Things are looking up for gay Americans lately. In spite of lingering homophobia and a few very loud bigots, our country is moving toward a future in which gays and lesbians will have all the rights granted to straight Americans under the Constitution. To many, it seems that it's only a matter of time before the war for legalized gay marriage and equal rights is won.
So woop, woop! America is on the cusp of being cool with the gays -- or at least people who identify as strictly gay or lesbian and want to have monogamous, life-long relationships.
Now I'm wondering when America will be cool with people like me.
I've always been queer and highly sexual. When I was a very young child first discovering the excitement of schoolgirl crushes, the objects of my desire were just as often female as male. At 7 years old, I got hot and bothered watching the third-grade class stud mow a lawn while shirtless. The next year, my parents caught me naked in bed with one of my girlfriends. I was 8, and she was 6 -- such a little cradle robber I was! -- and we were enthusiastically engaged in frottage when my parents burst into the room screaming. I was mortified. She was hot!
I would convince my girlfriends to play sexually charged games with me, and I never thought to distinguish between male and female with regard to what was desirable. We would sometimes role play. I preferred to take the masculine role, usually. I also invented a game that involved kissing people's naughty bits in photographs. Men, women -- they were the same to me. They were all sexy and kissable.
When I was 14, my parents discovered a secret website I'd created on which I told the world I was bisexual. Huge fights ensued, and they eventually concluded that I was going through a rebellious phase and would snap out of it as soon as my teenage hormones calmed down. They would have really freaked if they'd known I entertained fantasies involving women with male genitalia. Seemed like the best of both worlds to me. I grew up on a U.S. military base in Seoul, Korea, and I had no idea that transexuals even existed. I just thought the idea was beautiful. After a while, I learned to keep my mouth shut about my sexuality, and my parents were satisfied that the "phase" was over.
So imagine their dismay when, at the age of 21, I announced to them that I was a lesbian. Now, I admit that in my case, being gay was a conscious choice. When I was 20, I had this terrible boyfriend who made me hate penises with a fiery passion. (I'm sorry, penises of the world. I love you now; don't be sad!) I knew I could love women, so I decided I would only love women. I was a very outspoken, very happy lesbian for two years. In that time, I fully indulged my masculine side. Being gay was my chance to escape the confines of traditional femininity, and I loved it.
Eventually, my attraction to men returned, and I went back to identifying as bisexual. But over the last six years, I've realized that that doesn't quite cover it.
Sure, I love men. Women, too. But I still think that women who have male genitalia are miracles sent to us by a benevolent sex-positive god, and I've been turned on by and crushed out on all manner of androgynous, genderqueer, and sexually fluid folk. And I've never been a huge fan of our culture's obsession with lifelong monogamy. I've also discovered that I don't enjoy being confined to one gender role. I want to play both, switching back and forth as I see fit. If you need labels to understand a human being's sexuality, you could say I'm a gender-bent pansexual polyamorist. Not gay, straight, or bi but something else altogether. My best relationships are with people who are like me: queer and highly sexual, with an appreciation and respect for all the gray areas that human sexuality has to offer.
America might not be ready to for a new wave of alternative sexualities and relationships just yet, but we're definitely getting there. When more queer men and women who can't be defined solely as "straight," "gay," or "bi" start speaking out and coming to the surface, more people will begin to accept how beautiful and varied human sexuality actually is.
So let's talk about it, people. Let's be proud to be queer, whatever that might mean for you. Let's start with acknowledging that sexuality is not a simple matter of gay or straight, that gender is not confined to male and female, that love is not limited, and sex is not a formula. There are as many ways to be human and love other humans as there are people under the sun.
Samia wrote the song "We Have the Right" with her sister, Ashley Jana, in support of gay marriage rights. She recorded both the song and the music video in one week. The video, directed and produced by Caskey Hunsader, was shot at Posh Bar in New York City in early June 2013.
"We Have the Right" is now available on all major music platforms and will be included as a bonus track on Samia's upcoming self-titled EP, set to release July 16, 2013.
Samia will perform "We Have the Right" and her other originals from her new EP at Industry Bar in New York City on June 25, 2013, at 11 p.m., during New York Pride Week. There's no cover.
Samia and her band will celebrate their debut album release with a show at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. There's no cover.