While playing “Borderlands: The Pre-sequel” yesterday, I had a weird moment. I was immersed in to the game, working through one of the many storyline quests in the game and going over my weapons to pick the most effective ones while devising a strategy to [once again] defeat one of my least favorite quests in the game.
I made my selections, decided how it was going to walk into the area and destroy everything that came at me, and then executed the plan with deadly and efficient effect, at his point, using a sniper rifle to clear the first area with precisely placed head shots. I was in the zone and zoned out, the only thing I was really paying attention to was listening for Linda’s voice in case she called me for something. Then it happened – I caught myself having a daydream that I’ve had a few times before.
I approach the rostrum to the sound of polite applause, just having been introduced as the last of three keynote speakers at an LGBTQ symposium on bisexuality. As I stepped to the mike, I was thinking about my speech – man, were they about to get a surprise! The other two speakers had similar messages and mine wasn’t even going to resemble theirs and it definitely as the going to be politically correct – that and I hadn’t wanted to give the speech in the first place but I was here so let’s shake up some shit, shall we?
I looked out at the sea of faces that were looking back at me, took a deep breath and began by saying, “Thank you…” A pause, then I said, “It’s being said that bisexuality and bisexuals don’t really exist, that those who believe themselves to be bisexual are, essentially, confused and delusional. They say bisexuality represents greed, displays a blatant inability to commit one’s self to a singular path in life, and that bisexuals are an aberration that cannot seem to pick a side and stay there.”
Yep, I had their attention and I continued.
“Yet, I stand before you today and say without shame or regret, that I am bisexual; I’ve always been bisexual and chances are good that I was reveling in my bisexuality before a lot of you were born – and neither were your parents. So to those of you who say that bisexuals don’t really exist, aren’t you looking at me right now? It’s a safe bet that I am not a figment of your imagination and that you’re not participating in a demonstration of mass hypnosis.”
The room is silent save the sounds of people breathing and fidgeting in their seats; I can tell some of the audience wants to get up and leave – they would be the people who moronically believe that bisexuals don’t exist – but they’re afraid to leave because it would single them out as some of the very people I’m talking about.
“I am bisexual. The mother of my children, who I was with since I was 15 and stayed with until I was 50 is bisexual; two of our three children are bisexual; this alone should be proof positive that bisexuality and bisexuals exist – but we’ve always existed and right alongside those who are straight and gay.”
“I say, without shame or regret, that there are a lot of gay and even, ah, formerly straight men who know for a fact that I’m bisexual and if you’d like the details of this form of proof, see me after the close of things here and we’ll talk… or give you a first-hand demonstration of my bona fides, if you don’t want to believe the words that are now coming out of my mouth.”
“To those of you who are still being prejudically stubborn and holding on to this false perception of the world around you, I have only one thing to say to you: Wake the fuck up and join the real world, will you? I am not just throwing down the gauntlet; I am actually taking said gauntlet and slapping the shit out you with it for being so insular, pig-headed, naive, or just downright stupid to believe that bisexuals aren’t real. That’s as insane as saying there are no homosexuals in this room, wouldn’t you agree?”
I pause and listen to the sounds in the room as I scan the crowd before me; I can hear more rustling as people adjust themselves in their seats, the murmur of voices, some who approve of what I’ve just said along with those who are wondering what gives me the right to speak to them in such a manner. I want to smile but I keep my face impassive – not an easy thing for me to do – and continue.
“I have personally talked to thousands of people about bisexuality, from all walks of life, and over the world; I have also been personally and directly responsible for, ah, let’s say ‘converting’ quite a few men and women to bisexuality. The women, well, yes, I’ve had to use words to effect their conversion but the men? I think we all know how that was accomplished, don’t we? Given that I know I have done these things, can you not imagine the look on my face when I started hearing that there were actually some people who, for some reason, insisted that bisexuality and bisexuals don’t exist? Can you, for a moment, picture the totally dumbfounded look I had when I read that New York Times article that said they now had scientific proof that bisexuality does exist? And can you hear me saying, “Are you fucking kidding me?” after I read it?”
“My message to you today is for those of you who still want to believe in the stereotypes and other misconceptions that have been around since I was a child, cease and desist; you are not doing is any real harm with your biphobia – and did you know that a phobia is defined as an irrational fear? – but you are making yourself look like ignorant bigots as you attempt to discredit a factions of human behavior, just as it was once tried to discredit homosexuality and, well, we see how well that worked. I came here today to speak to you about this and to tell you that unless you’re planning an act of genocide that would make what Hitler did look insignificant, you will never, ever erase bisexuality and bisexuals. Your demands that we all come out and make ourselves known to a largely homophobic world will be needed by some but ignored by those of us who refuse to allow ourselves to get caught up in your pettiness.”
“I stand before you and, to your faces, call you idiots for believing that sexuality is and always has been an “either/or” kind of thing when we, as bisexuals, have proven over all this time that, yes, the word you’re looking for, the word that your narrow, shallow minds refuses to accept is a simple, commonly used, three-letter word: And. It’s not about – excuse me, I was about to mispeak – it was never about having to choose a side, to just merely be straight or to merely be gay; for us, it’s about being both. Not men or women but men and women and the why of it all is this: Because we can. Because we want to and, perhaps for some of is, because he have to… because everything else makes no sense; if you want to limit yourselves by being monosexual, fine… but do not keeping trying to drag us down into your limited diversity when ours is much more, ah, what’s the word I’m looking for… robust.”
“You call us greedy; yet is there anyone present right now who doesn’t want all they can get out of life? We can’t commit to a relationship? Calling bullshit on that one, too. Confused? In some form of great denial and so much that we can’t make up our minds whether we’re straight or, as you’ve said, really gay? On this, I submit to you that, um, we are not the ones in denial; that would be those of you that, even as I speak, still believe that we do not exist or, worse, that we can’t exist because acknowledging that we do just turns your petty little worldview upside down and disproves everything you believe in.”
“In closing and, yes, I am very much aware that some of you are fervently wishing you had left when you had the chance, I have only this to say to you: We are here. We have always been here; I am here now and I am not the only one. We will, like it or not, always be here. Accept the reality of this; accept the truth and the evidence that has been right in front of you all along.”
I stand there for a moment, looking into the crowd and I feel so emotionally spent. I randomly lock my eyes onto people and in some of those eyes, I see that their prejudice remains stubbornly – and stupidly – in place; in the eyes of others, I see a kind of shock and surprise because whatever they had been expecting me to say, well, ha, what I said wasn’t what they expected. In even more eyes, I see some thinking, “Yeah… it’s about time someone stepped up and stepped off in their asses!”
I turn and walk off the stage to a smattering of applause… and the daydream ends. I’m sitting on the sofa, the PS3 controller in my hands and the area I was clearing is totally devoid of bad guys. I blinked and thought, “Damn…” then moved to the exit so I could start the next quest.