June 27, 2016

Pride: A Million Hands Holding Us.


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After my wife and I divorced and I married a man, I didn’t understand if I had a place in the queer community anymore.

Some people felt betrayed—I wasn’t who they thought I was (which also happened when I fell in love with a woman in the first place). A few people unfriended me on Facebook and in life.

I’d been with a woman for 15 years, and we’d legally married and divorced. I’d always been highly woman-identified and queer friendly. Inequality has always incensed me.

In 1979, as a straight-identified high school girl, I’d given a speech in my English class about why gays and lesbians should be able to adopt children. I don’t recall where I got this idea because I didn’t know any gay people personally until college. For weeks afterward, my English teacher teasingly greeted me in the hallway with a limp wrist and effeminate “hello.”

Did my divorce from my wife and my new life with a man somehow erase all of this?

I was very conscious (doubly conscious as Du Bois says) of how I was treated differently when presumed to be a straight woman, and how it was generally easier to move through the world with a husband.

I felt that the richness of all that I am shouldn’t be erased. We are a fabric woven from the threads of all of our experiences.

Perhaps that’s part of what motivated me to write my memoir. A few weeks ago it won not only best memoir at the Bi Book Awards—but I was named Bi Writer of the Year.

I was seriously stunned. Not so much that people appreciated my book… but that I was acknowledged as an integral part of the queer community.

Some people don’t like the the word “bisexual” because in our either/or world that loves dualities, a “third” choice suggests you can’t make up your mind. That you are indecisive or immature. That there’s no way you could ever be monogamous.

Now there’s a proliferation of terms (fluid, pansexual, queer, etc.). Language is always trying to keep up with the fullness of human experience.

Yesterday, I went to San Francisco Pride. I hadn’t been in years. I wondered how I’d feel… did I belong? Was this still one of my tribes?

I met a cornucopia of people who embraced me (many, literally). We talked about travels and spirituality and books. We celebrated the flamboyance and cheered the camaraderie.

We didn’t talk about Orlando, but I felt its undercurrents. I sensed the bravery of every person present…and all who have ever dared to thrive in the face of those who’d rather see you extinguished.

This morning, it’s as though walls have fallen. I feel integrated, whole, grateful. It’s like a million hands are holding me.


Author: Kate Evans

Image: Wikipedia

Editors: Caitlin Oriel; Travis May

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