This is coming out of a lot of places. My own Catholic upbringing. The fact Sally Ride would only publicly announce her 27 year relationship with another woman in her obituary. Tweets I’ve gotten damning me for my support of “perversion”. Comments on my heterosexual life-partner’s newest video about the ethical disconnect between the brilliance of the Ender’s Game series and the intolerance of Orson Scott Card’s anti-gay rights essays.

I am Antonella Inserra, and I’m a bisexual.

I’ve always been attracted to girls and boys. When I was young I would mastermind ways to convince boys to kiss me (some of those ways I’m a bit ashamed of now, but to be fair I was in the four to six year range and was conniving), and 1960’s Batgirl was the first girl that made me feel tingling in places that weren’t polite (damn those redheads! True or fake!)

But let me tell you what being told that “only heterosexual is right!” does to an impressionable young person, what it does to a young person to hear otherwise kind people wonder aloud why those gays would EVER make such a BIG DEAL about something that is only for straight people, anyway. I mean, don’t those gay people want to be “alternative”? If they wanted families and “normal” things, then why would they “choose” to be straight?

Hear me out.

I’m NOT gay (see the declaration above). But I was told a lot in high school BY MY FRIENDS that no, I HAD to be a lesbian; because I flirted with girls in a Christian high school, because my eyes lingered a bit too long, because my attraction to women with obvious.

I’d try to shake them off. I was just a feminist rocking the high code of chivalry towards all, and besides; look at this boy I’m TOTALLY CRUSHING ON. Can’t be a lesbian if I want the cock…right?

And I’d lie in bed at night and try to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. Was it the Media? Was I just identifying too much with male characters and unconsciously desiring women because they were the ultimate reward in the tales I loved the most?

Yes; I had these debates in the safety of my head. I was terrified. I was sure I was falling into a trap. After all, once Catholics can actually get out of their sexual shame long enough to TALK about sex with teenagers, there’s only one proper form of sexuality…right? Girls and boys who hung around LGBT-looking sorts were the confused ones, the pathetic ones. They were to be prayed for and hopefully they would realize they were just “acting out” in rebellion.

And I was confused, because I DID have EPIC crushes on boys while in high school. My best friends were boys. I felt I understood boys better than girls, I shared more INTERESTS with them, and sometimes I was attracted to them!

But…those ladies…

I had a boyfriend the last year of high school; fast forward to college and us breaking up, and the long dry spell of dating began. I truly believe I cut myself off from dating because I was afraid. I knew my attraction to both physical sexes, but was afraid of my own imaginary weakness. Was I only dating a man because my family life would be easier if I could just pass as straight? If I were with a girl, would I have the courage to stand up to my parents and say “so, this is my life and my love”?

I made so many friends in college; but always lurking in my heart was the knowledge I was avoiding the risk of a deeper relationship of these fears I wasn’t ready to face. Only in the last four years I would say have I been brave enough to try.

The majority have been women; wonderful, wonderful, smart, geeky, beautiful women. I also suffered an unholy run around from a man (who failed to mention HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND. WTF????), and am currently dating a marvelous Navy Boy.

And still, the old treachery in my heart whispers I’m only dating him because I’m a coward.

Look. If two heterosexual atheists walk into a courthouse, get a MARRIAGE license and go along their merry way no one blinks twice. But if you’re in a homosexual relationship…the hoops to jump! The legal contingencies you can’t take for granted because the laws differ state by state. Paperwork that changes if you cross state lines, lines that have to be signed to ensure your rights, your partner’s rights, your CHILDREN’S rights are safe from the “states' rights”.

In a way, I’m lucky. If I happen to fall in love with a man (and right now I have and it sucks because he’s underway and I miss him to bits) I can keep my mouth closed and pass as straight. That is a privilege I have as a bisexual.

But if tomorrow, we broke up and the love of my life walked in front of me but was a She—

This isn’t a choice. Believe me. I could CHOOSE to pursue men and only men. I could CHOOSE to be celibate and be single the rest of my life, and shrug it off as “Oh, I never found the one/I was never interested in a relationship/I’m just a confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so”.

I CANNOT CHOOSE WHO I LOVE. I cannot wake up in the morning and be something I’m not. I have three choices; hide what I am, be something I’m not, or, be what I am. The same applies to my lesbian friends, my gay friends, my bisexual friends, my transgendered friends; questioning, intersex, asexual or allied.

That is the problem. When you talk of your biblical marriage being the one true definition of marriage (and then why isn’t polygamy allowed anymore, or slave concubines?) all I hear is “separate but equal”. The life I build with a man should be seen as no different from the woman with whom I might do the same.

I am standing with my foot on either side of a very deep chasm of hate and intolerance; sometimes it’s ignorant (but “polite”) befuddlement, sometimes it’s violent bigotry. But I can’t ignore the position I’m in anymore—I can only either stand, or fall.

I’ve gotten a few comments about how a defense of gay rights is being intolerant towards religious beliefs. This government of ours is NOT a religious one. The separation of church and state was to protect the state from the church, and vice versa. You have a right to believe what you do (though it pains me), but that does NOT mean you can use your beliefs to oppress others on a state or federal level.

Because, you know. It happened before in this country, this whole using the bible to justify evil. It was called slavery.

Figure out what side of history you want to be on.

P.S. I also want to add that I wrote this as a stand against a lot of hate I read the last two weeks in various comment streams for NChick stuff. This is me letting EVERYONE ELSE OUT THERE who identifies as LGBTQIA and who are Allies AND who "hate the sin love the sinner" while claiming everything's great and equal and what are we complaining about gaaawd we're such drama queen victims in our war against religion that I HAVE been there, I AM there, and I've got YOUR back (except for the haters. You. Haters. To the left.) I am NOT ashamed of how I am and who I love, but I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. If people will continue to make OUR rights their priority, then I WILL say NO.

Just saying.
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