It took the Star Wars fandom approximately twelve parsecs* to start celebrating the fact that a queer woman was going to write a book about Ahsoka Tano. I was quite surprised. Not that they were excited, though that was nice, but that they found out so quickly.
It’s not that I don’t tell people. It just…doesn’t come up. I’m the least useful kind of queer person: white, cis, Canadian, straight-passing. I don’t have a story that’s helpful to others. I do my best to be a good ally, and I know that means the A stands for asexual.
There’s no D in LGBTQIA, either.
There are three Pride flags in Stratford that I have found: one on the city hall, one at my favourite coffee shop, and one on a house that I drive past on my way home from the gym. I was really pleased to see them. Stratford is a “city”, but it’s a small one. 30,000 people, Conservative MP and MPP, and the voters are generally what’s known as “blue liberals”**.
The town I grew up in is much smaller, and the liberals are a little more blue.
There was one boy at my high school who was out (there were a couple of others people speculated about, but not aggressively). He must have taken shit for it at some stage, but I never saw any of it. Looking back, I think we were just used to him. He told me, spoke the words even though I knew it already: you know I’m gay, right?
I didn’t have the words to tell him that I liked him because he could play the piano and that sex had nothing to do with it. But I do remember being proud of him, for living where we did and knowing himself so well.
It took me a lot longer.
I discovered fandom in university – once I had control of my own internet usage – and that’s when the words came. I wrote fanfic, of course, but I also read a lot, and learned there was more to sexuality than the three labels I knew (gay, lesbian, straight). Fandom didn’t “turn me gay***” by any means, but it did give me the words to talk about it.
The first time I said the words “bi-romantic demi-sexual” out loud was in Savannah, GA, in a room full of people I love. Before that, I held “bisexual” very close to the chest. I learned about the Kinsey scale from the TV show Revenge, of all places, and it wasn’t until a while later that demi came to my attention.
And I knew immediately that that was me. Not asexual, though I had given it some thought, and not bisexual either. I imagined explaining it to my then four-year-old nephew: It means I like girls and boys, just…neither very much.
Except I love with my whole heart and my whole brain and my whole soul.
I can tell you the exact moment I fell in love with most people. Some of them I’ve never stood next to, or even near, but that doesn’t matter. Some of them I love in groups and some I love as individuals.
It is, as I put it on livejournal some years ago, that I fall in love head first, brain first. I fall in love with your story, and I never get tired of hearing it.
The world really isn’t set up for people who love fiercely and completely. It’s totally cool (in theory) with you loving one person that much, and loving family members, but that’s not how everyone works. It’s not how I work. I think that’s why I don’t talk about my sexuality that much: it has nothing to do with how much I love.
And, oh, I do.
Bi-romantic demi-sexual. Bi-romantic demi-sexual. Bi-romantic demi-sexual.
It’s a bit awkwardly long. That’s why I prefer “queer”, even though that also opens up a conversation I don’t feel I’m qualified to have****.
But when I was in high school, I thought there were only three ways to be. I didn’t know about the rainbow. Now that I do, I remember what I learned about rainbows: each colour bleeds into the next, which means that all colours are possible. There are colours beyond the rainbow, in both directions, that we can’t see. The spectrum isn’t absolute. We only have to know how to look for them.
And every day, I know a little bit more.
Bring me the world. I want to know the story.
*OMG I know.
**In Canada, our colours are flipped. Blue is Conservative and red is Liberal.
***It bugs me a bit that the blanket term skews male. I much prefer queer, but that word has its own weight and history.
****Um, see note *** actually.