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Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door
Leigh: with your hosts
M: Leigh and Megan. We take the topics you care about:
L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment,
M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens.
L: Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Queers Next Door
M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com.
L: Cheers, queers!
M: (laughs) Hi Leigh.
L: Hi Megan
M: What are you doing to take care of yourself this week?
L: Ooooooh. Like just barely surviving. The holidays were a bit of a shitshow, as holidays tend to be. They were also really nice. I did a lot of nice things and got to spend time with friends. But because of my pet allergy stuff, I wasn’t able to go to my partner’s other partner’s place for Christmas morning or to my partner’s parent’s place because of pets. And that was the first time that she introduced her new partner to the family. And so just a lot of stuff that like
M: (loud thud, laughs)
L: Did you just hit your head?
L: Oh my god. You’re hilarious.
M: (laughs) Okay, sorry about that.
L: No, that’s okay.
M: Nice, little- (laughs)
L: No, that’s amazing.
M: (laughs) Too much. Okay, anyways. Carry on. (laughs)
L: Hmmm…TL;DR, I was sad, but to take care of myself I started doing something with a little bit of like a woo-woo thing.
L: which is- Have you done any of that like bilateral music or noise or whatever?
L: So it’s kind of like the audio version of EMDR and you put in headphones – so it has to be going straight into your ear – and then it’s music or tones or ambient noise, but it’s supposed to calm your nervous system.
L: And you can turn it down really really low and just like talk about go about your day with it. And I’ve been doing it and it really helps.
M: It does?
L: Yeah, like for anxiety attacks.
M: What do you do it on? Your phone?
L: Yep. I just look it up on YouTube. I just look up, if you look up bilateral music or sounds. And I, for the record, am not a person who finds like ambient music particularly soothing. Like I, like I hate Enya with like a deep, deep passion because when I was in high school and we would do like journaling and retreats
L: we always listened to fucking Enya and it just makes me feel like an angry 15-year-old.
L: So it’s not just that the music is like relaxing.
L: Like I don’t like relaxing music. I like sad music but I don’t like relaxing music. It’s, like, there is something, like literally going on with like the sounds of the tones. So, I don’t know. It’s cheap and free and easily accessible, so-
M: I’ll try it.
L: So that’s been a positive. Yeah, my PMDD’s been real real bad and I’ll probably talk about this more in the future, but I am coming up on 40 and strongly considering a hysterectomy, which is like a pretty big deal.
L: So yeah. That’s kind of where my brain is right now. How have you been taking care of yourself?
M: I’ve been going out a lot.
L: That’s awesome.
M: So it’s funny how the self-care stuff changes. Sometimes being home is my favorite. I have a new friend that I’ve been hanging out with, and that’s been nice. She lives kind of close to me so we go meet at the mall. We’ve been hanging out once a week. That’s been good.
L: Oh, nice.
M: And then I started dating someone new.
M: So I’ve been going out with them as well and between those two people it’s been nice because we go usually to the same places, which is really good ’cause I’ve talked about my agoraphobia stuff.
L: Yeah, sure.
M: So I like that they’re both down to go to the same places with me. It always makes me feel better. (laughs)
M: So it’s like a nice little routine, getting out. It’s nice having a new friend too, just to talk about life stuff.
L: Oh, absolutely. It’s hard to make new friends as an adult.
M: Mmhm. It really is. We were just talking about, in the last episode, how I didn’t really date last year.
M: So new year, new me. Dating, having friends.
M: The person that I’m dating is nonbinary trans.
M: There have been a few things that come up where I’m like, “Oh, your binder is so hot.” And then, (laughs) like, “Is that okay to say?” And they’re like, “Yeah, well, I can’t speak for everyone, but to me”
M: “like no one’s ever said that. I like it.” I’m like, “Okay, cool.” I’ve been pretty honest with them that I’m afraid of messing up. I don’t want to say something inappropriate. Then they’re like, “Well, it’s okay. We’re in this together.” We can talk about it and stuff. So, yeah.
L: Yeah, well, and if this is any help, I know, that like, so my partner is also trans and she transitioned in the middle of our relationship. So we’ve been together for a little over three years. She transitioned, I mean, you know, it’s a process, but like, she came out, about a little over a year ago.
L: And there was a point, because I felt like, you know, we’re very in it together and I felt really comfortable about everything. But there was a point, I remember saying something like that. Like, just being like, “Oh, wait a second. Like does that sound weird from me?” or “Should I not have said that?”
L: And she’s like, “I’m just as new to this as you are” and, like, “You’re in it with me. Like, you’re my partner.” You’re allowed to ask a question
L: that might seem prying or rude.
L: The reason it’s rude is it’s coming from a person I don’t know and I don’t trust.
L: So like we have that positive foundation. There’s like assuming positive intent
L: from a person who cares about you. So she’s like, “There’s literally nothing you could ask me that would like hurt my feelings.”
L: And, I don’t know. It was helpful to remember that.
M: Yeah, ’cause they say things like that too, that people will ask questions, just kind of out of nowhere. And sometimes I’ve heard it said, not just from them, but others too, like, “I don’t want to educate you (laughs)
M: on trans stuff.” But I do think it’s different when it’s someone you’re close to and you’re dating.
L: Right. Because they’re not educating you on trans stuff. They’re letting you get to know them
L: as an individual better and like what they like
L: and don’t like and what they’re interested in. Everybody’s different.
M: And I’m dealing again with, I got a lot of feedback on the fact that I said, “I don’t want that bitch in my car” last time. (laughs)
L: What kind of feedback, Megan? (laughs) Was it positive feedback?
M: Yeah, just laughing and saying that people have felt similar.
M: And so my nesting partner, of course, knows about me dating and is happy for me. I have a lot of mental health stuff all the time so her biggest question was like, “Do they help you feel better about that?” Or, you know, “Can you talk to them about that?” and I said, “Yes.” So she was like, “Okay, cool.” But she signed up for OKCupid.
L: Oh, ok.
M: So, the reason I brought up the bitch story (laughs) is because I am now in this new thing and I do definitely feel like wrapped up in NRE and we’re like talking all the time and all of that. And I’m already like, “I don’t want you to date other people.” (laughs)
L: You don’t want the new person
L: to date other people.
L: Or you don’t want your nesting partner to date other people?
M: Well I don’t want her to either
L: Uh huh.
M: but I’m more okay with it, and I think that’s just because I feel very secure in that relationship.
M: So I’m already having those panicky feelings of- and this episode we, or I, talk to Janet and Ted at Thunder in the Mountains, and you’ll get to hear them talk a little bit about NRE and about just polyamory in general, which we recorded this in July, but me editing and listening to it now, it’s just very helpful because now I’m in this thing. And I actually talk to Janet about how I feel like I’m dying because of NRE. (laughs)
M: So I hope that eventually, I will get there with this person. I know I will, but it’s just those new feelings again of like, “ummmm, I don’t want you to date anyone. I don’t want to feel jealous.” (laughs)
L: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s natural. The other thing we were going to do today before we lead into kind of the longer part of the episode, which is an interview that Megan did several months ago
L: is, we got two different e-mails that were kind of general questions that we thought it could be fun to read and answer
L: on the fly. So we’ll see how we do. So this is an email we received about a month ago and I want to read it and maybe we can talk about it. It says:
I listened to episode 2 and I just wanted to write to you guys about the whole lack of lesbian community thing. I remember Leigh mentioned thinking L.A. would be this gay paradise and being surprised at how little programs there are for queer ladies. I’m from and live in Philly and we have the exact same problem here. So my question is: What’s up with that? I’ve tried programming committees with friends. I’ve tried planning events with lesbians and/or queer ladies I did not know. Always the same result. I know a lot of LGBT events in Philly historically and currently are heavily planned and attended by men, or at least those who are more masculine presenting. Does this contribute to women not showing up? I know there’s a desire for community. I hear folks talk about it all the time, but as a collective group we do not follow up on that desire. Maybe too much weed and too many cats? Lol. In seriousness, do you guys have thoughts? Have you talked among your circles? I would really like to remedy this problem somehow someway. Thanks for the podcast. The issues and topics are close to my heart and get me thinking and you guys are always good for a good laugh.
M: That’s really sweet at the end.
L: I know, thank you.
M: Thank you Dominique.
L: Thank you Dominique. I mean, obviously, it’s gonna be different in every city
L: But I guess, I think the first thing, like when you were saying like men, like there’s sort of this male organization
L: I think that definitely happens in L.A. too and for things to be more open to lesbians, queer women, and like nonbinary trans folks, I do think it has to be kind of separate from the like, cis gay male community.
L: Which is not to say that we can’t do things together. But most of the queer communities that I’ve noticed have been more positive and more inviting has been kind of outside of that.
L: I don’t know if that’s- there is, some of it is generalizations that like, there is more of a bar scene
L: I guess, in the male gay community and so I think that comes into play a little bit. It’s harder to build community around nightlife.
L: And I get your frustration, at like trying to organize and not seeing it through. I’m wondering if, like, putting together something, like some events, even with, like even with just a handful of friends that you know are interested and looking at it as like not being too attached to the outcome.
L: Like thinking like, “Okay, well if five of my friends show up to this meetup at like, a coffee shop or someone’s house, then at least I get to hang out with those five friends” and then seeing things kind of grow from there. I know that, like here there’s a queer owned and operated coffee shop that has a whole bunch of events, and that’s been a real lifesaver, I think, for the queer community. And so there’s a poly queer event there. There’s just a general community event there. Sometimes there’s more like, something called a Friday Flirt, which is like more a light cruising event. And just, shout out, this is Cuties coffee shop
L: in East Hollywood, if you are in the L.A. area. So I think that’s been positive because there’s organizing happening on Facebook and because it is open to all ages and there’s no drinking. So that’s a good combination.
M: Mmhm. I think it’s just hard to get people together in general.
M: I don’t attend a lot of events but I do go to gay bars
M: like once a week
M: and I do agree that it’s different. It’s different to go meet people for coffee versus going out for drinks with people and like that whole nightlife kind of vibe, but I do feel like the gay bar by my house is like my little home away from home and it feels like one of those safe places. I’ve noticed too that in my little community there is a meetup group called Out.
M: So I think there are a lot of groups that maybe we’re not aware of. I don’t know about Philly, but you should try to find something, even if it’s not really your cup of tea. I always suggest people go to some kind of meetup because it’s gonna make you meet someone else who maybe knows this other part of the community and you can say, “Hey. What do you think about doing, I don’t know, a women’s space or a women/nonbinary meetup or, I don’t know.
L: No, I think that’s a good point. Like, you know, meetup.com still has quite a few things
L: or just like literally searching Facebook events and like yeah, let’s say you bring a friend, you check something out, and you’re like, “Yeah, this is super not my jam, but we met these two other gals here and they seem fun.”
L: “Maybe we could all plan…whatever.” Like I think it’s good to keep an eye on like what you specifically enjoy doing. So like if you enjoy going to bars, and there aren’t a lot of lesbian bars, then pick a bar that’s inclusive, even if it’s technically not lesbian, and do like a takeover with a group of friends.
L: Or if you’re an introvert and you like to play board games, then plan a board game night. You know, like there doesn’t have to be one way to get together and organize.
L: If you’re more of an activist, then you can do it around like a political rally or a march. You know, like
L: I think, I think it’s easiest to get people interested in things that they’re already interested in, rather than things they feel like they should be doing
L: if that makes any sense.
L: I also think, like Megan said, it depends what other communities you’re part of, like kind of finding intersections might be helpful.
L: So, if you look into political organizations, sex-positive organizations, kink groups
L: or munches, polyamory group discussions. Like I don’t know if any of those are your intersections or whatever they are, but if you have that overlap, you’re gonna meet queer folks in those communities
L: probably more than others.
M: Yeah. I do go to kink meetups because they’re at my local gay bar,
M: and not everyone who is in the kink group is gay, but the bar hosts it, and so for me, I’m like, “Yes!” and then you do, you’re like still gonna, there is that intersection. The queer people are there. The queer kinky people are there and then the people who are just there because that’s who’s hosting it. So even though it’s not specifically your queer group, to me it still feels like that space in my world, where I feel like I have that really awesome community safe place that’s always at my bar though.
M: Yeah. (laughs)
L: No, I think that’s awesome.
M: Let us know if you do start anything and how it goes.
L: Yeah, and you know, hang in there. I know that that sounds, like, kind of obvious, but it can be hard to build a community,
L: but it sounds like the most important part is there, is that there’s interest, and so I think that’s the best place to start.
M: But even having the Facebook, like she said if you have too much weed and cats
M: then it’s nice to still have that group there available to you ’cause you can post things or just say hi or- and I see it a lot happening now where people will say, “Hey, I’m going through this thing. Can you send memes?” or whatever. And it’s just nice to have that place where you can have a little group, even if you don’t want to leave your house.
L: Yeah, even if the community starts online and stays online
L: for awhile. All of the community work that I do is online, is through Facebook,
L: you know, and then we branch out and like, go to a physical space, so
L: Awesome, well thank you.
M: Well, thanks for the question.
L: Yeah, thank you.
M: Saying the same thing. (laughs)
L: Let us both say thaaank you.
M: (sing songs) Thaank yooou.
L: Thank you. And then, we got one more. Let’s see. And I don’t have a name for the person, but that’s okay.
(reads body of email)
Love the podcast. Can’t wait for more episodes. I’ve been curious about something. I like to frequent sex parties with trans women and very femme cross dressers. One time someone I was hooking up with asked me not to touch their penis. Their reason for it was because they identified as a bottom. I’m fairly familiar with BDSM terminology, but I can’t see where genital touching falls under being a bottom. A topic I’ve been curious about is why, or if this is correct, that a lot of trans women seem skittish about doing things that don’t appear feminine. To elaborate, one of my favorite trans porn stars mentioned that a lot of trans women don’t top because they don’t see it as feminine. Have either of you noticed this before and do you have any insight into why this is happening?
L: So, huge caveat, I’m not gonna speak for the trans community or for how different people experience their bodies during sex, but it does seem like there are maybe two different things going on here. That identifying as a bottom can mean a few different things, right?
L: Like in the sort of typically gay male terminology, bottom usually means the one who’s being penetrated, not the penetrator, right?
L: Bottom can also mean like submissive in more of a BDSM, D/s situation or just the person who is less active in the sexual act, so
L: So you can be bottoming even though you may not identify as a bottom all the time.
L: So the idea of it, doing things that seem more “feminine”… I’m wondering if some of this, and again, all speculation, but I’m wondering if some of this is trans women who have sex with cis men maybe feeling less interested in topping in like an anal sex way because that does feel more quote “masculine.”
L: So I think that makes sense and I could see that being something and then as far as folks not wanting their penises touched, there’s a lot of reasons for people not wanting their genitals touched. Sometimes it’s trauma. Other times it is, especially for trans folks, it is dysphoria. Like they may be at a place where they’re comfortable with parts of their bodies, but they don’t feel, like trans women especially. You’re gonna meet trans women who have vaginas. You’re gonna meet trans women who have penises and are super cool with that.
L: And you’re gonna meet trans women who feel very disconnected from their penis and don’t want to use the word penis, don’t want to touch it, don’t want to have it really be a part of their sexual interactions.
L: It kind of depends on what a penis means to you, right? Like if that feels like a defining part of manhood and you’re not a man, then you might just need to feel like you need to erase that from your sexuality. So, as with always, I think it’s partner specific,
L: you know. Not assuming that a trans partner would or wouldn’t- not assuming what genitals a trans partner has or what they like to do with them, but that if you do get intimate with somebody, no matter what their gender orientation is, then just a little like, “Hey, what are you into? Is there anything-” kind of the stuff that we, that Megan, that we talked about with some of those questions,
L: You know, “What are you into? Are there parts of your body that are off limits?”
L: “Are there terms you’d like me to use?” I think it’s the safest way to go about that and help somebody still feel like you’re respecting where they are with their body.
M: Yeah. And not a question you would just ask someone right when you meet them, but when you’re closer (laughs) with them. ‘Cause I know a lot of people ask these kinds of inappropriate questions, and I’m glad that they felt comfortable to ask us this, although when I got it I was like, “This is a Leigh question.” ‘Cause I have no idea.
L: Well and the thing is too, there are two sides of this right, ’cause I don’t want to, as a cis woman, I don’t want to speak for trans people, obviously, but also, as a cis woman who doesn’t have to deal with this and who does work in the world of like sex education, I’d much rather be the person answering and doing the educating than someone just going up to kind of a random trans person and being like, “How do you feel about your penis?”
M: Yeah. Thanks for asking us this question.
L: Yeah, and folks who are listening, if you heard either of those two questions and you had some insight about the answers or you agree with us or you absolutely don’t agree with us or have a totally different opinion, we’d love to hear it.
L: You can send us an e-mail. You can send us a message on Instagram.
M: The ‘gram.
L: However you want.
M: And we could read your e-mail, or not. You just let us know
M: what you want us to do with it.
L: Right. And if you do have just general questions or Ask Sex Coach Leigh type questions
L: keep sending ’em in and we’d love to talk about that.
M: Here’s something we think you’ll like. Check out our friends over at the Gayish podcast:
Kyle: Hey you, podcast listener.
Mike: Yeah, hey, listen up.
Mike: Shut up! (laughs)
Kyle: I know you’re looking for new things to binge.
Mike: and purge.
Kyle: Gayish is about gay stereotypes. We’ve talked about depression, drag queens,
Mike: Butt stuff.
Kyle: Fisting and animals are two different episodes
Kyle: Just to clarify.
Mike: You can find us on iTunes or wherever podcasts are given away for free. Tell your mom.
Kyle: She’s probably gay. (laughs)
(commercial break ends)
Megan: Okay, so I will kind of intro this episode 3, The Big Exhale of Truth. I mean, first of all, I love Janet. She’s one of my really, really good friends, but she’s such a great speaker, and her partner Ted, their chemistry they have together, just listening to them, it made my heart so happy. They talk about- both of them are bisexual.
M: They talk about dating, the way they met. They have a really lovely polyamory story
M: and I love it because Janet has children who are, I believe one’s a teenager and one’s in the early 20s.
M: But Ted, her partner, is not the father of the children but has been in their lives for almost like ten years, so I really like the way that they’ve like navigated home and family life together
M: as a polyamorous couple and I always joke with her that she’s my poly goals.
M: Like I love the fact that she considers herself married to these two people,
M: spiritually married to one, and legally married to the other, and it’s just so nice to hear the way she talks about her husband and her partner and how strong both those connections can be ’cause I think for a newer poly person like me, there are still concerns about like, how far can I go with someone else? Is it gonna take away from what I already have?
M: So, I just love them, and I hope that you guys will too.
L: And just to clarify, Megan did this interview before we started this podcast,
L: but we definitely wanted to include it. This was when you were at Sex Down, no
M: Thunder in the Mountains
L: Thunder in the Mountains. I’m like, it has another fun name that seems like it should be like an amusement park ride or a cocktail.
L: Awesome. Was that early, was that in 20-
M: July 20-eigh, 20-seve, no
M: (laughs) I’m like 2017
L: I’m like, it was seven years ago
L: but we’re throwing it in here. So, yes.
M: So we didn’t do the Queer and A because we hadn’t set that up yet, and I cut this episode in two, so the second part will be where they go into kind of more what does queer mean to them, but it was so long. There’s like ten things that I’m gonna be putting on Patreon over the next week, so if you wanna join there, go to supportqnd.com
M: or patreon.com/queersnextdoor. It’s been fun for me, throwing up those things that have been cut out there.
L: Yeah, and a reminder, you can join for as little as a dollar, and I will send you some stickers and some cute stuff in the mail, and then following this next episode, where we’ll answer a few more questions and we’ll finish up with Ted and Janet, then we’re going to continue episodes where we’re bringing in other fantastic queer folks and asking them questions and having conversations.
L: So, we’re looking forward to our 2019 schedule of guests.
M: Yess. So Janet goes by Bella online a lot so I think in the episode you’ll hear me refer to her as both, Bella and Janet. But Janet is a consent and sex educator, she calls her self legalista and advocate. She’s an attorney. I believe that’s why legalista. Chicana, geek mom, polyamorous, bisexual. She brings a trauma-informed lens to relationships, public policy, and geekdom. Is that what it says?
L: That makes sense.
M: Yeah. And then her partner Ted is a crisis psychotherapist turned coach, looking to help others on their journey to success and confidence. He also actively competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and he’s a hottie. We talk about that a little bit in the episode.
M: So I hope you enjoy listening to Janet and Ted.
Megan: Okay, hopefully, it’s recording now.
M: So I deleted all the other parts and we just decided that we would first go over coming out stories.
J: So, it’s a little bit difficult I think to choose one coming out story because it’s a process. It’s something that just continues over time. You have sort of this one- there’s always your first coming out, of the first time you realize and you admit out loud to somebody else what it is that you’ve been feeling inside and what it is that you’ve been understanding about yourself. So I’ve had a couple of- I’ve had a series of both voluntary and involuntary ways in which I have come out. But I think the one that matters for this, you know, and I can probably talk about some of the other things that have happened and some of those involuntary times, but I think the time that I felt like I had the most control over my own experience of coming out was when I first felt like I could finally admit to myself and to my partners that I was bisexual. And, you know, I had been feeling it for many, many years. Bisexuality wasn’t really a thing that people talked about back then, you know. Homosexuality, absolutely. People were talking about it, mostly pejoratively, but bisexuality was not something that people would discuss. Even when I was in college and someone had actually confronted me pretty directly, whether or not I was bisexual, and I kind of felt like I couldn’t say that I was because I had never had sex with a woman before. So I knew that I was attracted to women. I knew that I was, I really enjoyed kissing a girl, but I did not know if that was fully my identity or not. And so it wasn’t until after college and after I became polyamorous that I was on a trip to Washington DC for work and ended up hanging out with one of my friends from LiveJournal, my LiveJournal days. And we had a really fantastic time together. She and I, we are very good seductresses and so we were seducing men at various bars through DC that night and then we ended up together and we ended up having sex together and it was a really amazing and beautiful experience and she knew that it was my first time and that made it even better. And so I remember the phone calls to my partners afterward. At the time I was dating, you know, obviously I was married and had my husband and was dating another guy from out of state and I was dating another guy out of state and I made calls to all three of them and told them what happened and all of them had the same reaction. I mean, obviously all three of them thought that it was hot, but it wasn’t even just that. It was that all three of them knew how much I had felt like I couldn’t truly call myself bisexual until I had finally had sex with a woman. And so, you know, and I never experimented with girls through high school or middle school or anything like that. I didn’t have really close girl friends for most of my life. So it’s not like I had all these opportunities or anything like that. This was really that first opportunity that was very clear, like I’m attracted to you, you’re attracted to me, let’s get together and make something happen. And that was such a beautiful event and such a beautiful introduction for me into dating women. So having that conversation, I felt like I had the most control to have that conversation and to feel supported in that. So I definitely had negative experiences coming out, but that was one of the most positive and affirming moments for me in coming out.
Ted: I think the first friend of mine that I came out to, it was like the late 90s, he was gay. He was a coworker. Initially, we come out to ourselves and that can take awhile. That can be several different instances. I know for myself, it took years and years, for me, before I was comfortable with that concept, you know, especially when I was in my teens. And you sort of had those moments alone where, “Alright, okay, this is real. I really am bisexual.” And the day after, you’re like, “No, there’s absolutely no way. How could this be?” And I think there’s added confusion sometimes, when you’re bisexual, because for me I started out, in a perfectly, we’ll say normal way because I have no other way to describe it. Normal’s not my favorite adjective, but we’ll go with that for now.
T: I started out liking girls and later on I realized I was attracted to boys as well. So I went from feeling, you know, very normal, very comfortable with my peers, to not so normal, not so comfortable, and having to feel like I had to keep a lot of things secret, you know, “Will this spill out? Where’s it gonna go?” You know, and I grew up within all of our classical homophobic institutions, high school athletics, fraternity in college, all that stuff. All that stuff back then, that was not accepting or inclusive really, in any way. So that is a ton of added pressure
T: and you know, anybody outside the norm, anybody under the GLBTQ rainbow is gonna feel that pressure. But I think with bisexuals, and this has been said a million times over, you’re kind of pressured to pick a side on the fence. Which side of the fence to you want to be on? Are you a fence sitter? I remember one guy one time called me a part-timer. It was funny in the moment, but then when I thought about it, I’m like, “Man, you don’t really know what you’re talking about.” So I think there’s a whole lot to be understood regarding bisexuality being its own unique thing. So and I think the more we become comfortable coming out to ourselves, the more we’re gonna become comfortable coming out to our friends and other people.
J: I think there’s something to be said that when we come out to ourselves, we have to deal with our own reality first. And so that makes it, I think, a little less risky, if we have accepted ourselves first, to then be able to come out to somebody else, and be able to speak our truth to somebody else. But that first time that you speak those words and that first time that it exists and that big exhale of truth, and it doesn’t matter what truth it is. It doesn’t have to be bisexuality. It could be that you’re polyamorous. It could be that you’re asexual. It could be that, any of these truths that we hold within ourselves. The first time that we speak that out loud to somebody else, we are manifesting that into words. We are not creating that and we are now announcing to the world who we are, even if we’re not one hundred percent sure inside (laughs), but we’ve gotten to that point where that becomes real. It’s no longer just a thought inside of our head that’s ruminating and becoming distorted or becoming obsessive. It is now a truth and a reality that we are sharing with the world. And the more of us that have that truth-telling, that storytelling, and take control of that narrative for ourselves, the easier it is for the folks that we’re coming out to, to be more compassionate the next time someone comes out. So even if you’ve had a bad experience, even that bad experience is building a better experience for the next person. It takes courage to do that. And I remember my son came out to me as bisexual. And I remember we were sitting at dinner or lunch or something and he said, you know, “Mom, dad, I have something to tell you.” And he said, “I’m bisexual.” And I’m like, “Great, what do you want for lunch?” (laughs) And it was almost like, it was almost a little too flippant, my response, but only because I really wanted to convey to him that it doesn’t make a difference to me as to who he is, where he is in his life, who he cares about, who he loves, that we’re gonna continue treating him exactly the same way that we treated him before he came out. And I know that that wasn’t my experience when I came out, and it wasn’t the experience of many others who came before me. But I do think we have gotten to a point where, now, in this generation of kids that are coming out, they find more support. And even if it’s not in their families of origin, they are learning to create chosen families that will accept that truth and create safety for that truth and that courage.
M: Have you seen Nanette on Netflix?
J: We started watching it. We didn’t get through all of it.
M: Yeah, because something you said reminded me that I think a lot of parents now are saying kinda what you said about, “I hope my child feels like they don’t even have to come out me because it’s so accepted,” but also if they do, like what you said, “Oh okay. Now, what are we gonna have for lunch?” Like because it’s really not that big of a deal, “I love you and I care about you.” And now you have lived your life as a queer woman and had to have a lot of coming out
M: stories, you know, with kink and polyamory and you had years and years of practice with this. So I think that he’s very lucky to have a mother like you. But what really touched me about the Nanette show was she said her mom apologized to her because she said, “I raised you as if you were straight.” And I remember that really made me feel like so emotional
M: because I think, especially someone who was raised in a different era, where it would never even cross your mind to assume your kids would be
M: gay, and how many of us whose parents weren’t able to offer that acceptance. Well, for me, my mom passed away before I could come out. But for my other family members, it’s just, it hasn’t been their experience. They don’t really understand. They worry about me. They wonder if something’s wrong. Did they do something wrong? When you hear someone say, “Oh, I’m sorry I raised you that you were straight,” it’s like, “Oh my gosh! It could have been different if you knew my identity or you understood it a little bit.” So, I guess that just brought up for me that your son is very lucky because he has a very loving and accepting home where you understand and get him, but a lot of people don’t. And I think it’s true that the more we’re talking about this, people are choosing their friends and family and finding that support and it’s so necessary.
J: It absolutely is, and I think you also bring up a really good point about the fact that when we are socializing our kids, and I, you know, my oldest is 20 and my youngest is 14, so I’ve been a parent for a while now. When we’re socializing our kids, the movies that we take them to all feature men and women, moms and dads. They always feature, you know, the prince who gets the princess.
J: So it is always this male/female dichotomy, and you have to make a very conscious effort as a parent to create that safety and to establish that really early by watching how you talk about relationships, watching how you discuss with your kids what their relationships could possibly be. And so I remember really early on with my youngest, I would say something like, “Well, you know, someday you might want to get married and you and your husband or you and your wife might come home and, you know, have Thanksgiving dinner with us,” or something. And so I’m very conscious to be inclusive of that language because I don’t know who he is right now. He’s 14 and I know what he has said is his journey right now, but that’s also not gonna always be who he is. And I think that’s one other thing that we kind of see sometimes is, I’ve known a lot of people, and especially when it comes to bisexuality, I’ve known a lot of people who were very very involved in the gay community for a long time, for example, and then they start dating someone of the opposite gender, and now it’s suddenly like, “Oh, we lost someone from our team.” (laughs)
J: And just like, it’s not a competition, first of all
M: Oh yes.
J: and second of all, they’re still queer. (laughs) Just because they are now in a relationship with someone who is opposite sex does not mean, or other sex I should say, does not necessarily mean that you’ve lost anything or anyone. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like same-sex partners anymore. It doesn’t mean any of those things. And I think we have to be also acknowledging of the fact that even when after we’ve come out, we might come out again as something else a little bit later.
J: And I’ve known a lot of folks who, you know, now have to come to terms with the fact that they felt very pressured to choose a side, to, you know, get into that heterosexual relationship and stay in that heterosexual relationship, when really they might be really much more bisexual or pansexual than they had originally thought because there wasn’t a community for that or there wasn’t acceptance of that. And now, as we grow in acceptance, we create much bigger safer spaces for people to be authentic. And that’s really, more than anything, what I’ve always tried to teach my kids, is just it is important to be authentic and to know yourself. And so whoever you appear to be on any day of your journey is just a day in your journey. It doesn’t have to define you for the rest of your life nor does it matter what anyone else thinks of where you are on your journey.
T: And I think that kind of acceptance these days, is really, it’s refreshing and it’s important because I remember years and years ago, when I was running groups for adolescents, and one guy who was your stereotypical high school jock, and he was like, “Man, I love gay people. I just love the fact that they’re so courageous and they’re cool as shit. I love gay guys.” You know, and this guy, you know, you’d think he’d be the first one to slap anybody in the head that didn’t look exactly like him, but that was not the case.
T: So the culture has changed and improved somewhat and that was very refreshing to see, whereas when I was growing up I remember, it was like, you know, in the early to mid 80s, and I forget how we got on the topic, but I was riding in the car with my mom and maybe something came on that made reference to gay people. And she said something to the effect of, “Well, I’m glad nobody in our family has that problem.”
T: So this is gonna be very very encouraging to me, right? I’m gonna wanna stand up and talk about my shit now all night long. Well, no, I didn’t.
T: Of course I didn’t. You know, there’s already enough pressure, if you get shut down like that before you even start,
T: nevermind, I’m not, I’m not gonna pursue this avenue. I’m gonna survive my high school years and graduate and then create a life.
T: But that is a lot of pressure to live with.
T: And the choosing, or the feeling that you have to choose, that gives it a whole ‘nother level of pressure, I think,
T: that’s not, I think that is only now starting to be considered, by not just people under the rainbow flag, but just our culture in general.
M: Well and I wanted to back up a little bit because having the two of you on together is so powerful because I know your story. But also, you know, to go into, I mean now it’s 4:40
M: but like a little bit on how the two of you met. He has been around for a lot of your children’s life too
M: which I think now we’ve talked about coming out, you know, with sexual identity, but then relationship identities. And I know now that primary partner isn’t necessarily like the term that I feel the most comfortable with all the time, like maybe nesting partner or whatever, but you really don’t, for me I haven’t met as many people who are like I’m married but I have this other really serious relationship that’s also been years and years
M: and they’re involved in my family and in my kids’ life and like how did your lives mesh from all of that?
J: Mmhm. I’ve been polyamorous for 14 years now, pretty much kind of 14 years this summer. Because I think the process of my husband and I becoming, you know, opening our relationship took a few different months and took a few different turns and that’s what I have blogged about in the past, is that specific part of the story. But the story of Ted (laughs) is really just intriguing I think because it was almost, and he and I talk about this, you know, it’s, it’s like fate knew that we were supposed to be together and that there was nothing that was gonna stand in that way of us being together. And so I had already been polyamorous for about four years by the time Ted and I really met. You know, and I don’t necessarily use the term primaries, but if you were to kind of shoehorn me into that, I have had, I have multiple primaries. So it’s more like my primaries are just my inner circle (laughs) and these are the people I trust the most. And I think that I even have some friends that I would consider primaries in that same respect and that anyone who’s outside of that inner circle who is going to be my go-to call when something happens to me, or you know, happens to me good or bad- Anyone sort of outside of that circle, you know, they’re still a partner and they’re still friends or lovers but they don’t quite qualify for that, that level of support and importance in my life. But there’s multiple people who qualify for that. So primary never really works out very well because of the fact that there’s multiple of them and primary, the word itself, implies that it’s just one. So I ended up actually connecting with a woman on OKCupid and (laughs) it was funny because I was having, I was having surgery, you know, just to kind of, just some exploratory surgery and I was recovering from that and she and I had just been chatting for a little bit and so the first time I actually met her she brought tea over for me, to help me heal from that, which was just like the sweetest thing. No one’s ever thought to do that for me. And so she and I ended up going on a date about a month later after I had recovered after I was back at work. We went out on a date and had pho for the first time, so that was really awesome. And she was telling me all about her husband and all about her other relationships. And so I was just really happy to be connecting with somebody who was also polyamorous and who had, I think some similar structures of relationship or similar ideas and pathways about relationships that I did. So that was a really wonderful thing and I remember looking at Ted’s picture in her profile and being like, “Yeah, I’m not into him. We’re, we’re fine. Like he’s too muscley for me.” (laughs)
J: He’s shaking his head. So eventually she and I went to a play party together and Ted joined us at that play party, and again, I’m like, I took one look at him, and I’m like, “Nope, not interested ’cause he’s too muscley. He’s too pretty.”
J: And I was playing with a Dominant at that time and kind of reconnecting with him. And we actually had, I think, this really beautiful scene of like, some energy work. Later on, I went, you know, was dating her pretty actively. It was at their house. Ted and I got into a long conversation. I found out that he and I actually have a lot in common. And then we have a lot in common specifically about how we grew up. Even though he was a military brat and I certainly wasn’t, we had a very similar level of education, a very similar motivation, a very similar, I think, family mindset, of how we were raised and how we were raised to be you, you know, to achieve and whatnot. And so it was really refreshing to get to know him as a person. And so as things kind of progressed, we ended up again, sort of, you know, the periphery of each other, and his, his wife at the time just kind of kept pushing me toward him, like, “No, he’s really into you. He’s really into you.” And of course, I just never believe when people are into me. (laughs)
J: I suspect sometimes, but I just don’t believe it. And so it, it took a lot for Ted to convince me that he was actually (laughs) into me. We ended up playing one night, and it was, it was actually a very, again, a lot of the things about my story with Ted, is very, kind of very profound spiritual sort of connections between us. But we ended up playing together with my poly husband from Texas. And at the end of it, we did an electric, we did a violet wand scene together, which was so special and so amazing and I love, oh my gosh, I love that so much. And at the end, my poly husband had said to me, “Well, now you need to thank him for doing this.” So I went over to him, I was still, I was still sitting on the table and I, and I kissed Ted. And it was like, it felt like a ten-minute kiss. (laughs)
T: (in the background): It WAS a ten-minute kiss.
J: He’s confirming. It was a ten-minute kiss. But it was such a magical moment. And all this time I had really been super resistant to getting together with Ted. And at that moment I just knew that we were supposed to be together.
T: I do literally think it was a ten-minute kiss.
T: It’s one of those kisses to wh- you know when you start you don’t want to stop.
T: You just kind of keep kissing.
T: Nope, nah I don’t want to stop yet. Oh, I just don’t want to stop yet either.
T: Janet tried to grab the mic. No, I didn’t want to stop yet.
T: Yeah, it was a really definitive moment for both of us, without a doubt.
J: And it was funny because afterward, like I remember asking my poly husband, like, “Uh, do you think he’s like- what was that all about? I don’t know.” He’s like, “You guys need to- You guys need to be together. You guys need to get together.” And so a couple weeks later we actually, you know, had an actual date and I went over to his house and we watched Battlestar Galactica together. And that was the first time I had ever seen Battlestar, so if I’m a Battlestar freak on my Twitter, you can blame Ted for that.
T: The next podcast will be about Battlestar Galactica.
J: Maybe I will have to do a podcast just about Battlestar, and all the reasons why I love it. But in that moment, and that was actually also the first night that we had had sex. And we were having some trouble, I think, getting our rhythm and kind of figuring things out together until finally, it just clicked. And we looked at each other and it was like we had known each other for years and years and years. And I think the people that were around us at the time, with the exception of my legal husband, who knows all because he is just that wise- Everyone around us was very very surprised by how quickly things escalated and became very very important and very primary between the two of us. It just accelerated really at a breakneck pace. And within a month of that is when Ted was telling me that he loved me. And I just was not used to that. And I mean I am used to falling in love. I love falling in love. It’s one of my favorite things. But I am also – thanks, polyamory – very resistant to new relationship energy, very resistant. I shut that shit down (laughs) because I don’t like being out of control. I don’t like the potential for me to miss my responsibilities or to override my existing relationships in any sort of way. And I know we were really stuck on a runaway NRE train in many ways. But it was a train that was headed for a very specific place and when I say that I mean that we have, we have just discovered this very rich and deeply spiritual life together that when we kiss, that’s how we talk. When we have sex, that’s how we talk. It is how we communicate. We communicate with our full bodies. And we communicate with our full souls. And I think it had to happen that way in order for us to really recognize just how compatible we really are together. And unfortunately, a lot of the people that were in our lives at that time when we first started are no longer so active in our lives. And it really hurts because Ted and I never intended to hurt anyone by getting together. But there are times that you just have to follow your heart and follow your gut and my gut was telling me that this is something very special and very magical. And ten years later we’re still together.
T: Yeah, reviewing that time, it was an incredibly intense- and it was very much a runaway train. And you just didn’t know when the train was gonna stop
T: or if it was gonna be upside down
T: or just sticking out of the ground with smoke and fire everywhere.
M: But can I, I wanna ask really quick, were you out to your now ex-wife and did that, so that was not, like a non-issue with you two getting together. It was just like, “Hey, I’m bi.” “I’m bi.” “Cool.”
T: Funny story. I’ll share this with you. I met my ex-wife at a BDSM discussion group many, many years ago. And originally my ex-wife thought I was gay. Whatever, she just did, okay fine. So we got to talking and, you know, she realized I wasn’t gay. I was bisexual. We had a few discussions about being bisexual
T: before she and I started our relationship. But when Janet and I first got together, I think when I realized I loved her, I either texted her first thing in the morning or called her. And we’re- it’s like seven in the morning
T: So it’s like six or seven in the morning and I had just woken up from a dream, remembering, you know, whether you subscribe to past lives or not, that’s entirely up to you, but that’s what my dream was about. She and I had known each other before. And regardless, I woke up knowing that I loved her. So I had to call her and tell her that. So I did and, you know, she appeared a bit surprised.
T: But you know, we talked it through, and then, you know, more good things started to happen from there.
M: How- What is the timeline of between you two realizing this was kind of a thing and then you telling your husband and then how did that go from like, “I think this person’s gonna be involved” and “Should they meet my children?” ‘Cause I know that that can be a controversial thing for people.
J: Well, what’s funny is that originally the week before that big ten-minute kiss, I had actually invited Ted and his wife over for a barbeque at our house. And so I was actually inviting them over so that they could meet my husband. You know, my husband doesn’t have any strict rules about when he needs to meet someone or whatever. But he and I just have this open dialogue and open conversation all the time. So, you know, we’ll be driving to the grocery or something and I’ll say, “Oh yeah, I was chatting with this person. I think I’m gonna go on a date with them.” And so that’s sort of how that starts. And, you know, based off of how I come home when, from the date, you know, there’s been dates that I’ve come home from where I’m crying when I walk in the door because it was such a miserable fucking thing. And that’s where my husband is again, just like I just praise him for his wisdom because he just reflects back to me what I’m seeing, or what he’s seeing in me. So, there’s never been a, “No, you can’t date this person” or, “No, you can’t do that.” There’s always been a, “Do you think maybe this relationship might be bringing out some really bad feelings in you?” (laughs) He’s very diplomatic in how he brings it out. After that barbeque, actually literally the day after the barbeque, one of my pets had died. And that caused some kind of turmoil for me and whatnot. And ironically, Ted was there for me a lot better than his wife was for me at the time ’cause his wife was also, you know she was dating somebody at the time too and there was drama in that relationship, I think, that night. But Ted was actually able to be there for me much better. And so by the time I actually, you know, had the ten-minute kiss and I told my husband all about it, you know, he was very celebratory for me, because I came back with this, bursting with this great energy. And so that’s always been my husband’s standard for how he feels about somebody else is what is the energy that I’m bringing home from the encounters with this person? If the energy is positive and happy, then guess what, I’m not snapping at the kids. And guess what, I’m much more willing to do x, y, or z around the house or I’m much more willing to be more considerate of myself or the people around me and not beat myself up so much. When a relationship is bad, that’s when I’m snapping at the kids. That’s when I’m on edge. That’s when I’m crying all the time. That’s when, you know, all these negative things. And so my husband really judges relationships based off of, what’s the energy that I’m bringing home. So when I came home from that ten-minute kiss, like the energy was just bursting through the door. And that was something that, that’s what told Mike, this is going to be a good thing. You know, we are not without our poly drama. But as the relationship progressed and as, you know, the words, “I love you” were spoken, you know, that’s just something I just include my husband on throughout the day and throughout the conversation. I’ll text him and say, “Ted told me he loved me!” And, at the time, actually my husband worked at the same company as me and his cubicle was on the other side of me. So I just waited until he got to work that day
J: and instant messaged him about it. And, you know, he came over to my cubicle and gave me a hug and was very happy for me. And so my husband’s actually very good at compersion, incredibly talented at compersion. Again, he always judges it based on the energy. And so the way he views it, is my relationships help me be a better person, you know, and I feel really caged in by monogamy. I connect with people so easily and so uniquely. Every single person I connect with has their own dynamic and has their own energy that they can contribute to my life and that I can contribute to their life and no two connections are ever gonna be the same. And that’s something my husband realized me about me very early on, and when we became poly it was sort of like, “Well, I was waiting for you to finally, you know, figure this out.” Ironically, he does not date hardly at all and he’s okay with that. I had to get over some guilt about that and I still have some guilt around that sometimes. But he- I’ve also kind of come to the conclusion that this is his life and this is what he has chosen. And I make sure I check in sometimes with him and just make sure, “Is this still what you want? Is this still what you want to be doing?” Not that I could go back to monogamy, ’cause it’s impossible at this point, after 14 years, to just up and say, “Yeah, I’m gonna be monogamous,” because I have all these people in my life that I love and adore and I don’t want restrictions on how I can express that love to them. And that love could look very different from person to person. With Ted, well it’s classic explosive, you know, mind-boggling sex. And then, you know, with husband it’s this deep laughter. We have a very happy and giggly life together and, you know, he’s just profoundly talented and I just am deeply attracted to that. And, you know, I’m kind of getting misty talking about all the things that I love about people. And I could go on and on and on about every single person in my life. And getting back to your question about when we actually sort of introduced it to our kids, I think that’s actually the one mistake I can say that I’ve made in my life, is that I did not introduce what was going on in our family soon enough to our family. And I know for a fact that my oldest son, for a very long time, thought that I was cheating on husband, very openly, and was very I think, I think he felt that he had to keep this secret for me, even though it was very literally not a secret, Ted staying over and (laughs) everything. But we were very afraid of telling the kids our of fear that they were going to blurt it out to someone and that that person’s not gonna understand. And that fear comes very directly from the fact that I had been outed by a blog that was advocating that my kids be taken away from me because of the fact that I was poly/kinky/bi. And so that was, we really really wanted to control that message and we wanted to control how that message was being delivered to our kids. But my youngest has, we became poly when he was, oh, he must have been eight months old (laughs) at the time. So he’s never known anything but us having these relationships and having these people in our lives. And what I love about polyamory is the fact that it increases the amount of support that a child can have in growing up. My kids know that if they ever have a question about therapy or ever have a question about any of the things that Ted is sort of a subject matter expert in, that they know that he will be there for them and that he will, you know, help them out. He’s been in their lives for ten years now. And so it’s just a normal and accepted part of our family. This is my choice, and that it has not damaged my kids, the choice itself. I think the choice of when and how to come out, there really was not a whole lot of guidance back then. And if the guidance was there, it was embedded in a Loving More newsletter or it was in, you know, three or four pages in a book that was still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. So I think now we have a lot more guidance about polyamory and about coming out and especially about parenting. But it does have to be age appropriate. And I kind of again just set that value pretty early on that you’re gonna love a lot of people in your life and you’re gonna love them in many different ways. And I love this one quote from the movie Mansfield Park. So Mansfield Park, the movie, is actually based a little bit, loosely on Mansfield Park and much more on Jane Austen’s letters. And there is this one scene where it says, “There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” And that has just been my guiding force for my polyamory. And that’s not a bad value to pass along to your kids, that you can have many, many different forms of love. And maybe that form of love is just one day. You meet that person for one day and you have this moment of connection and synchronicity with them. Or it could last a lifetime and it could be completely platonic. It doesn’t have to involve sex. It doesn’t have to not involve sex. And that every single connection that we make with another person is a moment of love that is very unique to that day and to that moment and to that person. And so that value is what I’ve passed onto my kids.
M: So thank you both for sharing all those personal details about your life.
M: I was gonna intro with this, but I think I’ll just talk a little about it now, that I have known Janet for a few years now and definitely she became the person in my life who it was like, when I’m having my first polyamorous relationship, like, “Am I dying because this feels, this hurts in a way.”
M: “My heart, I don’t know what to do.” And so I would talk to her and I’m like, “You’ve done this. You survived.”
M: And not only that, but you still enjoy polyamory, and you haven’t been like, “Fuck this,” yet.
M: And then, also the same with sub drop and then like breakups. I’ve always been like, “Help me, what am I-” you know,
M: and she’s really helped me to put it into perspective and, you know, find ways to care for myself. So I think that goes back to what we were talking about with building, you know, your chosen family and your community, where you’re like, “Okay, you get me.” So I think the more we talk about these things, people can hear it, and even if, you know, you’re queer, but polyamory is not your thing, that’s fine, but at least we’re all expanding our knowledge on something.
L: Thanks for listening to Queers Next Door. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to follow, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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