This is our truth, tell us yours
I’m a bloke in his late 40s who presents as straight. I am lucky enough to be in a relationship with a bi woman who lets me be the dom man I wish to be. It is a very satisfactory sexual relationship.I am straight only in the sense that I am able to live my life without my colleagues and friends othering me because I have, in my past,sucked a fair few cocks and shagged more than a fair few men. I’ve been shagged by a few as well, but that’s a part of my life that I would not choose to repeat – nevertheless it is a part of my sexual history which means that in a world of simple divisions I am a bi man in practice, even if I present as straight as a die.
I hated the part of my life where, during the 84-85 strike, in order to move freely amongst my mining friends, I didn’t speak publicly about being bi. I hate it still, but in a lesser way that understands that I have a heteropass called the bairn who proves, via her mother, that I am hetero to those who only see the surface. My union has an LGBTQ section that I eschew, even though in theory I am a charter member of it. I did not become a senior member of my union branch by being publicly LGBTQ; I know I could get to go to every conference for the next 20 years by playing that card, but I prefer to be who I am and to go to conferences on the basis of my leadership qualities, not who I like to fuck.
I have a heteropass that allows me to be who I am. It’s a lucky place to be, In my political activism lack of a heteropass would make it much harder for me to move freely, in my view, since many of my colleagues still regard being a member of a sexual ‘minority’ as meaning you are a representative of that minority, instead of merely yourself. By chance I bumped into a friend tonight. He has a gaymonogamous pass that makes him safer and more secure to many of our friends than the secret me; he loves his boyfriend, who loves him, and they’re seen as a ‘safe’ couple, whereas my history is one of unremitting sluttishness until I made being a dominant male a key focus of my life. In much of the hetero world the secret fear is of the gay or bi man who ‘recruits’ for his team, and I have to confess I have satisfied the curiosity of a few bi-curious males along the way – for a secret slut like me it was a moral improvement to adopt shagging men in front of their wives as a method, instead of shagging them in secret when their wives didn’t know.
A key clue to who I am is that I don’t give a fuck who knows, eventually, who I have fucked. There are cases where someone revealing the names of all the people I have fucked will enlighten me – my memory isn’t all that great. In the present though I feel the need to be able to set aside my sexuality and simply get on with being me. It also, oddly, allows me to be more vocal about gay rights at work, about sexual agnosticism as a principle, than if I were ‘out’. When I argue for equality for all it is seen as a principled argument, not just self interest. Solidarity is more powerful when it is based on mutually respected difference, not on similarity.
There are those who would out me if they could, to make a political point, or because they see my discretion about my sexuality as somehow being a refutation of the right to equality. They’re wrong, in my view, but they’re entitled to have that view, so long as they don;t try and conscript me to their team against my will. There are some who would even out me just to win an argument, or silence me. To them I would say, simply, don’t do it. If you live by the sword you will, surely, die by the sword too, often in unexpected ways that, in hindsight, are the logical but unpredictable consequence of division.