“My Sexuality is Relevant to All Parts of My Life”: Parenting while Bisexual

child-355176_1920Being a bi parent is a bit like having a super power. A super power that you really don’t want and which gives you the ability to feel both highly conspicuous and completely invisible. An impostor in Parentland. It feels isolating, but I am certain I am around other queer people on a daily basis who feel just as closeted as I do by the culture that surrounds parenting infants.

I think an identity shift when becoming a parent is quite common, but my sexuality is something that has stayed consistent. I have always been bi, even before I knew that that was what I should call myself. This is not the same for everyone, and that’s perfectly valid too. My sexuality would still matter even if I only started identifying as bi since becoming a parent, or last week, or just yesterday.
Clearly, a children’s play group is not a natural setting for a chat about sexuality. It is the assumption of straightness that feels crushing here, just like the assumptions of a particular gender identity, or a particular family set up, can make us feel… Other. Bringing queerness into the light, acknowledging the diversity of family structures that have existed for ages, and creating a culture of not assuming would benefit not just us but the kids as well. No one needs the next generation to take on heteronormative ideas – these are values children learn, not ones they are born with.
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I’m nervous when (always indirectly) it comes up. I have casually mentioned in conversations with other parents about attending BiCon for example, when asked about weekend plans, and sometimes it’s fine… and sometimes the people hardly speak to me again. This is likely because of biphobic assumptions like the idea that my sexuality doesn’t matter now I have a family, that my sexual identity is negated by my identity of ‘mother’, that the ‘sex’ in bisexual means it is taboo to talk about when our kids are our common ground.
Parents have and need all sorts of friends but I personally need at least some fellow parent friends. Thankfully I have people I knew before I became a parent, and a great group that I met online who are totally open and accepting of my sexuality. It makes perfect sense to them that it is relevant to all parts of my life just like any other aspect of my identity. My partner is bisexual too. Our bi relationship is part of our family set up as much as my working class identity pervades the way I move through the world.
I’m not expecting to hear “The Farmer Wants a Lesbian Life Partner” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Twink” at music group any time soon. However, I am still hopeful that assumptions will reduce and a culture of openness will come in. For now, I’m just working on dialling down that shitty super power. I’m a bi mum, I am visible and I belong in these spaces.

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