Lyla Cicero – Identity Warrior, Cyberspy
Mothers are not supposed to have outside interests, be selfish or even self-interested, and certainly not supposed to be sexual beings. Women are not supposed to be too aggressive, ambitious or sexually liberated. Love can be neatly divided into categories of romantic versus platonic, and people into sexes and genders. RIGHT? Wrong.
Before having children, I felt I carved out a decent space for my feminist identity and egalitarian relationship. After becoming a mother, I decided I didn’t like the way I was being defined as a mother and as a woman. I found that our culture asks women to choose between “me” and “mom” (and thus between feminism and motherhood). I was not prepared to do that. (See my posts My Husband Does do That – My Journey out of the Equal Parenting Closet, and my post on “Martyr Mommy ” culture and ending the “Mommy Wars”).
Undercover in the Suburbs is my place to define myself… as limitlessly as I want, and to explore expanding notions of identity in general. I have always been fascinated by gender, and sought to allow gender to be a source of creativity and expansiveness rather than limitation. I have built a life in which gender does not define me, my biological sex does not define me, marriage does not define me, motherhood does not define me… I define me.
After becoming a mother I felt so “closeted” in so many ways, it no longer felt like enough to be “queer-identified.” I have begun the process of coming out as Pansexual. It’s not that I suddenly developed an attraction to women, I had already had that. It just felt more important than ever to hold onto who I was, explore it, and celebrate it. (See my post How Queer Saved my Soul from Motherhood’s Closet)
To me, pansexuality is a label that challenges existing labels, expanding what identity can be. It pulls the rug out from under the gender binary as well as the concept of sexual orientation, and yet prevents the connection between the two from being ignored. It even calls into question the boundaries between sex/love relationships and non-romantic relationships. To me it is an identity category which expands, rather than narrows who people can be and how. Until I heard this term, as someone seeking to make my life less about the gender binary, I wasn’t sure how to fit myself into the queer spectrum. I have coined the acronym LGBTQIAPK in order to make room not only for myself, but for others, for example those who identify as Genderqueer, Androgynous, Asexual, Pansexual, Polyamorous, and those who are part of the Kink community. (see my post on Role Reboot What do All Those Letters Stand for Anyway?)
I hope you will join me in a conversation about identity in its many forms, and how we can create space for new identities and more creative, more expansive, more flexible versions of identities. Because we are all undercover in ways… hiding are true sexual, gendered, spiritual, and creative natures beneath a persona that fits into culturally predetermined categories. We are all closeted in some aspects of who we are.
Undercover is my journey through a suburban cultural landscape, seeking to unpack and uncover closeted identities and bring them into the cultural conversation. Undercover is a place for women, for mothers, for feminists, for parents, for queer folk, and for everyone to become more fully who they are and help create space for others to do the same.
But who ARE you Lyla Cicero?
Well, I am undercover, after all, but I can tell you this much. I have a doctorate in clinical psychology, and focus on relationships, sex, sexual minorities, and identity concerns. I also have a background in creative writing and gender studies (still called women’s studies back when I was coming up). I am in a wonderful, egalitarian partnership with a man (legally, a marriage, we have that privilege being a female/male couple). I also have fucking adorable two year-old twins who keep me in hysterics and make my heart soar when they’re not rattling my nerves to hell drinking from the toilet or eating their own shit.
Lyla Cicero is a pseudonym utilized due to the highly personal nature of the material, and to protect my family’s privacy, and my professional identity.
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