People are fascinating. There are so many ways of being male or being female or being both or rejecting the binary altogether. While that being refers to gender expression, not to be confused with sexuality, I am intrigued by and attracted to many expressions across the gender spectrum. So when I only have a few minutes to identify my sexuality, I use the language of bisexuality.
Granted, even that language takes some people awhile to grasp. A friend of mine asked, in all honesty, how folks who are bi navigate monogamy, as though being attracted to all genders necessitates at least two partners. On my less optimistic days, being bi means I’ve twice the chance of romantic rejection, but on my out and proud and feeling good days, it’s a beautiful gift of being open to the possibility of falling in love with anyone. (Or twice the chance of being ridiculously awkward in conversations with new people, let’s be honest.) It means that my first relationships with men aren’t made any less by the relationships I’ve had with women, nor vice-versa. It means I can sympathize and dream with just about anybody who wants to share their stories with me.
I am also fairly fluid in my gender expression, which is another realm of conversation altogether, but interesting to contemplate when it comes to how who I’m attracted to plays into my own self-image. Being bi means I can relate to God in both genders. I can be loved by the feminine Spirit of God and encouraged by the Jesus who is my brother. Living in this space, of the freedom to love both men and women romantically, is a space I should be used to as a Lutheran minister (in our theology, everything’s about paradox, the both/and). Some days it’s fabulous, other days it’s lonesome, but I think that’s a feeling anybody can relate to.
Andrew Tobias Nelson
Pastor at Christ our Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Chatham, NY