I Can’t Just Pick

“Yeah, maybe I really thought some Disney princesses were absolutely beautiful, but the princes were really cute, too.”


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In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflection. [Thanks to the participants of our NCORE 2017 session for creating some of these questions!]

Clarifying Questions
  • What made being bisexual hard for the storyteller to think about?
  • What did the storyteller say about her mom’s reaction to learning she was bisexual?
  • Does the storyteller believe she has a choice? Explain.
  • How does the storyteller describe her experience of the gay community?
Interpretive Questions
  • Is normal subjective?
  • In what ways does the mother’s reaction make sense? Can you imagine a different reaction?
  • In what ways does the gay community’s reaction make sense? Can you imagine a different reaction?
Implication Questions
  • When did you become aware of your attractions?
  • How much do you choose to whom you’re attracted?
  • Can you think of a time when you placed a socially acceptable choice above a personal choice only based on society’s perception of the choice?
  • How did you want to be treated in that scenario and how does that affect your treatment of others in this situation or a similar one?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for I Can’t Just Pick

So one of the hard things about being bi-sexual is that it’s kind of hard to figure out for yourself growing up. I know a lot of gay friends of mine have said they knew very early on, you know. And I guess that makes sense. Because I think I had some kind…if I look back, if I recollect, I could see signs of it. But at the time it was really hard to think about because, yeah, maybe I really thought some Disney princesses were absolutely beautiful, but the princes were really cute, too. And it’s easy to kind of ignore that weird section when you’ve got the normal section over here. Normal, obviously, is subjective.

My mom really struggled with it. She had a really hard time. And not because she felt like it was inherently wrong, although she did have some issues with… that, I remember. Like she was like “Well, I don’t understand. Why can’t you just pick one and just stay that one?” Because it was hard for her to wrap her head around. And I was like “That–it’s just not that way. Like, I’m not—I can’t just pick, it’s not an active choice.” And of course I was like really frustrated because I didn’t know how to articulate it to her. And then she said, “Well, why don’t…why wouldn’t you just choose to only be with men because it’s so much easier?”

I can see why you would tell someone who’s bisexual it would just be easier for you if you only dated men. Because obviously I have the capacity to do that. I do. If I decided well I like both, but I should really only date men because that’s more socially acceptable, technically speaking, I could do that. What’s hard to explain is that it just feels likes lying to yourself–In a way that I don’t know is easy to explain. It’s like you’ve got something inside of you, like half of you, and you’re just not telling people about it, and not only that you’re kind of like trying to pretend it’s not there. But you know it’s there.

It’s surprising that the gay community is so judgmental and harsh on the bi-sexual community. I hear it all the time. And I hear it more from the gay people than from the straight people. For whatever reason, straight people are more willing to accept that you could be attracted to both genders. But you hear it a lot because gay people will say, “Oh, it’s just someone who’s gay and they don’t want to admit they’re gay.” So they talk about it like it’s an in between stage. Kind of in a condescending sort of way where it’s like, “Oh, you think that now but you’ll come over here eventually.”

To me, the word “gay” covers gay men and then lesbians. But it doesn’t cover anything else. I think the word “queer” is like a blanket. It’s a nice blanket. We can all crawl under it. And if you said, “Oh, it’s queer week, I’d be like, ‘Hey, that’s me!’”