I wrote a fairly lengthy post (Coming Out – The Sexuality Version) about how I realised I was bisexual and how it took me some time to come to terms with using that particular label. However, I always knew I was bisexual, not informing everyone I met and not correcting people’s assumptions about my sexuality didn’t change the fact that I was, am and always have been bisexual.
While I didn’t always feel comfortable with the bisexual label, I was always quite comfortable with knowing I was attracted to people regardless of their gender. Other people however were never quite as accepting. So in light of it being bisexual awareness week, I’m going to discuss some of the ways in which my bisexuality has not been accepted by others.
As I mentioned in my previous post on this subject, when I was at school it was common knowledge I fancied girls. I went to an all girls school, my interaction with boys was limited and my interest in them was certainly less notable. These things combined led to me being dubbed ‘that lesbian girl’. While I knew it wasn’t true, it didn’t overly bother me. Mostly because being a lesbian didn’t seem like an awful thing to be called, inaccurate, but not awful. People knowing this about me did however make me some new friends.
On a school trip I was randomly sat next to a girl I’d never really spoken to before, except very briefly in a shared science class. During our journey she started to tell me about her boyfriend, as we talked more and more, I realised she was looking for advice on whether or not she fancied him. Further conversation had me realising she was telling me she thought she was a lesbian. Fast-forward a few years and we have been friends all that time, and she was indeed a lesbian. Good for her I say, it made her much happier to discover and accept that about herself.
Now I had told this friend once we were closer that I did in fact identify as liking both men and women, she never really seemed bothered but also never asked any questions. So when I met my ex-husband and she came to our house to meet him I was horrified to discover her open hostility towards him. He left us to catch up, and she wasted no time in asking what I was thinking. How could I be so naive in thinking I could have a successful relationship with a man when I was clearly a lesbian.
I was mortified. I explained that I had told her long ago I was into guys and girls. She basically told me that was ridiculous and I was either into one or the other. Telling me I was clearly doing the straight thing to be normal. To say I was insulted is an understatement. I loved my ex-husband dearly, still do in a non-romantic way. To have someone say I would use him, just to be ‘normal’ was horrible. Mostly because I didn’t view being gay as ‘abnormal’ which she clearly did. She clearly saw herself and her lifestyle as less valid than if she were straight. That made me sad.
That conversation ended our friendship, she could not and would not accept my being in a relationship with a man, and she could not and would accept that bisexual people existed and that our sexuality was part of the wider LGBT (as it was then) community. Sadly she was not the only person to feel this way.
A family member who had always appeared to support by bisexuality, also eventually showed a huge lack of understanding. When I broke up with my ex-husband she said she always knew it would happen, because I couldn’t live a life without women, because deep down I was a lesbian. Yes the general feeling is always that I am definitely a lesbian. No-one has ever accused me of secretly being straight. Ever.
When I explained to her that my feeling towards women had no bearing on my decision to leave my relationship, her first question was ‘so you won’t be dating a woman ever again then’, my answer as a bisexual person was ‘well obviously I might do’ and she sort of did the whole ‘well that proves my point then.’ Um, actually it doesn’t prove anything, except that I AM BISEXUAL!
When I briefly ‘dated’ (it wasn’t really dating, it was just a hot mess of a dalliance) a woman after my separation, she seemed to be overjoyed that I had found my true self again. When that interaction ended and the next person I began to date was Bakji her response was ‘oh another man?’. Yes, shock horror, I am dating a man! Even though we have now been together for over two years, her attitude towards my choice of partner has driven a huge wedge between us.
Since joining the kink scene I’ve had less judgement on being bisexual, but the judgement I have had has been different. ‘Oh you’re bisexual? I’m pansexual because I don’t believe there are just two gender to be attracted to.’ That quote is pretty much word for word what has been said to me on more than once occasion. It wouldn’t be so bad but it has always been said with an air of haughty judgement.
As it happens, since joining the kink scene I’ve learnt a lot about both gender and sexuality. I am well aware that I come into contact with people whose gender reality is different to my own and I don’t question people as to whether or not they are cisgendered before I decide whether or not to fancy them. I certainly don’t know everything and I’m sure I’ve still got an awful lot to learn about these matters, but my being bisexual isn’t a reflection on other people’s genders.
What it is a reflection on is me. Saying I’m bisexual is saying that I’m no longer going to let people make assumptions so they can put me in the box they want me in. It’s me saying that when I was finally ready to fully claim my label for my sexuality pansexual and queer weren’t really being used as widely or in the same way they are now, so I went for the label that best suited me.
Unfortunately I also have to deal with the section of people who see me as a viable option for their three-way desires, because of the universal truth that all bisexual woman love threesomes. Oh hang on a minute, that isn’t true. Which is probably why I decline all the threesomes I’m offered by strangers. I’m making the distinction of ‘by strangers’, because I absolutely have friends I would threeway with and I don’t want to ruin my chances if they read this!
It seems that even in this modern age, where we are thankfully moving forward with our attitudes, for the most part, bisexuality is still somewhat misunderstood and definitely not accepted as valid by a wide range of people. I know that bisexual men have an even harder time being accepted as bisexual and it seems that a lot of women would not feel comfortable with a bisexual male partner.
Our being bisexual does not make us more promiscuous or more likely to cheat on our partner. Although I don’t see the promiscuity as a problem if it’s being explored with consensual partners. I was in a monogamous relationship for 10 years with a man and in all that time I was still bisexual, but somehow, someway I managed not to fuck every girl I saw. My immoral bisexual urges were kept under control. Maybe because being bisexual doesn’t mean we fancy everyone we meet and render us slaves to our sexual urges so that we just can’t stop fucking. Again though, not entirely sure that’s a huge problem!
My point is that we come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, we have high libidos and low, some of us are kinky, some of us aren’t. Funnily enough we come with as many differences between us as straight people do, or gay people, or people who identify as any other sexuality. It’s almost as if we are all human beings. Imagine that. We are essentially all the same but with beautiful difference, so that life isn’t dull and monotonous.
We aren’t this strange breed of sub-human, we aren’t confused, we aren’t waiting to pick a side, we aren’t dirty (okay some of us are, but in the hot, sexy way), you can’t catch the gay or the straight from us. Yes that is something I have heard said! We are just people, regular people who for whatever reason have the brain wiring to be attracted to more than one gender. No idea why we are that way, like I have no idea why I’m kinky. I just am and I don’t really care for why.
Some people like me, are bisexual in terms of sexual activity and romantic activity. Some people are just bisexual in terms of their sexual activity and I guess some people enjoy romantic relationships with the same gender but not sexual, though that seems less common. Some bisexual people with have a fairly even balance of same gender, and different gender relationships under their belt, other bisexual people might yet to have a same-sex experience, whatever your experience level being bisexual is still a valid sexuality.
This next one is hard for people to understand, but some people are bisexual and don’t enjoy certain sexual activities. That’s right some bisexual men don’t like receiving anal sex, and some bisexual girls don’t like giving oral, and some bisexual nonbinary people might love all the sexual things and a bunch of other people who identify in a bunch of other ways will like and dislike all manner of different things and if they identify as bisexual that is valid. Our sexuality isn’t actually defined by the sex acts we will or won’t engage in! It’s defined by how we feel and what feels right for us. I realise that sentence will seem alien to some people and I’m sure people will disagree with me. The truth of the matter is though, if a someone fancies me and they identify as bisexual but decline to down on me, I won’t demand they do so or be revealed as a fraudulent bisexual.
I feel like every single person who identifies somewhere with the LGBTQIA spectrum deserves as much acceptance, support, love and understanding as any of the others. Yes some people will have it harder, some people will face more prejudice than others, but I don’t think that makes those of us whose struggles may be smaller any less part of the community.