By Shanna Katz
We often talk about the ”other” identities, those that are considered to deviate from the norm – the LGBTQ community, the kinky folk, the non-monogamous folks, etc. However, EVERYONE has identities, even if your identities may be more of what society deems to be the ”defaults,” like straight, vanilla, monogamous, etc. In this column, I feel it is important to recognize all identities, as we all go through our own journeys to find and embrace them, whatever they may be. This post is about a woman who identifies as straight, among other things.
This interview is about your Straight identity…What are some other identities of yours:
Dancer, grad student, student, artist, bioarchaeologist, wife, daughter, sister
Define your straight identity – what does it mean to you, how long have you had this identity, how was the process of getting there?
I suspect I have always been straight. I tend to view sexuality as a biological based thing and so it just was. I have had many gay friends and relatives growing up so it was not that it was the default or only option I knew, I just liked guys. I know gender atypical play is often cited as sign of a future sexuality, but I was all over the board so I am not sure how helpful that was. I played with trucks and barbies. I never played house and went on adventures with the boys and made my own dress for the dolls and especially loved drawing frilly dresses for paper doll women.
Talk about some of the language surrounding this identity – what terms do you like/dislike?
Straight does not appeal to me much, but I don’t have anything better. I feel like it says I fit in a very small box and that anyone not like me is crooked or broken; they’re not. It also means honest or pure. My best friend is gay and he is both more honest and pure than I have ever been. I never liked birther before it was co-opted by the anti-Obama group not because it was meant as slur against straight people in general, but just because I don’t think the straight identity should be defined by the ability to have children. Heterosexual is fine, but painfully clinical. Lesbian evokes Ancient Greek poetry.
What are some common questions you get about this identity? How do you answer them and how do they make you feel?
I get questions about being married, but not much about my sexuality itself. However, my husband and I often discuss the option of plural marriage with another couple which does generate a lot of questions. The idea is that soul mates do not exist in our mind as we are evolved to like certain things in a mate, and those are not exclusive to one person out of 6 billion. The idea would be that we would have another man and his wife would be our life and sexual partners. I would be willing to have sexual encounters with the other woman, but it does not excite me in the way it does with my husband/the other male.
What are some of the positives of having this identity?
I can have children with my chosen partner and it is the one that gives all the legal and social advantages. It should only be the children thing and possibly religion (I believe religions should have the rights to be bigots but they should not exercise that right). From a legal standpoint, any 2 consenting adults who want to make a life together should be able to do so and get ALL the legal rights.
What are some of the struggles that have come along with this identity?
Compared to the other identities, I have had it easy in terms of my sexuality. However, the fact that in many ways I flaunt the gender roles means I am often “accused” of being a lesbian. There is nothing wrong with myself nor being a lesbian, but it is said at me as though there were. I am the only girl in my self defense classes, in a very male dominated field, kept my last name when I married, love watching football, hiking and rarely wear make-up. I look very feminine and have many “female” traits, but somehow others see my assertiveness and decide I am less threatening to them if I am not “like” them.
How does this identity fit or not fit with your other identities?
As said above, some do, some don’t.
Do: Irish step dancer, drawer, grad student, liberal arts college grad, wife, daughter, sister
Don’t: hiker, Krav Maga student, assertive female, broncos fan, Feminist, Lucy Stoner (kept my last name after marriage), biological anthro student, archaeology student,
How do you feel this identity is received in the sexuality and/or sex positive communities?
An open minded heterosexual who may have some level of sexual contact with a female one day is generally received as a good thing. However, I have heard that people in plural marriages are posers and that straight people who get married when others cannot do not really support gay rights.
What else do you want people to know about this identity?
Just that many of us do support the change that is coming and I hope everyone finds someone they love who can love them back.