The moment I found out, I had been in class for less than 15 minutes, most of which I had spent trying to sort through my feelings for someone I recently met. I could not decide whether I liked him or merely felt interested in him, if these could even be separate ideas. Then a thought at the back of my mind, one that had been growing for months, made all my other ones collapse. My senses caved in and I began to cry silently, not out of shame but utter relief that I no longer had to question my bisexuality.
All that took place a few months ago, and since then I have told a close circle of friends who respect my choice. Yet I still doubt myself. What experience am I drawing from if I have never dated anyone, if at times I feel utterly straight and other times completely doubtful? I worry that I will be sexually involved with men only and romantically involved with women only, but never a stable relationship with one person. I worry whether I should just identify as straight, because I grew up that way and everyone in my family lives that way. I worry about what people will think when they hear. After I confided to one of my friends, she responded, “You know I’m straight, right?” Joining a handful of Asian American organizations has given me more opportunities to express myself and better understand the queer community, but I still feel frustrated. I know I speak with privilege, as someone who can pass as heterosexual in most cases without effort, but I lack confidence in the queer space, where I feel inhibited from joining conversations on sex. The pressures to appeal to the opposite gender and the same gender play tug-of-war inside me, but more and more I tire of the mind games.
From being an Asian American Studies major, I have learned to think from both the view of the oppressed and the oppressor. From being a woman, I have learned firsthand the psychological damage that comes from an unhealthy relationship with someone much older. Throughout my privileged life, I have had to learn the hard way, and as painful as the hard way is, I would rather live with the burden of truth than ignorance. For me, truth means acknowledging that I do not know everything about myself or the people closest to me, that my identity does not belong to me only but can also be shared openly with others, sometimes violated by them. Knowing the truth only means understanding vulnerability, seeing only how my perception of reality has invisible but direct consequences on myself and others around me. One’s sexual orientation makes up just one part of a complex identity that includes class, culture, education, ethnicity, family ties, gender, nationality, political views, religious affiliation, and social status. In a sense, truth only shows me how little I know of the world, that it functions not as a static entity but an ever-expanding perspective that grows along with the individual.
Truth has taught me to question feelings, because the person who says “I love you” but fails to show it could hurt me more than the people who hurt me only because they care about me.
sorry, it's just emotion that's taking me over
I have always relied on the strength of my emotions to guide me through social interactions with family, close friends, and acquaintances, but of course all too often I mislead myself into tense situations. With bisexuality, I have yet to claim it fully as my own, if I can ever feel as safe saying it as I do with “Asian American.” All I can hope for is time, enough for me to realize my identity as more than a feeling, but a belief that others can connect with openly.