Hearts Over Parts - PRIDE Edition




Sasha Rivers

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska


My name is Sasha. I am 34 years old, from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, living in Sioux City, Iowa. I identify as bi/pansexual. I like men, women, and just about everyone- within reason. As a child I was always taught to see the quality of a person for who they are on the inside. I was taught to judge a person based on their heart, their actions, and the way they treat others.


My mother taught me that Love is Love and everyone--within reason--should be allowed to express their love to each other free from hate and bigotry. You can say I was raised right and that my mother did an excellent job. I was a major advocate for anti-hate among my peers, an ally if you will. I would defend the underdog and always stick up for those who were treated unfairly.


Back before we had as many letters in the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym, there was such a thing as “Label Free”. That is how I identified. I didn’t have a label and I didn’t label myself because Love is Love. I was open to Love in whichever form it decided to take--within reason. I always knew that if the right person came around, I would allow Love to take its course regardless of their gender expression and/or sexual identity. These days I am still somewhat confused about sexual preference labels. “Bisexual” and “Pansexual” make the most sense to me but there seems to be a lot of overlap and even those within the LGBTQIA2S+ community don’t always agree on the definitions. What it all boils down to is that I don’t care about parts; I care about hearts.

There are so many misconceptions regarding bisexual people that exclusion often comes from within the LGBTQIA2S+ community. The biggest myths and misconceptions according to the Human Rights Fund website state that bisexuals are often “going through a phase” or that they are “greedy”. There was a time when I was questioning these misconceptions myself. Is my attraction towards anyone but the opposite sex just a phase?


In high school I had a friend whom I shared the world with. I knew I felt strongly and deeply for her, but it wasn’t until we had a major falling out that I truly understood the depth of my feelings. She was my first real love. Only when she left my life did I begin to understand that perhaps I wasn’t completely as straight (heterosexual) as I thought. Compulsory heterosexuality and living in a heteronormative world kept me questioning or ignoring (suppressing) my sexuality for years following.


Fast forward a couple years later when I attended Job Corps where I met another girl who would become someone very close and special to me. We got to know each other and I found myself becoming deeply attracted to her. Around the same time, I met another boy whom I was also very attracted to. The three of us grew closer and he proposed we try a polyamorous relationship. Although this wasn’t a new concept and I prided myself on generally following a less than conventional path, this suggestion was uncomfortably unorthodox for me at the time. Ethical non-monogamy and polyamory are not for everyone and it takes extremely special care and maturity from all individuals involved. I did not possess such qualities at the time and I more or less chickened out. Despite our feelings for one another, I declined the offer. To this day, this decision is one of my greatest regrets in life. I feel like I cheated myself out of something that could have been very beautiful. I turned down his offer and decided to date only him. Yet that didn’t stop we three from basically assuming a romantic non-physical relationship.


Love is Love and I have an abundance of Love to give to the right people within reason.


The ten years following Job Corps, I’ve had many experimentations and adventures but never anything else that went beyond the superficial. So many years had gone by of dating only men that I began to question my sexuality again. Was my bi/pansexuality just a phase? Am I actually straight?


It went on this way until I met a woman at a place I worked. She reminded me very much of my Job Corps “gal pal” and before I knew it, I was head over heels for her. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be and hearts were broken. Through the turmoil I can claim one good thing. I learned my truth. I am in fact, not straight!

This may sound silly to anyone else, but often we refuse to see ourselves in a truthful way. Having met and fallen for the girl at my previous work place gave me confirmation. There was no going back and no denying that I am queer. I still have trouble with the definitions and labels, but I know that I am not straight. Bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, label free … Whatever you want to call me, I’m not straight.

Today I hold a seat with the “Winnebago Pride Group'' out of Winnebago, Nebraska. We are a collective of LGBTQIA2S+ individuals who are dedicated to building an informative safe space without judgement and offer unconditional support. We are planning a family friendly pride event June 26th, a drive-in movie and we are open to the community.


For more information about this group, go to https://www.facebook.com/BagoTwoSpiritedPride Facebook and support LGBTQIA2S+ and label free Indigneous folks.


We are also accepting donations for our event on GoFundMe.com at https://gofund.me/f50e7d4c


#heartsoverparts #LGBTQIA2S #twospirit #pridemonth #winnebagopride