Bisexual? That’s Just Greedy
Sexuality is such a non-issue for me I hesitate to even say anything, because by making a big deal of it I’m destroying my belief that it shouldn’t be a big deal to begin with. Nevertheless… This isn’t for me:
My sexual orientation has always been a topic of interest but few people have asked me directly. If you had, I would have told you the truth. Historically, I have only told those who’ve asked the right question. Incidentally,
“Are you gay?” isn’t it, because… (drum roll)… I’m bisexual. Always have been. I assume many people won’t be surprised, and it might clarify a lot of seemingly contradictory behavior.
I am completely comfortable with my identity and promise you I haven’t held myself back from any experience for fear of judgement. If you know me well, you know that. However, at this point,
I feel obliged to recognize the existence of friends who may be in a similar situation. Hopefully my disclosure will help validate a sexuality largely subject to erasure. You do you, baby. I’m here for you
To me, it makes perfect sense, but to others, it might be surprising to discover that bisexual males are the last “out of the closet.” This has a lot to do with the fact that there is almost no support system for them to turn to, and although the letter “B” gets a place in LGBT,
it is all but ignored even by the notoriously accepting gay community. In fact, the cover story of the March New York Times magazine, “The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists” addresses this very issue, in no less than 7,000 words. My mom cut it out and saved it for me.
Together, those two articles pretty much say it all, so if you’re interested in bisexuality as a concept I would read them. If you’re interested in my personal experiences feel free to keep reading.
A relevant paragraph from the first article:
“[Being attracted to both men and women] may sound like the best of both worlds, but being openly bisexual can be complicated. He frequently battles the stereotypes of bisexuality: That bisexual men are promiscuous. That his relationships with men were just an adolescent phase. That his bisexuality is imaginary. That he’s really a gay man trying to camouflage his orientation
This mirrors sentiments I’ve heard from even some of my most tolerant, well-meaning friends:
Things I’ve heard from my straight friends: “Bisexuals are on a one way train to gay town.” Things I’ve heard from my gay friends: “Bisexuality is just something they made up in the 80s to sell hair products.”
Because of this “bisexual erasure” it took me awhile to be confident my sexuality was real. It’s rather destabilizing to be unsure of such a large part of your being. I don’t waste time being something that I’m not, but as a bisexual, I was capable of living a heterosexual life for 22 years without sacrificing much — to be honest without even knowing I was sacrificing anything at all.
What I mean to say is that there was little impetus for me to explore the “other side” of my sexuality until I met someone in college who changed that. Until that point, I had only felt emotional attachment toward females. Meeting this guy brought about a lot of confusion because I hadn’t encountered bisexuality enough in the world to be confident in its existence.
At a certain point in college I began to feel overwhelmed by my uncertainties. I wondered if I had been living a lie my whole life, and what it meant to now be attracted to a man. It drove me a little crazy. These feelings didn’t fit within any framework provided by the society I had grown up in. I knew only of black or white, straight or gay.
Thank Science for the internet and the Kinsey scale. Not that the Kinsey scale is perfect or anything. But at least it validated the possibility of a non-polarized sexual identity.
Even with the ample evidence provided by the internet it took me awhile to become solid and confident with an “on the spectrum” sexuality. It took a serendipitous combination of a book, TV show, and movie I encountered in the span of two weeks to make me feel validated. It was like a one, two punch of verification, except like a one, two, three punch.
The book, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, is called The Mysteries of Pittsburg. The story follows a young college grad’s tortuous love affair between his girlfriend and gay best friend. It’s a novel, but looking into Michael Chabon’s biography, I assume it is largely a true story, if not the plot, the sentiments are definitely real.
Michael Chabon is openly bisexual, but is in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage with kids. I applaud him for asserting his bisexuality and denying it as some sort of phase.
The TV show was Orange is the New Black– the main character is bisexual. Her struggles as a female bisexual are not too much different than my own and the frankness and casual nature of the show’s portrayal of bisexuality helped me internalize and have confidence in my own sexuality.
The movie was a French-Canadian film called Les Amours Imaginaires, or “Heartbeats” in English. This movie didn’t address bisexuality — in fact it insulted it at one point — but it was about a straight female and a gay male falling in love with the same man of unknown orientation.
However, something about the relationship and furtive tension between these three made me realize the best policy is to be upfront with people. From there, it didn’t take me long to tell my closest friends and my family.
Having my confidence crystallize due to exposure to bisexuality in popular culture made me want to speak out. If all it takes is recognition, more proof that it is real, then I am happy to provide that.
And I’ve luckily come to a point where I’m not concerned if others aren’t convinced, because I am of the philosophical thought that your perception of something doesn’t change its identity.
In the same fashion that denying climate change won’t protect your beach house, denying my bisexuality won’t change who I am and who I am attracted to.
At the same time I don’t want to demonize anyone who has ever perpetuated the idea that bisexuals don’t exist. We bisexuals are a very elusive and quiet group. We slip between the cracks because it is often easier for the individual to do just that. To simplify things by identifying with one group or another.
The thing is, bisexuals that end up in heterosexual relationships rarely project that they are bi, because it’s more convenient that way. As such, they drop out of the statistic in society’s perception.
You then only hear about the bisexuals that end up in same-sex relationships and it’s then easy to correlate bisexuals with homosexuality. Which is why I find it somewhat understandable that people would associate bisexuality with some sort of homo-insecurity conspiracy, a sort of comfortable transition into “full homosexuality”.
But that is just wrong. Sexuality isn’t defined by the gender of the partner you’re with at the end of the day. Circumstance will decide whether I end up with a male or a female, but either way I’ll still be a bisexual.
I saw this comment on a message board the other day that pretty much sums it up
“I don’t know what it is about bisexuality that you always have to prove your sexuality over and over. If I end up marrying a man, I will hear: my bisexuality was just a phase. If I end up marrying a woman:
I’m actually a lesbian but I want some sense of “normality”, so I use the bi label. Do I have to date a man AND a woman simultaneously to be legit? Is there such a thing as being in a bisexual relationship?”
One of the first questions people have asked me is: do you want to marry a guy or a girl?
While I recognize how much easier my life would be if I married a female if I end up wanting kids, I’m not going to force anything that isn’t meant to happen. To me, it’s all about the individual. I’m not looking for a stereotype or the manifestation of a particular group, but an individual. If that individual makes me happy, then I have no further questions.
I think a major concern is that I’d be one of those husbands in a heterosexual marriage that is caught in some furtive homosexual affair. Cheating is cheating regardless of the gender, and I don’t consider myself a cheater.
Does it make it any better or worse that the person you cheated with is of the same or different gender? Just because I could theoretically cheat with twice as many people doesn’t mean I would.
I also realize by being open about this I’ve limited the number of people, of both sexes, that would be comfortable dating me. However, I also realize that I wouldn’t have ended up with someone that wasn’t comfortable with it to begin with, so I like to think I’m doing myself a favor.
In conclusion — I think this is the best way to think about it. Full disclosure it’s about to get real sappy, you’ve been warned.
Picture the person you want to marry. I imagine most of you are thinking of a person. When I think about this mystery person, in my mind’s eye they aren’t necessarily a human shape but more of a feeling. It’s very hard to describe, but it’s just a warm silhouette that you would want to give a big hug to and never let go.
I don’t picture: okay this is my ideal female. And this is my ideal male. I picture happiness. I’m not chasing a sundry list of attributes. I’m chasing that feeling. And I know that feeling can come from either gender
M I Ro