“Why is sexuality given such a high priority in identity? I might read your writing but I don’t care about your sex life.”
Someone actually tweeted that to me when I expressed displeasure that they were 1) using one of my blog posts as a platform to tell marginalised people that we don’t deserve respect if we’re not all nice and deferential to our oppressors (ignoring the fact plenty of us are perfectly nice and still get trodden on anyway), and 2) had to gall to @ me as if they were looking for a fight. I’m not going to @ them here because I’m not that petty and if they really want to keep arguing with me, I’m sure they’ll find it without my help. The nonsense of the original issue aside, straight people love to claim they don’t care about the sex lives of LGBTQIAP+ people, yet they always seem to be the ones bringing it up in the negative whenever we try to talk about our own lives in any capacity.
If you don’t care about my sex life, why bring it up at all? Are you incapable of conceptualizing the existence of LGBTQIAP+ people without sexually objectifying us to the point that a person can’t even mention that they identify as anything other than straight without sending you into a pearl-clutching tizzy?
My bisexuality says nothing about my sex life other than the fact I am attracted to more than one gender. It doesn’t tell anyone who I’ve had sex with, or if I’ve even had sex at all. There is no singular bisexual experience, or any singular queer experience at all. There are pansexual people who’ve never been kissed, asexuals who are quite sexually experienced, heterosexuals who have had sexual encounters with people of their own gender. And yet queer people are marginalised simply because of who we have a capacity to love. We are attacked, killed, ostracized, and shipped off to abusive conversion therapy camps to force the queerness out of us. Why? Because we exist.
You want to know why sexuality is given such a high priority in identity? Because it is a part of us. The same goes for straight people, except their sexuality is so heavily normalised and displayed everywhere that they never need to think twice about it. Straight people are depicted kissing in the media all the time. When a gay couple does the same thing? It’s automatically deemed as sexual in a way the heterosexual equivalent is not.
Another reason why sexuality is such an important part of many people’s identity is because of the way we are treated for being who we are. It’s become a necessity to celebrate ourselves in a world that is often actively hostile towards us. That’s why Pride is a thing. So the fact that people want to silence and objectify us simply for talking about ourselves? It’s incredibly telling and incredibly not okay.
What this person said to me came at a particularly bad time, given all the crap VOYA has been doing recently in relation to a biphobic review of Kody Keplinger’s Run in which they said:
The story contains many references to Bo being bisexual and an abundance of bad language, so it is recommended for mature junior and senior high readers.
Because the mere existence of a bisexual is apparently a mature topic. Straight people literally have sex in that book, but that didn’t rate a mention. If you have the time and the constitution, Bisexual Books has a whole tag dedicated to this particular garbage fire and the way VOYA (badly) treated people who complained. This post covers the original nonsense if you just want to hear how about how it started.
Honestly, what this person said is just one thing in a long line of bigoted behaviour stretching back years before I was born. It is the culmination of an entire tradition of beating down people who are different, who dare to be who they are as human beings. So if merely talking about my bisexuality makes people uncomfortable, they can get the fuck over it because the world doesn’t revolve around them. I have to hear about straight people’s sex lives all the time. The least they can do is treat me like a person when I talk about who I am, or even when I simply exist as a queer person, regardless of whether what I’m saying is actively sexual or not. And often? It’s not.
So get your head out of the gutter and learn the difference.