Dear DDN Circuit,
I hope you can detect the sarcasm dripping from my words as I tell you how amazing it was to explore my sexuality as a queer, brown woman in the circuit. Coming in as a naïve first year, I was excited to meet people who shared similar interests and to make new friends -- possibly even make a “more-than-friend” along the way. As I attended more and more competitions and hung out with people from the circuit, I realized that my sexuality was more of a party trick to people; something that I could pull out and have people screaming and whipping out their phones to record. That was frustrating enough but eventually, I found that it isn’t just random people at after-parties who oversexualize sapphic relationships. It can be your acquaintances, teammates, and even friends…
It happened soon after I came out to a close friend in high school. Her tone quickly shifted towards me. She would talk about having a threesome and wanting me to be the third. She also wanted to kiss me so badly that she would bargain for it: “If I do XYZ could I kiss you?”. Eventually, she wore me down and I gave her a kiss for some inconsequential task. I felt used and confused. Never did she think to ask me whether that was something I was even interested in, let alone how it feels to have her project her sexual fantasies onto me. Why would a friend do that? She even ended up inviting me to have an actual threesome with her. I declined. I was upset and still am sometimes. We’re still friends. I learned in high school that sharing my sexuality would be perceived by others as an open invitation to my body.
It happened in my freshman year of college. A guy asked me how gay sex worked: “Do guys just dock their penises? Do girls just lock their pussies together?” First of all: lock?! This seemed more like a problem with America’s sex education than anything, but I was still uncomfortable. I talked to my captain about the comment, but nothing was done. And I don’t blame her at all. What can you say to that? How can you correct that behavior when we’re all the same age? Still, I think about it from time to time. Is that really what people want to know about gay relationships -- how they have sex? We place way too much emphasis on all the wrong parts of gay relationships. We are just as uncomfortable talking about our sex lives as you would be with a classmate or coworker. There is so much beauty and love and life within queer relationships, but people can’t seem to get past how genitals work
It happened in my junior year of college. A girl I had confided in about being queer came up to me at an after-party, drunk and with a guy trailing close behind. “We should make out! *White Guy* doesn’t believe that I’m bi!”. Usually, I hate being the sober one at parties but this time I was incredibly grateful because I was able to stifle my recoil and tell her with composure that the guy was not, in fact, invested in her sexuality in the way that she thought. He just wanted a show. This was the first time I realized how people -- especially cis, hetero men -- feel entitled to see the intimacy between women. This was also the last time I ever told people within the circuit explicitly about my sexuality.
I was tired-- I am tired! It was (and still is) painful to see straight women kiss their girl friends (note the space) blithely on the lips. It pains me -- not in a gatekeep-y way, but more in an I-wish-that-could-be-me type of way. I wish I could make out with a girl I like and not have any other cares at the moment. But, as a bisexual college student, I didn’t have this luxury when I explored my sexuality. And as a bisexual woman today, I still feel the burden of having to de-sexualize sapphic relationships in order to have one in peace.
In the wake of my experiences, I have advice for anyone who needs it...
To the women who make out with other women solely in the presence of men:
You are so much more than your appeal to men. Don’t pull queer relationships into it and play into the idea that men are entitled to see women kiss each other, or that sapphic relationships are a party trick.
To the men who ogle and scream at the sight of two women kissing each other:
Why are you so determined to center yourself in things that don’t relate to you? Understand that you make queer women uncomfortable and nothing that we do is for you. Just do better.
Lastly, to the bisexual women within the circuit who might relate too much to my words:
Remember that you don’t owe anyone anything. While your sexuality might be a core part of your identity, that’s not all you are. Once you start to believe otherwise, that’s when the tokenization starts. While it may feel nice to be a token (I know I’ve definitely been there), it gets old after a while. You start to realize that those people who tokenized you probably don’t care about your identity in the way you do. You are more than how you can benefit others.
It is hard. Some might even say it’s really fucking hard. I literally can’t deny that. With the biphobia that still runs rampant, even within LGBTQ+ spaces, it can be exhausting. There have been many times where I considered never sharing my sexuality again purely because of the mental exhaustion I was put through with prodding questions and disgusting requests. That being said, you will find peace. I found peace in the people who accepted me and treated me normally rather than as an object for their fantasies. I found peace in the media that had accurate portrayals of how I felt. I found peace in online communities that shared memes that none of my straight friends could understand. Really what I’m saying is that you’ll find your peace -- you’ll find the thing that makes you feel genuinely appreciated. Don’t settle for anything less.
A Raging Bisexual