As today is Bi Visibility Day, I thought I’d take the time to be a bit more visible and remind readers that a) bisexuals exist, and b) I’m one of them. As a woman in a long term committed relationship with a man, I am very often read as straight. When I joined the LGBTQ+ staff network at the university where I work, I’m pretty sure many of the colleagues I met at that first event probably assumed I was a lesbian. In fact, at a network meeting earlier in the year, I had to remind everyone else in the room that not all of us are gay. Who knows what they thought the other three letters in the acronym stood for! So, as it’s sadly still needed, here are a few myths busted (updated from a post I wrote in back 2012).
1) Bisexuals aren’t indecisive
Strange as it may seem to some, not being attracted only to one specific gender is actually A Thing. Bisexuals don’t ‘flip-flop’ between gay and straight – we are bi. We’re not sitting on the fence while we make up our minds as to who we prefer, gender just isn’t the deciding factor in who we’re attracted to. It would certainly be easier to not admit to being bi, so some don’t, but bisexuality is not a cop out. Does it make more sense for us to say we’re gay when in one relationship and straight when in another? No, because we don’t feel that our orientation changes with our partner.
2) Bisexuals aren’t greedy
We don’t want to kiss/fuck/marry everyone. Just the people we find attractive, and those folk aren’t always of the same gender. We’re probably not getting any more sex than you, so there’s really no need to be so jealous. Some weeks our lust lists might be filled with mostly femme folk, on others it’s mostly masculine types. We can spend years obsessing over butch, femme, genderqueer, trans and cis eyecandy all at the same time, and do you know why? Because we do not rule people out based on gender. We do tend to not be attracted to ignorant douchebags though.
3) Bisexual men aren’t gay
Being a man who finds himself attracted to another man doesn’t make you gay. Being attracted only to men is what makes you gay. Is that really so difficult to understand? OK, so some men might think they’re bi for a bit and then realise that they’re actually gay (because sexuality isn’t always static and labels are something we all choose for ourselves), but that doesn’t mean that all bisexual men are gay. It does, however, mean that anyone who thinks this way is either confused or poorly informed. Does having long hair mean you are female? Does living in the US indicate that you definitely voted for Trump? No. Correlation does not imply causation.
4) Bisexual women are not ‘doing it for attention’
Some women do kiss other women in order to titillate men, but these women are usually straight or heteroflexible. Give them the chance to take that woman out on a date, or to bed, and they would probably say no. Most people do not choose a sexual orientation and announce it to the world merely to win friends and influence people. To be perfectly honest, even if they did, I doubt that bisexual would be the best choice. After all, many people do still seem to be largely ignorant about what being bisexual actually is. Would you choose an identity where you were likely to be shunned by both gay and straight communities, just for kicks? No, neither would we.
5) People aren’t coming out as bi because it’s fashionable
To some journalists and commentators, it may seem that more people are coming out as bi these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fashionable trend. They’re probably coming out as bi because they think they now live in a world where it’s safe to tell people that you’re not heterosexual. They’re probably coming out because they’re comfortable with who they are and feel the time is right to share this. They’re probably coming out because they think that bisexual invisibility has gone on long enough, and people might understand bi folk more if they realised we’re everywhere. And we’re actually quite ‘normal’ too. Whatever normal is.
6) Bisexuals are not afraid of commitment
Just because you like both pasta and pizza, doesn’t mean you can’t decide what to have for dinner. Just because you’d love to live in a village by the sea and in a large city, doesn’t mean you can’t chose a home and stay there until your dying day. It’s pretty much the same with every choice we make in life, including relationships. Some people find it easy to commit and others don’t, but this has nothing to do with their sexuality. Some bisexuals are married, some are in committed long term relationships, some are monogamous and some are not. The only thing we have in common is our sexuality.
For more information on bisexuality check out The Bisexual Index’s FAQ, and, if you know any bisexual folk, why not show your appreciation of their awesomeness with a greetings card from Chain Bear? Image of the bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki. Image of Lori at Pride in London 2013 by James Brown for Irreverent Dance.