Some lonely thoughts on culture from a rambling writer …
I might just be ranty tonight, but the word “culture” is sitting hard in my throat and I hate to admit that I might have wanted to cry a little bit on my drive home.
It hit me tonight. Sitting in a bar in Salt Lake, surrounded by friends, it hit me. She, this awesome, amazing friend of mine, shook her head and said “You know, I couldn’t date bi girls. It isn’t because of the man thing, it’s because I’m so immersed in my culture …”
And sitting there, watching the world unfold in slow motion, all I could think was “So I’m not good enough for your culture?” And then, I found myself wondering what the hell was meant by “culture.” Yeah, it killed my mood and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Because she’s right. Bi girls and bi boys don’t fit into anyone’s culture. And it isn’t about insecurities, it’s about somehow, I don’t “get” your culture.
Hey it’s true. Right? God I don’t even know what the fuck that means. I really don’t. Because culture is what culture is but I tell you, when I try to play in your culture, you don’t want me there and honestly, in most cities (outside of Boston and Austin) there really isn’t a “bisexual culture.” So, if it means I go home because it bugs me, then that is my deal. So what if I’ve spent my entire adult life looking for a bisexual culture only to be reminded that it’s all good, but … fine. I’ll stay home at night. I’ll get over what she said. Why? Because I love her. She is open and honest and has one of the best, infectious laughs and attitudes about life I’ve ever come across. She was honest. Can’t hate her for that.
But then I start thinking about my livelihood. I start thinking about my writing. Where the hell do bisexual rockstars fit into the mix? Or bisexual anythings? When we talked writing and marketing tonight, “Bisexual” never came up. It was all gay and lesbian fiction. That’s my fault. But at the same time, it terrifies me to think that somewhere out there, an editor is going to change things. So there I go, knowing the self publishing route is my option which only reinforces the idea that I’m not good enough for someone else’s culture. (Let’s put the very good realities of self-publishing aside for a moment in this ranty conversation I’m having with myself tonight.)
Because there isn’t a bi culture that fits in with the gay ones or the straight ones. And so many of my characters are gay and I know it’s because of my own internalized bi-phobia, something I have shaken off time and again, and yet … I sit there and realize how many of my characters aren’t bi. In fanfiction they have been, but not in my original stuff. And maybe I still haven’t shaken off the fact that I still feel inferior to every damned lesbian and gay man out there. Dan Savage, you can rant all you want about how the bisexuals hate you and how you don’t hate them, but when you create a culture of exclusion, we’re going to roll our eyes at you all the while wondering what we ever did to make you hate us so much.
I’ve been an activist in the bi community for fifteen years. I’ve marched, I’ve started groups, I’ve shouted down fellow activits. I still wonder why it is that my culture isn’t marketable, and worse, isn’t part of any other culture. We can sit around the table shooting the shit and smoking and drinking, but that’s not your culture.
Even now as I write this, I’m wondering if I’m going to be brave enough to post it. Maybe I’m just over thinking it. Maybe I need to relax. Maybe there’s a culture out there that I’m missing because so many people ARE coming out as bi. But it’s still there tonight. I wish it wasn’t. And sometimes, conversation is just conversation and it’s good because it makes me think.