By Sofie Lyeklint
My name is Sofie Lyeklint and I’m an adopted 16-year-old girl from Sweden. I live in Helsingborg, close to Denmark, in the south of our cold zucchini shaped country. I’m in my first year of the International Baccalaureate and I’m taking my final exam in less than a year (help!). In my spare time I’m trying to be a good chairman of the students council and I’m also doing wrestling. And of course spend time with all of my friends. Writing this essay is part of my ”coming out with my bisexuality campaign”. Actually I came out to my mother by accident when she found the first draft of the essay lying around. Surprisingly enough she only said ”well, is it autobiographic? Then she turned around and noting more has been said about it. Maybe because she always expect the worst of me. But on the other hand it is not a tradition in my family (the fragments that are left of it) to speak up about oncoming tempests. If you don’t talk about it will go away. I’ve just kept the deadline (didn’t have time to write a speech but I will be talking about what is in my essay) and I hope this could contribute to the Awakening book.
I think it I realised what I am waiting for the depression statistics and society told me that coming out with your bi- or homosexuality is a terrifying experience, I was to go though. It never came. It didn’t hurt to say I love men and women, I’m bisexual. It felt so free realising that I was trying to jump over a threshold that didn’t exist.
It isn’t difficult to be pessimistic with Sweden and homophobia. Swedes tend to think that they are so open-minded but the sore truth is that they are terrified of destroying the “nuclear family”. It is not a coincidence that bi- and homosexuality is blamed on the increased rate of divorces and children brought up by single parents. Stereotypes of homosexuals are common knowledge. Gays are supposed to be effeminate or promiscuous and lesbians are supposed to be men hating butch truckdrivers. So why not consider some straight stereotypes? Teenage boy-girl making out in public or women complaining about that their men seem to have more passion to the sports review on television. I don’t think that is something that is considered as shocking in the Swedish picket fence, villa-Volvo-dog IKEA middle class whom I’m brought up in. What about bisexuals? Are they a mixture of them both? I don’t know, but I do know that I would pass for a “normal” Indian-Swedish girl nobody would have thought was “like that”.
Approaching the new millennium I think society is too focused on the –sexual part. Everything is about sex so it becomes the latest assertion of stupidity. I suppose that it is difficult to accept and understand about bi and homosexuality that it is really about whom you fall in LOVE with. How can it be so wrong to love or be loved? I’ve lost one of my best male friends by coming out to him. I assume that it was too much for his male pride. That really makes me petrified. Am I so disgusting, repulsive, criminal because I am attracted to human beings of both genders? Is it hateful to love? The concept of love being the centre of the modern western society is at present so limited by peoples prejudiced fear and lack of respect towards the intangible energy humans try to capture in the four letters making up the word LOVE.
I am bisexual. I’ m attracted to both boys and girls. To me it feels so natural to say that I love girls, women, angels, goddesses as saying I love strawberries with cream or boys, men, gods. Being right in the middle of my “coming-out campaign” I’m terrified. Of those of my close friends I have told so far has either dissociated themselves from me or tried to “cure” me. Female bi-and homosexuals are thought not to have had a good lover. Having sex with a woman I thought and probably many others would be like a dead long foreplay never really coming to “the point”. A rather comforting thought created by jealous men who have been set aside by another woman in order to milder the damages made on their confidence of their genitals. I was wrong. I’ve had wonderful orgasms with both men and women and I guess that is what coming to “the point” is all about.
Who can you trust when the one you thought could rely on turns out to be such a coward homophobic that it destroyed our friendship? Just because you are attracted to someone of the same gender it doesn’t mean that you out of desperation fall in love with every woman you meet. To me it is rather logical. I don’t fall in love with every boy I meet and naturally I don’t fall in love with every girl I meet. But society has severe difficulties reasoning like this. Homophobia in the end is cataclysmic. This is why coming out to my girl friends was so difficult. Theoretically I would be able to feel sexual attraction towards them. If I would hold hands or kiss the girl I’m at present is hopelessly in love with downtown Helsingborg every Tom Dick and Harry would choke on their self-determination and prejudice. A girl friend of mine came out with her bisexuality to me in a letter and thought that I put on a mean practical joke when I replied that I also was bisexual. This shows clearly how bi-and homosexuality is looked upon in Sweden. Bisexuals are wandering around in a diffuse nowhere land. In our society you are either hetero or homo. Bisexuals are the poor lads and lasses with an obese identity crisis. Sort of in the middle of two forces pulling you in two opposite directions.
The RFSL (Riksförbundet för sexuellt likaberättigande) has driven numerous reformations for bi- and homosexuals. But a lot is still to be done. The anti discrimination law was initiated in 1987 but it doesn’t protect everybody from discrimination. To me it is difficult to understand how come the state has the right to register somebody because of who you love. Once again should it matter? Throughout history there have been numerous examples of bi and homosexuality. The ancient Greeks believed that the only true love was the love between two men.
Discrimination and “curing” of people attracted to the same gender has also been going on for centuries. Lesbians had their breast amputated, their perfectly healthy uteri removed. Gays were given aversion therapy; e.g. clients were shown pictures of naked men and simultaneously shocked with electricity. During the Nazi regime in Germany. Himmler attempted to “cure” gays by requiring them to visit the camp brothel at Flossenburg. After little success the prostitutes were shipped to Auschwitz. The facts are stunning: How can human beings be so cruel?
I think it is a human obligation to have hope in the future so I certainly confide in that things are going to change. But one should keep in mind that it is only we that make a difference. By putting these redeeming words down on paper I wish to push prejudice, fear and lack of respect a little bit further towards their depletion. After all no matter whom you are attracted to or whom you fall in love with you are still a human being and should be treated like one!