I will never forget the sound of my doctor’s laughter when I asked her for something to stop me from crushing on people. I had this unending want to connect with people romantically, and as I was being raised in a culture of slut shaming, I was sure that “the want” meant something was wrong with me. It wasn’t until I began dating someone poly that I realized that I had an ability to love and build romantic relationships with more than one person. It launched me on a pretty wild, albeit exciting journey of loving and learning. In celebration, I decided to make a list of a few things I wish I’d known before becoming an out and proud poly femme.
Nothing like dating as a dynamic boi/grrl duo to echo that fact loud and clear. Yes, my partner is a tad butch, and I am extraordinarily femme. If you are put off or surprised by me negotiating relationship terms in my back seam stockings while simultaneously turned on and expecting my boifriend to initiate everything always, congrats! You have just taken the first step to confronting your femmephobia…which is me telling you to check your femmephobia at the door.
I am very comfortable with being a weirdo, but I never thought I’d be seen as scary or harmful. That was until I outed myself to a couple friends in social work. “If one of my clients mentioned what you just said, I would have to report it to social services,” said one of them taking a drink of her beer. Suddenly I was afraid of my open heart. Does being poly mean I can’t be a mommy someday? Will I have to hide myself from the kids? Living outside of monogamy is amazing, but not if it means losing something I’ve always wanted.
Polyamory brings out some very interesting sides of people, including the side that has completely eroticized trans people while simultaneously being super freaked out by trans people. I want to send a memo saying, “no, you won’t lose your queer card by being attracted to my boifriend. Also, my boifriend is a human being with human being feelings—not just a fun fuck to cure your curiosity.”
My boifriend is one of the sexiest and most amazing people in the world. Sex with him is almost as life changing as having a conversation with him. I know he’s a babe. This is why I am anything but proud to admit I often want to trip every person who gives him a wink and a smile. Commence shaming at will.
The only thing worse than watching ass hurled at my partner as if his strap is the Holy Grail is being turned down by someone I like. As a dark skinned woman of color, I have experienced my fair share of rejection in every part of my life. But it never gets easier, especially when it’s from someone I desire. Every time I am turned down, I have to remind myself of what I already know—I too am desired.
Being an openly poly femme means confronting fears, wants, and needs in ways I never thought possible. But perhaps most importantly, it’s teaching me how to love with an open and respectful heart and mind. It’s helping me connect with others and understand that God is not finished with me yet!