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A little bit of Pride



Several factors contribute to this post-firstly it was Cardiff Mardi Gras yesterday, our pride event which I managed to miss, yet again. Second a comment on the last post by my former Stonewall colleague and friend Megan (more on her and her blog at the bottom) who commented she didn’t actually know my sexual orientation. Now something seems amiss when someone I worked with at Stonewall of all places doesn’t know that surely? And I think it means something has been amiss with me. 

I listened to one of my idols Tony Kushner on an archive recording while in London talking about the responsibility of, I guess ownership of one’s sexual orientation. 

My trouble is I don’t actually know how to own or even categorise myself. What’s trendy now-pansexual? Queer? Most people would probably put me as ‘bisexual’ but I don’t know I’ve never liked the term. Plus my overall lack of romantic or sexual life and perhaps lack of desire for either (see last week’s post) is making me lean towards categorising myself in the ‘asexual’ category. But you know what either way-no scratch that-‘either way’ is far too binary, whichever way then I’m happy.

I have never looked at myself and said it’s wrong you think that girl is attractive, or it’s wrong you have no/little desire to form romantic or sexual attachments. I have always accepted it in myself shrugged it off and generally got on with something more important or interesting. So why then the silence? The gender ambiguous terms? The purposefully avoiding discussion of relationships (or lack thereof)? 

Short answer? The rest of the world.  It’s bad enough to admit you’re not really bothered about relationships, quite another to admit that if you were bothered you wouldn’t mind what gender that person was.
Now I have a loud voice when it comes to sexual equality and discrimination. My life has a whole lot of gay in it-from work to play, most things I read, see or watch somehow or other end up being a little bit gay (or perhaps I just make it that way). Anyone who knows me for more than a few weeks also will come across my strong opinions on the matter, partly again because of my work, my research requires getting angry about LGB issues,  I teach a course on gender and sexuality where woe betide anyone who expresses even a minute element of homophobia in the classroom. And there’s also the fact that it’s quite simply what I believe in.  But I’m ashamed to say that I leave it quite ambiguously linked to my own life or experience. 

I wasn’t always like this I can clearly see when and how it happened-when I moved back home. A dark time personally and professionally a very lonely and miserable time. I found myself in work environments where I couldn’t be myself and without the sort of friendships in which I could be myself. So I’ve become guarded, ambiguous reticent almost. 

What does it mean really that’s any different though?

Nothing really- Put simply I don’t have a gender of choice. To me gender is nothing more than a part of the aesthetic preferences we all have. It’s a whole person, a mind, a personality I know I’ll fall for if I ever do fall for anyone. The outside is neither here nor there, just like some girls like mullet wearing gun toting rednecks and some boys like pneumatic blonds with no brain cells-it’s not my taste but fine if that’s what you like.  

 I still hypothetically want to have my wicked way with Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant or Matt Smith (whoever is available really or form an orderly queue) but I admit to an admiration for Alex Kingston that goes beyond her kick ass clothing and hair and a love for Heather Morris that has something to do with her Britney Spears routines.  But still in practice, in real life I have no real desire for romance and relationships, at least right now. Nothing I wouldn’t have told anyone if asked. So does saying this out loud change anything?

The answer is not for me, despite the fact my hands are shaking writing this, it is about pride in who I am and ownership of who I am. But if it changes anything for you, if it changes how you see me then I’m not sure what else to say, other than to borrow from a song, ‘I am what I am’. I hope these words don’t change any of my friends should they read them, because perhaps sadly then they weren’t the friends I thought I had.

I mentioned the lovely Megan earlier, a champion of gay rights and all round lovely person please visit her blog which details living and loving long distance with her fiancée Whitney.

And for information on any LGB issues take a look at Stonewall’s website


Comments

  1. Emily, I'm so proud you wrote this. I'm sorry that my comment may have hit you so hard in a way but it was purely from the sense I PRESUMED rather than KNOWING for sure lol. & I definitely think it takes a lot of guts to admit you're into 'gender' as it were in the sense of not differentiating or labelling yourself bi. As a relationship type myself Im purely shocked at your lack of relationships etc ONLY because I think anyone would be lucky to have you!! Thank you for the shout out & thank you for being you. :)

    Megan xxx

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  2. My hat, it goes off to you. Over the past year I've been educating myself on LGBTQ issues, and come to the conclusion that the labels aren't really necessary. Sometimes we're more than one of them; sometimes we shift from one to the other.

    One could argue that I'm not ideally placed to speak on the topic, given that I'm (if we're going to apply these words to ourselves) a mostly-hetero cissexual, but I don't think it's about that. I'm a person who's learned that love is love, and that there's nothing wrong with feeling that when-, how-, and with whom-ever you want.

    Providing it's consensual.

    Also, I wrote this post about Mr Cumberbatch, thought you might find it interesting: http://www.thiefree.net/2010/10/in-which-doing-right-thing-is.html

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  3. Why do we bother with categories? Every human being is unique. Sometimes our race spends too much time making people fit into categories to conform to rules we devise. Think outside the box-you never know how amazing we could all be!

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  4. Thank you both once again-Megan nothing at all to be sorry for it just made me think a bit which is a good thing! And I'm glad I said it. Thank you so much for the lovely comment about someone being lucky to have me, and if the right person were to suddenly appear in my life I wouldn't shy away from a relationship I guess I just don't actively seek them out-I guess I am more romantic than I think that I believe someday something will happen when it's right! (and on that note Happy Anniversary Wegan!!)


    Anna-thanks so much again and your as well placed as anyone to offer an opinion and your opinion that love is love and anything is fine (as long as its conseunsual) is one I wish others would share! And that labels aren't always fixed-I love that view.

    Thanks again both-comments really mean a lot x

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  5. And thank you Anne (that last one was written before your post!) I quite agree, sometimes we're so quick to label things or people we forget how interesting things would be without (wow that's philosophical for 4.30 on a Tuesday)

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