Saturday, 16 November 2013

New place, new people, how/when to drop the B bomb

I am currently on a work placement. To pass my degree, I have to do a minimum 4 weeks at a place of work related to my course/career (usually a theatre or theatre company) and the ideal is that each student finds their own placement ie goes job hunting without the scary part. Nice idea, right?

I was very lucky on a recent project to meet a member of the stage management team of a well-known theatre company whose latest show is currently running in London, and through that contact secured 6 weeks with the show. I'm just coming to the mid-way point as I type, and I've mostly been with stage management, but I've also been with the production management, design, and lighting teams.

I have yet to use the word 'bisexual'. And I feel bad about it. The question is whether I should feel bad, whether there was an onus to on me to come out early on, make it clear and obvious (but not in a way that shoves it down people's throats. We wouldn't want that) to which I have somehow not lived up. Because I have no idea if any of the people that I have met, got to know, and worked with over the last three weeks have any idea that I'm bisexual, and I suppose I want them to know.

[Oh no, I can already see this post getting self-psychoanalytical... Bear with me, I'm sure there'll be a point somewhere along the line.]

I can tell you that I've tried, attempted to spread the word. Just today in fact, I was talking about my hair, how it refuses to be anything but straight, "which is ironic, because I'm not straight" I said. Seems quite a neat trick to getting it out there, or at least, that's what I thought. I was irritated that none of the three assistant stage managers with me within the small, dark box room hidden on set questioned this statement. Similarly, at another time, I mentioned the project I just finished, and upon being asked to explain further, I told of the LGBT nature of the research. And again, no comment was made to clarify my own orientation.

 I can tell you. I'm disturbed that my reaction of disappointment shows an unconscious desire for drama and intrigue about my orientation - I'm pretty sure this stems from my pride being hurt, which I do not like to realise about myself; compared to how I feel consciously and objectively, which is that I want interest, as opposed to intrigue, and no drama.

I haven't talked about much else that's personal with them, we haven't reached that stage in our working relationships; plus I am here on a temporary basis, and establishing deeper friendships is unlikely to occur in this situation. So it does seem like communicating that I'm bisexual is unnecessary, the same as my love of Disney, and how I schedule my meals.

But it's an integral part of who I am, especially how I interact with people - I'm a very flirtatious person, I really enjoy being flirty even with people I have no intentions on, and obviously I flirt with people of all genders, so surely giving that interaction some sort of context will improve things. I have my cross round my neck at all times to express my Christianity, which puts things like anecdotes I might tell from church into a context that negates the need to extra exposition. But I have nothing like that for my bisexuality.

And yes, it would be irritating as hell if I constantly had a bisexual flag pinned to my chest every day. Religion is one thing, something that influences all aspects of my thought process, behaviour, and decision making, but orientation involves personal relationships, and sex, and all sorts of things that don't actually have an impact on most other parts of life, especially at work.

As you can see, I'm of two minds on this one; objectively, revealing my orientation would be helpful, but it is not necessary, but emotionally, it feels like hiding, like dishonesty, and I suspect people not knowing (or at least, not knowing if people know or not) affects my behaviour and interactions. Should be letting it get to me, or should I be more laid about about it? I don't know.

1 comment:

  1. Being out all the time is hard work, especially with the bi dimension of needing to come out even when seen to be in a relationship.

    I suppose I just respond differently to wearing the flag - for me a pin like the BiCon 2010 interlocking bi hearts badge gives a sly conversation opener, and can be a small statement like the little metal red-ribbons some people wear all year round. Then again as I wear no religious symbols I suppose there's not a sense of putting one thing on a par with another.

    I usually suggest people go to bi stuff (BiCon, BiPhoria, next weekend's BiFest, etc) so as to have a conversational topic that is about "doing a thing" rather than "let's talk about my sexual orientation". Don't know if that's doable in the amount of time you'll still be on placement, mind... and it depends how much you and your co-workers have the "what are you doing on the weekend" conversation.

    If you come up with another plan of attack I'll be pleased to read about it :)