No Queer Left Behind

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Last night while having sushi with a couple of uber rad minds (Alex Franzen and Nailah Blades), I mentioned that I’m struggling with finding meaningful, articulate resources for the BTQ portion of my LGBTQ community. Basically, I’m an “L” and consort mostly with the LG portion of the community, and have minimal conscious contact with the BTQ folk. It’s not because I’m a snob, it’s just the way it is. This acknowledgement led to a conversation about the social bias even within our own community, where many some lesbians and gays seem to have an air of superiority over the BTQ’s of the world.

Thoughts (if not actual words) to the effect of: Bisexuals need to just pick a team … Transgendered folk are just having an identity-crisis-gone-Shining and need to just accept themselves for who they are … Queer? What the hell does that even mean??

Oh, but us gays and lesbos, we’ve got our shit figured out, yup.

::

I’m not one to think that celebrities have a moral or professional obligation to speak out for the causes they believe in, nor do I believe we ought to buy into what every celebrity says about the causes they choose to speak out about. I just like to see famous people—with an audience outside the bubble of the LGBTQ community—speak out about the causes I also believe in. Charles Barkley recently did such a thing by using Martin Luther King Day to speak out against more than just racial discrimination:

“You know, people try to make it about black and white. [Martin Luther King, Jr.] talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now — people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexual people. God bless the gay people. They are great people.”

We are great people, it’s true. We are also human people. Human people susceptible to judgment and bias and discrimination, just like the rest of the world. Sometimes we forget have these errs within our own community.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

~ Stephen R. Covey

We have the LG judging “the others” for not being like them—us, I dare say—rather than just accepting people as they are; we’re all in this together. It doesn’t matter that “they” are not like you—seek to understand. It doesn’t matter that someone is attracted to both men and women—seek first to understand. It doesn’t matter that someone feels the need to change their gender—seek first to understand, rather than judge for what you don’t understand.

What matters is that you cease trying to get your point across, and listen to what’s happening on the other side of the conversation. Not having a conversation? Start creating dialogue rather than letting the thoughts in your head bang around like a pinball in a tiny rubber tunnel.

Just as we’re to asking the heterosexual community to accept us as we are, let’s offer the same to our own community. Even when we don’t understand where they’re coming from—especially when we don’t understand where they’re coming from. Non-understanding is the perfect platform from which to engage in conversation. Try it from a pure curiosity standpoint, rather than a Judgy McJudgerson standpoint.

Try: So, what’s that like for you? versus So you like the girls *snickerface-rolly-eyes* AND the boys, do you?

::

That’s enough of my rant on equality for now, so let me digress into asking a favor of you … Help me help my people.

As I’m putting together my Social Guide to Coming Out: An eBook for All Stages of Busting Out of the LGBTQ Closet, I’m finding that I need help in finding better resources. I don’t want to abandon exclude any letters or people, and since I have little personal experience with the Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities (I MUST do something to remedy this!), I’d like resources you or someone you know have used for one or more of these communities.

Resources I’m looking to include (but are not limited to) are:

  • Scripts on coming out as bisexual, transgender, and/or queer
  • Links to videos and personal stories (I already have It Gets Better)
  • Twitter and Facebook profiles in specific support of bisexual, transgender, queer folk
  • Support groups for bisexual, transgender, and/or queer men and women
  • Links to specific articles/interviews/blogs related to bisexual, transgender, and/or queer communities

I appreciate both you and your help, and any recommendations are greatly appreciated. I hope I get so many great resources from you that I’ll have trouble fitting them all in the eBook. What a great problem to have.

Love and Light to you and your uber rad equality-minded self.

  • As a bisexual woman in a heterosexual relationship, I’m only discriminated against by gays and lesbians. I’m sure it’d be different if I was a bisexual man.
    I can understand. I was in a lesbian relationship for 8 years. I never have to worry about whether people will understand my relationship. But, I wish that some lesbians didn’t take my choice to be with a man personally. But, I’m still just a person in love with a person, and I wish that people would recognize that. The fact that I have a choice shouldn’t cause resentment.

    • You’re so right: the fact that you have a choice shouldn’t cause resentment. The fact that resentment surfaces speaks to the internal fears and issues, I believe, others are unwilling to work through. I wonder if some of it stems from a fear that heterosexuals will see bisexuals “going back to” the opposite sex, giving fuel to the argument that being gay is just a phase, or that nature will take over if you allow it to so you can be straight again. Certainly, whatever the fear is, it’s internal and has nothing to do with you (I know you know this).

      I remember feeling pressured when I was coming out to make a decision … gay or not, already! I almost feel lucky to still be a lesbian and not have to face damnation in my own community should a man strike my fancy and I wander over to the opposite sex “team” again. The judgment is ridiculous.

      I accept and love you for who you are, m’dear and not who you’re in a relationship with, and I so appreciate your comment here today.

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  • Anonymous

    This is a fantastic post and one that I’m sure is very necessary. I’ll never understand why oftentimes we face the most scrutiny from within our own communities. I think it is definitely based on our need to label one other and when we find things that don’t fit within our neat little labels, we freak out.

    Ultimately, it’s just so important that we all pay each other the utmost respect and kindness. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Devon

    I was in relationships with men and women before I fell in love for my current partner with whom I’ve been for almost 7 years. I consider myself a lesbian but there was a period of time I thought I was, perhaps, bisexual. I struggled to identify both politically and sexually for years before I came out. I think that some of the pressure or internal prejudice has to do with the politics of being queer. I think this is what you’re getting at, Dian. If you can “choose” to be bisexual or gay or trans then the assumption (by society, at large) is that you could choose not to be. And if there is a genetic component to being gay then once its discovered, could be “bred out,” thus neither nature or environment/choice is helpful when it comes to understanding sexuality. For a community that deals with the in-between and the gray areas, we aren’t very good at embracing fluid labels. Because fluidity doesn’t allow for a political stance.

    I think it is a shame that we can’t see the humanity in one another.

    In terms of guides, etc. I think that it’s important for those coming out to feel like it’s okay to struggle, to be unsure, to be scared. It may get better for some people, but for others it may take a while and we need to understand that it isn’t always easy for certain economic and ethnic backgrounds to accept sexuality outside the lines of man and woman.

    • “fluidity doesn’t allow for a political stance.” That’s a great observation. We forget about the humanity of being human because we’re so focused on progressing political agendas. While I do see the importance of having an impact on the current socio-political state of equality rights, I believe in a deeper importance to accepting who we are as we are. Humans in general don’t seem to be very good at this.

      Thanks so much for sharing here Devon, I appreciate both you and your words, as well as your willingness to share both here. You’ve given me some good food for thought as I move forward with my project.

  • Love your post, Dian. One of the conundrums of the human condition is why so many of us take pleasure in identifying an “other” whom we can put down in some fashion. Mind you, I’m as guilty as anyone in this respect which is profoundly discouraging. Are we so insecure in ourselves? Is it so difficult to look for commonalities instead of differences? On the specific issue of sexual orientation, I have always been attracted to everything that moves (and much that stand still) so bi-multi-whatever-sexuality is the only thing that makes sense to me. The issue of whether I take action as a result of attraction is a separate question. Maybe my perspective from the “safe” mainstream disqualifies me….

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  • Deb Halberstadt

    Dian, I did not know about your blog until just know 645 4/12/11. How cool, smooth, well written. We have to get together.

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