This Post was written by a community member C.E. Gillespie
T/W: discussions of biphobia and homophobia.
The first time I ever experienced any form of attraction was when I was six years old. I was watching the Dark Crystal, and I saw, her. Yes, the first thing I was ever attracted to was an elf puppet, in my defence though, she had really pretty hair. Long and shiny, like corn silk. It looked just like my best friend’s hair, although I wouldn’t be able to connect the dots between those two pieces of information for almost a decade.
I realised I liked girls when I was 14. Although, ‘realised’ isn’t quite the right word, I knew, I just didn’t accept it. My family wasn’t homophobic, but I was, and it took me some time to claw myself out of that pit. Moving to the city helped, there were more gay people at my high school than in the entirety of the small town I grew up in. I came out as a lesbian when I was 15, which, for me, meant I fell into an entirely different pit. I wanted it so badly and it made sense, I looked the part after all. My hair was always cropped firmly above my ears, and I shopped exclusively in the men’s section of Target. From the outside, I was the picture of lesbianism, but on the inside, I was an unrestrained vortex of confusion and turmoil. I liked men too, and I hated myself for it. I wanted so badly to not be bisexual. The internalised biphobia was, and to a lesser degree still is, strong; because bisexual women are just secretly straight, right? I knew I wasn’t straight, therefore, I thought I wasn’t bisexual.
I’ve moved beyond that, I no longer repeat biphobic phrases to others or to myself, although the undercurrent still remains. It always feels rather odd to live in between worlds. Hanging out with my partner’s family is always a surreal experience. I talked to him once about how strange it felt, that everyone around me thought I was straight. When he asked why, I asked him “How would it feel if everyone around you thought you were gay?” He responded that he wouldn’t be offended or anything, it’s just that, that’s not who he is.
Yeah, it’s like that.
Queer spaces feel better, but I always feel a little on edge. I still look totally gay at times, so when people assume I’m a lesbian, I feel like I’m almost betraying them by correcting them, like I’ve lured them in with a masculine facade only to spin around and spit the words ‘my boyfriend’ into their face. The rational side of me obviously knows that’s not true, but the rest of me is way too scared of being emotionally kicked out onto the heterosexual streets, I wouldn’t do well there.
However, there are at least a few places that I feel perfectly safe and perfectly, brilliantly myself.
I used to have a few straight friends but that’s not the case anymore, they all came out eventually. I barely passed physics in the HSC so I’m not an expert on gravity, but I’m sure someone out there can explain how it manages to slowly pull queer people towards each other; even without us knowing it. I feel that same pull working daily, at uni, at the shops, at bars, and especially in line at cafes. A warmth that bubbles up when you make eye contact with someone who understands you in a way that most people couldn’t.
I feel this warmth most supremely, on a Saturday night, snuggled up at one of my friend’s houses in the living room. Jackbox Party Pack 7 fired up on the TV, surrounded by all the people I love, a glass of strawberry spumante in hand. A place where I can say what I mean and be understood, a place where I can talk about my attraction to men and women and not be met with confusion, a place where I can just be me as I was always meant to be.