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Author Topic: Coming out bi
MusicNerd
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Well, first off, Happy 4th of July to any fellow Americans out there! [Big Grin]

Second, I'd like to come out to my parents since I've recently come out to myself about being bisexual (that's a thing, right? "coming out to yourself"? or is that called coming to terms with it?). It just feels so right to have embraced my bisexuality, now. [Smile]

My parents overall are pretty chill with homosexuality, I guess. To be honest though, my dad used to be very homophobic when I was younger due to his upbringing. When I went to the school I just graduated from and he saw that I had some friends and classmates who were gay and bi and one who’s transgendered, he realized that homosexuality or whatever-else-have-you wasn’t so bad after all if his daughter was friends with LGBTQ kids. He’s improved greatly over the years (ex. saying that gay couples should be allowed to marry or that any parent who throws a kid out of their home for being gay is cruel, etc.), but sometimes I think he’s a bit uncomfortable with it and sometimes he'll make jokes about them.

My mom on the other hand was always really chill with homosexuality and not the least bit homophobic, but sometimes I think she doubts the credibility of bisexuality (ex. seeing people like Elton John coming-out as bi and then gay). I also remember once when I was little, she told me never to date a man that was bisexual; I guess ‘cause she was biphobic and she thought that he’d cheat on me with another man or something. Mind you, I think anyone can cheat regardless of their orientation, but I digress. I’m pretty sure she thinks that my friend’s (let’s call her Shay) bisexuality is a phase since she thinks that Shay’s young (she’s in her early twenties now), but I don’t know.

After doing some research (and reading a Scarleteen article [Smile] ) and talking with Shay (who’s like a big sister to me), I realized that it was totally normal for my attraction to both genders to be unevenly split up roughly 70% men and 30% women. I talked to her a little while ago and she totally understood where I was coming from. She’s the only person I’ve come out to so far. She has a boyfriend but she still very much so considers herself to be bisexual and attracted to women. She also told me that she leans more towards men when it comes to attraction too, though she’s dated her female best friend in the past. It was really nice to know that I wasn’t alone on this front. Shay came out to her mom when she started dating her friend; but since I don’t plan on getting into a relationship right now (I enjoy being single [Smile] ), I don’t really know how that’s gonna work for me. I was kinda planning on telling my parents before I left early for college at the end of July, but maybe not. I have no idea, that’s why I’m asking for advice. [Smile]

I know that my parents would still love me and all if I came out to them, but I think that their reactions would probably be: my dad being uncomfortable and my mom thinking it’s a phase I’m going through since I’ve never mentioned any crushes I’ve had on girls to her nor have I ever gone out with anyone (of either gender) before. What’s funny is that if I was straight I wouldn’t need to prove it by going out with a guy, but anything else and I’d have to prove my sexuality; though really if I went out with a guy that would only prove that I’m attracted to that particular guy, not that I’m straight. Then again, my mom might have already guessed that I’ve had an attraction to women as well as men. Who knows?

Thanks to anyone who read all of this and got to this last paragraph here! I guess my questions at the end of all that rambling/backstory are: What would be the best way to come out to my parents (one at a time, at the same time, etc.)? Should it be like a formal sit-down or casually mentioned in conversation? Any advice or shared experiences of people coming out to their parents (as LGBT or anything) would be much appreciated! [Smile]

[ 07-04-2012, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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MusicNerd
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Oops! I was timed out of editing my last post.

Edit: I also meant to add as the second sentence in the last paragraph that I'm worried that this might make our parent-child relationship really awkward once I come out to them, but I feel like it's something that I should do. Then, I meant to list the questions right afterwards.

[ 07-04-2012, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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LizC
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I can't add much here, since I won't be coming out to my parents for a while, at least not 'till I leave home(due to crazy levels of homophobia/biphobia), but I do think it's awesome that you have someone to talk to who's been through this and that you can confide in. That's always an incredible plus. Also, seconding the uneven split. I had previously thought that you were only "truly" bisexual if you were right in the middle of the Kinsey scale, but talking to others in pursuit of my own coming out to myself(totally a valid phrase!) revealed that having a 70/30 split or any kind of uneven divide is actually pretty normal amongst us bisexuals.

I guess it all boils down to how you feel. Nobody, here or in your real life, will be able to tell you the one foolproof way of coming out to your parents. I can understand thinking talking about it can be awkward; in fact, the most difficult part for me coming out to my friends was the ~~OMG TEH SEX~~/WHAT DOES THIS MEAAAAANNN FOR OUR RELATIONSHIP? knee-jerk response/association.

Are you sure you want to come out, that you're not being pressured from outside sources or that you feel the need to explain yourself? If you want to, that's fantastic, but if you're unsure and hesitant, it might be for a good reason, if that makes sense. I don't know of your relationship with your parents, but maybe a kind of acclimation would help, or at least give you a chance to see how they feel? Like, making remarks about how a woman looks attractive, or similar. I've already started stuff like that, and despite the scandalized looks, I'm not gonna stop.

That's all just my two(or three) cents; I hope others reply with more help!

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hello MusicNerd,

I recently came out to my parents as bisexual. We were having a very philosophical conversation and discussing being too afraid to do something (anything) and it holding people back. I realised that the most insecure part of my identity was not being out to them. So I said "if this were a movie I would come out to you as bisexual right now". The funny part is that they weren't quite sure if I was coming out or making yet another comment about what would happen if life were a movie (I do that a lot). My little sister had awesome (and I'm serious) timing about coming into the room right then so I didn't have to talk about it anymore untill the next day. My parents were great about it.

What helped me to decide was the realisation that that was the only thing holding me back from being out and proud. It feels really weird to be out to them after actively hiding it for so long, I feel naked when I think about it, but ultimately I'm glad they know. Other than appending a female noun onto some discussions of future parteners, nothing much has changed.

I'm not sure if any of that is helpful.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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copper86
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Hey!

I feel bad posting here because I do not have any experience in coming out to family; but I can maybe offer some tips on how to admit something to others in general. If you're concerned about when and how, it might be best to pick a time that would work for all of you - when you're all at home and under no pressure for time or commitments. Would you want to tell them before you left for school, or when you're home for the weekend? When my best friend came out as gay to his parents, I think he was at home; and it was when he was out of school for the time being. But, while he was at school, he sent his brother an email coming out to him then... So you can come out at any time really - before or during school - but it might depend on if you'd like to come out before you have homework and all that other jazz to distract you. [Smile]

You could write out what you'd like to say to them, too, just so you have a rough draft and a mental list of what you'd like to tell them, in case you're feeling a bit nervous or tense when the time comes. I often just think of what I want to say to my parents and then slowly come out with it later; but man, is it tough! I definitely empathize with you over this - it's a very brave decision you're making, though, and I am proud of you!

You're close with your parents, it seems, so maybe try and put yourselves in their position (though it seems like you already have, since you've gauged their potential reactions to your coming out above). If you already have an idea of how they'd react, and potential questions and/or feelings they'd have surrounding your coming out, then I think that is a very good rational and relieving start; since you can already come up with a list of potential answers and explanations should they have any questions.

I'm not sure if I told you this, but there are usually LGBTQ clubs and events on-campus at colleges and universities. My university's campus had one, and there'd be posters at our Student Life Centre about it. They had a cool acronym for the club - it was cool. My roommate went to some of their meetings and she said that it was fun. They had pizza and did social stuff. She made some friends/acquaintances and got along well with the club organizers. It sounded like a very friendly and open place. So, if you do decide to join clubs in your university, I'm sure you will be able to meet people! I find that post-secondary schools are so much more inclusive-oriented with everything nowadays; be it race, religion, disability, homo/bisexuality, and anything and everything. It's so nice. [Smile]

I really hope you are doing well; and please keep us updated on what happens! I'm rooting for you! [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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MusicNerd
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Wow! Thank you all so much for responding!


quote:
Originally posted by LizC:
I can understand thinking talking about it can be awkward; in fact, the most difficult part for me coming out to my friends was the ~~OMG TEH SEX~~/WHAT DOES THIS MEAAAAANNN FOR OUR RELATIONSHIP? knee-jerk response/association.

^LOL! That's a hilarious way of explaining their reactions, LizC! [Big Grin]
No, I actually don't really feel pressured by anyone but myself really. I just think that they're gonna find out one way or another (ex. if I get a girlfriend, or since my dad's facebook friends with me, he'll see something that gives it away, etc.), so I figure I should just tell them now. Thank you for asking and making sure that I wasn't pressured by anyone, though; I think it was a good thing for me to look inside myself and figure out why I wanted to do this. I guess you're right in that there's really no foolproof way of coming out to them. *sigh* Actually, my mom comments quite frequently on female celebrities who show up on TV that she thinks are beautiful (and I normally chime in, too), so I guess maybe she'd be a little bit more chill than I thought. I never really thought about that! I'm sorry about the homophobia/biphobia that you're going through with your parents right now, and I wish you lots of luck in your coming out. *hug* Keep us updated! [Smile]

Moonlight bouncing off water (cool username, by the way! how'd you get it?), thanks for sharing your coming out story! That's funny that you were all talking about "if this were a movie" and "being afraid to do something" scenarios and that it tied in so perfectly with your coming out. Yeah, I guess I should just face the fact that I'm gonna feel vulnerable, but I guess it'll be for the best. [Smile]

Hey, Copper! Don't feel bad for posting; your support is also helping me, so thank you! [Smile] Good idea on writing out a list, I probably should do that. I most definitely will join an LGBTQ group and go to different events at college (I'm really excited!), and the place that I'm going to definitely seems very inclusive-oriented. I'll definitely keep you all posted on what happens!

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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LizC
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Yeah, one of the first comments my friend made when I came out to him and his wife was a joke, along the lines of "Wait, are you trying to set up a threesome? Because you can't have my wife!"
I was like "No, it's not about sex. At least, not with you guys..." XD

Good for you! I'm glad you feel like it's you choice and it's right for you; I know that's a big part of coming out, to anyone. And yeah, if in your house, it's common for people to remark on the attractiveness of others, then go for it! I've started out with just "oh, she's pretty" and comments about relationships with women, and one day I'm just gonna out-and-out say what I'm thinking; aka, "That's hot." But yeah. Who knows, you mom might actually be more open than you'd imagine. You could also make comments about LGBTQ celebs, and see how she responds. I've done that whenever an advertisement for Ellen comes on.

If/when you do talk to your parents, let us know how it goes!

[ 07-05-2012, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: LizC ]

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MusicNerd
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quote:
Originally posted by LizC:
Yeah, one of the first comments my friend made when I came out to him and his wife was a joke, along the lines of "Wait, are you trying to set up a threesome? Because you can't have my wife!"
I was like "No, it's not about sex. At least, not with you guys..." XD

^LOL! That's actually hilarious! [Big Grin] And yes, my mom absolutely loves Ellen DeGeneres.

Well, I came out to my mom last night. She handled it really well and held me when I was sobbing afterwards. [Smile] She was asking me why I was crying and reassured me that homosexuality and bisexuality aren't anything new; it's just that in the past, people hid it more. She also surprised me by saying, “I think women are just as sexy as men.” I stared at her wide-eyed and confused like, Uh, are you coming out to me, too? I actually didn’t say that (hahaha!), but then she said, “Yup. I think women are just as sexy and attractive, but I chose to marry your father because I love him.” I didn’t see that coming, but she was telling me not to be so hard on myself and how nowadays bisexuality isn’t so uncommon amongst people. She told me to be careful since there are mean people out there who won't be as accepting, but that her and dad would always support me and even be at pride parades if I was there; she also added that they would tell off anyone who told them to do otherwise. [Smile]

What really cracked me up was when she said, “You know, I think centuries ago when people died in their 40s and 50s, it was like, ‘You marry a man, have kids and then you die’. But now that people live longer, they might go out with a guy then a girl then whatever and I don’t think anyone can ever really know what they are ‘til the day they die.” She’s into the whole “sexuality is a fluid and changing thing”, which was nice to hear.

What was also funny was that apparently my dad already thought I was a lesbian and was telling my mom that he was worried about how people would treat me. I told my mom, “Well, he’s half-right; but no I still like guys, too. Unfortunately, he might still have to deal with a boyfriend in the future. hahaha!” [Big Grin]

So, now I guess I need to come out to my dad, too. *sigh*

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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copper86
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I'm so happy that you came out to your mom, and that she was so supportive of you! She sounds like a very encouraging and loving person. You were so brave to do that - congratulations!

Also, since your dad was curious about your orientation, do you think that telling him would be a little easier now? As you said, he is "half-right;" so perhaps telling him knowing that might make things a little bit easier. [Smile]

I'm so proud of you for doing this! Take heart in the fact that you are very brave and courageous! And tack on that your father might still have to deal with a boyfriend down the line... LOL! [Smile] [Wink]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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MusicNerd
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Well, I just told my dad. He told me that he didn't think I was a lesbian, just that he wasn't quite sure since I would always defend gay people.

He dismissed my coming out as "experimenting" and that "girls tend to experiment a lot and there's nothing wrong with experimenting" and "your cousin was the same way before she got married to her husband" and blahblahblah. [Roll Eyes] I was like, "Dad, I'm not talking about experimenting. If you want to think of it that way, then fine, but that's not what I'm talking about." He asked me "how would you know?" and "have you ever been with a girl?" I then asked him, "Well, did you know you were straight before you got your first girlfriend?" He said, "Well, yeah! Of course." And I said, "Before you dated anyone, you were probably like 'these girls are attractive' and whatever, right?" He also agreed with that and I then explained, "Well, that's how it is for me. I know that I find girls attractive and guys attractive even though I haven't gone out with anyone yet." He went on to say that people change their minds (not in the "sexuality is fluid" way) and he said that I'm just "sewing my wild oats" and whatever.

So, yeah, I can tell he's uncomfortable with it and he's pretty much trying to deny what I'm saying; like I'm still his "straight daughter" who wants to have a little bit of fun with girls. I'm thinking it's like his coping mechanism for his daughter coming out as bi to him, you know? It was pretty frustrating. I felt like he was invalidating my sexual orientation. It hurt. [Frown]

[ 07-06-2012, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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MusicNerd
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My dad brought it up again just now and I told him that I felt like he was just viewing me as a straight girl who's experimenting. I told him, "Dad, I wouldn't have come out to you if I was a straight chick who was just 'experimenting'. I feel like you don't actually accept that I'm bisexual." He's like, "Well, bisexual means you'd have sex with both men and women, and you know I don't care what your sexual preferences are. I just care that you still love me. You're a great person and you mean everything to me."

I'm glad that he brought it up, because that made me feel better. I think he just needed a little bit of time to let my words sink in. [Smile]

[ 07-06-2012, 05:31 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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You could also remind him that it doesn't really mean "both," but "either."

For sure, practically, for many of us that does mean both, but for some bisexual people, it doesn't. But from a standpoint of attraction, it really is more "either" than "both."

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LizC
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I don't think I'd mentioned this before, but I love the quote in your signature. One of my favs. [Smile]

Yay! I'm so glad you had such a good experience with your mom. She sounds totally cool. That's really great that she can relate to you and that you've got someone who supports the idea that sexuality is fluid.

As for your dad, well, at least it didn't go bad, right? It sounds like he's just confusing all the different concepts of biromanticism, bisexuality, and bicuriosity(that's where I recognize your name from! XD). But yeah, like Heather said, mention that bisexual doesn't mean you must have sex with men and women; I'm bisexual and I've never had sex with a man or a woman. It's all about how you feel, really. The 'sexual' portion is just part of the term. Let him think it over. He was positive-sounding, so hopefully things just get better from here on. [Smile]

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MusicNerd
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Heather, you're right; I totally should've corrected him on that! The only reasons why I didn't bother to do so (might not be good enough reasons) were because I do desire to sleep with men and women at some point (though I've never slept with anyone before either and I do know of bisexuals who wouldn’t sleep with both) and mainly because I was so frustrated and distracted by trying to explain to him that I'm not a bi-curious heterosexual woman. One of the things I did bring up to him was that being bisexual doesn't necessarily mean I'd sleep with both genders at the same time (Hey, Heather! Question: Would that count as "both" or "either"?), but that I am attracted to both genders unevenly. I also randomly mentioned during my rambling (when he was talking about my cousin and women experimenting) was that even though women can be bi-curious/experimenting, men can also be bi-curious/experimenting too, but society has conditioned them to repress those urges/thoughts/feelings. I'll definitely mention the other points to him next time he brings it up, though. [Smile]

Thanks, LizC! Once I saw that quote, I was like, "Yeah. This is gonna be really useful for life." [Smile]

My mom was a lot more chill and understanding than I thought she'd be with it. Yeah, at least it didn't go too badly with my dad. He definitely was mixing up bicuriosity and biromanticism and all of that (and I made note of that in my head as he was saying it), and I agree that "sexual" is only a small fraction of the term; but I was honestly trying to take any bit of his acceptance of my bisexuality that I could get. I also hope things get better with him. I think they will, though. [Smile]

And wait, what name do you recognize? "Music Nerd"? [Confused]

[ 07-07-2012, 01:10 AM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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LizC
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Ah, sorry I wasn't clear, I recognized your screenname from the bisexuality in music/bicuriosity in culture post I made.
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MusicNerd
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Oh, I see! [Smile]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Congratulations Music Nerd!

I'm so proud of you, coming out to parents takes real courage!

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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MusicNerd
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Thanks, Moonlight! Because of the support I've gotten from you all on Scarleteen, I was able to muster up some courage of coming out to them. [Smile]

Now I just need to come out to a few close friends of mine, but I think they'll be more understanding (hopefully).

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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You know, on the "both" part, one of the reasons I emphasize either is not just because it tends to be more accurate (especially at one given time, rather than in a lifetime), but because the way a lot of people who aren't pansexual or bisexual, or don't grok either, tend to conceptualize the orientation is as a person "needing" to have partners of both/ever sex or gender, or sleeping simultaneously with both/all.

In other words, I tend to think "either" can kind of refrag some very stereotypical thinking about bisexuality.

Of course, all of this gets us into the trouble "both" creates -- and that "bi" -- in the first place, since there are more than two sexes and far, far more than two genders in the first place.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MusicNerd
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Ah, now I see what you're saying about "both" vs. "either". Yeah, "both" (to non-bisexual or non-pansexual people) would for instance probably imply that a bisexual person who wants an exclusive monogamous relationship with someone would actually want to ditch that person for someone of the "other" gender, or they would assume that bisexuals would only want polyamorous relationships (which of course is not true since a person could be of any sexual orientation, not only bisexual, and desire a polyamorous relationship). I also see how it would enforce the binary thinking our society has about gender.

I have two questions about gender/sex that you mentioned when talking about the danger of "both". I just want to make sure I understand the idea of multiple genders/sexes, since I had a teacher at my school explain it to me once before (kind of).

1. Is there a difference between gender and sex or can they be used interchangeably?

2. With the concept of viewing gender/sex as more than a socially-constructed binary system, is gender/sex more on a wide spectrum like sexual orientation then, or am I just thinking about it all wrong and it's actually like something else entirely?

[ 07-08-2012, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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Well, I thin k it's easiest to start with sex, then go to gender.

When we're talking about "biological" sex, we're most accurately talking about chromosomes, and there are more combos of chromosomal combinations than just XX or XY. And when we're talking about how sex is assigned, no one even looks at chromosomes, just at genitals, and genitals look WAY more than just two ways. [Smile] So, even if we weren't talking about gender, but only sex, both is a problem because it's just not accurate unless we ignore, discount or deny those facts and the people they're about.

But gender isn't really about biology, it's about culture and our sense of self; about our cultural ideas of what's masculine, feminine, neither or both, then our own individual ideas about those things. And our own gender is about what those things mean to us, how we feel them or don't, present them or don't. Obviously, all that stuff and more has the capacity to create far more combinations and interpretations than how genitals look, or how we organize them into two basic sets, or how chromosomes look under a microscope.

I'd agree that gender is as wide a spectrum as sexual orientation, to be sure, and it kind of has to be, really, since our framework of orientation is about gender, if that makes sense.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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MusicNerd
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Oh, okay. So sex is more about biology and various chromosomal combinations, while gender is more about what's considered "masculine" or "feminine". I remembered my teacher explaining how masculinity, femininity and androgyny are all social ideas that are on a spectrum, too; I just didn't realize that sex and gender were different and that "masculinity" and "femininity" are related more to the social idea of gender than to sex.

Alright, that makes more sense now. Thanks for clarifying that for me! [Smile]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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Well, in our world, sex is assigned at birth based on only an examination of the genitals. So, while sex is really supposed to be about chromosomes if it were earnestly about science, in practice, it's about something much, much more arbitrary.

Something that, I'd say, is highly influenced by our cultural ideas about gender (and that it
's something it's sound to assign to others in the first place or something about genitals), if that doesn't get things too tangly for you. [Smile]

But for sure, our chromosomes don't say what's masculine or feminine: those ideas are assignments we make -- if we do -- externally and put unto them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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MusicNerd
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Oh, so the cultural notion of "sex" is based on how we see a person's genitals but the accurate definition of sex pertains to various combinations of chromosomes.

Yeah it's tangly and not black-and-white, but I think people are tangly and multicolored. [Smile]
It's not too tangly or complicated for me to understand, though; I get what you're saying about gender and sex now.

[ 07-08-2012, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: MusicNerd ]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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