So things should be settling down a bit for me, after all this whirlwind of activity.
I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised if my last post shocked people a bit... (Although, Hammer, I think I'm interpreting Mystic's comment as a veiled "I told you so..." about putting myself out there - not so much speechlessness.) Perhaps, I've just lived in the Bay Area so long that such things are much more commonplace.
This is perhaps something that I should try to explain, although it really sort of defies explanation - what it's like living in the Bay Area. First, though, it involves learning more about me.
I was first aware of being attracted to women when I was in college. But living in Minnesota in the early '90s wasn't really conducive to coming out. The first person I came out to was Writing in AK, while we were housemates in LVC. And from there I started to explore the queer communities in DC & Baltimore. It wasn't until a few years later that I became involved in a bi community in DC.
It opened up my eyes to a lot of things...1) how guarded I had always felt in lesbian community because I also fancied men; 2) a whole world of questions about gender and the role of gender in our lives (we attracted a lot of transgender folk because they often didn't feel comfortable in gay or lesbian circles unless they were camping it up); 3) that the many expressions of sexuality could take many forms (i.e. bdsm, polyamory, monogamy, cross-dressing, etc) and it was okay. Although I never announced my virginity to this group, I always felt that if it was widely known, it would not be considered strange.
In short, I found myself comfortable with myself in a community for the first time. But it was a small community in a much larger culture. I always felt a bit like a freak amongst the general population.
Then I moved to the Bay Area. Although there are the same kinds of attitudes here as in any other part of this country (yes, there are Republicans in the Bay Area...even Christian conservatives - *gasp*), there is also an openness in attitudes about sex and lifestyle choices. I was amused and reassured to find, when I joined the UU church that I now only sporadically attend, that the woman who started the fabulous Good Vibrations store was a member at the same church.
Living in the Bay Area, and having friends who are of like minds (or at least extremely open-minded), is a little like living in a utopian bubble. I forget that there is a wider world out there that runs by different assumptions. In parts of that world who I am is demonized (Let's take a moment to reflect on Pat Robertson's opinion, voiced after 911: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say *You helped this happen.*"...although he was made to apologize, we should all be firmly aware that this is how a fair share of people in the US think.).
But here...well, here I am able to explore the parts of me more readily - that there are more resources openly available for the parts of me that are not so well understood in other parts of the country.
You all ought to come visit sometime...of course, you'll never want to leave!