Pride Stories – Love is Love
Pride month is a very important month celebrating LOVE each year and we wanted to do something a little bit different for 2019, we collected some stories from fellow podcasters, listeners and of course ourselves to put a spotlight on diversity.
First up let’s hear from Tiff and Rach from the Sapphic Swingers Podcast, these ladies are as real as it comes. They have a dynamic relationship and represent the L in LGBTQI. We’d like to thank Tiff and Rach for their courage, honesty and for putting a piece of themselves out there on their podcast.
Some waver after high school on the decision to attend college, start work or perhaps join the military. I chose college and, not long after, also the Army. To say I had to sign a mountain of paperwork for enlistment would only be a slight exaggeration.
In July of 2000, while signing one of those steps on the mountain, I had to sign something saying I was not a homosexual and would not engage in homosexual activity while in service. I cringed. I was volunteering to put my life on the line but it wasn’t really my life. I had to start my years of service by lying and that hurt. While fortunately Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was overturned, it wasn’t during my time in the Army. People often ask who was the most difficult person to come out to in my journey. The simple and honest answer was myself. I wasn’t allowed to come out in the Army.
I was terrified to come out to my parents and family. I feared I would lose friends. I worried about feeling like a second-class citizen in a country I love and fought for. But in retrospect, it was me who I struggled the most with being honest. It may sound absurd but I did try my best to be heterosexual! So many pressures from so many people and cultural “norms” attempted to dictate my life and it made me miserable. In the end I just had to be myself and in the end, I believe love wins!
I don’t have a dramatic or traumatic coming out story. I have an extremely loving and accepting family, I came out to my parents and siblings fairly easily but the hardest person for me to come out to was my grandmother.
I was always very close with her and she was an extremely opinionated woman who never held back with speaking her mind. I had overheard her utter some negative comments when 2 of my cousins also came out (yes, clearly the gay gene is in the family!) so I was terrified to reveal my true sexuality to her.
Whenever she asked anything about my dating life I was very secretive and pronoun neutral. When my wife and I got married 8 years ago, it was before gay marriage was legalized in our state. My grandmother came to our wedding but she mentioned to my mom that she wasn’t quite sure “what” she was attending.
Our ceremony was personal, fun, funny, special, and very us. We spoke our own vows and then after the ceremony my grandmother came up and finally said emphatically….”I get it! Those words made my heart smile as she was able to clearly see that Love is Love!
I know what you’re thinking… how can we have ANOTHER two fun, sexy, intelligent ladies to share their story… well get ready because here they come! You might know them as fellow Podcasters TorridSouls, they are Tori and Soul and we feel so special that they are sharing their story with us.
My world was extremely homophobic. Sexuality was something that was never talked about. Everyone was just supposed to be straight. Boys liked girls and girls liked boys. No discussion necessary. Marriage was religious and heterosexual. Men who didn’t marry were accepted as being creative, and women who remained single were considered to be “picky” (and there were a few creative and picky people in my family tree).
I consider myself tomboyish. A girl, yes, but not a girly girl. I hated dolls and frills and dresses and tea parties. I loved keeping up with my brother, being strong, active and athletic. I understood boys. Girls were not as fun.
While I had a few, very close girl friends over the years, I was more into sports than relationships. My little-girl brain decided that since boys were better at sports, anyway, having boys around me suited me just fine. When I married, I married a gentle man. It wasn’t until many years into that marriage that I realized this “peculiar” interest in women (which I then spent years observing, without ever telling anyone else about my thoughts). Eventually I shared this with my husband and years later, when I met Tori, and after lots of counselling, I realized this intense “attraction” was something I could not deny. I eventually separated, and then divorced. Fast forward to today, Tori and I are now married, and we’ve been together for over 10 years.
Originally, I considered myself straight… because that’s what I knew. Then, for many years I tried to get comfortable with the lesbian label. It never seemed to completely fit. I have now evolved in the understanding of myself, realizing that I am definitely bisexual. That felt right.
Being bisexual is not a 50/50 thing. It’s having romantic and/or sexual attraction to both males and females (or to more than one sex or gender) and it is possible for a person’s attraction to lean more towards one gender. Romantic attraction can match with sexual attraction…or not. There are so many versions within bisexuality. I prefer to see it as more of a spectrum – one that can be customized. My profile is that I have an incredibly romantic and sexual attraction to a particular woman and I am sexually attracted to men. Together, Tori and I have a very passionate, strong, fun, loving, connected, consensual non-monogamous relationship …that works very well for us!
My family and upbringing was one of almost no judgement. Whatever I chose to do or be, I knew my family would support me. That being said, I never had any examples of couples or families that were anything except the hetero-normative male-female with 2 or 3 children. I placed a high value on a primary relationship, and felt I was a better person when I was part of a couple. Based on that, starting at a very young age, I naturally dated men, and eventually got married.
The man I married is a gentle and kind man, also non-judgmental. It was with him, and with his approval, that I started to explore my attraction to women. I joined an online group for bisexual women, and attended many of the events, such as potluck dinners, hot-tub parties, and nights out dancing. It was a wonderfully supportive group of women who were married to men. We had great conversations, and lots of flirty fun. I had my first real experiences with women through this group.
It was at one of these events where I met Soul. Hers and my attraction to one another was at another level. It was deep and all-encompassing. I had never felt such a connection to another human being before. It was simply mind-blowing and each day that passed, we grew closer and closer.
After lots of soul-searching (haha – pun was so not intended) and many tearful conversations with both my husband and Soul, we decided that it was right for me to move on. I moved in with Soul and our official relationship started.
At this point, based on the intense level of connection we had, I considered myself Lesbian. For me, I couldn’t imagine ever being interested in men, and simply wasn’t looking, really at anyone else. Because Soul is a very visual person, we had discussions about who we found attractive, and I was sure that I only had eyes for her.
Fast forward a few years, and through similar discussions, we discovered my interest in seeing her with a man, and how hot that would be. As these conversations developed into reality, and we gained understanding of the different types of attraction, I came to realize that indeed Bisexual is the best descriptor for the label that I would most fit into. I’m not interested in a romantic relationship with a man, however we both find them hot, and a lot of fun!