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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. 😉
  • 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. 😉

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. ❤

 

Messy Bis?!

I have seen a number of Bisexual writers/bloggers writing about being ‘messy’ Bis lately. I am not really sure what to make of that terminology. I guess, the idea is — ok, we can not be’perfect bisexuals’, we may not conform to a societal idea about how Bisexuals should behave. My response to that is why should Bisexuals be any different than ‘messy’ people of any other sexual orientation. We are all individuals, with different life experiences and have the right to live our lives as feels authentic and comfortable for us.

Bisexuals have every right to not consistently be their best selves. And, if by ‘messy’, folks mean playing the field, being polyamorous, being sexually free and curious, and/or not always being one’s best ethical self in relationships it is a thing that sometimes happens. However, it does not happen only to bisexuals simply because we can be attracted to our own gender and folks of other genders. And, these behaviors are not relegated to young people….folks of any age can sometimes not be their most evolved selves when it comes to romantic and/or sexual relationships. I would argue following the golden rule and treating others as you would like to be treated is always the best route, however,  there are times when that does not happen. We should not berate ourselves for these behaviors simply because we are bisexual. We should learn from our experiences and try to be better people, and this is the case even if we may have a thing or two to atone for.

There are stereotypes about bisexuals which are not more accurate about us than individuals of any other sexual orientation/identity. There is no such thing as a perfect bisexual just as there is no perfect gay man or lesbian or straight person. There are folks in our community who are cheaters, use the excuse they are ‘confused’ to explain away inappropriate, immoral behavior, use people in a sexual way, and the whole nine yards of behaviors that are, at best, not nice or, at worst, immoral and unethical.

If we are promiscuous or polyamorous, that behavior alone does not make us ‘messy’ or bad people, but if we are unkind to other human beings then it does.

The truth is there are some bisexuals who really, truly need relations (of a sexual nature) with folks of multiple gender identities. This does not inherently make them ‘messy’ but how they address these needs could make them pretty awful.

Let’s not use language which diminishes who we are. We are real flesh and blood humans and being bisexual may create longings which we may or may not satisfy. That is up to us. What is also up to us is how we treat the important people in our lives. We should treat them with respect and maintain open lines of communication so no one is left in the dark.

We may not conform to heteronormative standards and that is just fine. We should be true to ourselves and recognize who we are and how we can ethically meet the needs we have. And, there are also folks in our community very happy, content and satisfied with a life long commitment to one person, regardless of their gender identity. We all belong under the same umbrella and should not judge each other for how we live our lives.

At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves if we are at peace with who we are and how we conduct our lives. If we are then what other people think should not matter to us. We have the magic of seeing a distinct beauty and sensuality in folks of many gender identities/orientations and we should embrace that. I consider myself very lucky to have that capability. I also feel I should hold myself accountable for my behavior. I should also be honest and transparent with my partner. That is only fair to both of us. ❤

 

 

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Be the Bi-Rebel!

Bi our nature, Bisexuals challenge the status quo of monosexuality. We are not constrained by gender identity when it comes to choosing our lovers/partners. Our roving eye does not find pleasure in settling only upon a man or a woman….or a non-binary or trans person. We can see the sexy in all of the above.

Because of this ability, some monosexuals find us ‘unsettling’. We resist being put in your box. We don’t rest at either end of the sexuality continuum….our fluidity allows us to enjoy all of the area in between. We will not be defined by the way monosexuals see the world. For them, whether they be straight or gay, it is a yes/no situation and for us it will always be a maybe. A person will not be rejected/not considered as a potential partner simply because of their gender identity. We have other requirements…my own are a wicked sense of humor, insightful political viewpoints, a love of nature, kindness, sexy eyes, willingness to be versatile in bed, and etc….it is a long list but I will never rule you out because you are a man, a woman, a non-binary beauty or a trans person.

Sometimes, when we are with a partner, folks will try to pigeonhole us, will try to say we have chosen a team or picked a side. Don’t let that happen. It cannot happen and don’t let anyone tell you who you are based upon whom you have chosen to love or lust after. That is, simply put, not in the owner’s manual for Bisexuals. There is never a time when our sexuality is defined by whom we are currently partnered. We don’t work that way.

If you feel safe doing so make sure to challenge that assumption and the person making the assumption. You can simply say that while you are in love/in lust with a woman or man or non binary or trans person it cannot change your fundamental being. Explain that while you may be partnered it cannot change how you see the world, how you can find folks of varied gender identity attractive whether or not you act on that attraction.

The only way we can be less invisible is to be radically visible. To say, in no uncertain terms, we have no desire to be monosexual and we need no one’s permission to be our bisexual selves. Often we are simply dueling against ignorance.  And, while it can get tiresome, we do need to disabuse folks of their erroneous notions about bisexuality. Their knowledge can be our power.

(Disclaimer: never do anything which makes you unsafe or puts you at peril.)

 

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I am not ‘secretly gay’ and saying I am is disrespectful.

I am, in fact, unapologetically and fiercely and very happily,  Bi.  Since it is Bi-Visibility month it is very important to discuss the type of assumptions which erase our valid and valuable bisexual identity.  The graphic I borrowed for this post is definitely tongue in cheek but the idea is important. Bisexuals are not half gay/half straight. We are 100% bisexual.

This is an important concept which it seems monosexuals sometimes fail to grasp. We stretch the boundaries of sexuality as we do not live within the binary and don’t have limits with regard to whom we are attracted. We own who we are and we do not have to fit into any box so don’t say you don’t understand or cannot comprehend who we are. In fact, I cannot fathom not being attracted to the vast majority of the beautiful humans who walk this earth. (I don’t have to want to do sex with them but I can appreciate the infinite beauty) You don’t have to understand/comprehend but you do have to acknowledge that we exist and that our sexuality is valid. We don’t need or desire your permission to be ourselves and to express our sexuality as feels authentic to us.

So, monosexual friends/allies, during Bi Visibility Month take a moment to reflect on your pre-conceived notions/assumptions about those of us on the Bi+ sexuality spectrum. Consider how damaging your wilful ignorance can be and make a concerted effort to be the change.

 

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Bi-SEX-uality!

Note the capitalization above. Sex is, of course, a very important part of being bisexual. It is not the only part of being bisexual. Bisexuality is not only the nuts and bolts about how we like it but, rather, a worldview which encompasses much more than what we do in bed (or outdoors, or in the backseat, or etc etc etc)

When I think of my own bisexuality I think of a world with no limits. A world in which I can appreciate the physical attributes of any human being but in which I am not attracted to everything that moves.

When other folks find out I am Bi the first thing they seem to think about/ask about is with whom I have had sex. I always try to explain that my sexuality is about so much more than whom I have done sex with. It is about being expansive, being curious, being intrigued and being engaged. It is about seeing the loveliness in a curvy female bottom and the hotness of a nicely formed male bicep, seeing the allure of a trans person’s mystique or confidence, or a non-binary person’s societal insight. It is about not feeling other people should be limited in how they express their gender or their sexuality. It is about feeling the hot flirtation and vibing with so many people in the room.

So, when you meet a Bi person or if they come out to you do not immediately think that the most important thing about us is how we make love/do sex. Please do not feel we are inclined to give you all of our sexual details,. It is no more important to most of us than it is to a straight person or a gay person. We are a diverse community with folks who are sex seeking and folks who are on the ace spectrum. We are Bisexuals but we are also human beings for whom our sexuality is of deep and abiding importance along with many other things in our lives which define us. Treat us the same way you would your straight friend or your lesbian friend or your gay male friend—as a complex and interesting fellow inhabitant of the Planet Earth.

 

 

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Bi+ Pride MKE: Being Bi-Visible!

It has been my honor and privilege to work with others to craft a Bi+ Pride organization in Milwaukee. It was amazing after I scheduled our first Bi-Cafe how folks were just coming out of the woodwork to join in. Not huge numbers, admittedly, but people who were excited to have a safe space to be themselves and mingle with other Bi+ folx.

And, then, we walked in the Pride parade. We were few in number as there was a torrential deluge that day but we could see the appreciation on the faces of so many Bi spectators as we marched by with our massive bed sheet slash Bi Pride banner. We were homemade and homegrown. Activists who are determined to make a difference where we live.

We have been taking it one day at a time but things have happened that we did not expect…and quickly. Starting in October there will be a Bi+ support group convening at our local LGBT center. This happened because of the input of our followers when we posted a survey on our Facebook page. Folks responded in great numbers demanding support and programming for our Bi+ community. While this is long overdue, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

I attended a Pride event, representing our organization and wearing all the Bi bling I could pile on,  and was pleased that I was welcomed. I did not shrink from saying our non-monosexual group had not felt embraced at prior Pride events.  However, I also said we  were committed to being vocal about who we are, why we belong and also to being engaged in the larger LGBT community. We deserve our place and we will advocate for ourselves. The B will be silent no more.

We have many events scheduled for Bi Visibility Month and are building a safe and supportive space for all of us. Our labels don’t matter as much as the fact we are all non-monosexual. We all deserve shelter under the Bi+ umbrella.

The time, talent, energy and enthusiasm exhibited by our group has been heart-warming. We want to be here for those who have felt isolated and alone, with neither a home in the gay or straight communities. We are all being the change we wish to see in the world. I am filled to the brim with #BiPride as I watch our beautiful bunch of human beings working so hard for the benefit of all of us.  Wish us luck!

 

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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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