Why am I doing this?

There have been several times I’ve asked myself that question as I work on understanding the intersections of gender, sexuality, and relationship orientation. I have a Computer Science degree and am MBA. I’m a computer programmer by day and roller derby referee by night. I’m not an academic; I’m not a researcher, but here I am in a project to gain understanding in a very broad, complex topic. Really, the answer is simple: I want to understand.

My journey to understanding my own bisexuality has taken my entire life - 46 years so far. But in the last couple years of that journey, the learning curve has accelerated, and I’ve started encountering a variety of people who are “outside the binary” of gender, sexuality, and relationships, and there is as much variation in those areas as there are people I encounter. Now, my personal journey of growth has intersected with people on their own journeys of growth and understanding.

We all exist at an intersection of our gender, sexuality, and relationships. Some of us exist at the edges - in the binaries - but a lot of us exist somewhere in the middle. And when our varied lives intersect, it creates a beautiful tapestry of people who live rich lives.

So far, as part of the Intersections project, I’ve interviewed 11 people, and am always looking for more. I’ve learned a lot about how much dwells behind the identities and labels people use for themselves. When people are allowed to provide their own identities and share what those identities mean to them, it gives them a chance to open their lives up and share who they are. The questionnaire each participant fills out asks them about their gender, sexual, and relationship identities, but instead of giving a list of answers to choose from, the questionnaire just has a blank line. Had I not left the questions open-ended like that, I never would have encountered a non-binary Trans*gressive Latin@ gender or a lesbian gender expression. I never would have learned about relationship anarchy or any of the other multiple non-binary genders, sexualities, and relationship orientations that exist.

I’m less than 2 months into this project and already I’ve learned more than I thought I ever would. I’m excited to learn more and share the journey with as many people as I can get to join me. If you want to join in the journey, comment below or reach me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/intersectional/

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Mike Straw is a bisexual man on a journey of discovery about his own sexuality and the rich variety of people in the various non-binaries.

During the day, Mike is a computer programmer, and at night and the weekends he referees roller derby. The rest of the time, he spends exploring the various intersections of gender, sexuality, and relationship orientation through the Intersections project (https://www.intersectional.info)