Sitting in a cozy courtyard under vast New Mexican skies, I talked easily with my new neighbor, Jeffrey. He charmed me with his deep southern drawl, friendly banter, and countless tattoos. I was already in the throes of a new romance, but single Jeffrey was a catch, and I suggested that I keep an eye out for equally eligible ladies.
He shot me a coy smirk and took a drag of his cigarette.
“Wrong team, darlin’.”
And my love for him was cemented forever. Jeffrey and I are kindred spirits due to our mutual love of Patsy Cline, a shared ability to drink tequila like champions, and because we both unintentionally challenge stereotypical notions of what a queer person looks like.
As a feminine woman married to a beautiful, loving, very heterosexual man, people often draw the reasonable conclusion that I am a heterosexual woman. The truth is that I have dated men, women, and trans men. If you were to line up my romantic partners, the scales would tip quite heavily on the side of women. I can hear you now, thinking, ‘ah, so you’re bisexual.’ It would be easier and probably more comfortable for a lot of people if I snuggled up to that term, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. I’ve been romantically involved with three genders, and because that’s often the most challenging thing for people to grasp, I make a point of mentioning it every time I come out.
For me it all began the first time I was introduced to androgyny. Even at the wee age of ten (give or take), androgyny was provocative, alluring, and captivating. And androgyny’s name was Jo Polniaczek.
If you remember The Facts of Life, 1. You are now humming the theme song and it will be stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome. And 2. You probably remember the moment that Jo first walked into the room and was mistaken for a boy until she took off her motorcycle helmet and changed my life forever.
Strutting around in her plaid shirts and dungarees and casually messy ponytail, making threats and taking names, Jo Polniaczek was the first person to challenge my ingrained notions of a gender binary. At the time, of course, all I knew is that she made me tingly all over.
….apparently some things never change.
Throughout my adult life I’ve come to realize that gender isn’t the key signifier for what I find attractive. If there is any common denominator, it’s that I am attracted to people who are generally seen as “masculine” on some level, regardless of their gender. Boy, boyish, tomboy, soft butch, butch, trans man, man. These words describe the people I have loved and swooned over. If you need a word to describe my sexuality, trisexual would be the most literal, but that isn’t a word and it only tends to confuse people further. I usually opt for queer.
So there you have it, folks. Out and proud! Silence = Death! We’re here, we’re queer, and we love Jo Polniaczek!
Want a little Coming Out Day fun of your own? Whether you’re LGBTQ or an ally, we are all special unicorns. Let your unicorn flag fly!