In case you missed the announcement: Yesterday, I wrote that I will use this blog for sorting out a couple of thoughts I have been having over the last months. I called it my “feminism crisis”, but I do not know if that even comes close to giving an apt description. Maybe that’s not even what it is about.
So what is the issue? The issue is, very broadly, the clash of two views on what gender is. That doesn’t sound too bad, and it doesn’t sound too critical. So why is this so important to me that it can actually haunt me for months?
The issue has become so important to me because it occurs in two places: It is an issue in feminism (in which I am very interested, intellectually and politically) and it is an issue in LGBT spaces. As you might know, especially LGBT spaces have become increasingly important to me because I have started addressing some questions that I had been ignoring a very long time.
What are these questions? Well, these questions all relate to my self-identification and to making sense of all the romantic encounters I had during my lifetime. I have always perceived myself as bisexual, even before I knew the word, but not because I had a positive definition for it but because I have thought of heterosexuality as a ridiculous idea as long as I can think. Again: this includes times when I was far too young to know the actual word “heterosexuality”.
What I thought myself to be and what I later thought to be called “bisexuality” is being attracted to persons, not boys/men. Bisexuality is sometimes understood to be attraction to one’s own gender as well as the other gender(s). Maybe that’s what I meant. Sometimes that exact same thing is called “pansexuality”, while bisexuals are thought to be attracted to girls/women and boys/men. There are two major differences between the two ways to understand the word “bisexuality”:
- the most prominent one is that the first one (the one that is also called “pansexuality”) doesn’t care about how many genders there are. It has the potential to include them all, no matter how many there are. That difference is not important for my own story.
- the difference that matters to me is that the “man and women” definition gives a positive definition. For example, I have a friend who says: “I am totally turned on when I see naked men, but I am also into breasts.” So she can name positive features in men and women (as kinds, not as individuals) respectively that she is attracted to. I never thought like that. I always defined it negatively, as non-heterosexuality and non-homosexuality. (Compare: “How could one possibly be attracted to men-specific properties?”)
So far no trouble. The trouble began, as you can imagine, with finally admitting a doubt as to whether that’s actually the label that works for me. I don’t even know how to explain the rest to you yet, so I’ll have to leave you with this (very private) background information for now.