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This has been a hectic week for me as I got back from CatalystCon 2014, survived another North East snow storm (12 inches this time) and for the rest of the week, thinking what my first subject I would write about #ccon. Every time I am around such positive people and exchange ideas, ideas and energy I have to say the personal growth is priceless and best of all, I was lucky enough this year to share this experience with my wife, thereby providing the opportunity to better understand this journey which I started a year ago, understand how/why a gathering of Sex+ professionals and allies could have made such a monumental impact. The impact has been so great that though this journey is something I have to experience and process, this gathering provided her the peace of mind I am around some of the finest people around.
Let me first start off this post by providing a heartfelt Thank You to everyone in attendance, but most of all I want to show my appreciation and respect to the visionary of this conference, Ms. Dee Dennis and that her vision inspires discussions. These discussions could be perceived by some as good while others can see it as threatening, but that is what a discussion is all about and I hope the discussion of growth and betterment will never stop.
So let me say here and now, I want everyone involved in making the weekend so wonderful, “THANK YOU for a wonderful, enlightening and powerful weekend.” Let me say that again, THANK YOU so much Dee and the ENTIRE STAFF for what must have been countless hours organizing and working all the issues which pop-up a conference with so many moving parts; all the while ensuring the attendees had over 50 one hour sessions to choose from, I not only tip my hat to you, If you see me at the next CatalystCon or any other event, you have my open consent card to grab me and I will provide you with a big hug I so owe each of you (with consent of course). Also thanks to the sponsors of this event for your openness, willingness and BELIEF in the SEX+ movement and how important it is to keep the conversation going. I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!!
For me the weekend started off by having the honor hearing heartfelt stories by Dr. Carol Queen, Dr. Robert Lawrence and Ducky DooLittle concerning their early years as a Sex Worker/Educators. Each painted a vivid picture which I could easily transport myself to that time-period and moment, One thing which surprised me, and I think they were both were just as shocked, that though they were on opposite coasts, in those early years, their tails were shockingly similar while individual to their own situation.
This time I had a better idea of what to expect, so I did prepare myself this time and paced myself at the con, ensuring plenty of time to administer some self care (yes, that was me at every break standing outside of the hotel smoking a cigarette in front of the hotel, but we all have vices). This allowed me to process and prepares for each session, engage in conversation and prepare myself to share my perceptions on subjects. If you did not know, I still hold a lot of fear expressing myself with eloquence and poise. It is not because I do not believe what I am talking and fighting for but it is my brain which works 1,000,000,000 mph and I can only speak about 5 mph.
If you have been following this blog since December 2013, you might remember the post concerning my lack of sex education (read it HERE) and the ramification I have been addressing these past few months which I attribute to that sub-par education. So what happened on Sunday gave me the boost in my confidence that I am doing this for a reason and it could make a difference. It was following my participating in Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo‘s seminar “Orientation as A Living Entity”.
During the class Dr. Dischiavo had us move around the room and examine first sexual orientation over a period of time asking us to remember our placement on the scale in five year increments and then did the same concept, but focused how we perceived our gender identification during the same five year intervals. Now that we all had both reference points Dr. Dischiavo split the participants in half one side of the room and told them to take their current sexual orientation and had the other group (mine) and have us stand where we fit on the scale at age 15. She then asked us to take our 15 year old gender identity and meet someone on the other side of the room which closes represents our current sexual orientation. Then imagine what the 15 year old gender identity do/react to the placement on orientation.
I walked to a young lady closest to the center of the line, i.e. “bi-sexual” (as I stated in a previous post, I claim a sexual, as in open to any possibility and allowing the relationship to naturally develop rather than forced in a specific orientation, which I am not sure I even developed) and thought, “What would the me then do with this information? How would I react?” I then started to stare at this woman rubbing my chin.
After a few minutes of contemplating Dr. Dischiavo asked if anyone wanted to share their experienced in the past few minutes. After a moment of silence I decided to speak up. I told the class the 15 year old me would try to assess the situation. Does this orientation feel “right”, as long as I am happy, I think 15 year old me would be as well.”
“The 40 year old me wanted to give the 15 year old me a hug and tell him everything will be alright, but be mindful of other people’s bias, ignorance and intolerance infect your life. Living that way will make the next 25 years a little easier.”
Well back to the recharge room, a different lady from the class came up to me and told me how powerful my story was, and that her partner was experiencing similar thoughts and questions as I was. I gave her my card, which contained web address to here. I told her, this is a kind of journal of the questions I have and my journey of self discovery. It was at that moment, I found my place!!!
If I can help one person to feel less alone, that it is alright, healthy in fact, to question to question your beliefs. That mama told me to eat my vegetables, and her answer to my “They are yucky” she would inevitably state, “How can you KNOW you don’t like something if you haven’t even tried it?”
This is my solemn promise promise to all who read my blog; I will continue to document my journey in discovering myself. Some of it will be hard to read, probably just as hard as it will be for me to write. This will always be a place you can come to, know you are not alone and that what you feel, attempt to honor and nurture it, that sense of wonder.
So CatalystCon, Dee and all, thank you for making this special moment happen and know there were hundreds of other people having AH’ HA moments like mine. I thank you for all you have done and will do to ensure the discussions continue.
Don’t worry, this is just the tip of the iceberg of things I want to discuss in the coming weeks and months.
I stand WITH you all!!!
As I prepare for the CatalystCon East 2014, I was so happy to come across THIS article on a recent study which identified fluidity in sexuality is not reserved only to those who identify as women, but similar results can be found in similar portions on individuals who gender identify (GI) themselves as male. The only difference was GI women, when given one choice of sexual prevalence would choose bisexual over an extreme gay or straight identifier than GI men.
This study went on to show, GI men given a single choice would identify at one extreme or the other; however if the GI male is given the option to choose more than one identifier, a great deal would say predominantly keep the extreme an primary and secondary identify the other as well. This is evidence of evolving sexuality preference in both sexes.
This makes a lot of sense to me, as this idea has been floating around my head for many years now. I grew up in a place and time where men were told they can only be onto women and any deviation from that made you “gay”. The “joke’ (it is not really a joke, but a homophobic stereotype under the guise of humor) by Andrew Dice Clay was that “…either you suck dick, or you do NOT suck dick!!!” I remember hearing that disgusting statement from the time I was in my mid to late teens.
So since my mid to late teens I have lived under the rule in sexuality must be either/or rule than the concept of AND, since “bisexuality is only acceptable for women,” there by leaving me extremely confused about my feelings for all the people around me.
Even back then, I knew I was attracted to women a lot more than I was to men, but I always wondered why, sometimes I would think of men in a sexual way. I did not know how or who to voice this thought as it would place me in a label I did not feel truly represent how I felt or thought The closest socially acceptable way I could voice how I felt to other was adopting the statement when I found a man attractive by starting the statement off with, “I am secure in my sex and masculinity to say that” usually a male actor’s name “was attractive.”
My thoughts and fears concerning homosexuality were even further fortified when Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” came out and I witnessed the brutal rape scene of actor Ving Rhames’ character. The scene did illicit strong emotions of rage, which that scene should, however in my uneducated mind; I equated the attack to homosexuality and not to the viciousness and savageness of the rapist’s actions. This left me even more confused and angry at myself for so many years for being so ambiguous with my feelings to everyone to include myself. This anger at myself stayed with me up to and including the first time I was raped about 10 years ago.
Now back to the article, I feel people should not be limited to a single identity. I do not fit the same mental thought patterns I did yesterday let alone 20, 10 or even five years ago. Then why should our sexual identities be any different. Place that with the de-stigmatization of anal sex as studies are finding the greater population (both men and women) are enjoying the act in greater numbers (READ MAY 2013 SURVEY RESULTS HERE) without associating it to a homosexual act.
So from this point on, when I am asked about my sexual orientation, the only identifier I will now provide is that I am “sexual”. That does not mean I want to have sex with every person, a generality like that would equate if I identified as only heterosexual, I would have sex with every female and the exact opposite if I identified homosexual. To those people I would remind them everyone has standards and likes and dislikes and free choice (with consent) to be sexual with the gender they so choose to be with at that moment,
I have to give a lot of thanks and CREDIT once again to the wonderful Sabrina Morgan (@SabrinaMorgan) for this epiphany. She was the one who provided me the link to the study on anal sex not being identified as “gay sex” and started my journey on DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER web-site “The Psychology of Human Sexuality” (http://www.lehmiller.com/welcome/) site and I read about the idea of sexual fluidity in men as well.
So let me say this to you now Sabina, thank you!!! I love you for all that you have done for me this year. Also a BIG THANK YOU to Dr. Lehmiller, your studies are having an impact so keep up the great work.