Bisexual

When I first came out, I said I was bisexual. I didn’t believe it, but it was always easier to say bisexual than gay. Bisexual alluded to some great hope that there was still a “chance” for me.

It didn’t take long before I recanted and labeled myself gay. Though it still took me quite some time to say it out loud (I recall a friend asking me why I kept referring to myself as being “not straight”) and accept it, I knew that bisexuality was something far from my grasp. I didn’t have interest in any guy save for the roommate down the hall, and that was only because he taught me how to pick up chicks. I was stuck with it. I was gay.

I’ve often wondered whether or not all people are innately bisexual, born with the ability to love both men and women. I’ve often heard people voice this theory. So how do some people go from being innately bisexual to never experimenting beyond heterosexuality? If we were all innately bisexual, are some of us more evolved or in tune with our inner being and, thus, able to discover our sexuality beyond a relationship between man and woman? I have so many questions and, sadly, so few answers. Not even watching a marathon of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila has helped me figure this one out.

What I’ve been thinking about lately with regards to bisexuality is why so many of the bisexual women I have known end up settling down into a comfortable heterosexual relationship. Is this because they are only experimenting and are really straight? Do they feel the pressures of society and opt for the less controversial of the two options? If you could choose between being straight or gay, which would you choose? Are all bisexuals simply too confused to afraid to admit they are gay? I know these questions are all generalizations and that the beauty of the human spirit is that we are all different, but that never seems to help when I am looking for good, solid answers.

I know that I described myself as bisexual at first because it was easier than admitting I was gay. It was as if I was saying I still had a chance of a normal life. Was I saying it for my own benefit or for the benefit of others? Was I only saying it because I wanted my parents to have something to hang on to? I am pretty sure that it was the latter. I wanted them to love me; I wanted to have parents who were still supportive of me regardless. It was easier to maintain I was bisexual and pretend I liked guys, too. I don’t pretend now, because I know that bisexual is something I am most definitely not. I don’t feel like I can have a relationship with men or women. When I think about all the facets of who I am, I know I am a lesbian. I am not going to have a relationship with a man. I do not have any attraction to men. So for me, the bisexual label was a mask, to hide my true self from others.

I would think that being bisexual could be harder than being either gay or lesbian. You’re caught between the straight or gay labels that society so eagerly sticks on each of us. It’s almost as if society expects bisexuals to make a decision. So, what is it? Men or women? Gay or straight? What are you? In the end, does it really matter? We love who we love, male or female, it shouldn’t matter. Would I love a man? Would I take the chance if I found my self suddenly attracted to one? I can’t say no, because part of me wants to believe that I could love anyone, that I am open to that. Another part of me believes that I am just a lesbian and there is no changing that. If I professed that I could love a man or a woman, would that give the faction of society that believes homosexuality is a choice an opportunity to call me out.

It saddens me that bisexuality is so often looked down upon in the gay community. People think that bisexuals give the rest of us a bad name; they make us look bad because they can’t make a decision. They suggest that there is such a things as choice which so many people believe plays right into the hands of the anti-gay movement. I say, in a world and society like the one we live in today, we can’t afford to hate, we can’t afford to point fingers and call names. We can’t rely on societal labels to identify who and what we are.

8 Comments

  1. December 6, 2007

    I found it harder. When I was overseas and changing jobs every two years, I simply couldn’t talk about being anything but straight because I was interested in men and in women. When that changed, I stopped talking about it at all. In a language where everything has a gender, there is no “they” for a single individual. I’m happy I’m not in that place (mentally or physically anymore) and as much as I enjoyed the men I loved, I don’t plan to ever love any more, at least, not in that way.

    D. says this makes me bisexual forever. And since it is the part of me she least likes, I insist I’m not. But who can say really? I’m in love with her. I’m Dsexual. That should be enough.

  2. heathen
    December 6, 2007

    I hate to bring the L Word into a serious discussion, but on that show, when one of the lesbians goes back to dating a man, the others are up in arms. It’s like some horrible betrayal. But this seems to be an issue in “real life,” too. Why? Why does it matter? One would assume that if you’re gay that you’re more able to accept people for who they are…apparently, in so many cases, unless the difference is being bisexual. I don’t know if I’d be threatened if Janie was a bisexual. I like to think I wouldn’t be, but maybe I would.

  3. August 17, 2008

    holy shit you brought up many excellent points that i’ve often wondered about myself and i’m certain many, many other people too.

    i too subscribe to the belief that many of us are innately bisexual. we are so socialized and brainwashed into a template of “normal” that it is a struggle to find our own truths. i suspect that is why so many people “toil” with being “all gay”, opposed to being “half gay”.

    i read an article recently (maybe in the advocate) that many women will be with men simply to have babies and after those years pass, get divorced and “become” lesbians.

    as well, i’ve never fully understood why bisexual is looked down upon within the gay community, or why dark skinned black people are made fun of by their very own peers b/c they aren’t “lighter”.

    as for your question, “If you could choose between being straight or gay, which would you choose?”.

    i’m not sure i would want to choose b/c i think love is much bigger than our sexual preferences or the color of our skin. i’m straight, married with two kids, and i know for a fact that i’m not gay but i never ruled it out before i got married.

    i have a lot of gay friends, i always have and i’ve wondered about it. to generalize (bleh), i think the common thread is that my gay friends are much more honest, and living a genuine life.

    and, to borrow your words they aren’t hiding their true selves.

    p.s. i really would like to submit this post to “five star friday” b/c it’s that damn good.

  4. heathen
    August 17, 2008

    thank you for the compliments! 🙂 I’m honored.

    i agree that love is bigger than sexual preference. I also think that we try so hard to label ourselves and other people when, in reality, there aren’t enough labels to fit every person. Sexuality is too fluid, in my opinion, to fit into the boxes we try to make for it. All these labels are, at the end of the day, is a way for us to judge one another.

  5. August 22, 2008

    i agree with you on this. i have been faced with this same question for quite some time and i don’t know the answer. given the opportunity to be with a woman i ran like a lunatic. it scared me that much. that fear kind of speaks to me. like if it wasn’t something real would it have scared me so much? and now…well now i don’t feel like i have a choice anymore.

  6. August 22, 2008

    Great questions. We all really live the questions, don’t we? I identify as bi or queer–and I really prefer the “queer” label because it seems to better reflect “not straight.” I have tended to be drawn to men more during my baby-hungry years, and have two children from different papas to show for it, and sex with women more when I was interested in developing myself. I think both are hot, but typically at different times.

    I do know that bi-women are viewed to have straight privilege, and certainly an easier time having children or being assumed to be straight in a homophobic world. We are also viewed to be slutty. Which in my case may be correct, but I think I’d be a slutty gay man or straight man or lesbian woman, too. 🙂

  7. August 22, 2008

    Hi – found you via Five Star Friday.

    I am bisexual, but fell in love with, and eventually married a man. Now I guess I’m just Andrewsexual, because I can’t see myself opening our relationship to allow a sexual or emotional relationship with another person, male or female.

    It’s a label I struggle with for many reasons. I struggle with the assumption that, as a woman married to a man, I am straight. This is so frustrating for me, because I don’t feel that getting married changed my identity, and I constantly find myself defending my identity within the queer community and correcting assumptions within the straight community. I struggle with feeling I am not allowed to belong to the LGBT community because I have the “straight privilege” of being able to slip into the neat and tidy box we call “straight” if it suits me. I also struggle with it because it affirms the gender binaries I no longer believe in – so maybe I’m really pansexual, capable of loving…people.

    I’m really glad this post made it onto Five Star Friday, because it’s some excellent food for thought I wouldn’t have otherwise found. The emphasis on claiming labels and the frustration people often feel when they can’t file people into orderly categories, is at the heart of the internal struggles within the LGBT community, as well as the struggles between the LGBT community and the straight community. I tend to think, if we could all just relinquish this need to pigeonhole each other and ourselves, there would be no need for an LGBT movement in the first place, because we’d all just be people who love people, and have a spectrum of preferences for which types. Perhaps if we weren’t so entrenched in a gendered society, we could see a gender preference as equivalent to a hair color preference or body-type preference. It sounds trite, but, y’know…we’re all people.

    Very thought provoking post.

  8. August 27, 2008

    The term bisexual literal means one who can have sex with both sexs. It is a term that “Shrinks” have taught their patients to use to alliviate their concerns over perhaps NOT being JUST heterosexual. As you yourself said, you used this term, but finally recognized it for the “transitional” use it was designed to be used as . Its a meaningless term when applied to a group dynamic—Individuals KNOW what makes them happy—-its society that screws things up insisting everyone be properly labelled.

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