Mom, Dad, Dear Readers,
I have to tell you something. … I’m Bi. Well, actually, my boyfriend and my parents and my friends already know. But when I was casually talking with one of my best friends and said something along the lines of ‘since you know, I’m bi’ and she told me didn’t have a clue and that it might be a good idea to do a post about it during the current Bisexuality Awareness Week. Now, she knows that I have ex-girlfriends, but that doesn’t mean too much given I came out after our relationship ended. The fact that I was drooling over half-naked, bare-assed waiters at UK GLBTQ and have been with my boyfriend for almost four years might have something to do with her assumption that I’m gay as well.
However, it probably mostly was the fact that I often don’t say I’m Bi. I say I’m gay, which considering that I prefer guys to women, never had a sexual relationship with a woman and that I live in a committed, monogamous gay relationship doesn’t ring wrong. It also makes things easier on me. People know what ‘gay’ means. They might not all be in agreement that people are born gay or straight, but at least it is a well-know label, a box I can neatly fit into. Now, if I say ‘Bi’ there are immediately a ton of questions.
While I usually try to avoid them, let’s look at them instead. It’s Bisexuality Awareness Week after all!
So, when my buddy says ‘Dude, that’s so awesome. That means you have twice as many potential partners.’ That is actually something I would not mind believing. but I don’t! Which is why I still can’t believe that there are dating sites that charge double for those looking for Women AND Men to meet. For me, though, honesty is important in a relationship. Honesty and Respect. So obviously the people who find gay people disgusting have to fall away. The Women who would think me less a man for taking it up the butt, the women just uncomfortable with the idea. Of course there will be Women who don’t mind or even find it sexy, but I think we can agree the pool of women has grown smaller. But the gay men must be a different story, you say? Well, I certainly think they don’t have as much a problem with the guy-on-guy action and the butt sex 😛 However, we have to account for those who would not start something with a Bi guy, because they think it’s just a straight guy who is curious, but not really gay and could not be committed in a gay relationship. Oh, also take out the guys who think Bi guys are just too scared to admit to themselves and others that they are gay and are thus almost closet cases and no relationship material. Or the guys who think Bi guys don’t know what they want and are too wishy-washy. Or the ones simply too uncomfortable with a guy who had sex with women. So, not quite twice the potential prey on the hunting grounds, but there are still enough to find someone to be happy and grow old with, if one is lucky.
“So, that means you can still marry a girl and give us grandchildren?”, a mother might ask. And yes that is a possibility. But not a guarantee. As a bi man I might find a woman who does not want to marry. Ever. Perhaps she does not want children? Perhaps isn’t able to get pregnant? It could also just as easily be a man I fall for. In my case, being more attracted to guys the chances were even bigger and I did happen to fall for a guy.
The religious bigot might smile and confront you: “So let’s assume gays don’t have a choice and are born ‘that way’. You weren’t. You had a choice and you chose an unnatural relationship against God’s wishes”. How to even start with this one. It isn’t often voiced but can be felt in the attitudes of people. First, I don’t have a choice who I fall for. Not really. Do straight people? gay people? Can you go up to a person and force yourself to fall in love with that person? Make yourself not fall in love with another person? For me, being bisexual means that I have a base attraction to both sexes, even if my attraction to guys is bigger. So theoretically, the person I fall in love with and spend my life with could be a man or a woman. I have the potential to fall in love with either. I think women can be very sexy and erotic, they can arouse me, I can lust after them, I can and have felt tingles and stirring while kissing a girl and I have been in love with women. I’ve never had sex with a woman, never really had the opportunity, so I can’t personally speak to that – though the thought is not an unpleasant one. For me, sexuality is more fluid than those boxes people like to put us in make it look. But I have no real power over who I fall in love with (or happily fell in love with) and I was born just the way I was, nothing more, nothing less.
“You’re probably just scared to come out of the closet completely”. First, I want to say that if someone manages to conquer his or her fear and edge out of the closet slowly by saying they are bi when in reality they are gay, good for them. We life in a world where acceptance is hard to come by. If someone can find a way to live more honestly than before with a part of themselves, they used to suppress, that is a good thing. A step in the right direction. And people shouldn’t assume that it automatically less difficult. My mom is incredibly supportive, but struggled a bit with the revelation in the beginning. She told me it might have been easier for me had I been gay. Especially if I had been flamboyantly gay, so that it would have been a visible part of me. Being ‘hetero-like’ as they say, able to ‘pass as straight’, it came as a surprise to her that I was bi. And she was never completely able to let go of the idea that I might someday marry a woman and have children. At least until she met my boyfriend and experienced our love and commitment. But she said if I was gay, that would have been that. But being bi meant either a future with a woman or a man could happen… while none of my my friends turned their backs on me, i did have one friend who continually tried to hook me up with women, though I was in a relationship with a guy… In the end, I think the easiest way to tell you guys why I don’t think this is correct in my case, is that it is easier for me to say I’m gay, so I don’t have to explain what being bi means for me, every single time.
“There are no bisexual people, only people to scared to commit to one side. You just don’t know what you want!”. These things can be particularly difficult to hear, especially if they come from the community that is supposed to love you, despite or even because of your differences. Sometimes the wish to scream ‘Shut the fuck up!” is very big. I can assure you, I am not a unicorn in fairy land. I’m real, my feelings are real. Relationships with both men and women can be real. And the hurt that words like these can cause is real as well.
“You are REALLY gay/straight, just haven’t found the right guy/ girl”. When I find a guy or girl I want to be with, I will be in a straight or gay relationship, but it does not change that I am bi and open for romantic and sexual relationships with both a man or a woman. There is no guy or girl who could pull me completely to ‘their side’. It is a separate sexual orientation. It does not even matter if I fall for a guy or woman directly and never have a relationship with someone from the other gender that could potentially attract me. Nor does that mean I cannot be in a monogamous relationship or give me the right to cheat on my partner to explore the ‘other side’ when we are exclusive.
I really think there needs to be more awareness. Bisexuality seems to be something that is not well understood. For me it is very easy – perhaps because I am Bi. But the notion of falling for the person, regardless of gender, makes sense to me. As does the concept of a strong preference for either gender. I have a slight preference for the male gender, though am open to explore my sexuality with women in theory, if not in practice. We love to put labels on things, but they don’t always fit for every person.Sexuality is not static, it is fluid. In my humble opinion at least. Anyway. I am bi. I hope that you guys still love me and it does not change the way you look at me. For some people from either side, unfortunately it does.