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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.

Thank you.

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.

If you happen to be curious: THIS for the record, is PRIDE

If you haven’t had a chance to adopt your new Queer Queen, this is your chance. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, who penned what, in my not so humble opinion, SHOULD be the anthem that all Pride Festivals are singing. I’ve been trying for weeks to pen a commentary of the song that offers her the respect she is due, but after attending the show tonight, after seeing Halestorm perform it, I realized that as in all things, Mz Hale speaks only for herself.

So, in honor of Pride, of the bullshit and the crazy, I give you what it really boils down to:

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“New Modern Love”
I’ve got a forbidden love

I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up
I’ve got a new modern love
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up

I won’t pretend that I don’t feel
The way I feel
I can’t forget the taste of something hat’s real
Step into my closet and maybe you’ll find
Something that’ll scare you
Something that you like
Your old familiar logic is poison on your lips
It’s nothing in the water
That’s just the way it is

[Chorus:]
I’ve got a forbidden love
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up
I’ve got an uncommon love
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up
I don’t care if you don’t want it
‘Cause I, I got it
I don’t care if you don’t get it
‘Cause I, I still want it
I’ve got a new modern love
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up, no

You can’t rewire these circuits any other way
Yeah, you can twist the signal
The message is the same
Step out of your bubble and
Maybe you will find
Something that’ll save you
Something that you like
Your old familiar logic is poison on your lips
There’s nothing in the water
That’s just the way it is

[Chorus]

Step into my closet and maybe you will find
Something that’ll scare you
Something that you like
There’s something that you like
There’s something that you like

I don’t care if you don’t want it
‘Cause I, I got it
I don’t care if you don’t get it
‘Cause I, I still want it
I’ve got a new modern love
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up, no

Not giving it up
Not giving it up, no
I’m not giving it up
Not giving it up, no

Thank you, Lzzy. Thank you.
New Modern Love can be found on Halestorm’s most recent release, Into the Wildlife.

Pride is Approaching

I attended a Poetry Slam on Memorial Day and was approached by one of the poets in the area who also happens to be one of the primary volunteers for Utah Pride. She came up, all smiling and hugs, and asked about my girlfriend’s open mic, When She Speaks I Hear the Revolution and if we wanted to have a place on the poetry stage.

Logic said to be gracious. I instead stumbled over my words, finding all of my reasons that I can’t stand the Pride Center, and I turned what could have been a fantastic moment into an awkward, anxious exchange where all I could think was …

You know what … it’s really hard to give a damn about Pride this year.

You would think with all of the positive steps being made in the gay community that I couldn’t wait to get out there and march with the family that is the Queer community. But I find the closer I get to Pride and the more expectations I have on being Prideful, the less I want to participate.

I’ll acknowledge it for what it is: burnout.

I’ve been an activist and an advocate on and off for 17 years and while I have never felt more love and acceptance regarding sexuality and gender identity, I’ve also never felt more isolated from my so-called community. I’m sure a lot of that feeling of there being a wall between me and my fellow Queers is completely in my head. But I’m also … I dunno.

And maybe the truth is that I’m still angry at Gay Inc for willfully steaming on ahead and ignoring the bi community. Maybe I’m just tired of having to stand up every single time people talk about “Gay Marriage” and remind people that there is a spectrum of sexuality. Maybe I’m tired of the media applauding the coming out of amazing people like Ellen Page while still flat out ignoring or mislabeling Out Bisexuals.

It’s funny, in a heartbreaking way. My first novel is full of gay and bisexual men but I toned down the bisexuality almost to the point of non-existence because I was sure no one would want it. In doing so, I’ve realized how much of the heart isn’t there. But sitting here, only a couple of weeks out from Pride I find myself wondering … if I put the story back together and make it what I initially intended …

Will it still be mislabeled?

So I’ll just go over here, waving my Pink, Purple, and Blue for me and my characters and hope that somewhere along the parade route, someone notices.

Yeah, maybe this is why I shouldn’t write blog posts when I’m depressed. 😉

And for the record, Tami … I would LOVE to stand there on that stage on Saturday.

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