Thursday, January 3, 2019

How I Can Still Be A Christian Even Though I am Bisexual - Is There A Need To Reconcile My Beliefs With My Religion?

First of all, it will be helpful if you have a little background on me. I was born in the Midwest to two Lutheran school teachers in the mid sixties. I was baptized at ten days old in a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregation, attended Lutheran schools, was Confirmed in the Eighth grade, and eventually graduated from a Lutheran High School. Because my parents worked for the church, they where often friends with the Pastor and his family, as well as other teachers from their school and schools from other congregations in town. All of these people had attended Lutheran Colleges, and therefore were synodicly trained. It was not an uncommon occurrence to have any number of these people in our home discussing theological matters in my presence on a regular basis. 

Furthermore, we attended church every Sunday no matter what! As soon as I was old enough to understand what was going on, I was expected to listen to the sermon and be part of the discussion regarding it at the dinner table as we ate. By the time I was a freshman at the local Lutheran High School I was required to take an entire year of Old Testament Studies, then an entire year of New Testament Studies as a sophomore. As a junior and senior I often had multiple religion classes a day. One semester during my senior year I actually had four religion classes a day on my schedule. At the time, I found it to be a real drag, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Looking back, I have realized being made to take all those classes opened my mind to religion itself and it gave me the ability to think critically about it. 

While still in High School I had already come to the conclusion the reason there were so many different denominations was because God wanted to cast a wide net in order to have as many followers as possible. Because everyone has different life experiences it will take different things to help each of them believe. Some people need the structure and strict rules and want to be told exactly what to think and believe. Others need a somewhat looser set of guidelines. Yet in the end, whether you need to genuflect and pray to Saints like Catholics, speak in tongues like Pentecostals, or anything in between, as long as you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins that is all that really matters. Who knows I might be surprised when I get to heaven and find Muslims and Buddhists there too. (As you may have guessed, this doesn’t win me any points with my parents when I bring it up.) To this day I still enjoy having deep theological discussions, and often do.

I gave you all of this information so you understand that while I am certainly no better than any other Christian, my life experiences have given me a greater understanding of religion as a whole more so than the average person. When the vale of my denial broke regarding my same sex attractions, and I finally realized I was a card carrying Bisexual, it devastated me. All of my life I had been taught that homosexuality was a sin abhorred by God and punishable by death. That meant I got myself a one-way ticket to Hell without passing GO or collecting $200.00! So entered crippling internalized homophobia into my life.

To say I struggled with my life long Christian beliefs would be an epic understatement. To give you some insight I am inserting an excerpt from an earlier blog post I wrote titled, “My Journey.”

 A light bulb lit up in my brain. It was as if someone had yelled Eureka! Then a wave of embarrassment washed over me. How in the world could I have been bisexual my entire life and not figured it out until I was 48 years old? I can’t be that stupid can I? I knew in my heart of hearts it was true. It was like all of the pieces of my life had just fallen into place at the same time. I began experiencing a flood of emotions, some were good and some bad, but the over all feeling I had was I was no longer conflicted and that feeling brought me peace.

That peace didn’t last long, however. Now I was dealing with great shame because I knew God was abhorred by me and my homosexual tendencies, the Bible even said so. I didn’t get much sleep the next two nights. The following Wednesday, I went to my church’s Ash Wednesday service in the evening. I walked into the church filled with self loathing and feeling wretched, broken, dirty, unforgivable, scared, but most of all completely and totally separated from God.  I have never felt more alone in my life.

I don’t know what the pastor said that night because I was in the pew praying for God to take the bisexuality from me. I hadn’t asked to be bisexual, and I certainly didn’t want to be if it kept me separated from God! I sat silently, tears streaming down my cheeks, praying, no begging, God for help. PLEASE LORD, take this sinfulness from me! When it was time for communion I shuffled up to the railing at the altar. I must have been in shock at this point because I don’t remember any of it. For those of you that don’t know, Christians celebrate communion to be united with each other and reminded we are sanctified by Christ’s body and blood which washes us clean from sin because, He died on the cross for us.  

When I got back to my seat I had the urge to run full speed, down the aisle and out the door, never to return. I didn’t want to feel this way anymore, and I didn’t want to be where I wasn’t loved. However, God took over in that moment and my entire body was awash with a feeling of complete acceptance, peacefulness, and total calm. God made me understand He still loved me no matter what and the gift of His forgiveness was still mine. He didn’t see my sin; He only saw me. I nearly broke down in tears and fell on the floor with relief. My entire body was spent. I felt like I had run a marathon. I was week in my knees and drained of all my energy.

This happened nearly four years ago. As I said before, I was still filled with crippling internal homophobia at the time. Just as Martin Luther had done, I too began to search scriptures for answers. Not only that, I emailed with friends from High School who were now Lutheran Pastors. I read anything I could find regarding the subject online. My goal was to get as much information as I could from both sides of the argument and then make an informed decision for myself.  

Another thing you need to know about me is that for many years now, I have chosen not to be concerned with what other people think of me. I even made a list to help remind myself not to let other’s opinions influence me. The people whose opinions I will allow to influence me and the order in which they effect me are as follows: 1. God 2. Me 3. My boss for obvious reasons. 4. My Family and close friends, however, I only allow them to share own opinions with me, because they are family. After which, I still run them through the filter of how God and I feel about it. I no longer just blindly follow them, in order to keep the peace 5. Everyone else, these people have absolutely no currency with me when it comes to how I live my live. Nor do I care at all what they think about the choices I have made.

My struggle was still weighing very heavy on me because the two people in my life whose opinions mattered most to me, God and Me, and what ever He and I came up with would shape who and what I was to become now that I was without a doubt Bisexual. The only thing I knew to do was keep digging for answers, so that is what I did. The journey to find acceptance from God and from myself took almost 3 years of hard work and included many conversations with multiple pastors, including both pastors from my own congregation.

It was a huge relief when I came out to my Sr Pastor, because I was expecting to be told I was an abomination to God, and I would then be asked to leave the church. I found out my fears were very wrong. In the end, my Pastor was far more understanding and accepting than my parents. He agreed with me that my Bisexuality was most definitely not a choice. He said it was part of my soul. He still believes the Bible teaches against homosexual acts and that I need to try to live a God pleasing life. This is not too different from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s formal written statement on Sexuality in the Church says pastors who are counseling their LGBTQ+ members. It says, not to acknowledge or discuss whether or not same sex attraction is a choice or something that we were born with, but to instruct as follows: It is not sinful to have same sex attractions. However, it is sinful to act on them. In other words, you are only going to heaven if you deny the person God made you to be.

I told my pastor I took great exception with this statement on many levels. First of all, I was taught that all sin is equal, and therefore any sin would damn you to Hell. It makes no sense for the church to then single out one sin (If it even is a sin in the first place. But I will get to that later.) over all others to the point you won’t be forgiven. That goes against everything Christ taught, which is why He died, to forgive all sin.

My pastor responded by saying that the Lutheran Church is really good at making broad statements about doctrine, but they aren’t so good when it comes to instructing individual members. He then assured me I was in fact not damned to Hell at all.

My second issue with the church’s statement is that I don’t believe if I was created in God’s own Image how then could what He created me to be, be sinful? I never really got an answer to that, even though he tried. What really irked me about the whole thing was, instead of the church trying to deal with the fact that God created Queer people to be perfect in His eyes, they just glossed over the whole issue so they wouldn’t have to admit their reasoning was flawed.

In the end I told both of my pastors I didn’t believe that my Bisexuality was a sin and I had no intention of ignoring my same sex attractions. In his response he said, he had no intentions of being my bedroom police and if I didn’t tell him what was going on he wouldn’t have to know. He also told me that every Christian is on their own path and not all of us are at the same place in our journey, nor are we all traveling at the same speed. I think that was his own way of saying that he understood where I was coming from even though he himself couldn’t totally agree with me. Which, I also never expected to hear coming out of his mouth. I greatly respect both of my pastors. I couldn’t have been more pleased with how things were handled, and I am happy to say I am still welcomed there regularly. 
Additionally, I will also tell you I have had many instances in my life where I truly believe God was guiding me on my path. I have seen Him solve more than one major problem in my life after believing He had left me out in the cold. In hind sight, of having Him resolve one major issue in my life; I am certain had I gotten what I thought He should have given me, it would have been the worst thing that could have ever happened to both me and my children. This leads me to believe if God sees my Bisexuality as either a sin or a choice He could have removed it from me, yet He still hasn’t.

It has been a little over a year since my pastors met with me multiple times as I formulated a plan to come out to my parents, and my adult children, along with my brother and his family. However, I still had this nagging feeling I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of the issue regarding whether or not same sex attraction was a sin in God’ eyes yet, so I kept digging.

In my search I found two things to be very helpful in sorting out this whole mess. The first was coming across a YouTube video called “Kathy Baldock – Untangling The Mess” on The Reformation Project’s YouTube channel. Link below:

The Reformation Project in Los Angeles is an organization that is trying change the way Christians view the LGBTQ+ community. Kathy Baldock wrote a book called “Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community” which explains in greater detail why the church incorrectly views homosexuality as a sin, based on many factors including the mistranslation of the Bible. (If you don’t want to read the book, I have supplied the link above to a talk she gave outlining her well researched reasoning. Warning, it is an hour and a half video.)

What will be lost on most Protestants and Non-Lutheran alike is that Martin Luther’s efforts to correct inconsistencies in the Bible because of a mistranslation sparked the protestant reform in the 1500s. Now the Reformation Project in California is attempting to do the same thing regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, no amount of Guttenberg printing presses will be able to make the Reformation Project’s message any louder because of the information overload created by the internet.

I then read a paper recently which was written by Idan Dershowitz, a Jewish Biblical translator/scholar, who discovered in the oldest known biblical text, that the verses in Leviticus: 18 had been changed 100 years after they were written, in a subsequent translation. The original text did not warn against homosexual acts at all, but instead of incestuous ones. If they spoke about incest specifically, yet said nothing about homosexuality it begs the question if it should have ever been considered a sin in the first place. I have been told by a seminarian this is not the first time this mistranslation has been uncovered. It was found sometime back in the 1970 and 80s when the world looked down their noses at the LGBTQ+ community so it never got any traction. (See link below.)

Additionally, it wasn’t until a 1955 translation of the Bible was publish that Sodom and Gomorra was destroyed for homosexual behavior. For the prior 1700 or so years, it had been widely believed the city had been destroyed due to their own inhospitality. This brings us back to Kathy Baldock’s book and how societal and psychiatric/medical beliefs at the time the Bible’s translation have influenced added to the problem.

Until I started questioning my sexual orientation and looking for answers I believed as I had been taught by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod that the Bible was inspired by God, therefore infallible, regardless of the fact that it had been written by humans. Furthermore, if there were discrepancies God would explain them to us in Heaven. (How convenient.) It is almost embarrassing that I actually believed this schlock for all those years! How can the Lutheran Church say this out of one side of their mouth while preaching that a mistranslation in the Bible by a man which was then exploited by corruption in the Catholic Church and used to sell indulgences was a terrible wrong that needed to be righted? If the Bible was truly inspired by God, and therefore infallible, it should in theory stay that way regardless of translation. Furthermore, the real reason there are so many denominations is due to disagreements on one person’s interpretation of the Bible and its translation over another’s. 

In the end, I am no longer able to blindly believe the Church’s teachings as a whole, especially on the topic of homosexuality. I have found far too much proof to the contrary that makes a case to say otherwise. When you add this on top of the fact that I know with all my heart I was truly born this way as a Child of God, and believe that I have been made in His own image, it makes no sense to me that my same sex attractions would ever be sinful. Therefore, if my same sex attraction is not inherently sinful, neither should it be for me to act on that attraction. Finally, if that is truly the case, then there is nothing to reconcile in the first place.

This finally brings me back to my list of those whose opinions matter to me. As I stated earlier the only two people on the list that hold any true currency with me are me and God, and He has already let me know He loves me just as I am, and it’s all fine with Him.   

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Johnson & Johnson HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials

Please click on the links below to learn more about Johnson & Johnson's Clinical Trials for their new HIV Vaccine.


Johnson & Johnson Website

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing - When Inclusion Is Anything But Inclusive

As some of you may remember, I spoke of my excitement, in an earlier post about partnering with my local LGBTQ+ community center to form a Bi-Pan+ Group.

Several months ago I met with the center’s interim director, who happens to be a MTF trans women, who also identifies as Pansexual. We had a great conversation about all of the possibilities surrounding the new group, and that I had hoped one day would turn into several other services for the Bi Pan+ community.

As with any not-for-profit group, nothing can happen until the governing board meets and approves of anything new happening there. I knew the process was likely to be slow, so I didn’t think anything was wrong when I hadn’t heard any news for a while.

In the mean time my life got a little crazy with starting back to work after a seven month medical leave and interviews, because I am trying to find a new job.  However, the new group was never far from the front of my mind.

One of the suggestions the director had made in our first meeting, was that the group should have a speaker at each meeting to discuss current Bi/Pan+ issues. I told her I would need the center’s help because I was newly out and didn’t have a network in the Bi community that would help me find these speakers. Additionally, I had suggested that I start a social Bi Pan+ Group on Meet Up dot com, that would meet outside of the community center. When I suggested that, the director said, “No, we would like you to still have it here at the center.”

After three months I decided the time had come to follow up with the center’s director, since I had yet to hear back from her. It took her a few days to respond to my email, and when she did, she said that she had been unable to get any buy in from the board for the new group. I thought to myself, “You are the center’s director, and part of the Bi-Pan+ community. You share the pain of being erased, and are in a position to create change in our local LGBTQ+ community, so what the hell?!!!”  (I held my tongue because I have experience with trying to make changes by group vote. In the end, there is only so much that can be done if the group doesn’t want the changes set before them.)

She did suggest we try and do something on September 23rd for Bi Visibility Day, so I figured all was not yet lost. In my reply I said, given that we have less than a month, and zero budget, we could host an Open House at the center. We could serve punch and cookies and hand out fliers with information regarding Bi/Pan+ specific web sites etc, and have people sign up for the new Bi-Pan+ group’s first meeting whose date and time were yet to be determined.

These last emails were sent almost two weeks ago now, and I have yet to hear any more from the director. The ironic thing about this whole issue is part of the community center’s name includes the words, “Center for Inclusion.”

As I said, I don’t totally blame the director because she can’t just totally override the board and say, “We are doing this, and that’s that!” However, I wonder how hard she tried to get this to happen.

I can’t say I am shocked this happened. After all, I have read many articles and blog posts over the last year and a half explaining Bi-phobia and Bi-erasure in the LGBTQ+ community. It just seems a little odd that a group with the word “Inclusion” in it's name would be so unapologetically Bi-phobic. Especially, when the director identifies as a transgendered pansexual.

In the end, I plan to practice what I have preached from day one of this blog, which is, “You don’t have a right to complain about Bi-phobia and erasure, if you aren’t doing anything to counteract these things.” That means, I plan to use Meet Up dot com to start my own social Bi-Pan+ Group. My only regret is the group won’t get started before September 23rd this year. Be that as it may, there will be many Bi Visibility days in the years to come, and we have to start some time.

Be The Change You Want To See In Your Community!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I Couldn't Have Said It Any Better

Please read the article I have linked below, then read my additional comments.

Wow! This is extremely powerful. I couldn't have said it any better. As a life long Christian myself, the one thing I would like to add, is this. If as a Christian, you truly believe that homosexuality in all its forms is a sin that damns all homosexuals to hell then you also need to remember that the Bible says the wages of ALL SIN is death. That means God doesn't pick one sin out that is worse than any other. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God, and deserves death and separation from Him. Hitting your younger sibling gets you a one way ticket to hell, just as if you had murdered them. Alcoholism and gambling addictions are sins too, according to the Bible, however, most Christians would say, "but those are diseases." 

My point here is, Man, not God, has chosen to make homosexuality an unforgivable sin. I have researched deeply into the subject and believe there are several factors in the act of the translation of the Bible and societal views at the time these translations were made that have shaped modern Christian's views on homosexuality that are simply not true. 

Martin Luther found the same issues true when it came to the translations regarding indulgences. Even the Catholic Church has changed their teaching on them. Luther's findings are now widely accepted by all Christians. Could it be that the same thing has happened when it comes to the translation of the Bible in terms of homosexuality?

Finally, I would ask the same as the author of this wonderful post. Truly listen with a totally open mind and the intent of seeing our side, without immediately shutting down our opinions because you don't want to find out you may not be right. 

I believe the Bible is Living Word, and if you pray for God's discernment on any matter you might actually learn what He really thinks, instead of what you have always been told He thinks. I have done this already and I know that God loves and accepts me just the way I am.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Coming Out At Your New Job, Is It Safe?

As many of you know, I came out to my family on February 13thof this year and turned 52 in March. Not everyone was totally accepting but it could have been far worse. With time the family members who are having difficulty accepting it will mellow. They still love and accept me as a person and I don’t expect them ever to agree with my life style choices, but it will be nice when they are able to control their distaste for it and no longer show disgust openly and make hurtful remarks.

When I came out to my family I chose to stay closeted at work for many reasons. I have been employed by my current company for 17 years and have been with the same work group for 11 of those 17 years. Of the 35+ people in my current work group there are at least 6 LGBTQ employees, not including me. Some are open about being LGBTQ and others aren’t. As one would expect with today’s corporate climate of anti harassment, there aren’t any real issues.

However, I still chose to keep my sexuality to myself. I don’t want to have to continuously explain myself and my bisexuality to people who more than likely will be genuinely interested and anything hurtful they might say would be unintentional and born out of true ignorance. 

The second issue is my job is very visible to the entire company because I am the point of contact for any issues with my department so most of the 800 plus people at my company know who I am, or have at least heard about me. This means once it is known that I am bisexual the news will spread like wild fire, which will amplify the first issue exponentially. 

Its not that I am uncomfortable with myself or my bisexuality. Its actually quite the opposite. I want to educate people about bisexuality in an effort to eliminate bi-erasure and biphobia because I feel it is very important I do so. My only concern is that because of the visibility of my position in the company I fear I will be inundated with interest and questions. If, like me, you read everything you could get your hands on when you realized you were bisexual, you will have read time and time again that many people are just tired of having to “come out” to everyone they meet on a daily basis, and it can get tiring having to do so.

I had said, if I ever got another job I would start by being “Out” from day one. I really do want to be proactive when it comes to Bi-visibility and I figure it will be easier to do so in smaller doses. This seemed like a great idea at the time, however, things may be changing quickly in my life and it has caused my anxiety to rear it’s ugly head again.

I have been looking for another job for a few years now without much luck for many reasons out of my control. Last week, however, I interviewed for the job of my dreams and was told they will be calling me this week to schedule as second interview with senior management. At this point things are looking very good. While I have yet to be extended an offer, it is likely one will be forthcoming. So that means its time to put my money where my mouth is regarding being out at work, and I would be lying if I said I was anything but scared.

The job would be with a brand new company, in a totally different industry than I currently work. I didn’t find this job through networking so I know no one that could give me the 411 on how the company views LGBTQ workers. Furthermore, from everything I have read previously, being out as gay or lesbian at work is met with far more acceptance than being out as bisexual. The horror stories I have read say that being out as a bisexual at work could mean that your upward mobility is often slowed, if not stopped all together. I have also read articles of employees being openly harassed for their sexuality and management allowing it, just like the stories you heard back in the 70s and 80s about being openly gay and lesbian at work and being fired for it.

I have been under employed for almost 20 years now. This new job will be a God send, if I am able to get it. The salary is exponentially larger than my current salary, and I will actually be able to retire some day. I will also be able to provide for my disabled adult child after I am gone. Both of these things were not possible in my current job. So you can see why I am a bit apprehensive about doing anything to jeopardize my situation.

I have determined my best course of action will be to proceed with caution, holding off on being the “Biggest and Best Bisexual Activist” I can be until I am certain it is safe for me to do so.  In the end, when deciding if coming out is something you should do, it is always best to do a risk assessment with safety being your utmost concern. Safety can mean different things for different people. There are also many factors one should take into consideration; do the people you plan to come out to have control over your basic needs, such as food and housing? Will coming out put you at risk for emotional or physical harm? Will your current relationship change drastically or possibly end if you come out? Or as in my case, will being out at work have financial repercussions for me and my loved ones? 

A very wise gay friend of mine told me to make extremely certain I was ready to come out, “because once you say it, you can’t ever take it back.” It was his way of telling me to weigh my options and make certain I fully understood the very real risk involved before I actually pulled the trigger and said the words, “I am Bisexual.”

Because of this I did as he suggested. By the time I was ready to come out to my Pastor, I knew there was a very real possibility I may be asked to leave the church home I loved dearly. I also realized if they didn’t want me as a bisexual then it was no longer the church I needed to be a member of. It would hurt but I was ready if it did indeed happen. By the time I was ready to tell my family, and more importantly my parents, that I was bisexual, I knew they may no longer accept and love me for who I really was and that I was ready to remove myself from their lives if need be. That would have been truly heartbreaking but I was ready to do it.

With all that said, I am not ready to risk the financial well being of myself and my family until I am certain there will be absolutely no negative repercussions. While it will be sad not be to able to fight bi-visibility and bi-phobia on a larger scale, it will certainly be the safest thing for me to do. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Did Attending My First Pride Out Me At Work

When I came out to my family in February of this year, it was my intent to stay closeted at work, so to speak. The main reason was because I have worked at my current location for over ten years and I have a very high profile job. Many people know who I am, even if I have yet to meet them, they call me by name. Truthfully, I didn’t want to deal with the flood of questions that would most certainly come, in addition to dealing with no longer being as accepted by people that had once liked me. I realize I wasn’t practicing what I preached on my blog, and take full responsibility for not being open about my bisexuality so that my openness will create visibility and acceptance for bisexuals the world over. I am, however, human.

My plan was not to purposefully go out of the way to come out at work, but if it happened organically I wasn’t going to stop it. I am also not so stupid to think that running in LGBTQ circles now that I would never accidently bump into someone from work. I work for a large company with many very out and proud people, in addition to people who don’t shout it from the roof tops, but they aren’t hiding it either.

As Pride rolled around this year I began to get excited. I wanted to go very badly, but I didn’t want to go alone. Many of my gay friends who would have willing allowed me to go with them weren’t able to attend this year. I had a few offers from people of the Bear group I belong to but they were all from men/couples I haven’t met before and that would be awkward at best.

Then surprisingly my son comes to me and says, his friend, who is trans, had invited him to go to Pride and could he go. It was his friend’s first Pride also and they didn’t want to go alone either. I said, I didn’t care and asked him to tell them about me and that it was also my first Pride, and would it be ok if I went along. I would even drive. Everyone was agreeable so we hopped into my SUV on Sunday afternoon and went.

To be honest, after all of the things I have read and been hearing, I thought I would be met with a Pride that was very gay centric with no Bi visibility or representation at all. I was very wrong and pleasantly surprised! Every booth had bisexual gear of many different varieties for sale. Flags, T-shirts, hats, pins, and more.

Even more to my surprise, I also saw attendees wearing bisexual flags, shirts, hats and pins too! I couldn’t believe it. It was so different from what I had been lead to believe would happen.  The one thing that didn’t catch me by surprise was that I saw no men wearing anything that would label themselves as being bisexual, and that made me sad. I would have, but I was newly out and didn’t have anything like that yet.

Then it happened, not fifteen minutes after I arrived, I saw a gay man I work with. He was sitting behind a table that looked like it was supposed to be there for a group who had come to market themselves, but there wasn’t any sign and no pamphlets to be handed out. When our eyes met his got wide as a pie plate. In order to take control of the situation, I said, “Hey, how are you? This is my son and his friend.” He must have still been in shock from seeing me there that he didn’t say anything in response.

I wanted very badly to know what he was thinking and if my plans to stay closeted at work were now a memory. I then told myself I knew this was likely going to happen and it may happen again before I left. Plus I must have subconsciously decided to come in hopes that I would no longer have to hide at work.

I had been on medial leave for several months before this and had been released for work two weeks after Pride. The whole time I was walking around, I wondered who long it would take for the news that I had been seen at Pride to circulate around the company. After all, I was presumed by everyone I worked with to be straight and this would be big news. There wasn’t a thing I could do to stop it now so I had better work at accepting that I was no longer straight at work. I even started to have a dream that everyone was standing around me when I walked into work that first day, and they all wanted to know if I was gay.

Well, the actual day came that I was to go back to work. The second person I saw when I walked in the door was the same gay man who I had seen at Pride. Oddly, he got this weird look on his face that was a combination of fear and uncertainty, like he knew this terrible secret about me and it caused him actual pain because he knew it. I acted like nothing was wrong, because indeed nothing was. It truly didn’t matter to me any more. I suppose it was mean of me not to qualify why I was at Pride and what my sexual identity was when I bumped into him.  To be honest, it isn’t any of his business. It was then that I knew there was a great likelihood he had told no one he saw me there.

I chose not to say any more to him about it because I don’t need to justify myself or my family members to anyone. (By the way, my son is straight.) Doing so, might also make it look like I have something to hide, which I do not. If he, or anyone else asks me why I went to Pride I will say that I took my son and his friend, and will answer any follow up questions truthfully. However, I don’t plan to offer any extra information either. Which means I can use bi-invisibility and the fact that I have always been straight passing to my benefit. I might get asked if I am gay, but I would be shocked if anyone asked me if I am bisexual. 

It has been a whole week since my first day back and no one has said a word to me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a bit relieved about it. When it came to my family not knowing it felt like I was living a lie. Now that they know, I no longer feel like I am being held down by the weight of this huge secret. I have always been someone who shares a great deal of my life with the people I work with, but that doesn’t mean I tell everyone I meet everything about me.

I am currently looking for a new job and have decided when I get one I am going to be open about who I am from day one. I have no plans on introducing myself by saying, “My name is Tim. Nice to meet you, and by the way, I am a bisexual male.”  I will, however, toss bits and pieces into conversations that will hint at the fact  I like men as well as women.

In the end, I still may have been outed at work, and no one has had the courage to ask me about it yet. If they do, its totally fine with me. The only thing left for me to do is to remember not to act like a “Bulldozer Bisexual,” and bite their head off when they ask me about it. I am still the face of bisexuality them and in an effort to represent our community in a positive light I need to be on my best behavior.

By the way, the coolest thing I saw during my first Pride celebration was when I looked down. The street was covered in glitter, how cool is that?!


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Phallocentrism The Slayer Of Dragons

While visiting LGBTQ spaces on the internet this last week I learned a few new things. First of all, I had been hearing about Unicorns, more than usual, and wondered in a Facebook group what the male equivalent was given male bisexuals seem to be far rarer than both female bisexuals and unicorns. I was told, to my delight that male bisexuals are called Dragons, which are just as magical and just as rare as any unicorn you come across.

Secondly, and even more importantly, I discovered a term and it’s definition, for why male bisexuals are even more scarce than hen’s teeth. I mean, I know why but now I have a fancy $17.00 word to toss around that describes it eloquently, in stead of using several paragraphs. That word is:

Phallocentrism- a doctrine or belief centered on the phallus, especially a belief in the superiority of the male sex.

This one word, combined with many an ignorant man who possesses a less than secure image of himself, and a dash of internalize homophobia is the main contributing factor in the lack of out bisexual men, and the number of closeted bisexual men not willing to make themselves know on surveys.

The term was created in 1927, but I fear the actual belief system, which is now so aptly named, has been around since before the time of recorded history. This belief is so widely held that society and even parents begin begin grooming their male children almost from birth. All one needs for proof is to look at the gifts given to parents for their new baby boy. Sports gear, trucks, trains, tractors, war hero action figures, and matching outfits with similar male themes. You will never see dolls, tea sets, princess outfits, or play cookware sets, and most certainly nothing pink!

As male infants become toddlers they begin to hear things like, “Boys don’t cry.” “How’s Daddy’s little man?” and “Don’t hit girls.” They begin to watch cartoons where male characters are always the heroes who save female characters, or dads going to work to earn a living while women stay home to take care of the kids. When they get to school other boys will tease them by calling names like “sissy,” or “you throw like a girl.” By the time they reach Jr High and High School the names grow up too and become “Fag” and “Cocksucker.”

It is by this time in their young lives that without actually ever being told outright that men are stronger and meant to be in charge, and anything less is feminine and weak, they come to know it all for themselves intuitively. I have heard many LGBTQ males say the first time they were called fag or faggot; they didn’t know exactly what it meant but they knew it wasn’t good and called their maleness into question.

When I was in High School, in the early 80s, I had yet to realize I was bisexual, and the term Gaydar was quickly become part of the modern lexicon. I knew what gaydar was and I thought I had a very good one. What I failed to realize then was the only way someone can be certain someone else was a gay male back then was if they were unable to hide their femininity in any way. I have since learned there are far more gay men in the world who are straight passing, and unless they tell you, you would never know. I have lost count, in the last ten years, of how many times I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out someone was gay and I had had no earthly idea they were.

While I wasn’t overly feminine in High School I wasn’t exactly masculine either. I sang in Choir, I was in the drama club and acted and sang in all the school plays. Not only was I bad at sports, I hated them. Even without a limp wrist or a lisp I was still accused of being less than manly on occasion and it was never a pleasant experience.

In addition to societal conditioning, the 80s brought the HIV and AIDs scare making it even more undesirable to be part of the LGBTQ community. Which didn’t help because gay men already had a bad name. This, however, was nothing new. My parents were shown films in health class that were PSAs of a sort warning against homosexuality, and what would happen if you fell under their spell because gay men were all pedophiles.  I have seen some of these myself on YouTube and they are truly repugnant.

So it stands to reason that men about my age and older would haven been brainwashed into thinking that the very last thing on earth you want to be seen as is anything less than society’s view of what a Man’s Man should be. Given that all men have a certain level of internalized homophobia because of these factors they are going to be far less likely to come out as bisexual because it is much easier to hide your same sex attraction and camouflage yourself in a heteronormative marriage.

I was very confused growing up because of my same sex attraction. I figured I was still ok because I wasn’t gay, since I still liked girls. I subconsciously buried my same sex attractions so deeply that I was in complete denial about them until I turned 48.

Yesterday I read an article quoting a study in which bisexual men where only 19% of the LGBTQ community while bisexual women made up 78% of it. I would really like to know what the actual percentage would be if all the bisexual men would stand up to be counted. I would say these figures are fairly accurate given that I saw many bisexual women at my first Pride earlier this month and no openly bisexual men. I was there without any LGBTQ gear on so there may have been some other men there who were hiding amongst their gay male friends and/or partners, or with female partners. 

The good thing about this whole epidemic is recent CDC Studies over the last few years have shown huge increases in teens of all genders who openly identify as bisexual. I dream of the day when my grandchildren have children in a world where it won’t be any different to by bisexual than it will be to be straight, and no one will care. Until then we all still need to do our best to be the most visible unicorns and dragons we can be to help that day happen.