Defining sexual orientation…

C: Not a person alive hasn’t felt at some point even if it was brief and fleeting some sort of carnal sexual attraction to another person male or female.

Me: *asexual here* no brief or fleeting carnal sexual attraction.

R: But you have two kids….so….

No! Just plain no! Our pasts do not define our sexual orientation (or gender for that matter). Gay men can have ex-wives, lesbians can share custody with ex-husbands, and asexuals can have children. We are all people, with complicated thoughts and behaviours. Our pasts do not define us.

Sexual orientation is not a simple switch; flick one way for straight, the other for gay, the middle for bi. It’s a broad spectrum with a variety of sexual attractions, intensities, and genders. And it’s not always easy to define.

I know of one lesbian who’s happily married to a man. She (with much confusion) loves him deeply and freely admits he’s the only man she’s ever loved or even been interested in. Meanwhile she’s loved several women and would go back to only dating women if anything happened to their relationship. He’s an anomaly in an otherwise lesbian existence and, as much as she loves him, she feels erased of her identity.

Bisexuals and pansexuals exist and remain existing no matter who they’re with at the time.You can be mostly interested in men and only slightly in women (or vice versa) and still be bi. Plus, despite the name, bisexuals can be interested in more than two genders as well. Which overlaps with pansexuals but, hey, sharing is caring.

You can be asexual and have children. You can be asexual with sexual partners. You can be asexual and enjoy sex. The only definition for asexual is a lack of sexual attraction and, even that gets blurred in the case of grey-aces.

In my case, I had no idea asexuality existed. I figured I was broken and spent years trying to fix myself… right up to and including marriage. I wanted children and sex is one easy way to get them, which I did. I joke I built them from scratch. Now that I know asexuality exists and I’m not broken, I’d rather stick with hugging and cuddling.

We all exist on a tapestry of sexuality and it’s no one’s decision except ours as to what thread we chose to weave with. My thread is iridescent, which doesn’t exactly fit in but it’s certainly not extraneous. I think it makes the tapestry look fabulous.

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It’s the most wonderful time…

When I was very little, my parents used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was always the same. A pretty tree with lots of sparkling lights. Things haven’t changed. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. I love it all. The lights, the decorations, the glitter, the music, time with family and friends, pretty cards, baking, presents, and an ever present feeling of hope and goodwill. This holiday is me.

This is also the time of year I started writing this blog… three years ago. So much has changed since then. Back then Jeremy identified as a femme, bisexual male (who felt a bit like a girl on the inside) and I was completely and totally straight (and deep enough in the closet I could hang out with the lion in Narnia). Now Jeremy’s straight, agender and alternates between masculine and femme while I’m a demi-romantic, pan-romantic asexual. So the fabulous has broadened to include both of us.

Three years ago Jeremy wanted a hair straightener and Jaffa cakes. This year I got them a strand of light up mirrored disco balls and a big stuffed Freddy Fazbear from Five Nights at Freddys. Meanwhile this is what I want for Christmas…

  1. Self-cleaning kitty litter boxes
  2. Self-washing dishes
  3. Magic refilling fridge
  4. Copious amounts of writing time
  5. A huge green space beside my building
  6. Endless supply of free books on my e-reader from my favourite authors
  7. Winning lottery ticket for $15 million dollars
  8. A stay at a tropical resort

Pretty much the only one that can fit under the tree is the lottery ticket. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Christmas morning 🙂

This year we’re staying overnight at my parents’ house, which is new for us considering we live a 15 minute drive from their place. It means we can hang out on Christmas Eve and open stockings with them on Christmas morning. Plus it’s more like the Christmas I was used to growing up, when we stayed at my grandparents’ house with a bunch of relatives. I’m looking forward to hanging out with them, Karen and her family, and my cousin and his fiance.

Three years ago Jeremy and I would be watching Doctor Who on Netflix but they’ve taken it off the Canadian line up. I did promise them that I’d watch Supergirl with them as soon as they finish the dishes. I hope the show’s good.

The people we leave behind…

Meme from the blog early mama

Sometimes I wonder if they think I’m blind; if they think I don’t notice their absence on Facebook… the empty space in my like and comment sections. Sometimes I wonder if they even see my posts or if they’ve quietly unfollowed me. They’re there… but at the same time they aren’t.

I grew up in a wide spread family. My grandparents lived four hours away by car. My great-grandmother four hours away by plane. The rest were scattered across the country (and now the globe). When we all got together, we were a close-knit group and our visits were full of laughter and hugs. While we were apart I was assured our family was always together in spirit.

Our last big family reunion was almost a decade ago; combining both a wedding and a memorial service. It was nearly two weeks of family bliss. Everywhere we turned there was family. We took up huge tables at restaurants and booked half a motel. I loved introducing Emma and Jeremy to cousins, uncles and aunts… showing them the family they belonged to. We went to the town my mother, grandparents, and several great-grandparents were born and spent a glorious afternoon on a nearby island, simply sharing time together. I collected several chunks of sea-worn beach rocks from there, along with shells and driftwood, that I’ve kept on my fireplace mantle ever since; a visible reminder of family and our time together.

Newcastle beach

The first one to disappear off my statuses and updates was my sister Amy. We’ve never had a close, sisterly relationship. Our relationship could be described as tumultuous at best; when we meet, we tend to clash. The closest we’ve ever gotten is online. Then this thread happened last year, when I shared an article on Facebook discussing gender neutral washrooms in Vancouver BC.

screenshots

Click to embiggen. If Amy ever wonders why Jeremy’s not all that fond of her, this is the reason. Zie’s rarely on Facebook but did read this whole thread.

Amy hasn’t commented on a single post or picture since then. Birthdays, the death of two pets, Christmas, etc… all passed without a single like or comment from her. She also has yet to respond to my private message regarding Jeremy being trans.

Then came my big post, at Jeremy’s request, outing zir to our family and friends. The support we received was overwhelmingly positive and almost completely from friends. The solitary family member who responded on that post was my cousin’s uncle. And since then there’s been silence. The only family who likes and comments on my posts are Karen, her husband, and my Mom. To be fair, most of my relatives rarely go on Facebook but the ones who do make their absence felt. And it hurts. Ironically, I don’t think it’s because Jeremy’s trans. It’s because this should be private and I was uncouth enough to make it public. I’m being ignored because I’m socially inappropriate.

What they don’t seem to get is I’m not doing this for them. I’m not doing this for me either. I’m doing this for Jeremy, who is still floundering and still needs my emphatic and visible support. Jeremy still tries zir hardest not to think about gender or sexual orientation. Zie still isn’t sure what zie likes to wear (other than loose and comfortable). I don’t talk to Jeremy about sexual orientation at all as it’s a sure fire way to start a furious and hysterical argument on zir part because zie’s straight damn it! Even though zie tries zir hardest not to think about guys. Even though zir first reaction when they killed off the 9th Doctor in Doctor Who was “why did they have to kill the cute one?”. Even though when zie handed me the brochure that came with my camera, zir comment was “you should like this, it’s full of landscapes and cute guys”. I flipped through to discover the people pictures were split 50/50 with males and females; apparently zie never noticed. Even though zie stares at zirself in the mirror and wonders why zie looks so good in women’s clothing… before taking it off and pulling on an old t-shirt and baggy shorts.

I want Jeremy to be comfortable at home. I want zir to know this is a safe place… that I’m not only 100% behind zir but willing to step out and be in front of zir too, in the times zie’s too scared to walk alone. When zie briefly pondered wearing a dress outside, I assured zir that I’m like a pitbull, small and usually cuddly, but willing to cling on and rip out someone’s throat if zie’s threatened. Zie laughed. I wasn’t kidding.

“Mom! Guess what?”

Jeremy ran into my room, zir smile as wide as the sky and just as sunshiny.

“If I spend $6, I can subscribe to Cool Dude! I can go into his exclusive Steam group and play on Gary’s Mod with him. Oh and he’s gay.” I hadn’t thought Jeremy’s smile could get any wider, yet it did.

I will stand for Jeremy until zie’s able to stand on zir own and then I will continue to stand beside zir. If my family’s not willing to stand beside me, I’ll stand on my own. I’m grateful for the friends I have with me and the family who has stayed strong. Maybe someday the rest of the family will join them but I will not back down. I will not quiet myself for their comfort.

My child needs me. They can catch up if they want.

One whole year…

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I wrote my first post. I’d spent the previous month pondering whether I should start a new blog. I already had one, which was well known to family and friends, but I found myself with lots to say and, since I didn’t want to ‘out’ my kid, nowhere to write it. Plus the few blogs I read were about younger kids, which meant we were dealing with completely different situations. I figured if I couldn’t find blogs about what I was dealing with, there was a space my blog needed to fill. I picked WordPress because my original blog was on Blogspot (I worried my new blog might inadvertently get linked to the old one if they were through the same site) and carefully wrote out an introduction. The rest, as they say, is history.

So much has changed this year. When I started writing, Jeremy was an effeminate young man who thought “he” might be bisexual. Today zie identifies as bigender trans and says zie’s interested solely in women. Zie doesn’t identify as straight though, which makes sense considering zie identifies as partly female. Jeremy’s been struggling with anxiety for a while, becoming increasingly house-bound. Jeremy missed our Solstice Service last night plus the last PFLAG meeting due to anxiety. Zie started on EffexorXR two days ago and I’m hoping it will make a difference.

Writing this blog has made a huge difference for me. I’ve made several friends through here and have found two groups for parents of transgender children (one of which is linked on my resources page; the other is a secret group). The friendships and groups also gave me the confidence to start attending our local chapter of PFLAG, which in turn has a teen group for Jeremy.

In real life I’m quite shy. The support and encouragement I’ve received here has helped me stand up more in real life. I’ve become more vocal and huggy at work and, well, more vocal everywhere. I had my Christmas party on Saturday and a friend of mine started talking about one of my former neighbours, someone I didn’t know (we’re talking about a 20 storey high rise… there are a LOT of neighbours I didn’t know). The neighbour is FtM trans.

“She was a really ugly female but now she’s really hot,” my friend continued.

I’d said “he” several times as she’d talked but my friend remained oblivious. This time I marched over and stood in front of her, my hands on my hips.

“He,” I said firmly. “He’s really hot. He was never female and you need to stop referring to him as she.”

“Oh, sorry,” my friend said and switched to using he. I then gave a mini talk on hormones and how sex organs develop before brains while my friends listened with obvious interest. This isn’t something I would have done a year ago. This isn’t something I really knew about a year ago.

And now we’re moving on to Christmas and 2015. I can’t wait to see what the following year brings 🙂

Hello… anyone there?

That would be me calling out the title inside Jeremy’s brain; I get the feeling he spends as little time in there as possible. I freely admit that I am venting and that I don’t understand. That being said, I don’t understand!

Take last summer for instance. Jeremy told me several times that he was interested in boys as well as girls. Over the next half year he waffled, telling me he didn’t know if he was interested in boys because he tried his hardest not to think about it… then he started telling me he was straight. Which is fine, it’s not like there’s some quota I’m trying to fill…

“Jeremy, we don’t have enough LGBTQ people in our family so you’re it. Pick a group and run with it.”

… but at the same time I really don’t get the “I’m trying hard not to think about it” comments.

When Jeremy saw the video on Just Kidding News, he insisted he needed to write a letter and share it with them. I decided to share a letter as well.

I called him into the room before I published it and said, “Hon, I need you to listen to this and tell me if my letter is correct. I’m not in your head and don’t want to put words in your mouth. Please tell me if I mis-identified you in any way.”

Jeremy listed to the letter and told me he agreed 100%. He even agreed the words “gender nonconforming” fit him. Then I asked him if I could share the letters in a closed Facebook group I belong to and he said yes. I wanted to go back and add a link to the blog a little while later and he refused.

“Jeremy? I was just wondering why you turned down the link to our blog,” I asked. “Considering how much was in the letter, I’m not sure there’s anything else in the blog that would be a surprise.”

He looked confused. “Well what was in the letter?”

I scrolled back to the post, “I said you identify as non-conforming, haven’t sorted out your gender identity yet, and are likely trans.”

He smirked. “That’s just you putting words in my mouth.” I thought the smoke coming from my ears was going to set off the alarm.

“I read you that letter,” I retorted. “AND I asked you to tell me if you agreed or disagreed with what I wrote AND you told me you agreed 100%. What the hell is the point of me asking you if you’re going to agree then and claim I made it all up later? If I’m wrong, tell me where it is so I can try and fix it.”

He looked embarrassed. “It’s fine,” he finally said. “What you wrote is fine.”

Then came this morning. To be totally honest, I can’t even remember how the conversation started. Jeremy had been up since 4am and woke me up with him rustling around, talking to himself and the cats, and making something to eat. My alarm was set for 5:45am, I had not planned on getting up almost two hours early and was not very conscious. I do remember asking him if he could at least tell me whether he was 100% male or not. I figured that one would be easy. It wasn’t. He had no idea. And once again he informed me he tries his hardest not to think about the subject. Which made me picture the inside of Jeremy’s skull looking like this…

Tumbleweeds2

 

Then to top it off, he asked when he’d ever said he was bisexual because he couldn’t remember ever saying that. I told him when (again) and he looked surprised (again). I’m sure he’ll forget again soon.

I told him I loved him, grabbed my lunch, and headed off to catch the bus. Once I got on I messaged Lenny.

“I freely admit I don’t get it. He can’t even tell me if he feels 100% male or not because he tries his hardest not to think about it. He did this with being bisexual too. Told me for ages that he didn’t know at all. Then we had a conversation where he went from saying he didn’t know to saying he was straight in less than a minute. Now he keeps forgetting he ever told me he was bi. It’s just frustrating and concerning that he blocks and hides this stuff from himself.”

Lenny replied, “This path will cause me pain is a powerful reason not to let it all hang out.”

Which makes sense. I just wish he’d spend a little more time thinking and a lot less time ignoring himself. He’s a good kid to hang around with, I wish he was happier with himself and happier to be himself.

(Also, I found the tumbleweed gif at Awesomely Luvvie)

Acceptance helps everyone…

I can’t remember where I read this information originally. I’m horrible for remembering stuff then forgetting completely what article or blog it came from. Although, to be fair, it was over a year ago. Anyways, I read an article (somewhere) on transgender children and how they all did much better when their parents listened to them and respected their wishes.

The vast majority of the kids stayed firm with their gender but a few went back to the gender they’d been announced at birth. Those few also were happy and glad they were listened to, they felt confident they were loved and accepted by their parents.

Around the same time that I read this article, Emma came out as bisexual… for a day. I wasn’t surprised by her announcement but for different reasons than with Jeremy.

With Jeremy there wasn’t any surprise because he’d had crushes on boys for years, only stopping when he realized his peers’ negative opinions. Emma, on the other hand, came out at her father’s baptism into the Mormon church.

We arrived at the church with no small amount of nervousness. I was meeting relatives and friends of their father whom I hadn’t seen in a decade, Jeremy stayed silent on his worries, and Emma had heard a fair bit about the Mormon church through the media and had her own concerns regarding parental love.

Their father greeted us in a full length white pant and shirt set. His rumpled, ill fitting garments gave him the appearance of someone who’d just entered a hospital with secured exits and staff who were deeply concerned with his feelings and moods.

“Mom. Dad looks like he’s in a mental hospital,” Emma muttered. Apparently we were both on the same wavelength. They’d even taken his shoes.

None of us were allowed to witness the actual baptism, which was a disappointment. Their Dad has an extreme water phobia. We were all set to eat popcorn and enjoy the show. Instead we got ushered into a small room with stacking, but padded, seats to watch a bland and generic VCR tape on the Mormon religion.

I looked over to see Emma’s head bent over her cellphone, furiously typing a text message. I opened my mouth to tell her to be respectful and put away her phone when she handed it to me and gestured at the screen.

Mom. I think I might be bisexual.

She took the phone back then backspaced and handed it back to me, the blank screen ready and waiting.

Emma. I love you always.

She smiled when she saw it then backspaced and tucked the phone into her pocket. I squeezed her hand and we settled back to watch the rest of the video. After the whole baptism was completed, we stood and I gave Emma a hug. She bent slightly to rest her head on my shoulder.

“Thanks,” she whispered into my ear. “I love you Mom.”

“I love you too sunshine,” I whispered back.

She called me the next day. “Mom, I’m straight. I don’t know why I said I might be bi, I don’t like girls at all.”

I laughed. “It’s okay either way sunshine. You’re a teenager, being confused comes with the territory.”

“But I really don’t know why I said that,” she blurted.

“Hon, what does the Mormon church think about same sex relationships?”

“Umm… not good…” she replied hesitantly. “Oh, so I was testing you and Dad. You both passed by the way.”

And that was it. I’d like to say it was smooth sailing from then on but she’s a teenager with Borderline Personality Disorder. Life’s not that easy. But it did help.

As for why I accepted Emma’s backtrack on coming out and not Jeremy’s, that would be because Emma has never once mentioned any interest in girls. Whereas Jeremy and I have conversations like this:

“Mom? What are you and Lenny talking about?”

I looked up from Facebook in surprise. I hadn’t realized he was reading over my shoulder (again).

“Lenny and I were looking at some pictures I posted on the blog and we both think he’s cute.” I flipped through the link and clicked open the picture.

Jeremy studied the picture intently then shrugged. “It’s okay if you like him but I find him a bit too feminine for my tastes.”

I didn’t think he looked feminine at all but everyone’s got their own personal likes. That being said, I dare you to read that sentence then say (and honestly believe) the phrase, “Yes, Jeremy’s 100% straight”. So far I haven’t managed although I’m faking as best I can. Jeremy says he feels loved and accepted so hopefully I’m doing a good enough job. He also thinks I ask bizarrely random questions but he should be used to that by now.

World Pride…

Jeremy and I went to our local pride parade last June. It was… small. The entire parade was three blocks long and took less than five minutes. Most of the audience were under the age of five with the majority of the rest being their mothers. Jeremy was underwhelmed.

“That parade was really boring,” he muttered as kids ran around us clutching rainbow flags and wrist bands.

I shrugged. “It’s bigger than the non-existent one we used to have. Besides, you can’t expect it to be as big as the Toronto Pride parade.”

He turned around so quickly my first thought was he’d been stung. “Wait! What Pride parade?” he blurted.

“Umm… the Toronto parade,” I replied. “It’s a big parade, they have it every June.”

“Can we go next year?” he asked hopefully. He grinned as I nodded.

Jeremy came out as bisexual a few weeks later only to go back in the closet that winter.

“Are you still wanting to go to the Pride parade?” I asked one evening after Jeremy (once again) loudly informed me he was 100% straight.

“Of course,” he replied, as if that was obvious. Perhaps to him it was.

Then I started getting notices in my Facebook ads about World Pride. Yes, I share and like enough LGBTQ posts on Facebook to get Pride advertisements plus helpful suggestions on how to make my same sex wedding more special. Jeremy finds this hilarious. That being said, I had no idea what World Pride was. So I asked on Facebook and quickly discovered the whole freaking world’s been invited to go hang out in Toronto this week. Great.

I am not a people person. I like people in small doses and with lots of downtime so I can recharge. When I take those Introvert/Extrovert tests, I hang out right at the very edge of the introvert scale. The only way to score higher than me as an introvert is to extend the scale a bit more.

I posted this question on Facebook:

Are any of my friends going to the Toronto Pride parade next Sunday? Jeremy wants to go and I wondered if anyone wants to meet us. He’ll be the one with long purple hair and I’ll be the one hyperventilating into a paper bag (because I love crowds *that* much).

I knew my description of him was vague, heck this might be the only time ever that “long purple hair” does not immediately pinpoint him in a crowd. But I also share tonnes of photos of him on Facebook so I figured everyone there knows what he looks like.

The two replies I got about the parade were:

I’ve * thought* about it…but….it’s World Pride this year….it’s going to be SUPER busy!!

and…

As much as I support PRIDE you can not convince me to go down there with that many people.

My friend P pretty much told me the same thing via the phone. There was no way he was going, he found the regular pride parade too crowded.

Then I got an email from our UU minister saying that anyone who wished to march in World Pride could march with the Toronto First Unitarian church; they have space for 100 people. That sounded perfect. I wouldn’t have to stand around waiting for hours, instead I’d be with a group. And I wouldn’t need to worry about being too crowded because I’d be walking in the parade. I excitedly told this to Jeremy.

“I don’t want to march,” he said dismissively. “I don’t like walking, it’s too much work.”

Okay, that ticked me off. I can handle a lot of reasons for not doing something but laziness isn’t one of them. I left the room to cool down then approached Jeremy later.

“Mom,” he said earnestly. “We wouldn’t see anything if we were in the parade. We’d see the backs of the people in front of us and maybe the people behind us if we turned around but that’s it. We wouldn’t see any floats or anything.”

“We’d see everyone who came,” I pointed out. “People are coming from all over the world to attend.”

Jeremy snorted. “Like I go to parades to watch the audience. I want to see the floats.”

Okay, he had a point.

So we’ve got a week to go until the World Pride parade. I went online last night and searched out the parade route. It apparently starts somewhere I’ve never been before and ends just north of the Eaton Centre. I know where the Eaton Centre is at least. There’s a park right beside the Eaton Centre with a waterfall and a meditation garden. We can eat lunch there and I can hyperventilate in relative peace.

I figure I’ll pack plenty of sunscreen and fill our water bottles. I’ll pack plenty of pre-washed fruits and vegetables, make wraps, and bake an entire batch of cupcakes. I figure if we’re going to be sitting beside the same people for two or more hours, I might as well have extra cupcakes to share. And I’ll take a tonne of photos.

Is anyone else attending?