If half of me gets stabbed, all of me feels the pain.
I don’t often read the papers, because I end up getting very depressed, very quickly. However I did hear about the Ugandan queer rights activist found dead on 27th January 2011, and also about a lesbian threatened with deportation from the U.K to Uganda. When I opened the Guardian newspaper, I was shocked to see the photo above. I’ve heard plenty of people, both gay and straight talk about how bisexuals are sick, sad and evil, but it’s not often I’ll see the words in print. With such a powerful and unpleasant photo I was struck at how many myths were being enforced. Plus the woman above really hates bis. I mean she’s even hyphenated and shortened it just to be extra spiteful!
There are strong myth of all black people hating queers, and if, god forbid, we are actually queer ourselves, then we must be copying white folks. There are other stereotypes and lies: bisexual people don’t face the same stigma as gays and lesbians, which would be laughable if not for the little voice in my head that says, ‘if something bad happens because of my sexuality, just say homophobic, not biphobic, because no one will understand you.’ And then there’s the myth that says, If I act straight then nothing will happen. Well, could I look away if someone else were being hurt or threatened because of their sexuality? No, I could not. And in Uganda straight people don’t escape either, as failure to report a known queer person to the authorities can bring you the same grief as what will happen to them.
Things like this doesn’t just happen in Uganda. Black LGBT people are both highly visible (to bigoted straights) and invisible (to bigoted queers). I cannot and do not want to hide or look the other way. Even if I feel hurt so much of the time.
An expanded love.
I’ve known I was polyamorous from an early age. I didn’t have the words for it, but I knew that I longed for more than one person to love. The longing stayed with me all of my life, but it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I heard the word, Polyamory. I was amazed that I wasn’t the only one thought that way.
I started writing this book in November 2009. My story was to be a romance that one woman has with multiple people, and with herself as well. It was a challenge for me; to chart my heroine’s journey from monogamy to polyamory when I’d never done anything like it before. I wanted to reflect the polyamorous communities that I’d come in contact with: the pagans, the bisexual folks, the radical vegan queers, and the plain old hopeless romantics. Writing this novel made me remember how excited I used to be whenever I read or heard about polyamory; just the idea of a different way to live made me tingle. I want to pass on that tingle.
I became Polyamorous at exactly eight-thirty-two that very same evening during the disco; I danced to an old rock track I remembered from school. The music distracted me from a task I’d fallen into during the course of the day—counting the number of corsets that the attendees wore. I’d reached sixteen before I started to get confused. I let the music sway me from my silly musings, tried to remember how to dance without hitting anyone with a stray arm. I had closed my eyes to help ease my self-consciousness, but when I opened them, there were two people dancing beside me; Jasmine from the relationship styles, and the organiser who looked like Santa Claus. Jasmine was throwing herself about to the wild music when she bumped into me. I instinctively held her, and then we danced together, bopping about to the tune. When the music ended, she kissed me. I kissed her back; a gentle press that made my lips tingle. Christine appeared as if by magic. She kissed Jasmine, and then she kissed me long and slow. We all looked at each other and then started squealing like little girls. I checked my watch, marked the time. I could barely focus on the digits; everything was a swirl. Jasmine held me from behind, Christine held onto her back. Before I knew it a conga line had formed with me at the front. We danced around the pub, a snaking trail of happy people. Things would never be the same.
An Expanded Love: available as a paperback or as an e-book