I never grew up questioning my sexuality. I was too busy worrying about being teased, my Blackness and the state of my mother’s mental health to even consider liking something other than boys. From a very early age I was introduced to the idea of sex, not because of anything inherently traumatic, but because my mom was in her mid-40s and watched whatever content she wanted on TV not caring about the mildly explicit nature of the soap operas she watched. It was on at 3PM, and wasn’t porn, so it was safe to watch in her eyes. I remember always liking the boys in my class, but not in a real way – because I felt like I had to, because I wanted to be liked, because every other girl had “boyfriends” on the playground, so I wanted one, but I cared a lot more about math and science then boys, and I cared more about just having friends than anything else.
My mom talked about having gay friends, and always enjoyed gay characters and shows like Will & Grace. I remember us talking about bisexuals and my mom exclaiming that they didn’t exist and that bisexuals should “pick a side of the fence”. I remember wondering if maybe the grass was green on both sides. During my party phase I was so excited to have attention that I didn’t really care who was giving it to me. I was okay with guys hitting on me, or girls, and the idea of exploring a sexuality with either of them was fine with me because it meant attention. By this point my mom was in the hospital, so I wouldn’t need to come out to her. After hooking up with a few women I simply decided I was bisexual, that I enjoyed women and men alike. The following pride celebration I posted about it, but it still wasn’t so much of a coming out as it was just an affirmation for me. I did come out to my dad, sort of. He joked about my marriage once and I asked “what if I married a girl”. He just said okay. Upon further questioning he’s also expressed that I may need more life experiences to make sure that is who I am.
I often wonder if I dumbed down, or felt less intense, about being bisexual because I was already Black, and a woman, and French and all of these other minorities and things that made me other. Adding queer to the list felt exactly like that, dogpiling to a list. I never felt scared about liking a girl, or what other people would think. I feel like a literal deck of cards where any choice could be a reason someone somewhere doesn’t like who I am. I had already decided long ago that I was going to be true to myself and identifying as bisexual didn’t change that fact for me.
There is also an aspect of safety that comes with being Bisexual in comparison to being gay, which is the same kind of safety in being lightskinned as opposed to Black. If at any point I was made to feel uncomfortable about my sexuality in the past, I could always default back to the societal norm of liking men, of presenting as straight, in the same way I could make racist jokes with my white friends to try to gain popularity and stifle my Black identity. The person I am today would never stifle her identity to make other people comfortable, either by straight presenting or by whitewashing herself. Though I explained how whitewashed I am in a previous blog, I try to always be loud and proud about my Blackness in an authentic way, and the same goes for my queerness, Acadienne-ness, and feminist values.
I’m happy that I grew up as a curious child open to exploring and discovering everything, including who and what she likes. I’ve never been afraid to list those things. My mother told me from an early age not everyone would like me, solely for the colour of my skin. I never felt afraid of adding bisexuality to the list of things that make me unique, different, other.
As a Black queer Acadienne woman I do feel that all aspects of my identity lack representation. I saw as few Black people in media as I did bisexuals, and up until recently the Acadian community was still a very religious and white one. I am happy to see the queer Acadian culture thriving in the East Coast. I am happy to see more Black representation in our nation. I hope to see more Black queers in the East Coast thriving. While it is not easy being other, the more uniqueness you add to my list, the thicker my beautiful melanin skin becomes. Bring on the challenges and adversity.
If you didn’t know that I was queer, and if someone reads this to my mother, I like both men and women – guess I’ve come out now.