Perspective by Asya Akkus

“Asya’s definitely faking. She can’t be bisexual. I’ve never even heard her talk about being with a girl.” I distinctly remember standing outside my English classroom, listening to someone who barely knew my story assume that my sexuality was a choice. I wanted the words playing from the phone to cut out, but they didn’t. Mercilessly, the recording kept running. “I’m sick of girls like her pretending. It’s okay to just be an ally for the LGBTQ community. She has no idea how hard it is to be something other than straight. What a poser!” 

Too feminine to like women. Just confused. Unable to commit. Great for threesomes. Sin by definition. From my religious community’s criticism to hypersexualization by males to politicians’ hatred towards the LGBTQ+ community, I thought I had seen it all. Despite the hatred and disagreement, my identity had previously been acknowledged. Now, I was just faking it. 

Perspective has always fascinated me. In art, it gives meaning and depth it otherwise would lack. In books, it imparts a greater understanding of the author’s personal truth. Interpersonally, different perspectives lead to disagreement. They color the canvas of our lives. They force us out of our comfort zone, inspiring us to rework the brushstrokes that created the pillars of our truth and rewrite the stories we put on paper. Unfortunately, disagreement is all too often equated with invalidation. Feel free to spatter me with all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum, but don’t cover me in black. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong in long, flowing letters, but don’t scrawl over the words on my paper. I am not invisible. And I cannot fake my sexuality any more than I can fake my ethnic heritage or gender identity.

Perspectives that protect the bisexual community from erasure and invalidation are hard to come by in contemporary culture and thought. I realized that I had to make a change, not only for myself but also for others. I remembered all the literature from ancient Greece and Rome that I turned to during my struggle to accept my sexuality. Achilles’ romantic relationship with his fellow soldier Patroclus in the Iliad seemed perfectly natural. Sappho’s passion for men and women gave me a safe space I could return to with the flip of a page. Later on, my perusal of Sigmund Freud’s work got me to discover his regard that bisexuality is a baseline orientation for the human psyche. In the coming weeks, I joined Gay-Straight Alliance at Shaker Heights High School and incorporated literature and history of the LGBTQ+ community during my discussions with Women’s Studies Club, an organization I head. I aim to educate my members on anything from transgender activists to the challenges gay and lesbian individuals face in society. Through sharing of affirming perspectives with others, no matter what their sexual orientation, I hope to bring about not only self-acceptance but also societal acceptance. 

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