Can we please get this straight? Seriously, there’s been something I want to rant about in conversations and I don’t because I’ve got a well of feelings that don’t need to be unleashed on the poor, unsuspecting person on the other side of me.
*warning, this post makes some sweeping generalizations.*
I am bisexual. Being with a man does not make me straight. Just because I have a male sex partner, my sexual orientation does not “default” back to straight. Sexual orientation does not go away because of who you are having sex with. Virgins can know what their sexual orientation is without having sampled. People who are practicing celibacy have a sexual orientation, even if they are not boning.
When I was married to a woman for more than a decade, I did identify as lesbian, for several reasons…
- It was easier. When you are in a female-female relationship and people know you are bisexual, people decide that you don’t have boundaries and you get invited into three-ways all the time because you’re bisexual. It’s exhausting (the constant asking, not the three-ways per se).
- My sexual identity was evolving; although I had female lovers before I hadn’t been in a committed, romantic relationship with a woman. I felt that the “label” of lesbian was true at that time. Over time I realized that I am bi and because that declaration strained my relationship, I kept it to myself. (Sort of, my best friend would sometimes say, “No you’re not, when I would call myself a lesbian.”)
So, when you are bi (or maybe just when you are me…) people tell you stuff. I used to run an all women’s professional networking group and I can’t count the amount of times that women told me that they had a lesbian relationship but were with a man now, that they were bi but they kept it under wraps because they were with a man now and it would make it complicated. And they are right, being honest and open with a partner about sexuality gets complicated. And having sexual experimentation with people of different genders doesn’t necessarily make you bi. It makes you curious, or perhaps in college (jk).
Oh and the bisexual men, I know so many bi men but, I think it’s harder (heh) for them because their masculinity gets questioned. So, they have to keep so much on the down low. Guys don’t get let off as easily as girls with just being called a “slut,” at least we’re still women. Bi guys aren’t considered “real” men by the straight community if they’re “out” and the gay community doubts them for the same reasons they doubt bi women. I’ve noticed it particularly difficult for bi men that are married to a woman.
It’s hard to have “bisexual” as a declared sexual orientation. Many straight people think you are “undecided”, haven’t had the right dick yet, or are just plain slutty and will take anybody to bed. Being bisexual is like being the political Green party of the Kinsey scale. You are what you are, but you don’t get a lot of credibility.
I was at a party a long time ago and I was talking about the LGBT acronym. I said I think that people are more comfortable with the LG part of the acronym than the BT part. Then someone asked me if the BT stood for bacon and tomato, to her credit, she was drunk.
I went through a queer identity crisis after my divorce. It’s hard to be bisexual in the queer world, because I don’t always feel like I belong. Because of my male partner, I now get “straight privilege” and I think that is hard for a lot of gay people. Being Bi and having a male partner is getting off easy politically in that I now don’t have to justify my love to the world on a daily basis. Some days I can just “pass” for straight and I have some guilt around that. I understand what is meant by passing and straight privilege, but saying I understand sounds weak from this side of the conversation. I was married to a woman for 11.5 years; I get what they are saying. But it seemed like some people thought that I had taken the easy way out or that my marriage didn’t work because I’m bi and she’s gay. It didn’t work for a lot of the same reasons straight marriages don’t work.
It’s hard feeling like you don’t belong to a family anymore. I know that feeling in a lot of ways. When I am at a gay event, I feel like I have to supply my gay resume so that I can be taken more seriously. And that is much more my issue than theirs. Many people don’t care and I love that.
I went to a party of all bisexual women here in the South. I was amazed by the diversity. In California, a lot of the diversity is because of race. Here, many of them had religious diversity: Bi Baptists, bi Southern Baptists, bi Methodists etc. I had never been in a grouping like this and it kind of rocked my paradigm. Many of these women were closeted because they can lose their jobs, social standing in their church and their marriages. It seemed like their stakes were higher in coming out.
In a lot of ways, I think that being bi means you are in the middle. Not really part of the straight world, not really part of the gay world. It’s complicated. I wish it was easier for bi people to come out. There are so many more queer people in this world than people realize, I think that out bi people could help change that. But it’s never as easy as it sounds.
Since I am on the subject, Being bi:
- Does not mean that I’ve been waiting to experiment with you and your husband I have never met.
- Does not mean that I’m a slut. (I mean, I’ve had my moments where I’ve been very popular. But many straight and gay people do too.)
- Does not mean that I haven’t chosen which side of the fence to be on. I am not straddling a fence, because I think that would give me splinters. And I know that I am what I am. Grey is an option in this black and white world.
- Does not go away now that I am with a man.
- Does not mean that gay is a choice and does not dilute the gay rights movement.
- Means that I love and am attracted to different gender expressions. I am committed to and am in love with one person right now.
- Gender-schmender… It’s not something that disqualifies someone for me. I want to know your sexy brain. I don’t care what’s in your pants. I’m not trying to get there and I let the energy and connection go where they go. (Within the boundaries and agreements of my relationship.)
- I can be monogamous. I’m not sold on monogamy being a perfect system, lots of people struggle with it, I’ve noticed. But my relationship is monogamous and it’s not a problem.
- Sure people turn my head and I don’t shut down attraction, nor would I want my fiancé to. I feel that leads to repression which generally has bad consequences. People are hot and that’s cool, it doesn’t mean that I need to take an action.
I want everyone in the world to have their authentic journey of love and self discovery. I hate that there are social and political ramifications for some peoples’ paths.
Just something I had to get off my chest, thanks for listening.