There’s an interesting post on Feministe from an excellent writer named Shoshie on the dilemma of how to be bisexual when you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship. Shoshie writes that she’s liked girls for as long as she’s liked boys, even though she didn’t come out as bisexual (“well, actually,” she writes, “pansexual”) until she was in her early twenties. And by the time she had gotten comfortable with her orientation, she was already dating the man who would become her husband. Now, she explains,
I feel like my sexuality is this weird, awkward thing that sits quietly in the corner until someone assumes that everyone there is straight, and then it has a big ol’ awkward party. It’s become a big question for me, whether or not to come out to people that I meet. Because, at this point, what difference does it make? What does it matter who I’m attracted to? Mr. Shoshie and I are monogamous, so I’m with one person for the foreseeable future. But then, sexuality does come up occasionally and then I feel weird because here’s this person that I’m friends with, that I’ve known for a year, who knows so much about me, but doesn’t know that I also like people who aren’t men. And who I find attractive shouldn’t be a big deal, but somehow it is anyways.
Shoshie is right that it shouldn’t be a big deal but somehow it is anyways. And lots of people in queer communities treat bisexuality (and pansexuality) as either nonexistent or too problematic to really accept. I don’t know as much about how non-queers treat bisexuality, except for my experiences when I “came out” as bisexual before I came out as straight-up gay. My experience was what you might expect if you’ve watched any amount of mainstream television or movies: (straight) dudes thought it was hot and (straight) girls either felt threatened and repulsed or like I might up their own sexual credibility with (straight) dudes. In my experience in the nonqueer world, bisexuality is treated as a temporary place where girls sit until they “come back” to liking dudes which is what they really liked all the time anyway.
And then in the queer world, lots of people assumed I was only calling myself bisexual until I was ready to commit to being 100 percent gay. Which, okay, I guess they were basically right–but the point is that they’re not always right. I know lots of people who identify as bi- or pan-sexual and stick with it even when through a series of relationships with people of one gender.
The point is: When it comes to bisexuality, we’re doing it wrong. Don’t you think?
When we treat bisexuality as a phase, we’re doing it wrong.
When we treat bisexuality as a less valid orientation, we’re doing it wrong.
Don’t you think?