"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Bisexuality and how it's A Real Thing

I identify as bisexual.

(I've encountered disagreement, usually on the part of heterosexual people, on whether you should base your sexual identity on desire or activity--as in, if you've only ever dated/slept with dudes, can you really be a lesbian? This is, naturally, rank horseshit, so consider it dismissed.)

I feel like there's a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about bisexuality; consider that one episode of Sex & the City where Carrie dates a bisexual man. She freaks out and says all kinds of bisexual-phobic things, including "I feel like bisexuality is just a layover on the way to Gaytown," then wraps up the episode justifying her complete lack of any attempt to understand bisexuality by chalking it up to "I'M OLD AND CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO CONSIDER NEW THINGS."

Of course, this is a viewpoint unique to neither Carrie Bradshaw nor heterosexual people. But it does burn me up that S&TC, a show regarded as progressive and ground-breaking in its open dealings with female sexuality, a show that treats male homosexuality like most people treat the preference between Coke or Pepsi (as in, something totally normal or whatever, but you're not, like, a freak if you like Coke and I like Pepsi), yet can't be arsed to give bisexuality any real treatment beyond "These people are weird, and deviant, and hard to understand, but it's more normal if you don't get it, because most people have and are entitled to their 'traditional' opinions", which is kind of the same response some shows have had to homosexuality. Note that the only major character who doesn't seem swayed by the idea of bisexuality is Samantha--of course, because Samantha is the Deviant One who doesn't want to get married and shocked everyone by dating a woman later on.

Come to think of it, that whole "Samantha is dating a woman" arc is along the same lines as the bisexuality one, and both are indicative of how the show dealt with girl-on-girl sexuality, which essentially was: it mostly doesn't exist, but when we're forced to confront it, we all agree that it's weird and unintelligible.

I'm sure all of these things I am talking about are nothing new to the girl-on-girl community; I'm just talking about them as background, I guess.

I identify as bisexual because if, in a strange hypothetical scenario, you randomly picked one person, lady or dude, from the population, the chance that I will be sexually attracted to that person is about the same, regardless of whether it is actually a lady or a dude. If you randomly picked one person, lady or dude, from the population, the chance that I will be romantically attracted to that person is significantly higher if it is a dude. I say this from past experience, however; the fact that I am more likely to form romantic attachments to dudes doesn't mean I'm any less bisexual; it could just mean that I have higher standards for ladies, or that I haven't been around enough ladies that fit those standards. I mean, if a straight dude had a hard time finding a straight lady he wanted to date, would he be any less straight?

So there's that. But think back to all that shit I talked about Carrie Bradshaw and her inability to come to terms with the bisexuality of others as a real thing. There's also the fact that many bisexual people feel marginalized by the gay community, like the B is just kind of thrown into LGBTQ as an afterthought, and everyone's just waiting around for them to go all the way to gay.

Maybe the whole "bicurious" lady thing has hurt the perception of bisexuality; I think a lot of the time this term is seen as used by younger women to mean they're curious about ladysexytimes, but they're not ready or willing to think about being gay yet. Or, they like the idea of straight men getting turned on by ladysexytimes. And maybe this happens sometimes, but isn't it possible that sometimes, some of the women who use this term are actually curious about being bi? And where are they supposed to go to deal with that?

I mean, if young lesbians have had it rough in the past, there are now plenty of places on the internets they can go for help. Where are the young bisexuals to go? I'm starting to feel like lesbian is a hard thing to be in this world, but bisexual might be harder these days, because not only can straight people not understand it, sometimes gay people can't.

So. I identify as bisexual because
  1. it describes me, and
  2. more people who are bisexual should say they are.
I'm not really interested in fleshing out whether I'm more straight or more gay, nor am I interested in inventing my own identity, nor am I interested in whether or not I'm pansexual (i mean, i could be, but i don't know if I know many non-gender-binary people, so how the fuck would i know), but maybe I am. Pansexuality actually seems to be more accepted, especially in the world of poly, but I'm going with bisexual for now, because it works.

And I don't feel the need to invent my own identity, because Jesus Christ, I know who I am, and I don't give two shits if you understand that I am a unique snowflake or not, because I already know I am, and your opinion on that matter means precisely nothing to me.

Also, yes, I am currently dating a cisman. I've actually gotten, recently, a few comments along the lines of, "How can you like girls, because you totally just said you had a boyfriend," but if this post doesn't clear that up, I'm not sure it's possible.

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