This is my first real ‘blog’ post as this is an issue that’s been plaguing me as I write.
In my current novel ‘The Ice Princess” and its two sequels, sexuality does not exist. Well, not sexuality as we know it. Our version of sexuality is a social construct bound by our need to label everything. Are you gay, straight, bi, ace, pan – you have to be one, you can only be one, you have to figure it out so you can give everyone that label to identify you! I hate this. Sexuality has never mattered to me. I am who I am, you are who you are. I like who I like, you like who you like. There’s no issue there, no problem that a label will solve.
I am bisexual. There, I put a label on it.
In the initial years of high school, I didn’t understand sexuality. Indeed, everything about sex was still gross and full of cooties. Talking about it was embarrassing. And if someone said something that could be interpreted as gay, we would tease them. In the same vein, the boys in our group would play ‘gay chicken’* as a joke to mess with each other. We were young, silly, and uninformed.
So as an informed woman of 25, I am unabashed at claiming my own sexuality (whether I feel you need to know about it or not) and champion those who are able to label their own at a young age.
But it shouldn’t all be about labels. We shouldn’t find the need to pigeon-hole ourselves so that others know how to react to us, or which group to put us in.
Take Pride for instance. Floating around Twitter are those who lash out against heteronormative couples attending Pride, no matter what their reasons for doing so. Conversely, there are those who encourage people to welcome them, as more often than not they identify as bisexual, pansexual, asexual or even transgender. Do these people not deserve to attend Pride? Is homosexuality the only orientation that Pride celebrates? Anyone in the LGBTQI+ community knows that Pride is about acceptance of who you are, and who you love. It is not an exclusive club with a bouncer and a guest list.
In regards to my novel, I’ve chosen not to make sexuality an issue or conversation for the following reasons:
- It’s not integral to the story I am telling.
- My fictional society has never had a stigma against who you choose to love (*cough* unless you’re royalty, but that’s a different story *cough*).
And it’s that last point that is so important to me. Whose business is it whether you fall in love with a man or a woman? Heck, we have a bit of magic in this fictional universe so you can even magically change gender if that is your wish. I’m not saying that the society I’ve created is without judgement and bias, as that would be unrealistic. But instead of caring whether you date a man or a woman, my characters care about whether or not you’re dating someone who is kind, loving and honest. They care about whether or not you’re married to someone who is abusive, secretive and unhinged.
And I wish our society could be the same way.
(*) Gay chicken involves two men flirting with each other (with possible touching) until one of them backs out.