Pride Is …
I have the honor to speak at the first unified unified Dyke, Trans*, Sexually Fluid, and Poly Rally in Utah. These are my remarks.
My name is Shauna Brock, I am the co-founder of Utah’s 1 to 5 Club. I am a writer, I’d like to think I’m an activist. I am also bisexual and poly.
This is an honor I never expected to be a part of. To be standing here, during Pride, speaking about something that is, literally, a matter of life and death. I’m talking about recognition. I’m talking about representation.
We’ve all heard it. And I’m sure some of you have said it. Or laughed at it.
Bi Now! Gay Later!
You’re just confused.
It’s just a phase, honey. It’s just a phase.
Those words, words that the gay and lesbian community rally against – “It’s just a phase” are thrown at sexually fluid kids candy at a parade. Don’t worry, honey. You’ll be one of us someday.
See, when I was a kid, I knew something was different about me. But I knew that something wasn’t that I was a lesbian. So when I was sitting in history class and the students marched out in support of the Gay/Straight Alliances, it wasn’t just my fear of being grounded if I got suspended that kept me from joining them. I wasn’t gay. I wasn’t straight. So clearly, I didn’t belong with them.
It took years for me to realize that I did belong, that I wasn’t alone, that there were people who felt like I did. And once I did come out, I quickly realized how much I wasn’t wanted by a larger community because I didn’t fit their quick and easy media message.
In the last ten years the national conversation about sexual fluidity has started to change, but this is still not a safe world for so many. This past week, bisexual 16 year old Adam Kizer committed suicide after years of bullying. He is only one of so many and so many of their names are not spoken to anyone.
Across this country, the sexually fluid members of this queer community face higher rates of rape, partner violence, mental health issues, and a lack of medical care from doctors than their gay and lesbian counterparts. Isolated from straight and gay communities alike, the closets that our sexually fluid brothers and sisters live in are dark and terrifying. Report after report shows that sexually fluid people are less likely to be out at work, out in groups of friends, and out to medical and mental health professionals. Little wonder, when reports show that some psychotherapists still blame the sexuality of bisexual victims of rape. Claiming that they are confused about what they really want.
I wish I could speak of happiness and rainbows. I wish for me that Pride was a celebration. Not a reminder of national figures like Dan Savage who last week said that bisexual women were nothing more than sexual objects for straight allies. I wish it wasn’t a reminder that Orange is the New Black not only erases Piper’s sexuality, but mocks it. I wish it did not remind me of each and every time my ex partner told me she could not trust me because of my sexuality or how she told me she would not tell her friends and co workers I was bi, because it didn’t matter. She was with me and everyone thought I was a lesbian. I wish it didn’t throw me back to how I have had to change my own writing because publishers would not accept bisexual characters unless they ended up as gay by the end of the story. I wish I could stand up here and celebrate marriage equality in Utah without the reminder of the time a leader in this community told me that there was no such thing as bisexual marriage, only gay or straight marriage. Yes. A leader in this community telling me that I did not deserve the very rights that I was helping to fight for.
I will stand up here and speak of progress. Every day, more celebrities across the spectrum come out as bisexual, asexual, and pansexual – even though their relationships and sexualities are often outright ignored by the media. Every day the studies conducted about the sexually fluid community bring more and more light to the struggles we face. Every day, we are able to regain that which has been erased. Every day, more allies join with us.
I will speak of Utah’s progress. Of moments like this intersectional march. We have a thriving community that is based on support! We are based on the idea that each and every identity is valid, because we are fluid creatures, moving throught this spectrum. And the only way we do not drown is to support each other. After all, to me, THAT is what Pride really is all about.