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Bi Beginnings.

I came out as Bi at the age of 17. That was many years ago.

Here is what I heard.

  • You’re probably just a lesbian.
  • You’re confused.
  • You ¬†just like sex too much. Editors note: Really is there a too much on that one. ūüėČ
  • You just haven’t met the right man.
  • Have you even had sex with a man/woman?
  • How do you know?
  • You have to grow up.
  • Pray it away.
  • That’s sexy. Wanna have a threesome?
  • My boyfriend loves Bi girls.
  • I don’t want to date you. You just can’t make up your mind.
  • You’ll grow out of it.
  • Could you have sex with me so I can try it out. Editors note: This one always came from allegedly straight women.

I could go on but you get the gist. A lot of things have happened in the years since that day but suffice to say it was not a phase and I am still as Bi as I have ever been. I started using Twitter this year and what I found is very little has changed since I came out. Bisexuals still face the same Bi-phobia I did and, in some ways, it is worse because due to the proliferation of social media there is intentional ‘outing’ of those not quite ready to make their sexuality public, there is cyber-bullying, there is cyber-stalking. It almost makes the Bi-phobia I faced seem ‘quaint’ in comparison. However, the truth is that Bisexuals still struggle with their identity, still spend more time in the closet than gay men or lesbians, have a higher suicide rate than gays or lesbians, ¬†and have difficulty finding a supportive community. It felt good, even in an online forum to dispel some of the toxic assumptions that cause so much pain and heartache for the Bi community and so I decided, perhaps, I could provide the same support in blog form to young Bis, to those just coming out at a more ‘seasoned’ age, to those who don’t have Bi friends in their geographical location or to those just tired of all the ‘weird bi-phobia’ that we have to put up with all the time. It also felt freeing to do so without the 140 character limitation. ūüėČ

There are a zillion blogs out there…some that’ll help you with sex questions/some providing information about polyamory/some strictly political in nature/some with answers to kink questions/the list goes one. I don’t purport to be any Bi expert but I have been around a while and maybe (I hope) I have accumulated a little wisdom on the subject. This will probably be a mix of political/social information, hopefully some laughs,…but most importantly support for those struggling, those doing ok but could be better, those tired of the anti Bi bullshit, or those just looking for a place where it is absolutely ok, no…fantastic to be Bi. In my view, being Bi is a gift, a joy, a delight, a superpower and I would not change the way I am for anything or for anyone!

When only 28% of Bisexuals come out as compared with 77% of gay men and 71% of lesbians (per 2013 Pew Research Center survey) we know there is a serious problem. Bis don’t feel safe. Bis don’t feel supported. We have to work to change that. My personal solution is ‘radical visibility’. I make every effort to make sure the people in my life, the people at work, the people I come in contact with on a regular basis know that I am Bi. It may seem a small thing but almost everyday I have an opportunity to say nothing or say something. I choose to say something. I choose to speak for those who don’t feel they can.

If anything I share helps one person, supports one friend, heals one heart then my mission is accomplished. I just hope I can do more. ‚̧ Together we can create a community where Bis feel supported and where they feel safe enough to be visible.

Dear Bis. You are valid. You matter. You are important. ¬†I see you. We can do this. ‚̧

 

A Secret about Bi Women

Talk about a clickbait title for the blog. There is no real secret about Bi women. We are living, breathing human beings who just have the capability to be attracted, sexually or romantically, to folx of multiple genders.

We like women, we like men, we like non-binary folx, we like trans folx…we are not constrained when it comes to whom we are attracted.

I would like to use this moment to bust the stereotypes about Bi+ woman and how we express our sexuality.

We are genuinely and ecstatically attracted to other women.¬† The idea that we will use our sexuality in an ‘ironic’ or ‘deceptive’ way to seduce women, not for our own pleasure, but to make us more attractive to men is absurd. There may be men we are attracted to and want to do sex with but our attraction to and desire for women is totally separate from that. This is a myth/stereotype I truly want to demolish and burn to the ground. Bi+ women are woman-loving-woman. If we have had sex with women we know how transcendently satisfying that is and I can guarantee we are not fantasizing¬†about dick when we are going down on pussy. We are doing sex with women cuz it turns us on, and because we want to return the favor. It is really and truly as simple as that. Our sexuality is not a circus side-show for the entertainment of straight men, period!

Another deeply offensive stereotype is that we are going through a phase and that phase will end when we find the ‘right man’. Not only is this stereotype misogynistic and androcentric but it also perpetuates the idea that the moment we find the magic penis we will drop our momentary attraction to women and follow a man to the ends of the earth due to our inability to resist their masculine appeal. Wrong! Just so wrong! While Bi+ women may more often be in ‘straight appearing’ relationships this is much more likely to be due to the fact that Lesbians are less likely to date Bi+ women than that we are not authentically attracted to women.

Bi+women are slutty. Really. Really! So, expressing your sexual desire is ‘slutty’. Let’s just move on from this one. Being sexual is not the province of men. Women are sexual creatures and have every right to express their sexuality. I would suggest they should do so in an ethical and responsible way which takes into account the feelings of their partner(s) but there is no reason women cannot act just as often and as enthusiastically to express their sexual desire as men. Suggesting that to do so is slutty is puritanical, at best, and misogynistic, at worst.

Bi+ women are greedy. (please see above)

Oh right. We’re cheaters. In some ways, I don’t want to dignify this with¬†any response. However, bisexuals are no more likely to cheat than folks of any other sexual orientation. We may be monogamous. We may be bi or poly-amorous. Simply put, our sexuality does not automatically make us ‘cheaters’. The thing that is often missed when folks seem convinced we will cheat is that we not attracted to everyone. We have standards and even though we have the ability (I would call it a superpower) to be attracted to folks of multiple genders it does not mean that everyone is attractive to us.

 

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Basho & ‘Bi-ku’

Yep, you guessed it. This is the Bi Haiku edition of the blog. Sometimes, the fewer the words, the larger the message. ‚̧

First, let’s take a moment to meet Matsuo Basho, the Japanese Haiku master. Basho had relationships with and wrote Haiku about women and men. I could never hold a candle to the beautiful, meaningful, intimate haiku he wrote to his lovers. However, it meant a lot to me years ago, as a budding haiku enthusiast and writer, that Basho was Bi, too. The bisexual history we all share as Bi+ humans is so often erased and to find that glittering jewel and gift is a true and transcendent delight. I digress.

Basho wrote Haiku in the traditional manner. A Haiku is a Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world. Nowadays, Haiku have more subject matter but the natural imagery was employed by Basho to express his love and loss and, his bisexuality.

When Basho lost his master and mentor, Sengin, he wrote the following to express his sadness:

The autumn wind howls
through the open sliding door
with a piercing voice.

Later when the first woman he had a relationship with left him he wrote this:

Over the high cloud
Far from a friend, a wild goose
Departs forever!

I have written notebooks full of fairly mediocre Haiku over the decades but doing so has helped me crystallize my emotions and has provided an outlet for my feelings of love, despair, joy, happiness, loneliness, isolation, community and, most importantly, my bisexuality.

I wrote this Haiku almost four decades ago when a woman I loved said she did not feel she could live with a bisexual woman without feeling she was not enough for me, that I would cheat, that I could not be faithful. I was angry, I was sad and I felt so alone.

Empty sky with clouds

faint breeze ruffles the dead grass

raindrops faintly fall

I know, how dramatic. I was young and I felt I had been treated unfairly but I also knew you cannot create trust and love where it does not exist. Writing Haiku helped me process my emotions so often and for that I am very grateful.

Later, when I found someone who loved my authentic self and had no intention or desire to change me I wrote this one.

Deep green forest soothes

Ferns and wildflowers surround us

Dappled sunlight shines

Writing has always felt like the best therapy for me. I have allowed words to express on paper what was much more difficult to express verbally. As a bisexual person, I have taken solace in words so often.

As I have gotten older and no longer allow pent up emotions to fester I find I don’t write as often but when I do I still feel the same release and redemption. Writing Haiku will always be my literary home and refuge.

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Bisexuality: Mythbusting Edition

Recently, we have started to create a vibrant, valid, safe and supportive Bi+ community where I live. It has been wonderful and exhilirating and, at the same time, disappointing. Disappointing, not because I have met fantastic non-monosexual friends, but because so many of the myths and stereotypes I found challenging as a young person 4 decades ago still persist and are a stumbling block for young Bi+ folks.

So, let’s take a moment to bust the myths that persist:

  • Bis can’t commit: I have been married for 33 years. We have a relationship which has stood the test of time. We have had our ups and downs but, at the end of the day, I know my husband’s acceptance of me and my authentic self is very valuable. I am not the only Bi I know in a long-term, vibrant partnership.
  • Bis have to ‘pick a team’: Nope, we already have. We are non-monosexual. We know we have without ourselves the ability to love/lust/be attracted to folks of multiple and many gender identities. We aren’t gay. We aren’t straight. We know who we are and we are #BiCertain. We don’t need to be put in a box and we won’t be put in a ‘straight-jacket’.
  • Bis don’t have to have been in a relationship/have had sex with human-beings of many genders to know who we are. We feel who we are in our hearts and minds. We know that folks who are female-identified, male-identified, genderqueer and non-binary can make our pulses quicken. We have eyes to see and hearts to feel and we don’t need to prove anything to you or to anyone else. Don’t judge us and do not, ever, pigeonhole us. We are sexual rebels, we often live outside hetero and homo normative expectations.
  • Bis want attention: We are just living our lives, doing what we do…if you think that worthy of attention, well, so be it. Maybe you are just fascinated by our magical, mystical, ‘free ass motherfucker’ way of life. Not that we can blame you but you cannot try to be us…..we accept that you have a limited scope in terms of relationships…but don’t try to place your limits on us.
  • We want to emulate celebrities: Many of us have lived our Bi+ lives without any role models/celebrity icons to validate us and we have been ourselves without that. This is just a ridiculous notion. Do we appreciate Bi+ representation; we sure do but we don’t need it to be who we are.
  • You don’t exist: This is the most damaging myth there is. We have already established we know who we are/we feel it/we live it….and then we are ERASED. The pain and heartache this has caused for generations of bisexual human beings cannot be overstated. We are here, We are Queer, and your opinion of us is neither required nor desired. Ya feel me….we know we exist and we don’t give a flying freak what you think.

So, how to combat these myths….well, for us, we start the discussion, we share our experiences, we see how much we have had in common, and how much these stereotypes and myths have caused harm to all of us….and then we move on, we support each other, we reach out and try to heal our community. And, while we are healing, we have an awesome inclusive, loving, safe, enriching, bi-centric experience together. There is power and peace in numbers and our numbers are increasing everyday!

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Multi-Sexual Respect!

I will always call myself bisexual. The reason I will claim that label is that many activists have worked hard over the decades to include B in LGBT+, and bisexual, in my view, is an umbrella term for all folks who are attracted to humans of multiple genders.

That said, I embrace all of the terms folks are using to identify their sexual orientation and expression. I want everyone, regardless of whom they are attracted to, to find the term which works for them and which feels authentic. The label which feels like their home. Multi-sexual, Polysexual, Pansexual, No Labels, Queer, ‘free ass motherfucker’…..no matter what we call ourselves those of us under the Bi+ umbrella¬† have more in common than we have which divides us.

We are the folks who are not constrained by gender when it comes to loving and lusting and doing sex with other humans. There is really no room or need for argument on this point. While I do not find myself limited by the term bisexual to folks whose gender identity is on the binary there are some who do. We are all non-monosexuals together and while I don’t want you to diminish or disrepect my choice to use the term bisexual I cannot allow myself to be the sexual orientation police and say your term is not the right one, or the most accurate one or, frankly, whatever. You are you and your label is whatever you choose.

As long as we can agree that a lot of work has to be done to give our multi-sexual community it’s

Anyone with eyes to see can envision a world, maybe just around the corner, where we don’t have to label our sexuality. I think there is a generation which is just not hung up on such things currently percolating or on the horizon. Until then I am Bi, you might be Pan or Poly, but the main thing is we are the Queer Majority and becoming a larger part of the larger LGBT community every day.

The future is multi-sexual and I, for one, think it is long overdue. ‚̧

 

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Bis are dangerous, in the best way!

Bisexuals have long been negated, diminished, disrespected and marginalized. This biphobia has been directed at Bisexuals by both the heterosexual and homosexual communities. In fact, the biphobia is so extreme that monosexuals have attempted to deny our very existence. I think many activists believe this extreme biphobia and bierasure arises from fear of who we are and how we are.

Truly, rather than enforce the Binary we threaten it. When we threaten the basis for homosexuality and heterosexuality it appears that monosexuals get very fragile and fearful. A heirarchical structure, which is the basis for monosexuality, is threated by Bisexuals who are attracted to their own and other genders and for whom the binary really does not compute.

The Binary enforces oppression of marginalized identities. It allows a differentiation between groups which the sexual and gender fluidity of many bisexuals does not allow. Most Bisexuals are romantically/sexually attracted to individuals along the gender continuum. Our very existence threatens the monosexist world view. Monosexuality enforces the idea that there are two separate and contradictory sexualities: heterosexuality and homosexuality.  These two sexualities support the idea that you are attracted to your own or an opposite gender. Bisexuals blast that worldview out of the water.

Instead of buying into this either/or mentality Bisexuals view it as a situation where why not both or why not all….we are not threatened by the idea of accepting our own sexual/gender fluidity and that of others. There is a more equal opportunity aspect to Bisexuality which monosexuality does not have.

While we have a long way to go it does seem we are on the cusp of the visibility and representation some of us have been waiting on for decades. We need to make sure that we retain our rebellious nature and our ability to see beyond sexual and gender norms in order to create a new landscape which is inclusive rather than divisive. Bisexuals have a natural affinity to question the way things are, to live outside societal norms, to be willing to beauty and sensuality regardless of gender identity/expression. As we are strive to be better represented in media and in culture we want to have a care and do not lose that magical gift.

 

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Bi+ Folks should expect LOVE and RESPECT.

Bi+ folks should love and respect themselves exactly as they are. Bis challenge patriarchal notions of how ordered society should be. We are the rebels who don’t abide by societal strictures. We are freedom fighters for love and equality and sexuality and uniqueness. Are we alone in this? Certainly not, there are others who bridle at conventions regarding relationships but, simply by our natures and our willingness to look beyond the expected we are on the front lines of the sexuality and societal expectations skirmishes.

Most importantly we need to show confidence in who we are and share that confidence with our Bi+ sibs. It is when we create supportive and safe community for each other that we can best present the beauty and magic of bisexuality.

So let’s start the conversation as to why Bisexuals are awesome (note, this will not be an inclusive list).

Here I would like to quote the brilliant Bisexual June Jordan: ‘To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. Consequently, most of us really exist a the mercy of other people’s formulations of what’s important’

As Bisexuals, for far too long, we have taken a back seat (biphobia has played a key role in all of this, make no mistake) in the LGBT community and it is beyond time for us to secure our rightful place in the Queer pantheon.

The first step for Bisexuals is to accept, love, cherish themselves just as they are. We musn’t worry if we are ‘queer enough’, musn’t concern ourselves with whether or not we have loved enough men/women/non binary folks, musn’t look to others (such as our partners) to define us and, most certainly, musn’t expect society to validate us (at least not at this point). We must reach out, create local community, and advocate for ourselves from a position of strength. One of the main ways to do that is to love ourselves and our Bi+ siblings.

Bisexuals/Pansexuals/Multisexuals/Omnisexuals/non-Monosexuals are awesome because:

  • We are the human embodiment of Freedom. We can love freely, whomever we choose, regardless of gender expression/identity.
  • We have a long history (sometimes obscured by straight-washing or gay-washing) of Bi+ folks who were creative geniuses and provide us with illustrious examples of how to express our bisexuality. (the list is massive, do an internet search and that will only uncover a fraction of our ‘forefolks’. )
  • We have been major movers and shakers in the Queer Liberation movement and, often, the most radical revolutionaries are Bi. (see Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Brenda Howard, and so many more)
  • Fluidity is our game plan. We challenge the rigid structure of the Patriarchy (an outmoded societal system based upon very defined sex/gender roles) simply by expressing ourselves.
  • We are a welcoming queer culture. We know what is feels like to be disregarded and diminished by rampant biphobia. When we are our best we embrace all of our Bi/Pan/Multi/Omni/Trans/genderqueer siblings without judgement.
  • We do not ‘support’ the binary despite many misconceptions. Many of us are non-binary, genderqueer and embrace ourselves and others who identify outside of the binary.
  • We are born ‘activists’ simply because we have been challenged in ‘fitting in’ in either het or homo culture. We blow those structures off of their foundations because we, typically, don’t express ourselves in a way which works within those limitations.
  • I am sure there are so many more reasons we are magic and amazing that are not occurring to me right at this moment. Add your wonderful ideas to this list.

So, take a moment today and think about all the things that make you transcendent. If you are Bi, that will be a long list of things. Love yourself and bring that love to everything you do. If we work from this basis of self-love we will take this moment when Bisexuality seems on the cusp of significant visibility and run with it. I love you. Go do the work.

We are almost there….almost to a place where being Bisexual is more fully understood and accepted, nay, embraced.¬† (Thanks GLSEN for this delightful graphic!)

 

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I am Bi! Dammit!

I am so tired of folks telling me I cannot be Bi because I have been married to a cis gendere man for over three decades.

You don’t have the right to mis-identify me. I have the right to say who I am and you have the responsibility to respect what I say.

If you tell me you are gay or lesbian I simply accept that. I may slightly doubt you are being 100% but it is not my place to tell you who you are. Same with me. I am not confused. I am not unsure of my identity.  If I have the courage to speak bisexual out loud, trust me, I am bisexual.

You may think my long term relationship identifies me but you would be wrong. My partner does not define my sexuality. He never has and he never will. I am a living example that bisexuality is not a phase.

Recently, as we work toward having a supportive community organization in the city where I live, I have had quite a few folx contact me because they are in varying states of stepping out of the closet. It remains so difficult to be open as a bisexual person. The research statistics bear that out since only 28% of bisexuals are out to their family and closest friends.

You have the capacity to change that statistic. So, if anyone in your life shows the bravery to step out of the closet and come out as Bi¬† accept them and support them. Bis need that support. We have a lot to deal with both from the gay and straight communities and your willingness to be there for us will be very much appreciated. I ask that you be the change…that you be our allies and combat the biphobia we deal with daily.

 

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