Politics of location Before I moved to Bloomington I had never met a transgender person. Before I came to Bloomington I had only met two gay people that I know of. I wasn’t aware of LGBT politics. I assumed that gay marriage was accepted in England due to not being faced with hearing about gay issues all throughout my childhood and teenage years. Gay terms such as lesbian and dyke and homo were common. I was even called a ‘lesbo’ in high school even though I wasn’t a lesbian. I disliked being named a lesbian and reacted poorly to the name calling. I met what I assume was my first transgender person at Uncle E’s a year ago. Friends pointed the individual out and proceeded to assure me that person was ‘cool’. Like that made everything okay and as if being transgender was bad but okay because they guy was cool.
I came out as a bisexual by sophomore year and I have to believe that if I had not moved out of England I would not have come out. I lived what I thought was a happy straight life. Bloomington gave me a new lease on life and I met people that allowed me to break out of my shell. Bloomington has an accepting feel. Although to other liberal areas of the country Bloomington is not the most liberal. But to me it feels freeing. I have rarely come up against any negativity when it comes to my sexuality. Although this may have something to do with the people I associate with. As the years have gone by the number of gay friends has increased and the number of close straight friends has decreased. I have found my place in the world.
Bloomington not only allowed me to be more aware of myself it also enabled me to understand myself. Taking classes at IU enabled me to really understand my gender. I have had conversations with people in England and although most are accepting of my gender and sexuality they just lack an academic understanding of what it means to be gay. Or even what it means to be a woman. I owe a lot to the gender studies department over the last two years. I lived as a bisexual for 2 years and yet didn’t even understand what that actually meant. What my place in the world meant, what my voice meant, what oppressions I really was under. Going back to England, actually tomorrow, I will be living in that old world that I used to call happy and I couldn’t ever think of going back. Thank you Bloomington! Thank you Gender Studies.