Relearning Sexuality

I am going to be using this blog to process my feelings related to my daughters sexuality “outing”.  If you are disturbed by this, I am not sorry (LOL). . I hope you will at least hang around to read for perhaps you will learn something about others, the younger generation, perhaps even your own child.

I know in the few days since I learned the news I have learned much. I want to archive and at the same time share what I am learning and others are sharing. One such example comes via  the text of an email I received from a blog reader/friend. I wont give too much detail into her identity as she would rather not be further “outted”. I do have her permission to share the below.  I encourage you to open your mind and consider what she has to say.

(Did anyone besides me find it strange that so few people commented on this topic? Should I take that as a sign of reader discomfort or should I perhaps assume maybe my readers aren’t all here yet due to my platform change? Regardless, I do find the lack of commentary on this recent topic to be very telling. Equally so that many wrote me privately but would not comment here. No judgement from me, just general observation and the usual over analysis by me. But right, my friends words..)

She said:

There is a very newish culture of gender / sexuality coming about where people just don’t want to identify with any of it. For example, technically speaking, I am a woman, and I am bi-sexual. But, when I start talking deeply about myself to another person who understands, I don’t really identify with a gender or sexual preference. I’m not a woman or a man, or transgender, or androgynous (though it most closely resembles what I am) but, the fact is that gender roles tend to define all of these. Butch lesbian or femme lesbian? Masculine gay man or fairie gay man? The thing is… is that most people are a combination of “masculine” and “feminine” traits. And, historically, most of the ones that are perceived as negative, come with a label. Women who are assertive are a bitch. Men who are sensitive are pansies. And, humans are amorphous, one day sensitive, the next hard inside. We are flexible, striving to be authentic, and finding that these labels tend to restrict us. Some of us accept some of them, but many of us, secretly or out loud, refuse to define ourselves this way. In a patriarchal system, it is all so negative.

In terms of sexuality… when a person does not fit in to a gender, how can one say what one’s sexual identity is? If some days I feel like a man, and I’m attracted to men, am I gay? If one day I feel feminine and am attracted to a woman, am I lesbian? If one day I feel a bit of both, and am attracted to men or women, does that make me bi? And, what if I am attracted to others who also do not identify with a gender? Well, if there are only two genders, than bi-sexual is also limiting. And, to identify as any one of these sexual preferences, limits one’s ability to change.

It limits one’s ability to be attracted to a person, rather than a gender. Identifying as a gender limits one’s ability to freely associate with all human traits.

The above paragraphs educate, intrigue, and simultaneously mystify me.  I have more to say, much more, but for now, I will leave you to chew on the above. And maybe comment? (Comments of disagreement are welcome provided they are respectful. I encourage differing opinions).

9 Thoughts.

  1. I find this topic very interesting, for many reasons. My daughter too, has professed to me an interest in being involved sexually and intimately with both men and women. She specifically said that she felt confined by the conventional labels placed on sexuality, and too, some of what she told me was for SHOCK value. She imagines that I am very conventional. That really made me laugh, because if she only knew who she was trying to shock with her wild stories, but that’s another post.

    Labels and being put “in a box” have always been one of my pet peeves, I find that whole mindset limiting. There are as many ways to think, exist, and move about in this world as there are people. There are so many different cultures in the world, why not explore?

    Too funny that you mention the lack of comments on your “Witty, pretty and Gay” post. When I read it, I wanted to post, but wasn’t sure what to say. I mean do I say, congratulations or way to go, girl, standing up for what she believes in, she is definitely your daughter.

    In truth, I accepted that people have various and sundry sexual identities long ago in my twenties, so it’s not really noteworthy to me when I hear this type of announcement. I think, okay, and wonder why one would feel a need to announce it to ME. I suppose it is a sign of trust or wanting to move to a new level in relation to another person, to disclose this very personal information. So,okay.

    When my daughter made her announcement to me, I think she wanted to see if I would a. be shocked, b. reject her, but I feel it doesn’t matter what I think about her choice of expressing herself sexually or wanting to stay open to having an intimate relationship with either a man or a woman, it is her life and her choice after all. She is the one living these choices, not me; what can I say. I love her no matter what choices she makes, that is just the way it is. I have made my own choices in my own life in regards to these issues long ago.

    • Liz – Love your comment. Lots of writing prompts in here for me. Reading I found myself say “yeah, but..and..dont forget…” wanting to have a conversation with you about your comments. I will likely extract a few for some future posts. Thanks for the good stuff!

  2. I see the lack of comments as well. I think its an uncomfortable topic, for sure. Most people I know don’t share it to shock people, etc.. it’s furthering one’s search for identity, and sharing it, means being able to live in the world more authentically. Without having to be afraid of being rejected. (I’ve done a lot of studying of identity issues). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs talks about esteem needs… I think this speaks of both being respected and honored by their social group, and respecting one’s own identity and being able to share it and have it be accepted is honoring one’s identity, rather than living in shame. By hiding it, one can not have one’s entire identity be respected, loved, and otherwise esteemed. That is why esteem is in one block, because self-esteem and other-esteem are so interconnected, it’s hard to have one without the other.

    • HR – Yeah, my experience indicates it is not really done for shock value. I will explain more about this and my scenarios in a future post. I will add though one comment that I did receive (via email) included the sharing of a lesbian adoptee who met her first mother and told her first mother that she was an lesbian and it was all moms fault. (Huh? This sounds like a very confusing statement yet at the same time I can understand what the angry adoptee might be trying to say).

      Add to that the adoptees I know who throw the sexuality in their mothers face as a “test”. A la If I tell you I am gay, and you react poorly, you have proven to me that you are a bad mother and I was given away because I was defective…so lets just see how you handle this news…

  3. Heather and Suz,

    I don’t believe that G makes this choice as a means to SHOCK me or anyone else. I feel it is definitely part of her search for identity within her own life. It is an authentic part of who she is, and I realize that the fact that she shared this part of herself with me, which she does not share with her adopted Mother, was, at least in part, a boon for both of us. I love that she felt at ease enough to disclose this very personal life choice with me. I felt the disclosure was a way to move our relationship to a new level, a more intimate, real, level.

    I believe the way she announced it to me was done in such a way as to project her own feelings or thoughts or concerns that I might be SHOCKED and not accept her, for several reasons. Suz, you hit on a big point here for G and I, because I am the mother that placed her for adoption, the WAY she chose to tell me was a “test”, designed to detect this:

    “If I tell you I am gay, and you react poorly, you have proven to me that you are a bad mother and I was given away because I was defective…so lets just see how you handle this news…”

    Both G & J like to say things for the shock value to provoke, or at least try to provoke, a response from me, but not just from me, from most people I’ve seen them interact with. So the SHOCK thing has nothing to do really with this personal identity choice, but more to do with whatever payoff G gets from shocking people in general, and me in particular in this case.

    I passed the test, at least in that arena. I enjoyed that aspect of our relationship, to be able to talk candidly, honestly, openly, about issues of eroticism, sexuality, and intimate or “love” relationships with people of either gender. I know that G & J’s adopted mother used my “sexuality”, as a way to try to regulate their burgeoning sexuality when they came of age, and had a period of sibling GSA. The other Mother liked to use me as an example of what not to be or how not to be “sexually”. Of course, being Southern Baptist, there was also the threat of going to hell for expressing one’s sexuality outside of the society/religious sanctioned institution of marriage. GUILT and BULLYING were use as motivators to deter G & J’s obviously high levels of libido and sexual curiosity.

    • Liz – And yet another stellar comment from you. GF you are on a roll with this! So enjoying your commentary.

  4. I really like that second paragraph.

    and then there’s that whole issue of people who aren’t really interested in either sexuality. They don’t know if they are attracted more to men or women and they just don’t care. It baffles people.

  5. I have never thought of gay or lesbian as a choice or an alternative lifestyle. I’ve always believed that people were born with that inclination. Like some are athletic or musical or any other number of possibilities. It just is. One as natural as the other. So I didn’t react. Except to say that it’s wonderful that you support and love her, however and whoever she is. I’ve known parents who have tried to “figure out” why their grown child is gay or lesbian. She didn’t buy my born that way theory and her best guess was that there was something wrong with her daughter’s relationship with her father. We went round and round about it. As for the adoptee who blamed her first mother — that seems no different to me than my son blaming me for all the things he has. It’s a sick game.

    I also find it interesting that this is one of the few things that people feel they have to “announce.” Come out, that is. We don’t announce that we like the opposite sex, or that we do or don’t believe in God, or that we’re scared to death of drowning or heights, etc.

    I believe in live and let live. I know you do, too, Suz.

    • Denise –

      I have never thought of gay or lesbian as a choice or an alternative lifestyle. I’ve always believed that people were born with that inclination

      I used to think the same. Lately I believe otherwise..I would love to discuss this further but as noted, I am kinda spent on this topic for now. Too much reading of too much gunk at my daughters formspring.

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