A personal story by Rose Caron
Shadows hunt the ones afraid of the dark, the ones that hold secrets, the ones scarred by the “light”. You see, I was traumatized by a young experience that taught me how I loved was wrong. It taught me the side of me that loved other women was my shadow self.
But oddly in Kelowna, of all places, I have come to learn that only the shame perpetuated by lies is the shadow. And this hasn’t been because the community is accepting. Its been because I was lucky enough to be in the presence of those who chose to stand in their beautiful truths despite the shadows of this city.
I think something integral that must be spoken of is that bisexual people don’t just suffer under internalized or externalized homophobia, but by bi-erasure as well. And that biphobia often comes from the LGBTQ+ community itself.
As a teenager, I thought my attraction to other girls didn’t count because I also liked boys; that is bi-erasure. And as an adult, claiming my bisexuality, I’ve heard countless untruths about me by people who don’t even know my name. I’ve had straight men ask me about my history with women before even asking me how I was that day. And that’s a whole other issue: the fetishization of queer women.
Bisexuality was a truth that was hard for me to claim. I wanted so desperately to be a lesbian. People took me seriously when I said I fall in love with women.
But when I tell the truth, that I am bi, I’ve had many remarks that I would “just find the right man”.
Bisexuality is just as valid and beautiful as homosexuality or any other sexuality. I think a lot of biphobia that comes from the queer community comes because they are afraid that my label somehow invalidates theirs. And this speaks to the larger issue at hand. We live in a society that marginalizes everyone who isn’t a white straight cis-gendered Christian abled male.
I’d like to point out that being any of those things isn’t inherently wrong. It is beautiful in its own right. But what we teach people of privilege, that they are better, inlays the shadow I speak of.
Kelowna is not an easy city to live in and be queer. I have felt a lot of pain living here. And yet, again and again, I am awed by the strength of my queer peers who live honestly despite everything.
Having visited other parts of the country that accept me without question, and then coming back here to a city overcast with heteronormativity, I can say “Yes, I’ve seen my future home but I’m grateful for this one too because it has made me strong.”
I still struggle with the internalized hate, I will be honest about that, but I am not afraid of the dark anymore, I hold no secrets, and the “light” I first spoke of, I see now isn’t real light; it’s staged and manmade by those who would oppress.
I believe, no matter who you are, claiming your truth (as long as it doesn’t put you in danger) is one of the bravest things you can possibly do. It has the power to change the world. It had the power to change mine.
Thank you to those who came before me. I can only hope to carry with as much strength and pride, the true light you have passed me.