I confess Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency threw me for a loop. His regime required me to review all my priorities, choosing again what I devote my time, talent and treasure to.
After years of primary attention to LGBTQ well-being, my focus shifted.
Our community was not the first to land in Trump's crosshairs. One of his first actions was the Muslim travel ban so I marched against that. I began attending a weekly interfaith dialogue at a local mosque. There was a time in the spring when I walked in a demonstration every Saturday: against tax cuts, for science, for attending to climate change and against something else I can't remember.
Eventually, of course, Trump needed to make sure LGBTQ people know our proper place, springing his transgender ban in the military on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I called the White House and my tea-party Senator's office to register my objections.
And I felt guilty that I had abandoned regular, long-time advocacy for LGBTQ rights. I was not paying close attention to issues and happenings in the national LGBTQ community. I hardly scanned the headlines occasionally. I had stopped paying close attention to writing in the LGBTQ community.
With strangers I met in all the new places I found myself, I did not introduce myself as a bisexual. I let assumptions by the other take their course. I blended in.
What I did not lose, though, was the essential fact that I am bi.
I am bi-sexual physically, even though (I feel driven to say) I have been married to a man for 36 years. Also, it is important to me that you know I am a Christian for whom fidelity is in the Ten Commandments, so central to my understanding of the gift of marriage.
Though I seem to be the new word I learned recently—hetero-romantic—I still know that I am physically attracted to men, women and gender-nonconforming people. I have always been so though I discovered it about my self late in life.
I am bi spiritually. I live with a capacity that I have come to realize is not shared by most other people: a yearning to see both sides or really the full spectrum, since "sides" reflect our cultural bias toward thinking in polar opposites most of the time. I remember the moment in my youth when I knew that holy ground was the place where opposites are both true at the same time.
I treasure understanding that a fundamental quality of God is holding opposites together because it seems to me that this trait is one way in which I am made in the image of God.
Exercising this capacity is when I feel most myself.
This is why Trump's tribalism pierces me like a poison dart. When he speaks, he leaves me so deeply sick in my soul that waves of sadness make me curl up in order to breath and remember he is not all that is. I have feared him since he first descended on his golden escalator. I tremble at the devastating harm he is wreaking on the social fabric of our country and the world.
But I cannot walk away from Trump or his supporters. I cannot cast expletives at him. I can name him as a "verifiable misogynist xenophobic con man" because his actions prove he is one, but I must also see him as God's creation and beloved child, however severely distorted.
This is why I attended two Trump rallies in my area last Fall. I had hours with his voters in lines waiting for the doors to open or in the hall waiting for him to arrive. I asked questions, tried to listen carefully, repeat what I had heard and ask for clarification or follow-up. I wore my Hillary button but I was not there to argue. I was there to try to be in my shoes and their shoes at the same time.
And I know it is probably not what you want to hear but it is what I feel with all my heart: this bi perspective is exactly what the world needs now. This is the moment when bisexual people have an immense gift to give to the world. In our own neighborhoods and around the world, everyone needs to know what we embody: poles are not all there is. We need to help everyone step into each other's shoes.
So, I am grateful for Bisexuality Awareness Week reminding me who I am.
This is not the time to keep my light as a bisexual person under a bushel. Okay. I will name what drives me to seek out my adversary for relationship. I will invite those I meet into my bi-perspective, explaining where it comes from.
I hope you agree it is what the world desperately needs right now. Join me.
Photo by Chris B