Bear with me here.
“We’re in Lancaster County at Erin’s family’s house, surrounded by plastic Bible quiz trophies adorned with gold crosses and family portraits taken at national parks. My bewildered partner comes to me, face slack, and tells me I need to call my mother.”
“I never could explain why my heart pounded when her soft hands reached out for mine. Why it felt like I was the only girl in the world, singing with her at the top of my lungs. The way my eyes would nervously glance down at her chest in that purple lace bra and white tank top. Until I could.”
Perhaps he would have loved me enough. I’ll never know, and my eschatology doesn’t include a heaven from which re-embodied souls watch over our earthly lives. All I have is speculation about how he might have reacted to his daughter’s bisexuality, and to his daughter not being precisely a daughter at all.
Closets suck, generally speaking, but sitting in mine gave me joy. This is a coming out story that doesn’t neatly fit in the queer community, much less my own mind.
Last week’s Shabbat was a tragedy. Let us make this week’s Shabbat a space for mourning, for healing, for connecting, for resisting, and for peace. Shabbat Shalom.
“And there was Susan and Rachel at the heart of it all, dancing to the band Susan had sworn would play her wedding if she ever got married. As they laughed and moved to the music and worked up such a sweat that their jackets had to come off, I saw a glimpse of the future wedding I hope for, marrying someone I love, the two of us not fitting so strictly into the feminine.”
I surrounded myself with pieces of paper organized by titles. “Things I want.” “Things I need.” “Things to buy.” “Things to throw- away.” “Things to do.” “Things to fix.” The first thing on my list was “Me” and the second thing was “The United States of America.”
I looked less and less like my mother— the image of womanhood I grew up with — and I was scared. Was she disappointed that I wasn’t like her? Did my femininity disappoint her? At the same time, I worried about being too masculine: people would know I wasn’t straight. I was angry: my mother taught me to be proud of who I was, but what if who I was becoming wasn’t good enough?
She has boxes of recipe cards; mostly I know their stories and not their flavors. She needs to know what I cook for dinner regularly; she eats a dinner of nibbles and stolen bites. She tells me that sugar is toxic and will cause irreparable harm to my body; she sends me a box of Christmas cookies. Scrumptious little crystals that can tear at my blood vessels from the inside.
In 2014, after learning how to care for a person on the edge between life and death, I went on the bike ride that would, ultimately, return me to myself.
Lilith after all has become a sign of every socially unacceptable aspect of women, including and especially our sexuality.
“I always went the extra mile for you and did so gladly because I loved being around you. You never returned these more concrete gestures, which should’ve been the first sign that things were not reciprocal between us, but I was oblivious and idealistic. I genuinely believed I had found love.”
The first time someone described Casey as having “stalkerish” tendencies, I defended her. For the most part though, I didn’t talk about it.
A reader requested a roundtable where Autostraddle’s fat staff talk about how fatness, diet culture, and body positivity, relate to our queerness, identity, and gender. We aim to please, so here we are!
“We don’t talk about our roots as they relate to the heaviness of humid air recycled through our generations on swampy plantations. My family has never talked about it with me, at least. It feels like a small betrayal, choosing to go south when we were given a new chance in the West.”
“Last week I found one of those butter-coloured strands on my dress, and wondered. Then I realised it was one of my own, greying hairs. Ten years have passed, and she’s straight now, living with the boyfriend I introduced her to nine and a half years ago.”
I found a different self slowly, learned to exist as if with many different goggles on at once. Always speaking from my mother’s kitchen in the Silicon Valley and, at the same time, my grandmother’s crowded living room in Punjab. In these years, I would feel the sharpness of many kinds of difference, marginalization. But when I looked down at myself for signs of why I felt so other, all I would find was the color of my hands.
I feel nothing and everything when I’m with her and I want that more than I want to protect myself. I know this will hurt me, but pain is part of my life, so I allow it in bursts I think I can control.
“As a kid, a lack of role models made me believe people like me just didn’t grow up — or at the very least, didn’t grow up to be happy and open. But now I see that being bisexual actually allowed me to form my own version of what happiness and the future look like.”