By Katie Diamond
This past Thanksgiving weekend, I got to spend time with one of my oldest friends. We got together at my parents’ house, and determined that we needed to relocate some place cozy and alcohol related. In the suburban depths of South Florida, we could find the alcohol, but not really the cozy—as we pulled into the parking lot of a huge flashy sports bar, I felt myself beginning to sink into my seat. I started to have minor panics about being a buzzed head butch dyke wandering into a large football-focused bar. We hopped out of the car, and I shook my head and muttered to my friend, “Oh, dear dear dear.”
From every angle, we could each see at least 20 large screen televisions; football helmets lined every possible flat surface; several sports games played on the large wall behind the bar. We sat down at a booth, and I turned to my friend, “Should we sit at the bar? We’re only grabbing drinks… Not as cozy, but…”
“Well, we could do that—but there are a bunch of dudes at the bar. Are you down with sitting next to men, Katie?”
The question confused me. I wondered if I heard her right—comfortable sitting next to men? That was when it dawned on me—my friend was operating under the High School Aged Dyke Katie. Not the Polyamorous Queer Katie model. She didn’t get the software upgrade.
“Oh, you… I haven’t told you? How long has it been since we’re really spoken about relationships? …I sleep with men now. Queer men, but I sleep with men. Cisgendered men.”
Needless to say, my friend, upon receiving the proper new Katie programming, was surprised. Actually, surprised into speechlessness.
This encounter got me thinking—sexuality really is fluid. I know this. But I hadn’t really considered what this fluidity might look like to someone perched outside my queer and poly community. I do think that I would have come upon my own growing sexual appetite in due time, but I think that its almost-vertical growth spurt can be attributed to my polyamory.
If it weren’t for my polyamory, my dyke identity might be more fixed. In my poly circles, and in my relationship, exploration of new things is strongly encouraged. We’re sex-positive, sexual beings who want to see our partners and lovers and friends engage in successful relationships… Rather than wonder why that dyke and faggot are making out in the corner, we instead silently applause and smile at each other knowingly—knowing that they’re enjoying themselves, and that they’re no less dykey or faggy for their current engagement.
I haven’t always been this on top of my own sexual identity. I used to think it really hinged on who I was doing what with. Here, allow me to illustrate:
The only constant I had as a budding young person was my lack of sexual interest in cisgendered men. When that an attraction bubbled up, it was confusing—not earth shattering, nor mind blowing. Just confusing in a way that rocked my boat: if my sexual identity is dyke, how can I want to do things with cisgendered men? What does that mean when I find myself attracted to transmen, transwomen, genderqueers?
The 15 year old Katie didn’t know that answer—my mind then came up with “ABORT MISSION ABORT MISSION ABORT MISSION”… Ten years later, 25 year old Katie is proud to be a queer dyke who can find anyone who’s intentional, smart, and well-meaning attractive, thanks to her polyamory.