Sunday, November 8, 2015

Learning to Understand Bisexuality through my Mother

    I vividly remember standing next to my mother in the kitchen while we were cooking together and saying, "I understand that some people are straight and some people are gay. But bisexuals don't make sense, they need to decide!" An extremely ignorant statement, yes, but I try to give myself a small break considering I was only twelve years old. This seemingly innocent, yet ignorant, statement would later serve to haunt me when my mother came out as lesbian later that year. My mother had been in a relationship with my father and had me, but they soon separated and she had been single ever since. My mother's lack of a relationship wasn't something that struck me as odd since it was the norm during my childhood, so I never questioned it. When I was twelve, my mom sat me down and told me that she had fallen in love with our next door neighbor, a woman. I had a hard time accepting the relationship immediately, but whether that was directly because my mom was dating a woman or that I now had to share her with another person is beyond me. It wasn't until much later that my mom explained her perception of love and sexuality that I came to realize that she was not the lesbian that she had claimed to be, but in fact bisexual.
    My mother explained that she sees sexual orientation as a scale with women and men on either side. She said she's somewhere in the middle, and her scale goes more to one side than the other depending on life events and the person she's attracted to. She said that she falls for the individual, not the gender, when she chose a partner. This explanation made a lot of sense to me, and it is a basic understanding that I still follow. As a child, it explained to me why I had always identified as heterosexual, and yet could feel attraction towards other girls, but in an almost jealous sense. I didn't want to date the girls, but I could understand why boys were attracted to them, and sometimes yearned for some of their attractive physical or personality traits myself.
  After some research, I found the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid (or KSOG), a system for describing a person's sexual proclivities. I found this grid particularly interesting because it looks into multiple variables of sexual orientation and preference. 
   Now, my mom is divorced from her ex-wife. We joke together and make bets on whether her next partner will be a man or a woman. Either way, her view on love and relationships has helped me better understand a world that I am not fully apart of, but wholly support.

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