Today is Bi Visibility Day,
To me, bisexuality is one of the least understood and least acknowledged groups under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. There is still much to be done to achieve equality around the world for the entire LGBTQ+ community, and everyone under that umbrella faces ignorance, judgement and potentially persecution from sections of society. Bisexuality comes with it’s own unique obstacle; that of invisibility.
By the very nature of the orientation, bisexuality is so often overlooked, absorbed into other orientations based on someone’s current relationship. Unless they specifically proclaim their bisexuality, anyone in a long-term relationship will be considered either homosexual or heterosexual by the people around them. Essentially, defining a person by their partner’s genitalia rather than the person’s own orientation and desires.
However, by specifically proclaiming your bisexuality, you might face accusations of attention-seeking, trouble-making, and many blank looks.”Why did they feel the need to tell us?” might be whispered in workplaces and social gatherings. It makes no difference to us, they think. Of course, they probably think they don’t know any other bisexual people, but if their attitude is one of dismissal, how would they know?
Even those who aren’t settled in monogamous relationships and are actively dating people of different genders are dismissed as being confused, indecisive and/or promiscuous. They must be either gay or straight, society tells them, and they need to stop flitting about and make up their minds. And society would prefer they picked straight.
The great Henry Rollins once spoke of bisexuality with enthusiasm, referring with a kind of envious awe to a publication he had heard of called “Anything That Moves”. I am sure he never intended to be anything other than supportive and positive, but this sort of thing just perpetuates the myth that bisexual people are indiscriminate, driven by sexual attraction rather than romantic feelings.
While society has come to respect homosexuality as more than just the sexual act, but an orientation on which full and healthy relationships are built, for many people their perception of bisexuality is still focused on whose genitalia is going where.
I know that people can know their own orientation from a very young age. There is an ever-increasing understanding that orientation can be settled and attraction experienced a long time before those feelings become sexual. Unfortunately there are still people who say children can’t identify as gay (or bi) until they are old enough to begin dating and entering into relationships (and some would argue they must wait much later than that) although of course nobody thinks anything unusual of an eleven year old with a heterosexual crush. We do not insist that straight people have to actually be involved in a romantic or sexual relationship before we believe that they are straight.
Despite knowing this on an intellectual level, I have a problem with identifying as bisexual or heteroflexible. I am in my mid thirties. I have been attracted to women for twenty years, but I have never acted on it before. I have never kissed a woman. I know that I don’t need to, that I don’t need to earn the right to use the label. There is no qualification in being bisexual.
On the other hand, I am conscious of those people who co-opt an idea, who jump on bandwagons to get attention, to feel like they belong, or this uniquely-modern perverse desire to be able to claim you’re being persecuted. The last thing I would want to do is undermine the bisexual community, or minimise the struggles they face. I do not want to be seen as bisexuality’s answer to Rachel Dolezal. I feel that my lack of experience makes any claim that I am bisexual seem misleading.
When Bear and I discussed opening our relationship up to include a third person, we only ever envisaged it being another woman. Initially we talked about the possibility of him having a second submissive for himself, but that soon led to the realisation that what we both wanted to find was a girlfriend.
We are very happy as we are, and we may never meet the right person who would fit with us. I may never kiss a woman. But I know I would like to, I know that I am ready to explore the possibility of having a romantic and sexual relationship with a woman. And really, how else would you describe a person in a relationship with a man, and also wants a relationship with a woman?