Upon waiting the few days prior to her arrival, anxiety set in. I love my sister and I’ve been longing to see her for the longest time but, there is always that strain of her being on the stricter side of Christianity, as well as her still being a part of the cult I used to be in. To add to that, my oldest child who will soon be eighteen is bi-sexual and gender fluid. My daughter is also very verbal and wonderfully confident in her identity.
So far my daughter and my other kids and I have not discussed this with my mother, who is even more strict and religious than my sister. We haven’t exactly walked on pins and needles when she is around but whatever hints we’ve unintentionally dropped, my mother preferred not to pick up. My mom travels a lot so we see her from time to time but only for two or three days at a time. So not discussing my children’s sexual preference with her isn’t all that difficult.
My sister is more perceptive than my mom, so when she arrived and we started talking about things, I decided it would be best for her to know. That way my daughter could feel free to talk about things of interest without reservation or shock to my sister.
While I was explaining that my daughter is bisexual and gender fluid, I could tell my sister was very uncomfortable with the information. She did well at keeping her composure, but her tense neck and cheeks were clearly visible. I made sure to point out that I understood that she may not agree with my daughter’s lifestyle choices but that I fully support her. My sister agreed that due to her faith I was right, and that she wasn’t surprised by my announcement due to the things my daughter posts on social media.
My children and I had a wonderful time with my sister and had fun introducing her to life in a winter wonderland. I don’t always see it that way, but when you are from Southern California, the snowy streets of Central Wisconsin are amazing and fun.
My oldest daughter felt free to discuss anything with her aunt, which usually included things about art. They are both wonderful artists. But then she also freely brought up her sexuality, which made my sister cringe every time. I could tell she was trying to hide it. My daughter has Asperger’s, so she conveniently didn’t notice. I am mostly proud of my sister for at least trying to hide her true feelings. There are times one needs to let out their true feelings and there are times one must either not or they must at least wait. I believe she realized she had no relationship with my kids and found it more important to establish one instead of becoming an annoying missionary, losing them altogether.
I have to say, my sister was an excellent example of what Christians and people of differing beliefs should be, even for atheists. Attacking what you don’t like won’t win people over to your beliefs, at least not most people. It usually shuts them down and you just lose them.
I say “mostly proud” because I would love it if she would just allow the truth of people’s sexual orientation get her through her cognitive dissonance. But at least she is able to be civil and accommodating, which is a big thing for my family and the way we were raised.
I thanked my sister later for letting my daughter be comfortable and free to be herself around her. I understood it wasn’t easy. After all, I was in her shoes at one time, and I know how it feels.
I wish more kids had the confidence and comfort my daughter has in her own unique skin. I feel fortunate that she didn’t have to go through depression over it. She didn’t have to hide, she didn’t have to lie, she just over time figured herself out and embraced it. My daughter went through hell in her younger years due to her Asperger’s. She was bullied and misunderstood too many times. Learning to overcome those things built confidence in her and her logical way of thinking turned her teen years into better years then most. By the time she identified her sexuality, she couldn’t care less what others thought, and she now fully believes in “letting her freak flag fly” with pride and joy. I also believe it helps that she loves to help other young people struggling with their sexual orientations and desires to be accepted.
Not Everyone Will UnderstandOne of the things I learned early on about having a bisexual daughter is that there are folks out there who do not seem to know the meaning of sexual terms. We met a guy at the gay pride festival who ended up stalking us because he believed “bi” meant exhibitionist and he wanted to be involved. Shoot, my daughter has only had one-and-a-half girlfriends. Not only is she rarely in a relationship, she actually isn’t in a hurry to be in one because she would like a meaningful relationship and she doesn’t want to ruin her future dreams.
Then there’s her dad. He’s fine with it. But I’m not sure he really understands what “bi” is or maybe he doesn’t really care—likely the later. He likes to joke about how this way he doesn’t have to worry about her getting pregnant. I think maybe he doesn’t know the difference between lesbian and bi—it appears he hasn’t really thought that one through. I, on the other hand, not only want her to be educated about pregnancy, but also about STD’s. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to be the primary and more responsible parent. But at least she’s got one.
Since my daughters knew their dad is fine with whatever sexual orientation they exhibit, they decided they just had to ask him about how he would feel if the boys turned out to be bi- or homosexual. He hesitated on that one, and said he didn’t really know. They said he didn’t look too happy about the thought of it.
And there’s a big giant bite of food for thought. How fair is that? It’s okay for you daughter to be gay but not your sons? Wow!
But before I get too annoyed, I try to consider the psychology of it all. I’m no expert on this but I have lived for quite a while now and I do get some of it. We live in a male dominated world (thanks in part to religion), and this has a lot to do with our society’s expectations and ideas about sexuality. Although the American society frowns on polygamy, it was the norm in many male dominated cultures for a long time. While some polygamists keep their women separated, some do not.
I also believe many men may actually like the idea more than they are willing to let on. It certainly shows up in their choices of porn! Somebody sure does like it, or it wouldn’t sell so well! But men are supposed to be macho and in charge and while it’s okay for women to have relationships with each other, somehow they feel they will lose their high standing—their dominance–if they accept their homosexual sons. They likely have no idea why they feel that way, they just feel how they feel. They’ve been conditioned to think this way and it will take time to get rid of that toxic way of thinking.
[Image Source: Adobe Stock]
P.S. – One more note about the bisexual community: There are organizations out there that are determined to help bi people become part of the LBGT community. Bisexual folks tend to get left out in many ways, including in legal battles. These groups suggest it can help when people have the courage to be honest and forthright about their sexual orientation instead of just grouping it all into one thing. Many famous bisexual people are considered homosexual or lesbian by the press and not actually called bisexual. Thus the importance of equal rights for bisexuals just fades into the background. I think this would be an easy oversight to many heterosexual people.