Monday, February 23, 2009

Just a Girl Out Looking For Love

Jot@s Anónim@s

I can see Tila Tequila claiming that her "bisexual dating show," A Shot at Love, made same-sex relationships acceptable and was the curious variable that pushed through the legalization of same-sex marriage in California in early 2008. I can hear my male coworker telling me how the woman who is walking out the door has a beautiful body as he bites his lip, apparently admitting me into the vulgar world of "those who like women." I remember going on a date with a guy recently and hearing the "Ahh…" that follows the admission of a kink; the one accompanied by private thoughts of him and me… and some other chick. The stereotypes and personalities constrict me and it’s like - whoa.

I first came to understand my sexuality in the contemplative solace of a far-away land - I studied abroad my junior year. At that time, I was twenty, 15 pounds lighter and a women’s studies major. I was taking a class titled Sexualities and Feminism, taught by an F-to-M transsexual. The beginning of the course reminded everyone that sex isn’t so black-and-white - intersex people, anyone? We discovered the barbaric lengths to which Western society will go to eliminate the so-called "gray areas" of nature by surgically altering newborn-baby genitalia. We flipped through the history of sexuality, Bible through contemporary politics. If I had done all my readings, it would have been an even lovelier class.

And, in between all this talk of pre-op and post-op, and of using prosthetics to urinate standing up (funnels, anyone?), my dear professor proposed something one morning that began the end of my sexual paranoia and confusion. He proposed that people’s sexualities change based on factors of society, culture and stage on one’s life - that sexuality is not static and that indeed, it is fluid.

It clicked at that moment. All the instances of doubt flashed through my mind like primitive thoughts that I’d been too close-minded to let develop. What had been until then, a desire to classify and fit in somewhere seemed to suddenly dissipate into the sea of enlightenment that was my human mind. I breathed. I was going to be okay.

I brought all this back to the States with me, and it is here that the liberty of my love and desire tinkered with and met the realities of identity. The more I stopped resisting my inclinations, the more it became apparent that in accepting fluidity, I would have to take up a queer identity. It was inevitable because I started getting really annoyed when people assumed I only liked men, or terribly peeved whenever homophobia was expressed. I’d always gotten angry anyway, but suddenly it was personal. So, it is ironic that the identity that had freed me from myself actually trapped me publicly. I didn’t expect that.

Take an innocent act like feeling attraction towards a woman, for instance. Before I gave myself the liberty to look at a woman and feel that attraction, I always felt society’s pull inside me. Look at her. No, wait! What are you doing - she’s a girl! Then, when I gave myself the liberty, the urge to respect her suddenly worried me. It was no longer "looking at her is wrong", but "looking at her is going to freak her out." When I look at women, I would hate to disrespect them and their heterosexuality. I would hate to stare at their boobs. I would hate to stare at their butts. It’s hard to help, sure, but I would hate for a woman to think of me as a creep; it’s happened before.

As a woman, I know what it’s like to be under the objectifying male gaze. And while I don’t want to ever fight my feelings of attraction again, I also would hate to imitate that gaze. I know what I think of men who stare at my body with savage lust.

Sometimes I wish we all wore tags. Mine would read: Chicana, feminist, atheist, fluid sexuality. I wish we did, and that it was matter-of-fact and that no one got their asses kicked for it. I would identify other open mujeres and smile at them without hesitation. But I guess that’s what those rainbow accessories are for.

And I write all this to say the following: to love women and men and everything in between is an honest and innocent desire. I want to stop feeling like a freak. I want my sexuality to stop being perceived as a fucking kink. I want my love to be invisible and ordinary, just like yours.

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