Heterophobia, Bisexuality, and Getting Straightened – Bybyq and Abmi Handayani

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**Foreword**
Few weeks ago, I sent an email to one of my favourite LGBT blogger Sinyo and asked her a favour. There was a question which had been bothering me for ages and I did not know where to ask, and she agreed to take a look at the matter and was willing to help me spreading the words. So, I sent her a letter, a short story to be exact. After sometimes, the reply came with an answer in an essay form, from a dear LGBT fellow, Abmi Handayani. Not only it has answered me, apparently it has inspired Sinyo’s readers as well. I was thinking, if only I could have done something to widespread the message to more people, that would be even greater.
So I asked Sinyo if I could re-publish it in my blog, in English (I know that content duplication is a bugger, but I hope this is not too bad for both of our blogs). However I wouldn’t copy paste the comments, but it would be great if you visit Sinyo’s blog to see the different point of views of this matter. Thank you for reading.

Bybyq’s Letter:

Two years ago, I broke up with my girlfriend for five years, then I went abroad to continue my study. There, I did not only have to adapt with the new surroundings, but also come to the realisation that I might have been a bisexual. Trust me that at that moment, being a bisexual is way scarier than being a pure lesbian.

I completely understood that a bisexual was seen as a greedy creature, who only wants to take the best of the both worlds. It was quite obvious that I have seen many of my lesbian friends have been hurt by these kind of bisexual girls. But now I am getting married. With a man.

So I had told my ex that I had a great plan of inviting all of my friends without any discrimination. I wanted to invite all of my LGBT friends, and make my wedding reception as LGBT friendly as possibls. My gay friend welcomed this gaily (yes, I have to use this word), but my ex halted her reply for a moment then came back with an unexpected question: “Don’t you think you would offend them?”. Offend who? I think my consideration of inviting everybody without exception was because I remembered that I used to be uninvited to a wedding reception because my partner was a girl. Now that I want to invite everybody, because I want everybody to be a part of this gay momentum. (Do you know that GAY means HAPPY?) Anyway, honestly at that moment I was so upset since I don’t understand who I was offending.

But then, I understood why she thought that way. It isn’t impossible that I was seen as a traitor to our own kind just because I decided to marry. Or maybe, just because I decided to marry to a man, I would no longer fight for their cause? Or maybe, they forgot there is “B” in LGBT?

This is what actually upset me. I never two timed any girl with a boy and vice versa. It’s just a coincidence that in this very moment, I am in a relationship with a man, and we decided to get married. How could this marriage hurt my LGBT friends? Thinking of this had made me very upset. I don’t understand how being invited to a wedding becomes a problem. I might understand the uncomfortableness of being asked by arseholes about “your turn to get married” but I failed to see how it offends them. Since when the fight against homophobia becomes the spreading of heterophobia?

Abmi’s Essay:

July 1999. From the south-eastern mountain in Mexico, Subcomandante Marcos from Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) delivered his statement for the 21th LGBT Prode in Mexico. The opening sentence was: “Let those who persecute be ashamed!”. This speech was not only meant to support the LGBT movement only but also to the fight to respect diversity. In one paragraph, EZLN wrote: “The different had to bear having their himanness reduced for the simple fact of not being in accord with a nonexistent sexual norm. This norm has been converted into a banner for intolerance and segregation”

The message from EZLN is an example from so many support from LGBT movement. In Facebook, I found an individual who initiated an invitation for everybody to send their care and support to LGBT with a letter. It is called S.T.R.A.I.G.H.T (Strengthen, Tough, Respectful, Affirming, Intimate, Glowing, Honourable, Trustworthy) with the tagline: “Be S.T.R.A.I.G.H.T, Be Proud”. This not only positive but it has proved that people has been more and more LGBT friendly.

This phenomena raised a question in me. Has the LGBT movement developed a hetero-friendliness in an individual or a community? Even, I wanted to bring both terminologies into a further discussion: human-friendliness.

When I told my friends that I was no longer in relationship with a woman and found a man as a life partner, they were silenced for a moment and asked, “So now you are a bisexual?”. FYI, I still receive this question every now and again if I share my relationship history. Sometimes, I just accepted the label because I was too tired to explain. But when I was in the mood, I would tell them that the label has no meaning for me. It is man-made.

However, from my point of view, my ex girlfriend and my boyfriend now are both human. And human beings are essentially the same. They eat, move, work/create to live their life. Based on the observation from me and few of my friends, this world is no longer interested in our sexual orientation.

The world cares about what we could contribute to the society, and humanity. Another example: there is a bunch of LGBT friends who has joined the green organisation predominated by the heterosexuals. Problems? Nope. Why? Because our dearest friends has obviously contributed something. They weren’t there just to hang out. They chose and lived a role to strengthen the organisation. My gay friend did not mind to be located to the remote village to help the villagers for the land rejuvenation programs so they can start farming again. My transexual friend, the chef of the program commented, “the acceptance came from love. I don’t have to go on strike or mock the heterosexuality or condemn the homophobia. With my food, I touched every tums and heart. Hihihi”

How could this be so simple? Easy answer: because there were no walls. They were friendly to everybody. They grew ten hands when there’s anybody in needs. That way, without any force the sexual norm segregation has gone. What remains there is the togetherness. Two examples above has led us to the conclusion that the way to be accepted is to be empowered. However, being empowered doesn’t mean we have to be forever a strong individuals.

Being empowered has to be equipped with the willingness to share. Being empowered is the ability to be a better and better person everyday. I admit that living as an LGBT in Indonesia is not easy. And I am sorry to say that the LGBT movement in Indonesia seems unable to go further. They need more activities other than gatherings and hangout.Why don’t they try to farm, or clean the environment from plastic. Why environmental movement? Because apparently this is the most effective movement for this moment. Not only we would carry the role to save the earth, but also the mankind who live in it with us.

In the process and practice, we would be able to realise that all of us are the same. That we felt hatred, anger, disappointment, etc. But in the same time we have the power to create happiness and peace.

Instead of living in hatred and fear, why don’t we chose to be daring and happy, peaceful and kind? After all, we would never knew what would a good relationship brings to you. There is nothing wrong with initiating a good deed, and sharing kindness and happiness. Neither to expand the relationships and networking so we can clearly see the wide world.

If we are under the umbrella of the LGBT community, we need to review our concept of tolerance. Have we contributed enough for the society that we think we have the right to insult the heterosexuals? Could it be us who had been scared for no reason. Could it be us who are too ignorant to expand our horizon and improve ourselves to be empowered. Could it be us who have been building the segregation wall so we can keep ourselves homogeneous and monocultural? Well then, why do we use the rainbow as the symbol to represent the LGBT community if in the end of the day we fortify ourselves from everything heterosexual? Haven’t we been persecuting the diversity itself by doing that?

There’s a saying that we reap what we sow. When we sow hatred, don’t expect happiness. When we sow anxiety, don’t expect sincerity. When we sow fear, don’t expect peace. However if we sow sincerity, kindness, and peace, it isn’t impossible that we can get everything. Cheers~

Abmi Handayani

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