Wednesday, May 06, 2009

well, this complicates things.

last year, in july, i wrote this post, telling what was then my messy, mean, politically incorrect truth. in that post, i rejected the clear-cut version of survivorhood and queer identities - i.e. the insistence by both the CSA survivor community and the queer community that abuse could not, does not, will not ever cause a victim to "go gay." in that post, i stated my (then) truth that i am gay because i was abused.

i didn't say as much, but a big part of what i saw as that causal connection was the fact that i was abused by men and now have relationships with women. implying, of course, that i can't be with men because i was abused and raped by men.

but what if i discover memories of being abused by a woman, too?
what of my queer identity, then?
if so, i couldn't say, "i sleep with women because they're safer, because i have had violent and abusive experiences with men."
i couldn't say, "i trust women more because i have only been betrayed by men."
does it then go to the opposite extent, where i'm a lesbian because i was abused by a woman? that argument is usually used against gay men who were abused by other men. but i suppose it could apply here, too.

except, the thing is....i know that's not true. it doesn't feel true, or real. saying, "i'm a lesbian because i can't trust men, or picture myself being with someone of the same gender that so abused me," seems real, and a little bit true, still. but saying either, "i'm a lesbian because i was abused by a woman" or even "i'm heterosexual because i was abused by a woman" feels wrong. not because the latter is just 100% untrue, but because i don't think that experience really affected the development of my sexuality. it affects my sexuality, absolutely -- only one person has ever so commanded my attention that i don't fall into painful memories halfway through sex. i haven't been fully present for the majority of sexual acts with every other person i've ever been with. but it doesn't affect how i view my sexuality regarding the people i'm attracted to.
for this piece of the abusive puzzle, it doesn't connect. the two are completely unrelated.
but each of the other assaults? yes. they absolutely factor in to who i am attracted to.

does it make sense? no.
but is it true? yes.
it's true, and complicated, and even messier than i thought it was a year ago.
it's not a generalization, and this may very well not apply to the rest of the survivor community, but what's a community without individual truths? these are not the truths that the mainstream community wants to tell. hell, they aren't truths that i want to tell.
but it's a truth, and it's real, and in the inclusive survivor community i want to be a part of, individuals tell their full, messy, complicated, ugly truths.

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