Tag Archives: bisexual

Personal Experience Spotlight: Mallorie Ruston

“Hearts, Not Parts”: Breaking the Cycle of Biphobia-Induced Shame

            When I was about five years old and my mom was pregnant with my sister, she met a woman named Nese who she then left my dad for. Growing up in a world of Ptown and same sex couples and rainbow stickers then seemed like no big deal; that was just how life was: People loved people, and it never seemed to matter whether they were male or female. At the same time, I started to “hook up” with the neighborhood girls… so even at a young age, I knew that I liked boys but also really liked girls.

Hearts Not Parts

It wasn’t until 3rd grade when a boy in my class told everyone my mom was a lesbian that I started to have feelings of being ashamed and like maybe it was different to have two moms. This was circa 1994, way before Ellen and Rosie. There was no media to look up to and tell us such feelings were totally ok and shouldn’t be hidden. So when we transferred to a very prestigious and wealthy high school, my mom’s beat up old jeep with a rainbow sticker was the last thing I wanted to be seen in. And it wasn’t until I graduated high school in 2004 that I felt comfortable enough to express to others – including my mother – that I felt like I was bisexual. And surprisingly enough, the one person who took it not very well was my bisexual mother, stating, “Being gay is just such a harder lifestyle. I just wouldn’t choose for you to be a minority.” She of all people told me it was just an experimental phase and that I would get over it.

Well, it’s 2014, and after completing my Bachelors in Science in sociology and taking majorly enlightening classes about gender and sexuality, I’ve realized there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. And I wish I could have known Kinsey; I would love to just make out with his face for creating the Kinsey scale. Even the media has opened my eyes with shows like Nip Tuck and The L Word and Queer as Folk. I spent time living in Hollywood, and WeHo is the most amazingly accepting and beautiful place. Even the cop cars had rainbows on them. I had never felt so comfortable being exactly who the fuck I was. In fact, my first night In WeHo I had so much fun dancing and being me, I woke up the next morning in a pool of my own pee! God, what a great night!

But aside from all of it, there is one way I know I am completely and totally gender neutral toward lovers: My dreams. When I dream, I have the most explicit sexual fantasies about both men and women equally. When I am attracted to someone, it’s their soul I want to be close to. The body parts are just perks. I have better sex with girls, definitely, and can only truly get off with them. But when it comes to dating and being in actual relationships, it normally tends to be with guys; they are just simpler and less dramatic. Also, I think part of me knows I was meant to end up being in a lesbian relationship … I just feel more authentic in the gay world.

My mom is now dating men and has been since I was 13, saying woman are just too emotional and too much work; she is 58 and still single. It’s so funny with the stereotypes these days because everyone always tells me I “look straight,” and that my little sister, who is as straight as the day is long, “looks gay” … and I’ve always thought, “What the fuck does that even mean?” People are also constantly telling me to “pick one or the other already,” and I’m just so sick of it. Lesbians think I’m greedy, and straight people think I’m confused. But I’m not confused; I simply reply with, “There are so many flavors of ice cream in the world, why would I eat one for the rest of my life?” Fortunately, I have never been one to care what people think of me especially those that can’t understand me.

I still keep in close contact with my other mother Nese, and she is the only spouse of either of my parents that I still feel a connection with. I am very thankful to have been raised in a very liberal and open-minded world, even though it was more difficult at times. It has made me who I am: a very bold, loving, honest (sometimes too honest), accepting person. I may not have a career or ridiculous house or car, but I have the ability to love and take care of people around me. I make friends everywhere I go with all kinds of people. I am wholeheartedly passionate about people and traveling and seeing things that can open my eyes and my heart. My ideal job would be to open and run some sort of LGBT center for anyone seeking help or guidance as a life coach … maybe someday!

© Mallorie Ruston for Acceptance Revolution, 2014

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Personal Experience Spotlight: Jamie

“Re-Disposition”

Recently, in an attempt to make new friends, I started a group on meetup.com.  These groups need to have a centrality about them, a common factor among members.  I named my group: Bisexual/Bi-Curious Women of Central NJ, in hopes of meeting ladies around my age who are bisexual or bi-curious.  And no, it was not with the intent of meeting ladies for sexual and/or dating purposes. I am a faithful woman married to a man, a dedicated stay at home mother of one, a not-currently-teaching certified teacher, a daughter, a sister, a dreamer … among many other things.  I have been attracted to both men and women since the age of about 13-15, when I precociously lost my virginity to both… in case you were wondering.

I have lost many friends/acquaintances over the years, essentially due to deciding I’d rather be with a man for the long term: no longer needing to prowl the bars/clubs in search of a partner, no longer wanting to join in with friends from the LGBTIQA community out of fear of no longer being accepted, refusing to conform to others’ ideas of who they thought I was or wanted me to be, and eventually acquiring a whole new domestic lifestyle.

So… back to ‘my group.’  I was hoping to find some open-minded, mature, intellectual, active women.  Just to revamp my social life.  If you have a baby, you probably understand.  Especially if most, if not all, of your friends are single and baby-less.  I figured if I made friends who were bisexual, or at least open-minded, I wouldn’t feel so out of place or misunderstood as I have in the past.  I wanted this group to be more of a support group.  But no, not where we just sit around and discuss our sexualities… but to get up, get out, and get active; meet on the beach, play football, and discuss our sexuality, among many other things; meet at my house, sit in my back yard, sip some wine, roast some marshmallows over a fire, and discuss our sexuality among many other things; meet at a local bowling alley, get competitive, have fun, and discuss our sexuality among many other things.  Get it?

Instead, the first day that my group was up and running, almost everyone who joined fit into the ‘party animal,’ ‘sex obsessed,’ ‘swinger status,’ ‘playmate searching,’ ‘slut’ clichés!  The kind of women who use their ‘wanna-be porn star’ photos as their profile picture.  The kind of women who were also members of ‘Kinky Women of NYC,’ ‘Group Sex,’ and ‘Big, Sexy Women of Color’ kinds of groups.  Yeah, you get the picture.  I then changed my settings to only allow membership after my approval.  I started getting membership requests from ladies in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  I approved them, of course.  They seemed mature and genuinely in need of like-minded friends, as was the point of the group.  But, with me being in my 20’s, I didn’t feel so comfortable ‘leading’ the kind of group my group was turning into.   And so I decided to step down.  The group may even be canceled altogether, and that’s okay with me.   All of this started and ended within four days.  But hey, I’m an impulsive, impatient Sagittarius – what can I say?

Since canceling my group, I’ve been doing a bit of speculating.  Yes, there are many ‘bisexuals’ who are sex freaks, who can’t remain loyal and faithful, who might be going through a ‘phase’ for one reason or another, who are actually confused, or who are grossly immature.  And those are the kind of bisexuals who give other bisexuals a bad name.  A phenomena that is quite common among many groups of people.

I personally know quite a few ladies who are bisexual – truly bisexual – have dated men and women, could settle down with either a man or a woman, can remain faithful to one partner only, and are quite comfortable with themselves.  (I, myself, fit into this category.)  I also personally know quite a few ladies that label themselves as ‘straight’ but have slept with women, like to make out with women, like to flirt with women, find certain women attractive, etc. (Or have at least dreamt about it.)  I also personally know quite a few ladies who label themselves as ‘lesbian’ but have slept with men in the past, sleep with men in the present, and contemplate maybe even settling down with a man in the future.  I also personally know quite a few ladies who would label themselves ‘bisexual’ but don’t feel quite so comfortable doing so, due to clichés, rejection, and other means of biphobia.  I also personally know quite a few ladies who are interested in threesomes, which is fine, normal, and quite common.

I’ve never felt comfortable with divulging my sexuality in the past, afraid of labels others would throw at me.  And now that I have settled down and chosen a man to spend my life with, I feel others will judge me if I don’t plead ‘straight.’  But I refuse to be a victim of biphobia in that regard.  If you don’t understand me, oh well.  I’m at the point in my life now where I really don’t care what other people think anymore.  I will always be irreversibly bisexual.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t be faithful to my husband or that I ever have to ‘hook up’ with a female again in my life.  Once you’ve come to terms with yourself, your sexual identity doesn’t just disappear or change because of circumstance.  Get it?

So, after contemplating segregating myself, getting uber frustrated at the intention of members joining my group, and giving up on yet another endeavor, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to make friends with people solely on the commonality of our sexuality.  After all, I am an eclectic person.  I’ve always desisted labels and detested cliques.  Instead of trying to create an oligarchic group of friends around the topic/label/interest of bisexuality I’d rather, instead, continue to reach out to people of all walks of life, and in turn maintain my multi-faceted identity.

© Jamie for Acceptance Revolution, 2012

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Personal Experience Spotlight: Kristi Mulqueen

Unconventional Love: Rumor Has It

My life has been something like a big game of “Telephone”:  a complicated story with lots of details, involving people and places. The more detailed my story gets, the more likely the message has been changed as it makes its way through the telephone line of people in my life.

As 30 knocks on my door, I am very aware that I have grown into a woman who is confident and comfortable with herself. My early 20’s were a little confusing, but nonetheless fun, for  lack of a better word. I explored my sexuality often and enjoyed every minute of it. Not everyone understood; I guess it was a complicated situation to understand for most people. I was in a relationship with a man, but was openly bisexual. At times we had “friends with benefits” and there was even a live-in girlfriend at one point. Most strangers, family members, and friends were confused. They told me to choose. They said, if you like women, just be with them. They believed that there was no way that you could love someone and let them “be” with someone else physically. But I explained to them that I was attracted to women but liked having my relationship with my boyfriend, and I was in love with him. With that being said, from then on, people assumed that every friend that was a girl was a lover. They assumed that every girl that hung out with my man and I was having a threesome with us. There were many situations like this that were absolutely true, but there were more that were false. I noticed that everyone around me loved to tell stories, twisting my words and actions into manipulated fairytales created solely for their own entertainment. It’s not my fault their sex life was so boring that they fantasized about mine. They said we would never last…

So here I am, about to celebrate my 11 year anniversary with my boyfriend, the same man that I explored my sexuality with, my lover, my best friend. We are not as “crazy” as we were in our early 20’s, but we haven’t changed much. We still have the same theories about relationships. We still have people who question our actions and assume things. All that matters is that we love each other, and what works for one doesn’t always work for another. All I know is that my relationship has lasted more than most marriages. So as unconventional as it may be, for us, it works, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so grateful to find a partner who I can be myself with unconditionally.

© Kristi Mulqueen for Acceptance Revolution, 2012

Interested in sharing your own experience? Click here for details!


Human Connection: “Straight,” No Chaser

My good friend and partner-in-crime Jess Farris (whose name you may recognize from the first featured personal experience spotlight on this site) describes her new blog But I Thought You Were… as, “The misadventures of a girl just living life and yearning to find a genuine connection to another human being. And not worrying so much anymore what kind of equipment they’re packing!” Amen, and I’ll drink to that! And this description – in particular, the latter portion – is a fantastic segue into what I want to touch on  today.

There’s a particular double-standard that exists, with which I think most people who don’t fall into hetero-normative categories are at least somewhat familiar. It goes a little something like: “Ooh! I should set you up with my friend because you’re both gay/lesbian.” Heterosexual set-ups, on the other hand, are more likely to be based on – if you can believe it – the  crazy phenomenon of actual common ground between the two people in question. And, as recently as last week – though it’s not the first time it’s happened, and probably won’t be the last – I’ve had well-meaning friends who’ve wanted to introduce me to their FTM friends simply because they know I’ve dated transguys before. On the heels of this most recent event not sparking into a love connection (the guy was a sweetheart, but I wasn’t really looking for anything, and even if I had been, we met at a friend’s birthday celebration at a club… so not exactly conducive to any kind of deep connection), the birthday girl (who, by the way, was not even the friend responsible for the forced, awkward set-up) commented, “Wow, I guess you’re really not a tranny chaser then.” Um, yeah, thank you. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell everyone.

For my own convenience purposes earlier, the easiest place I was able to find a definition of the term “tranny chaser” was on Urban Dictionary… not the most professional reference, I know, but it will suffice to illustrate my point (and, frankly, I think there’s a damn good reason that particular search term doesn’t pop up in a more professional source). According to most of what’s on there,  the most common definition is something along the lines of “a straight male who is sexually obsessed with/turned on by male to female transsexuals.” Well, I’m pretty sure that one lets me out right off the bat.

Apparently, the term can also refer to “dykes who fetishize trans men as ‘really butch’ and thus keep dyke cred by not admitting they might be attracted to a man.” First off, I’ve never looked at any of the transguys I’ve dated as “really butch” lesbians; that’s why they’re called “transguys,” not “trans really butch lesbians.” Secondly, I’m also willing to state for the record here on my public site that I’ve been attracted to a few cisgender guys in my time as well, with little regard for what it might mean for my “dyke cred…” so I guess I don’t fit that second definition either.

Urban Dictionary also claims that, “A queer-identified woman who lusts after FTMs may be identified as a tranny-chaser if she outs her lovers as trans, particularly to acquaintances and strangers, so that she won’t be taken for straight,” and I’ll admit that – though it certainly was not my finest hour –  the first time I got the “why are you here if you’re straight?” question in a gay bar, I did feel the need to explain why, despite outward appearances,  I still “belonged” there… but, thankfully, that didn’t last long either.

So while, yes, I do happen to like – as Jess put it – “what kind of equipment they’re packing,” in regard to transguys, I don’t fetishize them, and I’m not going to date someone solely based on that. I’m not just about what they’re “packing,” and in fact, even their trans-ness has only ever been a tiny portion of the equation for me; while, granted, they often have amazing and unique experiences to share because of their trans factor, there’s A LOT more to it for me than that. I’m all about viewing whoever I date as the total package, and it just so happens that, in the past, I’ve found my personal definition of that in a few transguys. Sure, I dug their “equipment,” and we had our fun in that department, but what really got me hooked and held my interest was so much bigger and so far beyond all that…

I’ve known guys with whom I could talk for hours and never get bored because of the amazing banter and verbal sparring we developed. I’ve known guys who’ve inspired the shit out of me with the strength and integrity they displayed as men, in the face of – and perhaps even because of – the challenges and obstacles they’d encountered in their lives. I’ve known guys who’ve had the rare distinction of being one of those people who made me feel that, when they looked at me, they were actually looking hard enough and paying close enough attention to really see me, learning what I was about and what made me tick, challenging me to fully examine each facet of myself… and who, in turn, openly invited and encouraged me to challenge them because they truly believed that the connection we shared had the power to help us both grow and evolve and better ourselves as human beings… and they were right; it absolutely did.

And none of that had anything to do with their “equipment.”

© Kristin Despina for Acceptance Revolution, 2012


Personal Experience Spotlight: Jess Farris

“But I thought you were a lesbian!?”

Three years ago, I sat in a diner across from a friend and told her that, “If me and Kate* break up for good; I’ll probably go back to dating guys.” To anyone who has spent a significant amount of time with me, Kate needs no introduction. She was my entire life for the past 4 ½ years. More than just my girlfriend; she was “the one.” I was so sure of this that I actually put an engagement ring on hold during one of our on periods… then, consequently, going and getting my money back when we were off again. This was the nature of our entire relationship; hot and cold, off and on, break up to make up. Yet, in my mind she was the love of my life, and the good times most certainly outweighed the bad. Only, they didn’t. In hindsight, I realized that during those off periods while I was missing her, I would romanticize the relationship. It was all good, and I could prove it to her if only she would give it another chance…
About 5 months ago I finally came to my senses. I wasn’t happy; she wasn’t happy. She didn’t want to put in the work and I was exhausted from working so damn hard. Mutually, we decided to stop torturing ourselves and ended things for good.

So, there I was during one of our “breaks,” eating a grilled cheese sandwich and chatting with my friend. I’m sure we were going back and forth about our relationships and how depressed we were, but what sticks out most in my mind was that comment I made about going back to men. After I blurted it out, my friend asked me, “Why?” I shrugged and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know. I just think it’ll end up happening.” I didn’t know why I had said it or why I was thinking about trying things with men again. Especially since I was still so in love with Kate, or at least I thought I was at the time. And while me and her did end up getting back together (and breaking up) for years after I had this conversation with my friend; the seed was planted. I didn’t consciously sit around and wonder about hooking up with dudes but I would sure as hell dream about it. And it freaked me the fuck out. I’m a lesbian; why am I having dreams about men?! Lying in bed next to my girlfriend, I would wake up feeling guilty and confused. I figured the curiosity, or whatever the hell it was, would just go away. And it would for a few months; and then the dreams would start up again.

I talked to my friends about it and they all pretty much had the same thing to say; maybe it was simply because I had never tried it. I did have a couple of boyfriends before I came out. We did some PG-13 stuff but nothing too heavy and never went as far as sex. So technically, I was still a virgin. I was always the type to get super annoyed at people, especially guys , when they would say things like, “How do you know you don’t like sex with men if you never tried it?” Which I would then turn that question back on them, and we would both have the same answer- we didn’t need to try it, we just knew. But now I wasn’t so sure. I was terrified to have sex with a man. Not only was there the whole “ouch” factor, but I really don’t trust men. Some shady shit has happened to me in the past, and it’s left me scarred. I don’t like to let them in because I fear getting hurt. And I’m not as comfortable around them sexually as I am with females. When I finally gave in to my attraction to girls, I thought I had it all figured out. Women are beautiful; I can trust them AND be free sexually without fear. This is great! I’m a lesbian, and I never have to worry about men in that aspect again. Yet here I was; and the seed was growing.

I just couldn’t shake this feeling. This wondering…  During my last few breaks from Kate I found myself making out with boys. I wasn’t really sure why I was doing it. I told myself it was because I was lonely and bored. And most of these kisses did nothing to excite me; I felt nothing but a mouth attached to another human being. No connection; no arousal. And then when it came time for me to “work things out” with Kate, again, I definitely did NOT want her to know about these hook ups. She would think I was disgusting! How dare I go and kiss boys, being that I was so gay. This fear of what she would think branched out further into what would the lesbian community, my community, think about me and this new found curiosity in men? I would be labeled a traitor. Not to mention feel like a hypocrite.  I myself had seen friends, and friends of friends, who were once with women exclusively and now had boyfriends or husbands.  I remember thinking, “How they hell could they just switch sides like that?!” Now, not only was I confused and fearful of these new feelings I couldn’t get rid of; I was afraid of being shunned by a group of people that in some ways felt like my family. Coming out and making friends within the gay and lesbian world makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You feel free and proud; supported and loved. Was I going to lose all of that based on a maybe? Even if I did “experiment” with men, there was no telling if I would enjoy it or not.

Needless to say, I didn’t really have to deal with the negative backlash of the community. Once Kate and I split for good, I realized that most of my gay friends were really her gay friends. My core group of friends were straight, bisexual, or somewhere in between. And they were certainly not going to judge me for whatever the hell I was going through. After the break up, I finally felt free to explore the curiosity that was gnawing at me from the inside out. I needed a break from the whole gay scene, not to mention Kate and her friends, so I avoided the gay bars. I mean, it wasn’t hard; there are only 2 within an hour of my house. But that’s beside the point. I started doing what every newly single girl does; I went out with the ladies! I hit up the “straight” bars and clubs that I only went to on occasion before because there was nothing for me in them; I already had my girlfriend. I drank, danced, and actually started giving guys some of my attention. I was enjoying myself. I was still confused as all hell, but I liked meeting guys. Something that I felt was always missing in my relationship with Kate is what I call “feeling like a girl”. I can only describe this as a feeling you get inside when you’re with someone who makes you feel pretty, feminine, protected, and safe. Kate did nothing wrong; I just always felt like I had to have the more masculine energy and I didn’t like that. Now I was starting to get this feeling I craved by being out in the straight world.

As much as I was enjoying myself, there was still a huge amount of uncertainty and fear. But something else was weighing heavier on my mind: the fact that almost everyone I knew still referred to me as a lesbian. It’s not fair for me to be mad at them for doing so when they weren’t aware of the direction I was headed in. I didn’t want to go around telling everyone because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what the hell to tell them. I wasn’t ready to call myself bisexual because I wasn’t sure that I was. I was also afraid that people would think that the whole “lesbian” thing was just a phase. I mean, it was and it wasn’t. It wasn’t a phase in the way that the homophobes like to call being gay a phase. It’s not something I was just experimenting with or getting out of my system. No matter what gender I end up with, I will always be attracted to females. It was a phase, in the sense that that part of my life is on pause right now as I’m entering into a new phase, or chapter, of my life. I’m not sure where this will take me, but I do need to explore it.

At this point in my life I don’t want to define myself as a lesbian, bisexual or straight; I just like who I like. I personally think it’s ridiculous that, as a society, we feel the need to go around labeling people to make ourselves feel better. By putting everyone in their appropriate box, we somehow feel safer? I don’t get it. All I’m looking for is a genuine connection with another human being; gender only plays a small role in that. So yes, it gets frustrating when people still refer to me as a lesbian. Especially if there is a guy I’m interested in and I get cock blocked by someone saying, “Oh, you have no chance with her. She’s gay.” (It has happened, and it’s fucking annoying.) I no longer want to be known as so and so’s gay friend, that “hot lesbian” or what’s her names ex girlfriend; I’m just Jess.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

© Jess Farris for Acceptance Revolution, 2012

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Justifying My Love

I have a profile on a free online dating site in which I’m pretty much as open and upfront about who I am and what I’m looking for as I am with those I meet in person. In it, I explain that I’m really only on there because I feel that meeting new people that way vs trying to forge connections via shouted conversations over the music in clubs and bars is still the proverbial lesser of two evils in many respects. I also put my dating history out there (ie: “I’ve been with women and FtMs so please be open-minded about that and respectful/accepting of people’s differences if you want to talk to me”). And honestly, I don’t really have any major complaints as far as the overall experience goes; I’ve actually met some really cool people and developed some awesome friendships out of the deal.

I’ve gotten my share of fun bar stories too, like the guy who reasoned that maybe I’d be more attracted to him if he looked like a girl and tried to dress up in my clothes (I’m 5’2″, he was around 6 feet or more, and the result was pretty hilarious). And, not too surprisingly, there are also plenty of cisgender guys who have a million and one questions about my choice of partners in my dating history. One recent conversation I had covered the primary question and comments I get, so I figured I’d transcribe the gist here:

Random Cis Guy: What attracted you to an FtM?

Kristin: I was just attracted to him as a person, but what really made the dynamic so great and intense was that I was kinda the ying to his yang in that, where I’ve always been super-comfy in my own skin, he had to go through so much to get to that point for himself. And he also expressed to me that my liking him simply for who he was helped him be even more comfortable with himself; so that’s a pretty cool feeling, too.

RCG: Yeah, but I don’t see how this could be enough to date them. What is wrong with a guy who doesn’t have severe mental and identity issues?

K: What do you mean by that?

RCG: I guess I’m saying I would never be able to do what you did. You must be an incredible person to see past all that.

K: I guess I didn’t really view it as “seeing past” anything. The way I see it, I crossed paths with an amazing human being who’d had some incredible life experiences that were vastly different from my own, and we were able to learn from and grow with each other on an entirely different level than a lot of couples get to; that’s pretty awesome in my book.

RCG: Well, wait til you hear my experiences.

Suffice to say, based on that conversation, he wasn’t about to hold my interest as someone I viewed as a like-minded individual. And as I was never privy to hearing about said experiences,  I am merely presuming when I say that I imagine this last statement chalked up to little more than some strange variation of a pissing contest… but given how bent he got upon realizing that I was less than overwhelmed by his charms, I somehow doubt I’m that far off base.

In any event, while I “shouldn’t” necessarily  have to worry about things like being called upon to justify to random strangers whom I choose to spend my time on and why, I also don’t always mind having the opportunity to put it out there to people either. Worst case scenario, they’re rude about it, and I don’t talk to them again; best case scenario I shed some light and new understanding for someone on an issue that’s important to me. And either way, I’m reminded of the amazing people in my life and just how blessed I am to know them… and yeah, that is most definitely beyond awesome in my book.

© Kristin Despina for Acceptance Revolution, 2011