Image by Yellow Bird.
Right before I fell asleep last night I read this fantastic mini-essay on bisexuality, Bisexuals: putting the B back in LGBT. Understanding bisexuality is not as straightforward as being straight, and while understanding queerness of any stripe engenders compassion and tolerance, it’s more commonly understood than bisexuality. Not to say that people who look at bisexuality and say that bis are confused should get a pass because bisexuality is a slightly more nuanced sexual orientation. As a girl who practices bisexuality (practice makes perfect) yet is primarily straight, and as someone who certainly “passes” for straight in the outside world, it’s a refreshing piece that’s worth reading even if you’re not bisexual. I live in this world as a straight girl, and I’m a happy one. But also speaking for myself, it’s confusing to navigate being bisexual. Painfully so. I don’t understand why I feel the way I do, and until only recently, none of my boyfriends have really tried to understand either. I don’t have an explanation as to why I fall in love with men and want that as my lifelong commitment, but that I also unflinchingly desire female lovers in my life. Men whom I date typically at first embrace it; they enjoy their potential fantasies of watching, or hopefully having threeways (in whatever guise those fantasies are projected on me). Gradually they become threatened, jealous, and in my experience see my girl lovers as competition akin to other men. Women I have had long term sexual liaisons with have often become jealous about my male partners and seem to become upset if I fall in love. No one understands bisexuality less than I do, it seems. I just feel it. I’m not a confused bisexual at all. I know what I am. I just can’t say that ‘I’m really gay’ or ‘I’m 100% straight’ because both statements are untrue. And this is often as difficult to explain as it is to live with.
I always joke when I’m in the SF Pride Parade (I will be again this year) that I’m “the B.” Now check out this great piece:
I’m constantly baffled by the exclusion of bisexuals. I blame bad science, or rather bad scientists. Every year it seems there’s a new study on “what makes people gay”. Oddly, this is expected to be an on-off switch, and the researchers look in the genes, or the brain or the length of fingers for a sign that one set of people will be queer, now and for always, and another proving the rest will remain 100% straight. It takes a special kind of rigidity of outlook to construct a survey on finger length and decide beforehand there’s no middle ground. They then say everyone’s “straight, gay or lying” but for that to be true there would have to be an awful lot of liars out there. The last Observer poll on sexual attitudes showed that 4% of people – one in 25 – identified as homosexual, and half as many again identified separately as bisexual.
But this sort of thinking fuels the mythical status of bi people. People are quick to tinker with the definition of bisexual until it’s not something anyone would willingly pick for themselves. Bisexuals are supposed to be equally attracted to men and women – always androgyny, but never to trans people – and always at the same time. They supposedly need to have identical amounts of sex with both, and don’t notice the differences between them (which might get painful in bed, I reckon). We’re all told bisexuality is a phase that everyone goes through and grows out of, and no one’s a “proper” bisexual, even though everyone’s bisexual really. Bisexuals are depicted as the monsters spreading Aids, and breaking the hearts of partners inevitably cast aside for a different gender. Who’d want to be bi! (…read more, guardian.co.uk)