So. I’m bisexual.
And if you met me, you’d never know. You’d have no reason to suspect. For one, I’m happily married to my wife and have a daughter that we made with the usual method. And secondly, I work in theatre (well known to be the most macho of all professions). I rarely bring it up because, to be honest, it’s never really struck me as being that big of a deal. If you asked me to list all the words that define me as a person in order of importance, “bisexual” would be far, far down the list after husband, father, son, brother, writer, Irishman, Catholic*, blogger, Disney fan and tireless crusader for the abolition of the Oxford comma.
It’s like that for the vast majority of bisexuals, I think. We’re by far the most numerous of the LGB…T…Q…+ (Christ, you know you’re inclusive when your acronym is longer than most regular words) crowd and, weirdly, the least visible (especially guys). Most bisexuals tend to end up with a person of the opposite gender. Partially because of the tyranny of heteronormative oppression but mostly because of the tyranny of basic mathematics. In any given population around 47% will be women who like dudes and only 3% will be dudes who like dudes so…yeah, if gender is not a deal breaker for you either way the odds are you’re going to end up with someone from the other team.
Usually. Not Always.
And so we come to the topic that brings us together, today.
One of the always weird and occasionally terrifying things about being bi is that you get to see two worlds side by side. Because the person I fell in love with and decided to spend my life with happens to be a woman, we get to sit in first class. We got to have the big fancy wedding. We get a whole slew of rights affecting everything from taxes to employment to our daughter. We are told, implicitly, that our love is right (which it is), that it is wonderful (which it is) and that it is “normal” (not even close). And sometimes I imagine what would have happened if I had met someone else. If I had instead fallen in love with and decided to spend the rest of my life with someone who happened to be the same gender as I am. This is what I mean by two worlds, because if that had happened my life would have taken a very, very different course. And somewhere, in some alternate reality, that happened.
What I’m trying to say, what I rather desperately need you to understand, is that the me that is writing this and the me that fell in love with a man are the same person. Obviously, we would be different in many ways. And I won’t even pretend that he’s happier than I am (because honestly, I can’t imagine any person more perfect for me than the one I’m with). But we would be, fundamentally, the same Mouse. As deserving, or undeserving, of love or censure, respect or ridicule, hope or despair as each other. His love would not be any different from mine, or any less deserving of your respect. It would not even feel any different to him.
Before writing this post I came out to my family. This experience ranged from a long, heartfelt, emotional and utterly life-affirming two hour conversation with my beloved father and a brief three line chat on Facebook with my youngest brother (“You know I’m bi right?” “Yup.” “Kay.”). I had never mentioned it before, not because I was afraid of how they’d react, but more because, as I’ve already said,up until now I never thought it was a big deal. But then I realised that I was missing the point.
The fact that it’s not a big deal is what makes it a big deal.
Love between two people who happen to have matching chromosomes is not this weird, other, thing. It’s not even different in any real, appreciable way. It’s the exact same beast. It’s the same stunning, boring, wondrous, mundane, crazy-making, sanity-resorting, unquantifiable mess as it is for everybody else. And the debate over whether same sex couples should be able to marry is not some dry question of legal terminology that ultimately has no real world bearing. The stakes are very, very high. People’s lives, their happiness, and the happiness and stability of their families are all on the table. It’s about accepting our fellow citizens as “us” instead of “them”. It’s a matter of respect. It’s a matter of kindness. And it is, most of all, a matter of love.
So I’m asking you, please vote YES to marriage equality on 22 May.
Mouse out (now, quite literally).
*If I may digress from this heartfelt plea for acceptance to rant for a moment I swear to God if I see any comments beginning “Sorry, but my religion…” NO. NO IT DOES NOT. Unless you’re an orthodox Jew, whatever you’re about to say, I will bet walkin’ around money that you’re wrong. If you’re a Christian who believes that you have a religious obligation to be a dick to gay people let me explain some of the basic fucking tenets of your religion. Christ’s resurrection created a new covenant that supersedes the original covenant made between Yahweh and the Tribe of Israel that exempts the followers of Christ from the religious restrictions of the Torah. That’s why you can eat pork and shellfish, get a tattoo, keep your foreskin and not have to worry about stoning your smart-mouth kids. And that I have to explain that to you is the most galling thing of all. You’re like all those Star Wars fans who were complaining about the new trailer saying that Leia is strong in the force EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS CLEARLY ESTABLISHED IN RETURN OF THE JEDI. IT’S NOT EVEN SOME OBSCURE EXPANDED UNIVERSE FACTOID, IT WAS IN THE FRIGGIN’ ORIGINAL TRILOGY. HOW CAN YOU CARE ENOUGH ABOUT SOMETHING TO USE IT AS AN EXCUSE TO BE THAT MUCH OF AN ASSHOLE AND NOT CARE ENOUGH TO LEARN THE MOST BASIC GOD-DAMNED FACTS OF THE THING?! The point is, Jesus did not say boo about gay people. You know what he said?