Need help finding a story about…

I’m looking for a movie or book or short story or comic about sexuality fluidity.

The storyline I *don’t* need is, “Here I am going along in my life and WHAMMO ALL OF A SUDDEN IT TURNS OUT I AM GAY (or straight) WHEN ALL ALONG I THOUGHT I WAS STRAIGHT (or gay).”

I’m looking for an example of a person (let’s call them Chris) who has one identity, falls in love with a person whose own gender is incongruent with Chris’s identity, and Chris does NOT decide that they were in denial all along but instead goes, “That’s unexpected! I’m in love with someone who violates all my expectations about the gender of the people I love!” and keeps or queers their identity, rather than switching to another category.

Anybody know anything like that?

The one example I know of is Erika Moen’s excellent and now defunct Dar.

44 responses to “Need help finding a story about…

  1. Susan Sontag’s first installment of memoir, titled Reborn. It’s interesting for all sorts of reasons and in my view a good (and short) read. I think of her story as sexually fluid.

  2. I’m not 100% sure if this is what you’re looking for, but the movie “Kissing Jessica Stein” comes to mind.

  3. Zerophilia

    I was linked here by Erika Moen. @ErikaMoen
    This movie, which I found on Netflix Instant Watch, holds a really crazy scientific premise that there are people that will change their physical gender back and forth, but then asks the question does that change your orientation? Are you expected to be suddenly bi-sexual if you were gay or straight before this change?

    This movie isn’t perfect, but it has great moments. I enjoyed it.

  4. The Focus Features film “The Kids Are All Right”. Julianna Moore’s character “Jules” is in a long-term lesbian relationship with Annette Bening “Nic” but finds herself falling for Mark Ruffalo “Paul.” She remains with Nic in the end.

  5. The Crying Game?

  6. I’ve got my own story of that — ID’d as lesbian, fell in love with a man, now ID as queer. I’ve also noticed myself starting to be attracted to more men, with my attraction to women unchanged.

    That said, I don’t know of any non-faily media examples of that. My story looks a hell of a lot like “met the healing cock”, when it isn’t that at *all*.

  7. Though sexuality is not the FOCUS-focus on it, Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee has all sorts of sexuality and gender fluidity throughout.

  8. Don’t know if you want fiction or nonfiction (or both), but there are some essays in Dear John, I Love Jane that follow a more fluid model. Looking back over the review I wrote, it appears I was particularly struck by the piece by Veronica Masen, “Watershed.”

  9. And yeah, following ali’s comment above, I have my own story of fluidity and could share some blog post links if you’re looking for real-world examples for your students to explore.

  10. Not a movie, but a real-life story in my local paper in which a woman remains with her husband after he begins the process of surgical sex/gender (which is correct?) reassignment. She comments on being seen as a lesbian from the outside when she still identifies as a straight woman who happens to be married to a man becoming a woman.

  11. Sorry for the serial comment … keep trying to think of things. Last I read Dykes to Watch Out For, some of the characters in that strip were shifting identities in various ways (fluid sex, sexuality, and gender identities).

  12. Continuing ali’s story, she and her straight boyfriend then hooked up with genderqueer me, adding another layer of potential fluidity. How his straightness interacts with my not-girlness is something we’re still figuring out. We haven’t written a story about this, so it doesn’t particularly help you, but now I kind of want to.

  13. Dar is of course, the canonical example.

    Can I just thank whoever thought of it for the catchall label “queer”? It’s such a good word for those of us who present as vaguely straight and cisgendered but hate all the baggage associated with that set of categories. Plus, if we’re a little strange, well, sure.

  14. Well unfortunately I don’t have a comic, movie or etc about it but if you want I could point you to posts on my blog where I adjust to my sexual identity (which is now queer as I fancy gals, my husband and hot guys kissing as long as they keep their trousers on.) otherwise I’d be interested to see what stories you find :) oo! Wait rooster tails comic is a pretty good one. I don’t have the exact link but if you google that it comes up. He recently shared a comic about him and his partner meeting up and fluid sexuality/gender and it’s super sweet.

  15. I thought the British TV series Bob and Rose is very good.
    “As with Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose involved homosexuality as a key theme. The storyline involves a gay man falling in love with a woman and was loosely based on events in the real life of a friend of Russell Davies. This storyline caused an uproar among some gay rights activists who felt that the series premise made it appear as if being gay was a choice or a phase,[3] which then generated a strong counter-reaction by bisexuals who called the criticism unfair.[citation needed] However, the ‘Bob’ character states categorically in the script that he is not bisexual saying: “I was born gay, I’ll die gay and I’ll have a gay gravestone”. He says that he was attracted to Rose as a person and not as a gender choice. He says he will ‘always look at men’ but Rose is the only woman for him.”

  16. The British TV series Bob and Rose.

  17. You mean, Michael, for those who have no reason to feel actually opressed in the sexual/relationship/gender field, but still would like to have some street cred? I am not a native speaker, but I would never want to steal this world from those who are actually getting the negative (social) side effects, and not just the coolness. :P

  18. Oh, God, I hate to say this, but a number of Robert A. Heinlein’s novels probably qualify. And likely Spider Robinson’s. Diane Duane’s Door Into Fire series probably *wouldn’t* count, because in that society *everyone* is fluid anyway — or rather people fall in love with individuals almost regardless of gender (IIRC — and I’ve only read the first one as yet).

    • I adore that you brought up Spider Robinson. His Callahan series helped me grow up an open, fluid, loving and strong woman. I would say that if not specifically about the requested subject they are about loving openly no matter what preconceptions you might have had.

  19. Jodi Picoult’s Sing Me Home has a woman fall in love with another woman after her marriage to a man ended. And a lot more complications, including custody issues and cheating spouses/siblings. She had never previously identified as anything but straight.

  20. I’m trying to remember- I don’t think she ever does “switch”- I think it comes down to- I fell in love with YOU, and you just happened to be a woman.

  21. the movie Chasing Amy

  22. Khaos Komic? It’s in progress, and deals with gender identity and fluidity…

  23. Another one: Torchwood episode “Greeks Bearing Gifts,” in which Tosh falls into a quite sweet relationship with an alien/female-bodied character. I don’t remember if this is supposed to have been her only same-sex relationship, but her other love affairs in the series are with men. And this being Torchwood no-one really blinks :)

  24. I immediately though about Kevin Smith’s “Chasing Amy”. The character of Amy has sex with guys in her teen years, then starts identifying as a lesbian, falls for a guy, has a short relationship with him, and after they break up she starts seeing women again.

  25. This theme is actually a favorite of mine. I’ve tackled it…or attempted to anyway…in a few of my novels. I think my favorite is Perfect Cadence ( . A story of a young musician who, to his surprise, falls in love with a fellow musician, while at the same time affirming his love for a long-time female friend and former music teacher.

  26. What about Willow from Buffy?

  27. The movie “Puccini For Beginners” might be a good starting point for a discussion of sexual fluidity. A lesbian-identified, recently broken-up-with woman falls for a straight guy at the same time that she starts seeing a straight-identified woman. The movie is about the protagonist’s endless dithering and the social and identity-related ramifications of her actions.

    I really love it–I first found it when I was working my way from lesbian to bi, and it really helped me to see a lot of my questions played out onscreen.

  28. Ursula LeGuin’s book, “The Left Hand of Darkness” has fluid gender (quite literally).

  29. Found the link to the comic rooster tails! This is the start of the “labelling” story line the last two pages of it made me go “awwww! So sweet!” because of the uber great couple the two of them make.

  30. Echoing “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Chasing Amy.”

  31. There is the book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire, but then it seems you would have already read it.

  32. Holy mizoni, you guys! Thanks so much for all the references – yesterday I literally couldn’t think of any apart from Dar (thanks Erika!), and now I’ve got more than I can watch/read between now and when I have to lecture on it! Thanks, internet!!

    Fruit Taster, yes I assign a chapter from Lisa Diamond’s book in my class, and I’ve blogged about it a couple times:

    • No prob! Thanks for the shout out to my comic :)

      Oh dang, it has been about 13 years since I read The Great Gatsby, but doesn’t the narrator, Nick Carraway, hook up with at least one guy (I recall it was related to an elevator ride?) and then not freak out about his sexuality? Not exactly a story ABOUT someone’s sexuality getting queered, but it’s a cute detail!

    • Interesting! I’d missed those posts. Yeah, I am probably one of the guilty ones here, too — I had a brief relationship with a woman in college and then dumped her for a guy, one of the rottenest things I ever did to a romantic partner. Since then, while I don’t deny the label “bi,” I don’t claim it, in part because I don’t think I deserve to (and I have felt since that time that I don’t have any business messing around with women if I’m the kind who would always take a man more seriously). Incidentally I consider myself blessed beyond measure in that I am still friends with both the people involved — largely due to their kindness in insisting on remaining my friends. Forgiveness is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

  33. Chasing Amy came to mind first but I am not sure if it follows the story line your needing. But it does deal with our ideas of sexual identity and finding love and friendship in the midst of those questions.

  34. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon, is the relatively more rare story of a fluid male character.

  35. Viginia Wolf’s Orlando! and the 1992 movie based on the book, staring Tilda Swintin. Both are fabulous!

  36. “The Leather Daddy and the Femme” by Carol Queen is probably my favorite in this genre. Lots of thinking about attraction, and identity, and hot sex.

  37. Musician Ember Swift writes about how she always thought of herself as queer and when she fell in love with a straight man that didn’t change. Some people think the fact that she is now married to him and they have a baby means her queer status is absolved, but that’s not true for her.

  38. Very late to the discussion & this may not be quite what you’re looking for, but what about Different for Girls?

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