The next poem in my Behind the Poems series is “What do you think the B stands for?” originally published on Burning House Press.
What do you think the B stands for?
“I’m not one of these people, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, there are some gay people that won’t like you comparing being bi to the same as being gay.”
Good observation. However, I specifically said non-heterosexual in my poem, or did that bewilder you? Besides, I thought it was LBGT? What do you ponder that B stands for?
Perhaps because I broached the subject about gays bringing up babies and how they believed those babies would be gay too, you thought I meant biology. The age-old banter of nature versus nurture surely must have compelled you to believe that’s what it stood for.
Maybe bringing up religious symbols in my autobiographical poetry bled too much on the paper and you believed it to be biblical. A natural blunder as bigots are bound to condemn us as blasphemous and you’re inclined to be quick to bury that bile. But, no, in this particular breakdown, the B does not stand for an adamant bibliophile.
Aaaaaaaah, no espera. Permiso. Because it’s a Spanish family you probably bargained it symbolized bilingual. Bueno, that’s a benign enough slipup to make, since I did point to a banal image in the culture’s belief system. Alas, this bilabial blathering is not the B we seek this week.
Now, it may appear I’m being belligerent or brazen or even bombastic, but put this budding notion in your brain: The B stands for bisexual. We’re here, I promise.
The first time I really claimed the label of bisexual, I’d written a poem I shared in a poetry workshop class at UCF (not this poem, a different one). But the reaction I experienced when I shared it took me aback. The opening quote in this piece is what a classmate said after I shared my poem. I hadn’t expected such disdain.
I’d only begun to explore this aspect of my identity, so I was still new to the nuances of LGBTQ+ communities. I assumed an umbrella category meant the community would welcome me, but this interaction gave me my first taste of biphobia.
It wasn’t so much what he said, but rather the way he said it. His tone told me that I had to prove myself. It said I didn’t really belong in that community because my experiences weren’t the same. It left me feeling small and angry, so of course, I wrote another poem. This one I didn’t share in class.
Looking back at this piece, it’s not the most eloquent poem I’ve ever written. And it certainly shows that I still had a lot to learn about the nuances of queer communities. Because much like I’d come to learn about being Latina, there is no monolith queer community. But it still showcases my passion for justice and dignified treatment. I’m allowed to be angry about being treated unfairly or like I’m not enough. It’s okay to be angry.