In this issue:
To Myself at Age 13 (and to other young women like me) | Sara McCormick
Dear Women | Meaghan Shaw
Bi Women Around the World: Luigia Sasso, Verona, Italy | Robyn Ochs
A Bisexual Spinster Turns Thirty | Lila Hartelius
The Meaning of Sex | Robyn Walters
Dear Michelle Obama | Emma Love
Synthesis | Rae Watanabe
Untitled | Chiquita Violette
New York City | Jane Barnes
Aging and its Surprises | Ann Schranz
Too Young to Know | Jess McGowan
Letter to Young Queer Girls | Andrea
News Briefs | Robyn Ochs
Bi Health Awareness Month | Julia Canfield
To myself at the age of thirteen (and to other young women like me):
It’s been ten years. You’re imagining me pretty decently, and I think you might even recognize me if you saw me. Surely some things would surprise you. But be patient. You will live it. I want to talk about you.
I remember you. All long limbs and baggy clothes and prickly misanthropy. You are thirteen and confused and alone, and I’m not sure there is a more typical or more troubling combination. People will disregard you because you are young.
They will convince you that you are invisible. That you aren’t real. Every once in a while you still dig your nails in deep to remember that you are.
I remember your terror. You are so afraid, so constantly afraid that you will be alone, and so constantly afraid that you won’t be. You are afraid of your best friend. Afraid because she has furious and wonderful wild hair, because she smells safe, because she has read the embarrassing poems you write and called them beautiful, because she makes you feel like you aren’t alone.
I have a secret for you, dear self. You love her.
I wish that in telling you this you would realize it. Wish you would tell her for all it wouldn’t do you any good. Wish you would know it just to see what you could do, knowing your powerful and fragile and new self.
And I’m sorry. Because you won’t realize it until you are twenty-two and bitter and aching and missing a time when you knew what your world was. You will spend almost all of these ten years in confusion and you will pretend to know nothing. Because no one told you what you could be. Because no one told you that you are real.
But I remember. I remember the time when all you wanted to do was to gently kiss her. I remember the time she wrote you a love letter and you kept it until the day you left for college. I remember telling yourself over and over again that you aren’t gay, you just care about her like best friends do.
You are right, self. You aren’t gay. But the truth of what you are will only hit you when you have stripped away the years of invisibility and of telling yourself you don’t matter, and walk unflinching into the flames because you know now.
You are bisexual, young woman. Young self.
And I want you to know, with all my heart, that you are real.
Sara is a Clinical Psychology student, activist and writer. Her priority is the growth, development and acknowledgment of young girls everywhere.
I have so many questions! What is it like for you in your generation? How have you found love and support? How have you seen things change from your generation? Have you even seen any change?
I’ve wondered about this ever since I came out as pansexual last year, my first year in college. I was taunted a few times by ignorant people who decided to mock my identity rather than take an opportunity to learn something new. But I know things were different for you. Tell me more. I want to know your stories. I want you to open up to me, if you want, and share some of the bad times with me.
I want to know the good times. I want to know how you were accepted, where you found love. How did your friends react? Your family? Have you found love? Are you in a place that accepts you? If not, how do you manage? What keeps you there? Are you happy anyway?
And for the younger generations, those born into a more accepting world: what are your lives like? Do you see as much hatred? Do you even talk about sexuality? Or is it just something that’s accepted and moved past? Are you finding more and more people who accept you for who you are? Or are people still caught up in the logistics of it all, the “How does that work” of it all? The “I don’t understand your lifestyle” of it all?
To future generations: I hope you don’t have to worry about all this. I hope it’s not a question necessary to ask. I hope you’re accepted as you are: a perfectly imperfect human being, flaws and all. I hope you, my future children, find happiness. I hope you are accepted for who you are. I hope all of this hatred that stems from ignorance is remedied. I hope you can be free to be who you are, free to express yourself.
I hope I have the courage to continue to just be myself in this world, following my own winding, twisting path wherever it may lead me. And I hope I’ll find love and acceptance along the way.
Meaghan Shaw is a student at Southern Methodist University studying Environmental Science. She has found an accepting community at her school, and thanks her friends and family for being as supportive of her as they are.