Life Parenting SPM/MM

I Am a Happily Married Bisexual Mother

I Am a Happily Married Bisexual Mother

By Audrey Sanchez of Two Dogs, One Cat and a Baby

When I was thirty-nine weeks pregnant, Anna Paquin (yes, the actress) tweeted something that brought me to my knees. Well, not my actual knees. If it had been my actual knees, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up – you know, because of my beached-whale-baby-bump status. I digress.

She said, “I’m proud to be a happily married bisexual mother.”

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Just like that. No fuss. No muss. Just courage and vulnerability and truth. The sort of courage and vulnerability and truth for which my soul was longing, and I thought, “She gets it.” Cut to a week later, with Larry King insisting Paquin’s bisexuality must have existed in the past tense, but any present day self-identification was surely misguided. The conversation went something like this (I’m paraphrasing, of course):

Larry King, “You were bisexual?”

Paquin, “No, I am bisexual.”

Larry King, “But…but…but…[brain short circuits]”

Paquin, “It doesn’t go away. I am bisexual.”

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Paquin is not the first celebrity mother to proclaim her bisexuality. In fact, a long list of notable bisexual women have children with men: Angelina Jolie, Ani DiFranco, and Cynthia Nixon to name a few. The thing that made this proclamation different is that she stood in the presence and permanence of it being a part of her fundamental identity, and not some passing construct based on the sex she’s having. She clearly understands falling in love with a man, marrying him, and having children does cause the fluidity of her sexuality to stop existing – or that she must adopt the label of heterosexual mother as a result. On a side note: it also doesn’t mean she’s running around town lustful for any man or woman in her proximity. It’s about identity, not sex.

For many, the distinction between “was” and “am” might seem trivial. It could easily be interpreted as an issue of semantics; I get that. For me, however, it’s anything but an argument about verb tense.

You see, I am also proud to be a happily married bisexual mother.

Proud being the most important word in that sentence, but not one of those self-identifiers exists more or less in the present. All equally true. Currently happily married, mothering a daughter, and still bisexual. Again, it’s about identity, not sex.

It’s also not about the tweet or a celebrity’s argument with a crotchety old newsman. It’s about the peace that comes with knowing finally, ffffiiiinnnnnnaaallllyyyyy someone gets it. It’s about not feeling so alone. It’s about connection. It’s about having my authentic self, the way I self identify, validated and defended. It means there is an archetype of self-acceptance and there’s an ally in the fight. The “fight” being the notoriously difficult task of defending your sexuality to people who struggle to believe a healthy monogamous heterosexual relationship can coexist with a non-heteronormative identity. I.e. the Larry Kings of the world.

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Here’s the thing: if we don’t make peace with our identities regardless of how complex they are, ideas like the widely held assumption that self-identifying as bisexual is a phase or a stopping point on the way to being “all the way gay” are perpetuated. Y’all, that’s a problem. It’s a problem for me. It’s a problem for women and men like me. Most importantly, though, it’s a problem for our children.

Whoa, slow down. Children? WTF do our children have to do with our sexuality? Well…a lot. Maybe not at first when they’re squishy little bean bags, but eventually…a lot. Especially once they start making sense of the world, their place in it, and the complexity of their own identities.

Over time, if they experience a world that consistently invalidates a fundamental part of their parent’s identity, it sends a message to them that there is something wrong with their parent. It says to them that being authentic, vulnerable, and courageous are wrong. Children are the product of the examples they have, and when we hide who we are, it teaches children to repress the parts of themselves that they don’t see represented positively in the world.

Children are exceptional at giving unconditional love, and when they love someone who is truthful and embraces him/herself fully, someone who wraps him/herself up in a blanket of self-acceptance and respect, children learn to do the same. Unconditionally. Even if that self-love means throwing off the comfort of a binary world-view, shirking the protection of what appears to be a heteronormative marriage, and coming out in a blog post or tweet.

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Especially if it gives another woman, potentially her own child, the courage to live her truth fearlessly as a happily married bisexual mother.


About Audrey Sanchez

Audrey Sanchez is originally from a town in Kansas so small it has only one stoplight, but since then has lived in Boulder, Kansas City, and most recently New Orleans. Audrey is mother to one daughter, Ada, two dogs, Clyde and Fancy, and one cat, Hushpuppy. She writes about her cross species parenting adventures on her blog Two Dogs, One Cat and a Baby. When she’s not caring for the menagerie of creatures inside her home, she’s working in education reform, laundering cloth diapers, writing poetry, and eating her weight in french fries.