problems,” I can tell they’re not really thinking. But this woman, she was thinking.

She had this curly hair that took up so much space – it was as if her hair was standing up on end because it was electrified by her immense brain. In that moment, it seemed *so important* – to her, to me – that what was ever in that head of hers got out onto that piece of paper.

She had so many markers of the type of person who is asked to hold it all in, exhibited by her femininity and her blackness. I suppose, narcissistically, she reminded me of myself a bit – or, that part of myself that sees things that I am asked to keep hidden. We sat there on this train, me watching her, she lost in her math, as two young women with brains in working order. But, for how long? What would happen to all those things we were unable to get out of our heads?

I was born in England and lived there from 1984 to 1990, the six years which spanned the mad cow disease epidemic. As a young girl, I learned how the disease would create holes in your brain that would drive you to insanity, then death. Since then, I have always had this fear of losing my mind in that way, and feared it could occur randomly at any time.

My mind is my most valued possession.

I thought that once when I was meditating. I would give anything else I own up to protect my mind, but at the end of the day, that’s all it is. A possession. Something to be used to its full capacity while I have it, but ultimately something I will lose. We don’t get to keep any of our possessions forever.

My grandfather is dying of Alzheimer’s disease, and I worried that it would be terrible to see him because his essence would be gone. But, when I saw him last, I didn’t see that. Instead, I saw something shine through him in spite of his crippled mind. If I have any sort of faith, it’s that there is some part of us that runs deeper than our possessions – some part of us that cannot be brought, or fixed, or lost and that all the things we cling to are not really who we are.

And yet, while I still have my mind, I want to use it. If I was diagnosed with mad cow disease tomorrow, I wondered, what would I do?

I would spend the rest of my life getting all these things I’ve seen out of my head, and down onto a peace of paper like that young woman.

I spend a lot of time writing about race and gender, not because race and gender are particularly important, but because they provide a lens to answer the question “why do we, as humans, do horrible things to each other?” That is the question we need to answer! Race and gender are useful because they have already been explored by many great minds, and provide deep insights into the experience of the oppressed. Yet, if we end up in a world where all genders and all races are equally represented in all areas of society, but we still have oppressed classes (the poor, the felons, etc.) then we will have gained nothing. The study of race and gender cannot be ends to themselves, but rather a springboard into the deeper workings of our humanity.

We need additional work to explore the mechanisms of the oppressors – we need people who oppress people to write about the experience of oppressing people. This is something I am deeply curious about, but have come to no definitive conclusions.

I think that status, and the role of status, is essentially the key to understanding it. I think status is *the* most important thing to people after they get their animal needs met. A great exploration of this with respect to the prison system is in Violence by James Gilligan. That book changed how I thought about the world.

Status is a false god, though – love is the important part, but very few people really get that. At least, I don’t think they get that until they’re pretty old or nearly dead. Most people in the US sell out love for status (wondering how? Just watch any romantic comedy ever.) It’s not their fault though.

People in the US are dealing with a deep level of objectification. The study of the sexual objectification of women can shed light on this, but again, we cannot stop with the understanding of the sexual objectification of women. We have to dig deeper, and see the material and mental objectification of everyone. Racism is another form of objectification. And, by objectification I mean we value the *objectness* of a person, not the *subjectness*. When we are interested in a person for how they look, what they do, what they can do, what they think as opposed to *what they feel* or *what their lived in experience is like,* I think we are valuing their *objective status.* Instead, we must learn to value their *subjective experience.*

Because, that is not only the most important thing – it is the ONLY thing. Our lives are 100% our subjective experience, what else is there? Everything objective that exists is filtered through the lens of the subjective to achieve its value. Yet, we ask people – all people, all genders and races – to violate their own subjective experience to enhance their social status as an object. How insane is that? How perverse is that? That is the deepest sin we commit against humanity, and no one ever calls it out, and it is a tragedy.

I need more space to write out these ideas – I can’t support them as well as I’d like, but I want to get them out.

I also think that we need a serious exploration of the role of technology in our society.

My generation, the millennial generation, had grown up with ubiquitous access to information. But, what have we seen? We have seen anger, and trolling, and horses fucking women, and killings, and just the basest of human behavior come bubbling to the surface. We have ripped the bandage of politeness off of society, and found a festering wound underneath.

So, where do we go from here?

I think the millennials have no fucking clue, but we are the ones tasked with solving this problem. How will we raise our children not to be traumatized as we have been? How do we brace them for this onslaught of images into the darker parts of the human psyche? We need to talk about that.

Censorship is not the answer, and will only make things worse. How can we accept humanity, in all it’s broken fucked up ways, and work on progressing it forward? How can we take this world of objectification, and move it into a world of subjectification?

I’m not sure yet. I want to think on it more, while I still can.

Issues I Have With White People Talking about Racism

I am a white person who talks about racism. But, I have issues with *other* white people talking about racism. Not all other white people, just some of them.

There are two major issues a lot of white people have when talking about racism, and they tend to be either:

  • A refusal to seriously dive deeply into why “racist” white people behave the way they do
  • A refusal to seriously dive deeply into what it might be like to be a person of color*

To not become a hypocrite within the scope of one paragraph, I will theorize on why white people do this.

I think that today, it is socially desirable to be “not a racist.” Labeling someone as a “racist” is socially damning, which is a shame, because if we could kind of make it less shocking it may be easier to fix.

Hey bro, that was sort of a racist thing to say.

Oh, sorry! I’ll be more careful next time.

Usually, however, that exchange does not got that way. It goes more like,

Uhhh.. that’s kinda racist.


I mean, maybe we could keep “racist” as an extreme term, and replace it with “mildly prejudiced” or something. I suppose that’s what “check your privilege” is about, but I hate the term privilege so perhaps I’ve expunged it from my brain.

Anyway, the flip side of this, is white people can gain social capital by projecting how NOT RACIST they are to the world. Check out this Ellen DeGeneres clip:


Within the first 30 seconds, she claims “not to see color, [she’s] like a cocker spaniel in that way.” Despite her inability to see color, this celebrity stalker website sure makes it looks like most of her girlfriends have been white.

Not that there’s anything wrong with dating white people, but it raises the question – why does someone who only dates white women feel the need to project the incorrect assertion that they are “color blind” to the world?

Thing is, I think Ellen – and many white people – care more about looking not-racist than they do about being not racist. They’re more concerned with their own social status, then they are with the lived in experiences of people of color. A lot this “color blindness” is really narcissistic posturing on behalf of white people. (See the first section of Mia McKenzie’s article on this here.) And like, I get it. We live in a narcissistic facebook “sizzle not the steak” kind of society.

But, this type of posturing doesn’t help people of color. It helps white people look good. Discourse on racism has been co-opted by people of privilege. Engaging in this is actually perpetuating the system of racism, which uhhh, is a problem if you’re actually anti-racism.

Anyway, white people won’t get past this until they learn to see people of color as people, and they can’t learn to see people of color as people until they can see themselves as people and stop self-objectifying. But, that’s a whole other article for a whole other day.

* Apparently it’s a thing, some people prefer the term “racialized” to people of color. I’ve decided to stick with the term for now, after reading/watching these articles/videos with the understanding that “people of color” is something people choose as a self-identity, not something I label them as if they don’t want to be labeled that.



Sex and Not Sex

It’s ok not to have sex. It’s ok not to have sex even if you get turned on, and it’s ok not to get turned on at all. It’s ok to not be able to find a partner to have sex with. It’s ok. It is all ok.

However, to me, it often seems like it’s not ok. In the words of Andrea Dworkin:

In Amerika, there is the nearly universal conviction – or so it appears – that sex (fucking) is good and that liking it is right: morally right; a sign of human health; nearly a standard for citizenship. Even those who believe in original sin and have a theology of hellfire and damnation express the Amerikan creed, an optimism optimism that glows in the dark: sex is good, healthy, wholesome, pleasant, fun; we like it, we enjoy it, we want it, we are cheerful about it; it is as simple as we are, the citizens of this strange country with no memory and no mind.

To not want sex is highly suspect – a sign of poor health, either physical or mental. It is counter-evolutionary! After all, the human race relies on sex. However, we also only ever use the “naturalness” argument to justify *having* sex, never not having  it.

While having sex is undoubtedly a human urge, there are also times it is natural to not want sex. In animals, we see sex drive decline during food shortages or other times of high stress. Additionally, it is natural for humans to age out of high sexual desire – with menopause being the most obvious example. However, there is never any discussion of sexual normalcy with respect to low desire during menopause. In this case, we have produced a bunch of *unnatural* medical interventions to help women extend the life of their high sex drive, and to help men maintain potency. Which isn’t to say any of this is wrong – I just mean to point out that our culture’s investment in sex is far deeper than an expression of “natural” human urges.

And, despite our overt obsession with sex which seems to be getting worse, American are having less sex than ever before: (http://www.uncleguidosfacts.com/2013/12/we-are-having-far-less-sex-than-ever.html) which is apparently extra true if you’re white or Asian (http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/sexual-dysfunction-women) or if you’re young (http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/why-generation-y-having-less-sex)

What’s going on here? Let’s start with the assumption that humans are not broken. For me personally, this has been a big assumption. Nearly all of my relationships have ended after a period of sexual anorexia due to my own lack of desire, of which I am always deeply ashamed. Usually, my partners have encouraged my belief that there was something wrong with me, because it was more palatable than considering that there was something wrong or undesirable about them.

But, what if there’s nothing wrong with me? What if there’s nothing wrong with us?

Then, we perhaps we are having less sex because we are in an environment that does not foster our sexuality. All of that porn, and all those tits, and asses, and slutty halloween costumes are making us less horny even if we pretend otherwise. Despite our nation’s declining sexuality, I only ever hear my friends talk about HOW GOOD their sex life is. Public displays of affection are on the rise, as are sucking face facebook photos. We may be having less sex than ever before, but we certainly feel need to publicly project the rare occasion when we actually “get lucky.”

Thanks to the internet, by the time the average American loses their virginity they have probably seen many depictions of sex without ever experiencing it. Not many accurate depictions, of course, many pornographic depictions – with big hard dicks, big hard tits, blonde heads, and hairless chests. They have seen sex that judges 99% of the public wordlessly by excluding them. Pornographic culture conveys the message that sex is not for you to have, only to watch – a message it is within the industry’s best interest to foster since less actual sex and more virtual sex leads to more profit.

In this environment, sex becomes about ego reinforcement rather than connection. People care more about being one of the “sexual haves” than they do about seeing the deep truth about who their partner is. People care more about having sex with someone beautiful because it reflects their own perceived worth back to them, not because they have an innate appreciation for this beauty. We have become isolated from each other through our own narcissism.

I remember once, some guy was going down on me, and I said “I feel like I’m going to cry,” and he said “Don’t cry!” He didn’t care how I was feeling, he cared about “being a good lover.” My crying would contradict that in his head, so he said “STOP STOP STOP” when I tried to connect my authentic experience to his. After that, my body froze up, and we ended our sexual relationship soon afterward. However, nothing was *wrong* with me. My body was protecting me. As soon as I realize that the person I am with doesn’t care about my experience, my body refuses to cooperate. When I was younger, I have tried to override it – but now I understand it’s saving me. I have wasted years with people who didn’t give a shit about me, and my mind may not have been willing to admit it, but my body knew and wouldn’t fuck them.

Our bodies are saving us from this culture. This culture is toxic, and our minds are ignoring it, but our bodies know it and they are refusing to play along. Sex without connection is not worth it, sex where we are resented by our partners is not worth it, sex we do not enjoy is not worth it. It is better to be abstinent. Our minds pretend to enjoy it, but the body doesn’t lie.

Not So Queer Friendly

Yesterday I was hanging out with a bunch of straight people and talking about burning man (I’ve never been.) There is apparently some survey afterwards you can opt to take that asks people how many new sex partners they have acquired over the festival. It differentiates between “sex” aka penetrative sex and “foreplay” which apparently also includes oral sex.

I asked why they gave this survey, was it to track STDs or something? And they said no, it seems to be more about getting a sense of the depth and type of connections people had with each other.

I made some comment like, “That’s not really very queer friendly because a lot of lesbian sex would be dismissed as foreplay by that definition.”

At which point, one of the guys said “Oh no, burning man is very queer friendly.” And I’m all, “Who are you, Mr. Straight Man to define queer friendly?” Only, I just thought that instead of said it because I was surrounded by straight people and didn’t want to make a scene.

Can any event where straight people outnumber queer ever be *really* queer friendly? We will not be able to approach the majority of people there romantically for fear of being rejected *because of our sexuality.* Sure, we don’t get beat up, but we are still seen as the “other,” as dismissed without consideration. As slightly subhuman, in a way. It’s a weird feeling, it’s hard to describe, but it’s different from being rejected (or pre-rejected) by a gay man. In my experience, most gay will still have a fundamental respect for your sexual orientation (perhaps because they also understand what it’s like to be attracted to men.) I don’t get that same feeling from straight women.

And, it is also different from being rejected by another queer woman who just isn’t into you. I guess most obviously, gay women are better about not unconsciously leading on other gay women, because they see romantic potential between two women. Straight women just don’t see romantic potential there, and I can feel really not-seen by them.

For me, in the end (perhaps as a bisexual) it always comes down to invisibility. When I told this guy “that’s not queer friendly,” he didn’t see why it wasn’t. He refused to witness my experience, and that is where most of the pain lies.



I just found out a girl who lived in my dorm in school committed suicide. I didn’t know her very well, but honestly, what I did know I didn’t like very much. One of my few memories of her was from when my suite stole the stove from her suite. She sent an angry email to the dorm, demanding to know what had happened with the stove.

I responded, saying we should meet with the house mediators and discuss stove distribution because I was not entirely convinced their need for one stove was greater than our need for two. She responded back with a furious email, clearly unaware that I was trolling her. I laughed with my friends about it.

Now, however, I realize she was probably an unhappy person even then. We found her inability to take a joke funny at the time, but it haunts me now. In addition to having no sense of humor, she was also a conventionally attractive girl with a countercultural style. Apparently, she was also extremely good at math, taking on an immense workload while working to pay her way through college. I had no real sense of the person she was, or the type of stress she may have been under, that led her to reacting the way she did to our juvenile behavior.

When I was first told about her suicide, I remember feeling a deep blankness inside me. I didn’t know her well, or have much affection for her, but I just wanted her out in the world, doing her thing. She was supposed to be *there* working hard and responding humorlessly to emails. What does it mean that she isn’t? What does it mean that she’s gone?

When I ask myself these questions, there I just feel the nothing that is her future. I remember watching her as she worked at the front desk doing her work, and thinking unkind thoughts about her. What if I could go back in time, and whisper in my younger ears “she will die when she’s 31.” How would that have changed anything? Would I have walked up to her one of the many times I walked past her and said hello?

Yes Means Yes Bill

A new law in California is expected to pass that would require affirmative consent on college campuses receiving public funds – see here. Notably, it doesn’t criminalize sex without affirmative consent, it simply requires disciplinary action at the academic level (which could include expulsion.)

I like the sound of the law, but it is definitely not the mindset I grew up with.

I remember reading this Dan Savage letter answer a while back that totally blew my mind.  It’s a letter from a man who tried to have a sexual encounter with his girlfriend and another couple.

The man describes the situation in his letter as such:

The minute the date started, it was clear she was having problems. It was nothing the other couple would have noticed, but I could tell she was not having fun. I must have asked her 20 times over the course of the evening, “Are you OK? Do you want to go home?” Each time she gave a monotone, “I’m fine.” When it came time to decide whether to go to their house, the same thing happened. I gave her as many opportunities to gracefully exit as possible, and she said no at each one. So, as you can probably guess, when it came time to actually taking off the clothes and getting down, she froze up, wouldn’t do anything, and we had to go upstairs.

I feel that, by not taking any of my opportunities to bow out, and then freezing up at the crucial moment, she completely destroyed the fantasy of mine. I think that what she did was enormously unfair to me and the other couple, and she should apologize. She only talks about how dirty and wrong it felt to her. I think that is fine that she felt that way, but then why the hell didn’t she bow out before agreeing to go over to their house?

And, Dan responds with:

I definitely could’ve guessed that your girlfriend would freeze up. I could’ve guessed that and I wasn’t there and I don’t know your girlfriend.

Your girlfriend wasn’t okay that night, CIC, and you knew it.

She was telling you what you wanted to hear, CIC, and you knew it.

You should’ve called the whole thing off, CIC, and you know it.”

When I read this, the idea that our sexual partners should be actively trying to act so that *we are ok* and not simply trying to get “whatever they can” out of us was totally mind-blowing.  I remember once, one of my ex boyfriends with whom the sex was routinely painful, said to me with frustration, “I can always tell when you’re about to ask me to stop having sex.” What he was essentially saying was, “I can tell when you are in pain, but I keep having sex with you anyway, hoping you won’t say anything this time so I can finish.”

I felt ashamed of myself for needing to ask to stop, so I would usually try to endure it as long as I could. However, his priorities seemed natural to me – that his pleasure should trump my pain.

Another ex of mine said “if you’re not willing to finish, don’t start being sexual with me” This had the effect of essentially ending our sex life, since I was always afraid to start something I may not want to finish. However, it also had the effect of revoking my ability to withdraw my consent if things took a wrong turn (another part of Dan’s letter which blew my mind: “Each of us has an absolute right to bail—to withdraw our consent—at any time.”) The few times we did start making out, I would continue with sex even if I didn’t want it because I felt like we had a “bargain” where my time to reject sex had already passed. One thing this ex never said was, “Why is it that you often don’t want to continue having sex with me? Are you not enjoying our sex life?” or “What can we do so you enjoy sex more?”

And, I don’t think we can really address these issues with a bill, but I think so many objections to it are based on a similar mindset that me and my boyfriends had. In an earlier version of it that was implemented on Antioch College, one of the young men said “If I have to ask those questions I won’t get what I want.” And, how do we move on from that?

I guess I’ve now taken the mindset that it would be better to be single and celibate than to be with someone who doesn’t care about your experience, which is a peaceful place to be. But, if decide to start doing things again, I think I’d ask for radical consent. One of my friends hooked up with a girl who asked for radical consent – before every sexual act, they had to ask the other one “can I do this?” say “can I kiss you?” or “can I touch your breast?” etc.

However, I think I’d change my question to be “do you want?” as in “do you want me to kiss you?” or “do you want me put my hand down your pants?” I don’t remember any time in my sex life where I was able to give enthusiastic consent, without worrying about what it would lead to. I might like it.


Bisexual Erasure – As Explained by Two Lesbians

So, I was watching this video, and I got to wondering, why couldn’t the main-video-woman get a bisexual woman to help explain bi erasure? I mean, we’re talking about the *erasure* of bisexual people, and somehow the best way to combat this is by… not showing any bisexual people? But, instead showing a lesbian who likes dating bisexual women? (Yeah, also, thanks for perpetuating the hypersexualization of the gender/sexual orientation combination with some of the lowest mental health statistics.)


But, annoying as this video is, it’s not really what I’m here to talk about. At least, not directly. You see, what this video is a prime example of is how *one group* talks about the problems people in *another* group have, without really providing any novel insight. Sometimes, I hear people of color complain about this – that they don’t need to be “saved” by white knights mansplaining racism. And, like – I sort of heard it, but when I saw this video, I began to understand a bit why they might find this shit hella annoying.

So, one of the obvious things, is people who are not in the specific discriminated against group can ONLY talk about the experiences they have HEARD about, while people in the discriminated group can actually talk about the EXPERIENCE. And, there’s nothing wrong with someone talking about second hand experiences, but in those cases it is important for the speaker to cite their sources. So, in these video, we got two  lesbians talking about bisexual erasure, but neither of them really know what it’s like – and, they never specifically reference any event that actually happened to a bisexual women. They only talk in the abstract.

It’s like coming to my house for Thanksgiving. My family is English, and we can go out and buy a turkey, and read up on “traditional” Thanksgiving recipes, but we kind of don’t fully get it. And, you can feel it. Same thing, these women don’t get it. “Of course true bisexuality exists” they say, while in the same breath casting doubt on it with “well, a lot of gay people use bisexuality as a stepping stone.” Sure, some gay people do that – but, they’re not bisexual. Many gay people identify as straight at some point in their lives, but when we’re talking about straight issues (like, say birth control or pregnancy) we don’t devote time to exploring why gay people sometimes identify as straight.

In the end, the entire video comes off as half-heartedly regurgitating platitudes about bisexuals. (Yeah, bisexual people are real! Bisexual erasure totally sucks!) There’s no real insight – what is it like to LIVE with bisexual erasure? How does this take a toll on your psyche, and how were you able to define your sexuality in spite of these shortcomings? What can you do do improve it? What can you do to be happy in a world that doesn’t see you?

The worst part, is it almost feels like these women don’t even *really* believe the dull, PC shit they’re saying. If you are really still mulling over “wow, bisexual’s really do exist,” chances are you’re not really as good a bisexual ally as you think you are. My girlfriend got pissed the other day, because her insurance company reaffirmed the importance of providing equal care to racial minorities (she’s Latina.) I didn’t get it at the time, but now I see, if an insurance company is still saying “we think hispanic people deserve just as good health care as white people!” as if it’s a statement that needs to be said, chances are they’re so behind the times it casts doubt on their ability to actually provide said equal health care.

Finally, I have to wonder, why did these lesbians even want to make this video? Warning: my answer to this question is totally not-pc.

I think these lesbians made this video to get some pussy. It’s not a coincidence that the lesbian who wanted to talk on bi issues fucks a lot of bi women. This video wasn’t really about lesbians trying to make space for bisexual women, it was about lesbians trying to make themselves look good by being knowledgeable on bi issues. It’s about lesbians trying to impress the type of women they are attracted to (bisexual ones, apparently) by going on you tube and spouting shit they think will make them seem appealing.

I don’t want to be a bitch – I’ve been there. My interest in issues of racial equality has jumped by about 1000% since I started dating my girlfriend. And, part of this is I desperately want to be accepted by people of color. I want to be liked, and loved. But this is MY need, and if I go into safe spaces for POC and start spouting whatever PC bullshit I think will get my ass liked, I am transforming a place for POC issues to be about my issues.

I think those lesbians are doing the same thing – they want to be liked, so they’re trying to be PC. But, by doing so, they made this video about THEM not about bisexuals. And so, in a misguided effort for acceptance, they perpetuate the same bisexual erasure they’re supposedly combatting.

Bisexual and Dating Same Sex

I gotta own something. Recently, I’ve been feeling – well – weird towards bisexuals who are in opposite sex relationships.

And, you know, I get it. I was in nearly exclusively opposite sex relationships for, like, 10 years. People questioned my bisexuality. It sucked. I felt invisible, embarrassed, not queer enough, etc.

In fact, there’s a whole list of things on this page if you want to go down that mental path:


And, I in no way want to invalidate the pain of these experiences. Again, I have been there, and I totally get it.

But, something also changed substantially when I started dating a woman. For me, dating a woman is different – very different – from dating a man. I had hooked up with women, had casually dated women, had one night stands with women (not that many, unfortunately,) had casual sex with women (not that often, unfortunately,) and had ongoing relationships with women while I was also involved with men.

All that was totally different from falling in love with a woman, and meeting someone who I could really see spending my life with.

To put it succinctly, the heterosexual fantasy vanished.

On some level, whenever I was dating men, in the back of my mind I expected “we’ll probably get married,” “we’ll probably have kids,” etc. And, there was a deep need at the bottom of this fantasy, a need that had nothing to do with kids and marriage, and everything to do with my own ego.

Sometimes, my girlfriend and I talk about having children. I told her that if she had a child, I could love it like my own, and she said she felt the same about any children I might have. What about an adopted child, we wondered, could we love that like our own? Again, we thought we could. But, we couldn’t take any of it for granted – there is no magical script that our lives can follow.

And, our love can’t stay insular the same way a straight couple’s love can. If we don’t have children, we will need to love other people instead of our children, and if we *do* have children, they will have roots from outside our family somewhere along the line, and fully loving them will be loving where they came from. For us, to be closed only to each other will never work.

Truthfully, I am grateful for it because I would never want my love to be constrained only to my own family, but this type of open love is not something you see in romance novels. It’s something you have to figure out, and it’s something I didn’t figure out in my straight relationships. Some straight people get there, but many of them don’t, and for the same reason many bisexuals in opposite sex relationships don’t get there either.

I remember dating on OK Cupid, and a woman contacted me because she and her husband were looking for a bisexual woman to “pull into their marriage.” (There’s a term for this in the poly community, it’s called “unicorn hunting“.) I did not like her request because it reinforced the “straight” couple tendency to pull all their love inward and to stay closed. And sure, some gay couples mimic this closed-ness as much as they can – perhaps lesbian couples find anonymous sperm donors, or whatever – but at some point a gay couple *has* to turn to the outside for help, either in starting their family, or in getting support as they age if they have no family. And, I think this need for help is both humbling and humanizing. Many straight couples do as well, of course, but not all.

And, it’s this closed-ness, this objectifying-ness that I feel weird about. Truthfully, I was like that myself for a while. I wanted to hook up with women to prove something about myself, to “be” someone. But, as long as the bisexual community is focused on these experiences of not being “queer enough,” the more they really making it about ego and not love. If you look at the gay community and say, “I wish I was more a part of that,” I understand how you feel, but it’s also not the way forward.

If you are willing to be honest about your feelings with every type of person you meet, if you are willing to connect with all sorts of different people romantically and otherwise, you will begin to see all sorts of things about yourself and your loved ones, things you may never have expected. You don’t have to be dating someone of the same gender to get there, but you do have to get over yourself.