Holla for gays!

By Traci Brodnax

I’m bisexual. What does this mean? I am physically, emotionally and mentally attracted to both sexes, male and female, as well as both genders, men and women (note: there is a difference between sex and gender, most people can’t differentiate between the two). Essentially, I’m queer-minded; I will not turn down any person because of genetics or orientation. That being said, I’ve been in several serious relationships with men, had casual flings with women and most recently, entered into a long-term relationship with a woman. At one point or another, both sexes have grabbed the attention of my heart, mind and body, not necessarily equally so, but why should that factor matter?

A few years ago, I took a Sexuality & Society course at Georgia State University. I wanted to learn more about human sexuality and its history, trends, expectations and media influence that affect people’s view. Naturally, this course was extremely controversial. Many students signed up simply because they thought we’d be watching soft-core porn all day. Wrong. It was definitely one of the most informative and eye opening classes of my entire undergraduate career.

And then came the discussion of sexual identity. Just as the professor was explaining how many people do not dichotomize their sexuality with ‘straight’ and ‘gay,’ one male student (who was extremely fond of his straightness) stood up and yelled, “You can label yourself! You are either straight or gay. If you like men and women, you are gay. Point blank period.”

This did not fly with me. Fuck raising my hand and waiting to be called on; this guy needed to LEARN and UNDERSTAND that you cannot just put people and their feelings and attractions into one of two boxes. Life is not that black and white. Life is not that square.

I tried to explain it to him. Yes, some people are 100% straight and some people are 100% homosexual, physically, emotionally and mentally. But not everyone, not me. Before I could even elaborate further, he was already yelling for the whole class to hear, but directing his dialogue toward me. “You’re just confused. You can’t be in the middle. Bisexuality doesn’t exist. Girls who say they are bisexual are just horny girls looking for attention anywhere they can find it. They want to have sex with men and entertain the men by having sex with women too…” – something along those lines. Imagine know-it-all college student in his very early 20s discriminating against an entire group of people without even allowing the discussion to set in. He didn’t want to hear anyone else’s opinions or even learn one single perspective on the variety of sexual identities that exist. The professor eventually kicked him out of class, and apparently he couldn’t handle it because he never came back.

It would’ve been to his benefit to not drop the class. By the end of the semester, he could have learned something new that may have changed his perspective.  Yet another opportunity for growth and understanding down the drain. Unfortunately, many people do not make it through classes like these, or let alone through life encountering people of different sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds. Their only way of coping with something so opposite their own norm is to immediately bash it. They turn to hate and discrimination to make sense of something they just can’t wrap their head around. It’s selfish and disappointing that people are so quick and willing to immediately cast people off rather than take two minutes to learn about another lifestyle, another culture, another human being.

I’m grateful for HollaBack and other organizations that promote anti-discrimination towards all groups of people — not just gays, transgendered, lesbians, bisexuals, blacks, Muslims or anyone. It is absolutely uncalled for. Whatever life path we decide to take, it’s our own. No one should take that away from us. Share your story with the world – or even just one person. It will make a difference if they have the heart and consideration to listen before making judgments.

2 responses to “Holla for gays!

  1. Greetings Ms. Brodnax!

    First: Thank You for you for being so Honest about your sexuality!

    I am a 100% Gay Black female who will admit that I’ve had difficulty accepting “bisexual” women. NOT because they’re “bisexual.” But because My experience with them is that too many of them tend to LIE about their sexuality. They pretend to be 100% lesbian when they know they’re into men too. It used to frustrate me to no end how often I ran into this “problem” during my visits to Atlanta.

    I do NOT understand why so many bisexual Black females can’t be more honest about their sexual orientation?!

  2. I hear ya… many lesbian women I’ve met refuse to date bisexual women. There is always some speculation that the woman is just doing it for experimentation, and then one person’s heart gets tied up and broken. I’m sure it must be frustrating for you to meet a women who comes off as 100% lesbian the you later find out she’s seeing men too. But honestly… try not to generalize. If you meet a woman who says she’s a lesbian, be humble and generous and let her know that you aren’t trying to judge her. Ask her in a non-accusational way and don’t show your expectations that she be a 100% lesbian… many women are confused out there and trying to figure it out. But I definitely wish more black women were honest about their sexuality; it can take some time to fully accept it. I wrote this article hoping more women out there wouldn’t be afraid to be proud of their sexuality and fight against those who outcast them for it (whether emotionally, violently, socially, etc.)

    Feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk about this more in-depth: [email protected]

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