I drank a big glass of red the night I decided to own my new title of “Professional Bisexual.” I was needing to unwind and celebrate. It was the first time I had made a woman cum while eating her pussy. It called for a toast to myself. I’ve had sex with many women before and I’ve watched some of them cum as a result of me but I always thought perhaps I just wasn’t a good pussy eater. This would be insanely different to the reaction that I could get from most men when I have some of them deep in my throat. I had always sought to even my sexual skill rankings with both genders, and tonight I had made a solid stride forward.
I called a prospective Adultfriendfinder date to invite him to the bar with me. Latino: firm body, nice cock , nice photography in profile pics, and he’s LATINO? Did I say, Latino twice? I have an admitted Latino fetish lately. So hypocritical of all my anti-race fetish politics, but I just love it when they call me mama…
midwestfreak did not want to meet me because he had to wake up to go to work early the next morning. Essentially he was also turning down the opportunity to ride my phermone wave to some amazing all night sexing.
“Well,”I said,”I just made some money, so I think I’m going to go on a little snowboarding trip tomorrow.”
“What do you mean you just made some money?” he said.
“I was just with this grrreat couple from New Hampshire.” I said.
“Wow. You get paid for that?” he laughed.
It was Blue, sex worker stripper singer, out and proud bisexual activist who was the character of catalyst for me to really be okay with owning my own bisexuality for the first time in my life at age 30. It was my first Gay and Lesbian Task Force “Creating Change” conference and I had woken up early especially to attend a bisexuality workshop. She made her sexual orientation and stripping occupation known at my panel on “Sex Work and Economics” and I saw that she sat there with the support of her girlfriend as she talked about both very proudly. For some reason, even though I had met other bisexual strippers, the conversations that we had following her initial comment really helped shape my acceptance of the b word.
I had come out as a lesbian in homo-normative Sydney, Australia in 1997. To attend the official Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parties you had to check a box that indicated if you were gay, lesbian, or straight. There was no box for queer, bisexual, transgender, questioning, two spirited or gender non conforming! The committee was trying to prioritize tickets for the gay and lesbian (and other closeted BQQTTSGNCs who lied) community. I half understood the reasoning. Even though I knew I was an undercover bisexual, I felt I had a right to eat sushi at the Asian Lesbian picnic and party with the boys at the Mardi Gras parties without having to out myself a second time after I was just outing myself the first time. When I last checked, the 2007 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras website’s theme “Homosexual” garnished the offical website in big letters. I wondered if they were still had that oppressive application process and if their policies had become more inclusive since in the 10 years since I had come out. It wasn’t long after I had come out that I knew that either label of lesbian or bisexual was not really sitting well with me. The Sydney paradigm profoundly shaped my queer identity. Returning home to San Francisco, I began to embrace my new sexual orientation and continued my new relationship with the hyper homo hedonism that I had learned abroad. I internalized a message of the need to “look gay” to access the closeness, understanding and good times that gay communities everywhere represented to me. I shaved half of my head and never shaved my arm pits or legs, sporting an early Ani Difranco era punk rock dyke fashion sense that fit perfectly in the pages of Michelle Tea’s San Francisco.
Then I became a sex worker. A new identity took over the old one. Another wave of liberation washed over me the first time I danced topless around a pole at the Gold Club in San Francisco in 1999. Hours before my audition, I plucked out my armpit hair and pulled out the most femme dress I owned, a not so shapely silver rectangle with straps that nevertheless got me my first job in the industry. Within a week, I had rediscovered all kinds of long repressed gender specific elements that my newly acquired income was now allowing me access to. For the first time in my starving college student life, I was able to shop like a stereotypical woman! I needed to purchase 4 inch red stiletto heels, and I now could purchase a second pair of clear Lucite ones as well! I became a high femme in no time. I had always had an eye for clothes and fashion, but had been rejecting notions of constructed femininity for the last two years, wearing mostly men’s clothes and nothing on my face but lip liner pencil which I used to both line and shade my lips. I was a heterosexually identified femme in high school but started to morph into something more androgynous because it seemed to me that femininity did not and could not equal power in a man’s world. Suddenly, as a new stripper, femininity now equaled power and money. I became even stronger and more confident. The color pink represented this new found power to me and it has been my favorite color ever since. There was no way that I was going to disguise my gender appearance just so I could party with a queer community I felt should accept me for who I was and share my joy in accepting who I was becoming.
My activism in the sex worker and LGBTQ communities in San Francisco allowed me to stay visible and out in any way I chose to self identify, but there was still an air of biphobia amongst my lesbian and gay friends and the greater community. Even though entering into the sex industry had been a source of power for me, I was always aware of the tightrope that female bodied sex workers walked in a patriarchal and sexist world. Our power as women, as sex workers always had to be asserted and explained to our friends, our family, strip club customers and ignorant strangers we felt like explaining ourselves to. Male customers, and men in night clubs were always too excited about my bisexuality. Saying that I was gay became a necessary form of resistance. When I danced with another woman, I idealized having her to myself in a private moment but I knew that in certain “straight” clubs that would not be a possibility. Getting into near altercations with men who took more than their allotted privilege was getting old to me. Watching a male customer’s eyes light up when I said the word bisexual was getting old to me. Bisexuality was a source of disempowerment, but simultaneously a marketable value.
Girl on girl performances or sex shows are an institutionalized part of most money making stripper and porn star repertoire whether or not you are “really bi” or into femme on femme action or not. Like a pop song that gets pounded into you by repetition on commercial radio stations, so do certain fetishes from pop porn culture become ingrained into our fantasies and we find ourselves imitating some movie we saw somewhere and also getting turned on by our lover’s version of that aesthetic. In fact, when I did have lovers who never really watched porn, I felt a bit at a loss. It is possible to triumph with a queer aesthetic in a straight world and many many sex workers myself, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley and endless others presently and historically have forged leadership in a so called straight man’s world, but probably adhering to certain formulas and clichés that everyone seems to have to follow in order to attain a certain level of success.
An outwardly hairless high femme appearance also holds the same power in the sex industry but I felt somehow stronger about wearing bisexuality like a new outfit on stage and throwing it off when my boyfriend picked me up after work because I was more than just bi at work. I decided that if the other girls were “really bi” then I was definitely queer or gay with a bad habit of getting involved with Spanish speaking Latin guys that worked at car dealerships. I feel that I have to identify as gay in a lot of spaces so that people understand that this identity is my politics, my community, my family. If I told some of the high school boys that I taught that I was bisexual, I felt that they would have gotten the wrong idea and missed my points. Telling students I was gay threw out a picture closer to what I felt I wanted to present about myself and a certain example of queerness.
Bisexuality may be objectified in the straight world but within the queer community it is also oppressed in ways that I think most of us don’t even understand, because our issues are barely acknowledged as important in the greater concerns of the LG [bt] world. My solution to the invisibility of the B in the LGBT all these years was to also be invisible under the safety of the greater queer umbrella. It has not been until my recent acceptance of what a bisexual life and queerness looks like have I really started to identify the biphobia that exists in queer spaces, and have I really started to unpack the hatred of my own bisexuality and how my behavior and identity have been shaped accordingly. I still don’t think bisexuals have any power on either sides of the fence, but if more of us like myself and Blue don’t start to be out about our bisexuality we will continute to be unheard and ignored, like sex workers, like people of color, etc.
My evolution in the last seven years in the sex industry has taken me out of the strip clubs and into my own business as an independent escort. I have since worked on many issues that plagued me in my early days of sex work and queer identity. I had embraced the term queer because it best described me and allowed me to have an ambiguity around sexual orientation since I had previously to 2007 hated the word bisexual. Being an escort (prostitute) allowed me to feel some of the same money power dynamics that stripping once gave me, except now I was given access to female clients’ tangible sexual desires. These women were paying for their own sexual experimentation or being gifted the experience by their lovers. And I was that gift. I decided that it wasn’t that bad. Everything was consensual and at times it was even hot. Payment allows sex workers the ability to experience people and situations that they may normally not have thought about if there was no money involved, and the same has been true about my sexual escapades with the female client half of the couples that have hired me.
I’m not a huge Freud fan, but I think he was on to something when he said that everyone has a latent bisexuality. No matter what the gay for payers will say about the gay or lesbian sex that they are having it is hard for me to believe that there is not some latent desire inside them. This desire energizes our work and makes our clientele continute to cum back, and this goes for those that are also claiming that they are only straight for the money.
I had resented bi girls in strip clubs because I felt that they were all just being “gay for pay” and not true representatives of any queer community that I was a part of. One of the facilitators at Creating Change elicited the idea of being a “professional queer” to the audience of activists, suggesting that their attendance at the conference as a result of the jobs that they had indicated that they were indeed being paid to have a certain sexual orientation’s perspective. As a sex worker who is truly invested in giving clients at least the illusion of a satisfactory experience, I use the fact that I am “really” bisexual as a selling pitch to men and women who call to inquire about my services. And actually the category “really bi” is a way for an escort to score higher ratings of 1-10 on the heterocentric client controlled “Erotic Review” website whose reviews can dramatically increase or decrease a certain escort’s business revenue based on her review or rating. But I’m sure their version of “really bi” and mine are different.