Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Lesbian / Bisexual Until Graduation"

Bi-Furious! and She's a Carnivore both have excellent posts up on the supposed "lesbian/bisexual until graduation"("LUG"/"BUG") phenomenon. Aviva hits the nail on the head with several of her observations, including the way our culture dismisses young people's experieces as invalid. "Ask Aunt Carnivore" wittily answers a funny and well-written letter from a reader about the difficulties of being taken seriously during the coming out process, particularly when one is a student at a women's college. Instead of repeating what they said (which you should definitely go read!), I think I'm just going to ruminate for a minute.

I myself may have been considered a BUG by some. No one has ever called me that to my face. I'm sure some people have thought it, though. There are a few different things working against me in that area. Apparently, I come across as very straight. I'm sure some people have harbored their doubts about me in the past.

I started out my undergrad at Smith College, one of the notorious Seven Sisters. While there, I heard more than one Smithie refer to a friend or housemate as a BUG or LUG. A significant number of these women were bi or lesbian themselves and would most likely have been upset if someone had called *them* a B/LUG. Still, I had to watch so many of these smart women in this exceptional and open environment doubt each other and put each other down behind their own backs. That's the destructive power of heterosexism.

I did not fully and entirely blossom as a queer until around 2006. Sure, I was out to most of my friends by the end of high school, and out to most by the time I left Smith, but 2006 is when I had my First Real Live Girlfriend (tm). Unlike me, FRLG (tm), a lesbian, was already immersed in local and national queer culture. She taught me a lot about gay stuff, lesbian stuff, queer stuff... I taught her some things too, of course. But having been out as a lesbian and involved with other lesbians, she had been able to go places and do things that I as an uninitiated bisexual woman hadn't, she knew things I didn't... despite the fact that I went to Smith College ("Play lacrosse with me!"). The lesbian acceptance of bisexuality and bi invisibility are two things to blog about later.

2006 was also when I came out to people in my family who didn't yet know that I am bi. I came out to my mom in 2003 or so - actually, she asked me about it and I told her. It was no big deal. From there I came out to individual family members in an ongoing process. I never should have been afraid to tell any of them - I am blessed with one of the most amazing and accepting families I know of. Truly, I am blessed. I don't know why I had any fear. I already knew the extent of their love for me in my heart. But you hear horror stories. Most LGBTQ people I know have at least one horror story. I think some in my family knew all along, though, especially since they made sure to tell me once in a while that they'd love me no matter my sexual orientation or anything else.

Also, I remember when I was small, I saw K.D. Lang on VH1 and promptly went to ask my mother if K.D. Lang was a boy or girl and said I really hoped K.D. Lang was a boy because K.D. Lang was really, really cute. Verbatim.

Thank goodness I didn't have to deal with any of that BUG crap from my family.

Though... technically, I haven't graduated, so I guess we'll see how things turn out a few months down the road when I do. ;)

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