FYI: Still Bi

It’s Pride Month, my darlings; a time to reflect
On which values we value, which folks we protect.

But sadly, this month, I’ve felt flooded with doubt
Though I’m prideful as ever, and still just as “out.”

I’m bisexual, see. It’s a comfortable label.
My life may transform, but that word remains stable.

But other queers argue I’m being bi “badly.”
“Be queerer!” they yell. “But I am,” I say, sadly.

Yeah, I mostly date dudes, but that’s not the whole story.
My attractions are manifold. Sex strictures bore me.

Queers call me “straight” when I date a cis guy,
Or dress like a femme – but I’m still fucking bi.

They called me a lesbian when I “looked more queer,”
But hey, you know what? Still bi over here.

Whatever I do, and wherever I go,
I’m neither a homo nor a hetero.

I’m bi through and through. One hundred percent.
I’m neither confused nor a fraud. I’m content.

Whoever I date and whoever I bone,
I’m still always bi, and I let it be known.

Don’t tell me I’m fake or I’m “not queer enough.”
I’m bi. You don’t like my approach to it? Tough.

My identity’s constant, wherever I am:
On my blog, on my podcast, and everywhere. Bam!

So biphobes, fuck off. Here’s a big FYI:
I’ll always be queer and I’ll always be bi.

4 Ways to Bring a Little More Gay Into Your Life

As the Pride festival nears, I’m spending a lot of time pondering my queerness. Specifically, where my queerness fits into my life as a person in a “straight” relationship.

Being bisexual has always been a bit of a struggle for me, identity-wise, because ever since I came out I’ve always hated the idea of being mistaken for straight or gay (both of which have happened to me countless times). I wish people would just “read” me as bi, but it rarely seems to happen.

And now that I’ve been dating a man for over two years, and have a gender presentation that’s as cis and femme as ever, it seems my queerness always gets lost in the shuffle. Even in queer spaces, I don’t always feel understood or seen. I’ve gotten booed for kissing my boyfriend at Pride events, I’ve had people try to explain basic LGBTQ concepts to me as if they’d be totally foreign to my mind, I’ve had people give me stares that say “What are you doing here?” It makes me sad.

Bleeding-heart complaints aside, I know that there are other people who feel the way I do – people whose identity straddles some line(s) between hetero and queer, and who feel skewered on that fence. Here are some suggestions for how you can re-access the gay side of yourself, if you’re feeling like you’ve lost it a little bit.

1. Volunteer for an LGBTQ organization. There is surely one in your area, so get Googlin’! I’m using the word “organization” broadly here – you could do fundraising at your local nonprofit, get in contact with school administrators to see if you can help set up GSAs, join the street team for your city’s Pride festival, or even see if your local LGBT yoga group needs help washing mats. It can be enormously nourishing to meet new people from your community and to do good work for that community. (And baby, if you ain’t got no time, maybe you could give some money instead.)

2. Consume queer media. If you do this already, do it more! Some recommendations: books by S. Bear Bergman and Ivan Coyote, porn by Courtney Trouble and Shine Louise Houston, documentaries about the LGBT community, and The L Word in its entirety.

3. Wear a queer talisman. Granted, plenty of LGBT folks think it’s tacky as hell to wear a rainbow bracelet or gay suspenders or what have you. But, honestly, when I’m going into a situation where I absolutely do not want people to mistake me for straight, sometimes it makes me feel a whole lot better to adorn myself in one or two loud-and-queer accessories. My talisman of choice is usually my rainbow wristband – it goes with every outfit!

4. Re-read old journals/blog posts/love letters from when you had your first same-sex crush. Remember how weird that felt? How scared and yet excited you were? Remember all the concerns these new feelings raised for you – how/when/whether to come out, what label(s) fit you best, what it all meant? Those seminal experiences paved your path into a queer identity and (hopefully) community, so they’re worth revisiting if you’re feeling a little cloudy on those topics.

I know there will inevitably be people who want to tell me something like, “Just be who you are! It doesn’t matter whether people think you’re straight or whether you’ve ‘got enough gay in your life.’ Just live your life.” And they’re right, to a certain extent… but hey, queer folks should know better than anyone that sometimes you gotta engage in some self-care in order to feel okay about how people are reacting to you. And this is some of mine.

Photo credit: Sue Maguire.

Bisexual vs. Pansexual

When I was 15, I came out as bisexual, because I liked boys and girls.

A few months later, my friend confided in me that she thought she might be bisexual too, because she’d found herself unexpectedly crushing on another girl at summer camp.

We did some research online together, excitedly chattering about sapphic infatuations all the while – and as we learned more and more, my friend said to me, “I think I might be pansexual, not bisexual.” I asked her why and she said, “Because I’m attracted to people regardless of whether they’re male or female.”

This felt strange to me then, and it still feels strange to me now when I hear this argument from other people. Being bisexual doesn’t mean I’m attracted to dicks and pussies – it means I’m attracted to people, people of either sex, but people nonetheless.

It’s been suggested to me many times that perhaps pansexual would be a better label for me, since I’m often attracted to people who don’t conform to the gender binary – mainly, boyish girls or genderqueer female-bodied folks. The term “pansexual” was essentially invented to describe people whose attractions don’t fit within the clean-cut gender binary of male/female – and yeah, that’s me.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel that bisexual is a suitable label for me – because I’m attracted to people within a binary. It’s just not the traditional gender binary. I’m attracted to cis men and gender-fucking female-bodied people. There are occasional exceptions, but those are the two major groups I find myself drawn to, romantically and sexually.

The prefix “pan” means “all” or “every,” and that just doesn’t apply to me. I don’t seem to have the capacity to be attracted to people of every gender identification; only a few.

From time to time, I toy with the label “androsexual,” since masculine energy is really what gets me hot, regardless of what type of body it’s emanating from. But that’s not as recognizable a term as bisexual. I don’t always relish having to explain my attraction patterns to heteronormative folks, because they’re prone to asking questions like, “If you’re attracted to butchy women, why not just date men? Isn’t it basically the same thing?” (Oy vey.)

How do you feel about terms like bisexual and pansexual? Do you identify with one, neither, or both? How do the people in your social circles use these terms?

Public Service Reminder: Sexual Orientation is Internal

I’ve been engaging in a lot of conversations lately about various aspects of queer sexuality – what else is new? – and it occurred to me that a lot of people hold a huge misconception about sexual orientation.

Many people think you can tell a person’s sexual orientation from how they look, move, or speak. This could not be further from the truth.

In fact, you can never actually know someone’s sexual orientation unless they tell it to you in no uncertain terms. It’s just not something that can be definitively read. Doesn’t matter how good you think your “gaydar” is, or how much you think you know the “signs” – there’s literally no way to know for sure how someone identifies, unless they tell you themselves.

This extends to gender identity and trans* status, too. I’ve heard all too many people claim they’ve “never met a trans person,” but the thing is, they don’t know that. There aren’t any foolproof, telltale signs. Thinking you know whether someone is trans is as ignorant as thinking you know someone’s STI status just by looking at them – you don’t. There’s no way you could.

As a queer femme in a relationship with a dude, I get misread all the time. I understand perfectly well why it happens – I “look straight” (i.e. girly and not particularly “alternative” in any way), and I’m often holding hands with a member of the opposite sex. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I recall the time I got booed at a Pride event for kissing my boyfriend, and how hurtful that was. That person assumed I was straight. They don’t know me and they don’t know what’s in my heart, but they thought they did, and that hurts.

But the thing is, practically everyone does it. I did it myself, the other day. A guy I volunteer with, who I’d always assumed was gay because he’d been telling me about the man he was seeing, suddenly mentioned that he doesn’t identify as gay. I still don’t know how he does identify, but it was a great reminder that we all need to stop making so many assumptions and just have the courage to ask if we’re curious. It’s been my experience, in queer and trans* communities, that asking someone “What do you identify as?” or “What pronouns do you use?” or “What kind of person are you usually attracted to?” is not frowned upon, but instead, almost always welcomed. People love to talk about themselves, especially if asked in a respectful, genuinely interested way.

How do you identify? Where do you lie on the Kinsey scale? Do you ever get misread for an identity that doesn’t fit you? How do you deal with that?

Porn Review: Crash Pad Series #100

Crash Pad Series is a staple of the feminist porn scene. If you ask a hip-and-happenin’ queer gal about what kind of porn she likes to watch, she’ll probably mention the Crash Pad. The website currently has well over a hundred extremely hot queer sex scenes available for members to watch, and more clips get filmed on a regular basis.

Still, though, despite all the hotties and heartthrobs to be found all over Crash Pad, the main reason I wanted a membership was so I could see Jiz Lee and Nina Hartley’s scene. I’d just finished reviewing their first fuck and I wanted more.

Crash Pad chose to feature Jiz and Nina’s scene as their special 100th episode, and with good reason: these are two titans of porn. Nina’s background is more mainstream, whereas most of Jiz’s work has been feminist and queer (i.e. not mainstream), so this is an interesting and unexpected pairing in many ways.

The scene starts with Nina admonishing Jiz for being late and wearing a hat indoors. This immediately sets up the dom/sub dynamic that will continue through the rest of the scene. Jiz will call Nina “Sir” for the entire duration of their fuck, a nice touch of strange but sexy queerness that’s lovably typical for feminist queer porn. Both performers seem very comfortable in their roles, and it makes for some very convincing domination and submission.

Whereas their encounter in Live Sex Show was frank and matter-of-fact, Jiz and Nina’s Crash Pad scene feels much more sensual and sexually charged. There’s some sweet, slow kissing, and the scene is rife with impact play – Nina squeezes, slaps, punches, spanks, and bites Jiz at different times. Not once does Jiz seem to react in pain to this treatment; instead, they make pleasure sounds every time they’re hit.

I’d never seen Nina Hartley wear a strap-on before this scene, and she’s wearing a great one – it’s the meaty Maverick. She keeps her jeans and boots on the entire time, and combined with her huge dick, this adds immensely to her aura of authority.

Nina is a fantastic pussy-eater, and Jiz’s reactions definitely reflect that. Someone must have briefed Nina on Jiz’s genderqueer identity since their last meeting, when Nina kept using female pronouns instead of Jiz’s preferred “they/them,” because this time she uses terms like “front-hole” and calls Jiz “boy” a couple of times. It’s nice to see queer identities not only being respected, but being made into something sexy and natural.

There’s fisting in this scene, of course. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a Jiz Lee scene that didn’t involve them being fisted. And as usual, it’s intoxicatingly dirty. Nina must have wicked strong arm muscles.

One of the sweetest and hottest parts of this scene is when Jiz is using the Hitachi on themself while being fisted by Nina. Jiz asks permission to come, and when Nina grants it, Jiz has a thunderous orgasm and says “Thank you, sir” while they are coming. In the behind-the-scenes portion of this clip, Jiz admits that they worried about their ability to act and improvise as the sub character, but you’d never know it from watching them: they totally sell their sub-ness.

After some fucking with Maverick, this scene has maybe the best ending of any I’ve ever seen: during some additional fisting, Jiz says, “Sir, will you punch my hole?” and Nina literally punches Jiz’s junk with her fist. This causes Jiz to immediately squirt all over everything. It’s honestly one of the most epic things I’ve ever seen in porn – and best of all, it’s real, unlike a lot of the squirting in mainstream porn.

The only bad thing I can say about this scene is that the audio quality isn’t as good as it could be – there are occasional weird bumping and banging noises in the background, and sometimes I can’t understand what the performers are saying.

Aside from that, though, it is fucking sexy and I’ll definitely be watching it many more times. If you don’t have a Crash Pad membership already, this scene should be great motivation for you to get on it!