Coming Out as a Bisexual Man

It’s so rare to read a coming out narrative by someone coming out as bi, much less as a bisexual man, but this one covers a lot of interesting ground, including why it took him so long to come out. But these two paragraphs – and sexual orientation and self determination, and about the fluidity of orientation over time, are particularly fascinating:

If you search the internet for “self-identified bisexual men,” you mostly get results questioning (or validating the question, which is almost as bad) of whether they even exist. Even Savage validated this bullshit at one point, though he doesn’t seem to be doing so any more, and since he’s Dan Savage, maybe I want to forgive him more than I should. It’s hard for me to read these things without wanting to break out into tears — it’s taken me a long time to figure out my identity, and to have someone casually take that away from me as if I’m lying…that isn’t ok. Just to pretend that the question of whether bisexual men exist is a legitimate one to ask is abhorrent — to come to the conclusion that we don’t is nothing less than a self-aggrandizing denial of reality. I know who I am now, and who I’ve always been, and no one has the right to take that away from me. No one ever has the right to tell anyone else who to be.

It’s certainly possible for a person to change their position on the spectrum over time. When talking about this with a friend of mine who only recently came out as gay, he freely admitted that earlier in his life, he had absolutely been attracted to both genders, and was never forcing it for the sake of acceptance. As time has gone on, he’s become less attracted to women, and more to men (he currently put himself at a 5 on the Kinsey Scale, but said that in 6 years it’s likely he will have moved even further). That’s not the case for me, though. I’m not “transitioning” to being gay — I will always, always, ALWAYS be attracted to women. I can’t express strongly enough that the day I stop being attracted to either gender is the day my heart stops beating. I’m at the exact same point on the Kinsey Scale (a 2) that I always was. For anyone to insist that I’m just pretending to be one or the other for the sake of acceptance is the height of arrogance and idiocy.

Do read the rest of it.

Janet Mock’s It Gets Better

When more women like her come out, the teeth of transphobia will fall out. What an amazingly cool decision she made.

Don Lemon

Good for Don Lemon for coming out. I’m glad he’s talking about how being a gay black male is different than it is to be any other kind of male. It’s great to see more LGBTQ people of color stepping up.

Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend has more on the story as it emerged, Lemon’s official statement, and The Grio has a nice piece on why Lemon’s coming out matters:

One thing I know for sure is that there are thousands of young people, black men specifically, who will see Don Lemon, an anchor for “the most trusted name in news” and be inspired. Hopefully, they will hate themselves a little less, love themselves a little more and the blows from the black church will not hit as hard.

Spaulding’s piece on skin color is essential reading, and provides good context for why Lemon’s coming out is vital.

Born This Way

I love this blog.

It’s entirely photos & stories of LGBT people in photos from when they were young, kids most of them. Just gorgeous, and the stories are as varied and amazing as you’d expect.

It reminds me some of my friend Doug’s performances Queer Stories for Boys, because there is a whole lotta queer in those photos.

I hope to see a lot more trans people in upcoming days.

Why anyone quash the spirit of such amazing children I’ll never know.

It Doesn’t Get Better, You Get Stronger

This lesbian of color rocks this message so hard. God bless her, whoever she is.

Happy Coming Out Day, everyone.

“It Gets Better.”

Dan Savage & his husband Terry talk about growing up gay, the assholes in high school, families you grow up in & families you create. Really beautiful stuff, and please, LGBT teens, watch it.

Change We Can Believe In

QUESTION: “But on AIG, why did you wait — why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York and the attorney general’s office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, “Look, we’re outraged.” Why did it take so long?”

OBAMA: “It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”

= the best bit of Obama’s press conference tonight.

In This Corner

& Here’s Endymion coming out of his favorite corner, between the nightstand, the bedroom window, & the cozy radiator.


CoralineNeil Gaiman’s horrifying children’s story – is coming out on February 6th. It better be coming to a theatre near me.

NY Senate Gang of Three

5:20 PM – edited to add that HRC has set up a page so you can thank Senator Smith to standing up for LGBT rights.

Joe.My.God’s reporting that there’s even further acrimony & weirdness coming out of the wrangling that’s been going on in the NY Senate between the “gang of three” anti-gay senators and the rest of the Dems.

For those of you who haven’t read about this before, the brouhaha stems from the Marriage Equality Bill that Gov. Paterson and the Senate Dems back. The three people name – Diaz, Kruger, & Espada – aren’t for the bill.

I always wonder about the embarrassment people are going to feel 20 years from now where the idea of opposing gay marriage seems as lame as being against giving women the vote.

Blogger Initiative

As many of you know, I was at the LGBT Bloggers’ Initiative this past weekend, feeling simultaneously like the new kid on the block and the old whore. Many of my fellow bloggers – I realized during a presentation on media access by Cathy Renna – are bloggers, only. It never occurred to me that being a blogger who was a published book author first was weird, but there I was.

Nevermind that for now. I met a smattering of lovely people who are active in the LGBT blogosphere, some of whom I knew before and some who I didn’t: Dana of Mombian, a whole bunch of the folks at Bilerico, including Bil, Serena, Irene, and Alex; some of the Pam’s House Blend crew, including Pam herself and Autumn Sandeen. Among other I ran into were Allyson Robinson at the HRC cocktail party on Friday night, Mara Keisling of NCTE on Saturday afternoon (at the infamous Mayflower Hotel), as well as Tahlib Disney-Britton of Freedom to Marry, James from,  and Tobias Packer of Equality Florida.

Continue reading “Blogger Initiative”

Review: She’s a Boy I Knew

A friend of a friend in Lincoln, Nebraska got to see the documentary She’s a Boy I Knew which I’d heard good things about, so I asked her to write a review.

by Dr. Pat. Tetreault

She’s A Boy I Knew is a remarkably well-made film. It is honest, funny, poignant and real. Canadian Gwen Haworth narrates and directs the documentary about her life, her coming out process regarding her gender and sexuality, and how her transition to become the woman she is meant to be impacts her life as well as the lives of those she loves and who love her. Through the use of home videos and interviews with family members and friends, including her ex-wife, Gwen reveals the depth and range of emotion and the process involved in coming out and in transitioning. Brief animated segments are also included to lighten the film while providing background information. Continue reading “Review: She’s a Boy I Knew”

Trans for Obama: Midnight

In case you didn’t read along all day, here’s what happened: We started the day at 105 donors and $5400. We ended the day (midnight, EST) at 196 donors and $10,746. That’s a net of 91 donors and $5346 for Obama’s campaign. We did good! Bloggers that posted:

I suspect we will make our goal of 200 if we use midnight time (PDT) I’m sure, but I’ve got to go to bed. Our cat Aeneas had an echocardiogram and 6 teeth pulled today, so I’m emotionally exhausted on more than one front.

This being the trans community, I’m sure that there will be criticism of this event, so I’ll tell you why I got so fired up about this idea & spent the day blogging it: because for me, it’s meaningful not just for an historically gay & lesbian organization like Nat’l Stonewall Democrats to set up a page for trans community donations, but that it’s important for the trans community to respond with enthusiasm when we get an org that is willing to work with us. I think that’s at least as important as criticizing orgs that take us for granted.

More than that, I believe in visibility. There was no minimum donation required, so that your “vote” (or your existence) could count very easily, even for $1. Political visibility is important – and this event made us visible not just to LGBT people, but on a national political landscape where we are, sadly, almost completely invisible. Or, as Angie at Dakota Women put it:

This is a great way to increase trans visibility, so when the election is over, we can point to exact dollars that the trans community and its allies brought in. That. Is. Huge. Whether you identify as trans or a trans ally, this is a win-win. You get to help make sure that we’re not all crying in our beers the day after election day, and help demonstrate the power of the trans community and its supporters–all at the same time!

Right on. For me, personally – well, I live in NY which always goes for the Democratic nominee for President, so it was nice to get to do something that had a little more reach.

Living in the Land of the Binary

Our friend and book reviewer Jude Russell wrote a short, simple piece about the binary that really resonated with me. I hope it does for many of you, too.

There have been a couple of threads recently wherein gender outlaws (and I use that term with utmost affection and respect) have run afoul of cisgendered folks who have gotten the gender wrong – typically persons in “boy mode” who were androgynous or feminine enough to be gendered female – although I am sure it runs both ways.

Now, I spent many years in that gender neutral zone – where I’d be gendered female in one interaction, male in another, and trigger some confusion (and possibly, anger) in a third. It was all very interesting (from a sociological perspective), and fun (from a Loki / coyote / mischief maker perspective) but also somewhat stressful (especially when things like waste elimination came into play, or I’d run into someone who had a problem with it).

I guess my reaction to these experiences has been somewhat different than others. Because I think we need to take some responsibility for choosing to color outside the lines, choosing to bend gender, choosing to break the rules. So when I was in boy mode and got gendered female, I was less pissed off, and more amused – it was my decision to adopt a more feminine affect, and it was, in some ways, rewarding to have that recognized even as it was uncomfortable to be called on it. I began to pay attention to how others were gendering me – and acted accordingly. If I was vibing female that particular day, well, I stayed out of male gendered spaces; opting for unisex or female gendered spaces, or being cautious and quick in male gendered ones. Many a time, I sought out a unisex bathroom, or watched the gendered bathrooms until I was pretty sure they were empty, or wandered towards a pair of gendered bathrooms and decided at the last minute which one to use, based solely on if anyone was going in or coming out of either.

And when I was called on my gender blur – well, I had a collection of responses ready. “Yeah, I guess I am pretty androgynous” or “I’m still deciding” or “Sometimes I’m not really sure myself”. And yeah, when it got to be too stressful, I’d move in one direction or the other, to reduce the friction. In some ways, my decision to transition was of this nature – that living in between genders required too much energy, produced too much friction in the world.

I guess my point is, we live in this binary gendered world. And slowly, things are loosening up – there are unisex or gender free bathrooms, gender markers are removed from forms and identity documents, salutations are made optional, gay marriage (the prevention of which is, IMHO, the primary reason for rigid binary gender boundaries) is made legal.

But in the meantime, we need to live in this world. And we need to own the fact that we are the gender outlaws, that we need to live on this binary coded planet. Even if the long term goal is a lot less gendered society, we’ll grind ourselves into dust with stress and anger if we do not figure out how to bend and move in the margins at times.

Often starting our journey from a position of cisgenderer privilege – where we could use the right bathroom unconsciously, where we could simply move through the world on automatic pilot, feeling a sense of affiliation and belonging with our gender, its difficult to find ourselves stripped of that gender privilege. But the quicker we realize “I’m privileged differently now, I need to adjust my attitude accordingly”, the more gently we move through society. We can still fight for rights or visibility or a less gendered world. But we can do so without the constant erosion of our energies and self esteem…….

It’s sort of a reframing – becoming less of a victim of a repressive culture, and more of an anthropologist or explorer, carefully moving among this binary culture that we are studying and experimenting with.

Opening Up

Tristan Taormino has a new book coming out about non-monogamous relationships called Opening Up. I’m actually really excited about it, since so many people have asked me how to manage that kind of change in a relationship, and I’m pleased to have a resource for it, and written by someone who knows.

The book has its own website, designed by the very fabulous & talented Betty, so do go check it out.

Queer + Catholic (Like Me)

It looks like I’ll be one of a few readers reading our pieces that will appear in the Queer + Catholic anthology coming out in May. Right now the event is planned for Bluestockings, May 28. I’ll keep you posted if anything changes.

Another Goth Christmas

So it turns out Tim Burton has re-made Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with Johnny Depp (of course) playing Sweeney Todd… but who knew he could sing? Apparently he didn’t.

& It’s coming out on Christmas Day. Nice to have a little Grand Guignol to offset the holiday cheer.

On ENDA, on National Coming Out Day

This is the text of the talk I gave in Denver on Tuesday. It probably won’t surprise anyone that I’ve been busting at the seams wanting to have a say in all of the dialogue going on about ENDA. At least I don’t think it should surprise anyone, not by now.


First, let me thank Ed and Jordan and all the students who asked them to bring me here. It’s a pleasure to be here in celebration of National Coming Out Day, a pleasure to see all of you gathered, celebrating who you are. Thanks to all the crossdressers, the gays, the lesbians, the genderqueers, the trans men & women, MTF and FTM, & to their partners. Thanks to all of you who are family, or friends, or allies, for being here.

Betty and I have been on tour a lot this year because I had a book published in March, and we’ve gotten a chance, once again, to meet a lot of people and to talk to a lot of trans people and partners, and this year, we’ve met more gay and lesbian people who aren’t trans than we did before. And it’s been a pleasure all around in hearing people’s stories of their own gender variance, or the stories of how they came out to loved ones, or of their first big crush or the moment when they realized they were trans or gay or lesbian or how they came to understand the first identity they understood themselves to be was not quite accurate in the long run. What I love to hear the most is about how queer people find one identity fits for a while and then not at all; like Oliver Wendell Holmes’ chambered nautilus, queer people build themselves bigger chambers, bigger categories, labels that are not so confining, over time.

That’s how it’s been for us, certainly. By the time people get used to what we’re calling ourselves our identities have shifted a little, changed usually by experiences we never expected and wouldn’t trade for anything. Continue reading “On ENDA, on National Coming Out Day”

National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day is October 11th – so who are you coming out to this year?

Trans Partner Advocacy

Recently on our message boards, the partner of someone who was transitioning posted about her very last day with her male husband. She was sad, she was mourning, and she was feeling both loss & resentment.

Sometimes the larger trans community seems to view feelings like that as anti-trans; that a partner isn’t throwing the big coming out party for her transitioning companion is seen as less than enthusiastic, and the difficult feelings are interpreted as saying ‘trans is bad.’

But the thing is, it’s part of the gig. There’s a lot of change involved in transition, which every trans person with half a brain admits. I mean, that’s the point. Change is a difficult thing for most people – all people, really – and it is stressful even when the change is a good thing, like getting a better job or getting married or having a baby that you’ve long wanted.

But to miss the old, worse job, or thinking fondly about the time when you were single or childfree, doesn’t mean you don’t want the new change in your life. You do. But you can’t just tell your mind not to think about how it once was, either.

& Sometimes I think that’s what’s expected of partners, that we never have a time to say, “I did love him as a man.” We can’t admit that we liked the cocky or shy guy we first fell in love with, & the partners of FTMs aren’t supposed to mourn the loss of breasts and smooth cheeks that they loved to touch.

But the thing is, as any trans person should know, repressing a feeling of loss or sadness is really bad all around; repression poisons the groundwater, in effect, and everyone feels it. So while I don’t advise partners make themselves miserable longing for the past (just as I wouldn’t advise trans people to think the future will definitely be rosy simply because they’ll transition), expressing the more difficult feelings associated with transition is healthier, in my opinion, in the long run. Not easy to hear as the trans person, for sure, but from what I hear from same trans people, they too may need some time to mourn the loss of their own former self.