Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bisexuality, Biphobia & Life Under Glass (in this case, a microscope)



As we all know, I'm prone to wordy titles. This clearly applies not only to my books but to my blog posts, as well. Hopefully this post will be more interesting and (possibly) entertaining than it sounds. Heh-heh.

So a week or so ago, I was pointed towards an article, located here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-browne/bisexual-not-such-a-dirty-word_b_2662176.html?utm_hp_ref=tw in which the author speaks about bisexuality and some of the perceptions associated with that state. I do say "state," in the sense of bisexuality being a condition, much as heterosexuality and homosexuality can be considered states of being. Not inherently good or bad, but simply the way things are.

My position -- and please tell me that none of you thought I wouldn't have one because you should all know by now that I always have an opinion (on everything! LOL) and I'm more than happy to share -- is that bisexuality is not only real, but more pervasive than is generally admitted by society at large. I think that most people are bisexual to some extent, whether they choose to act on it or not. (This is, in my opinion, the only instance in which sexuality is a choice, and even with those who are bisexual, it depends upon where they sit on the spectrum. If you're confused, don't worry. I'm about to explain -- in possibly exhaustive detail.)

We, as a society, are so used to defining things as one thing or another. Black or white. Gay or straight. Rain or sun. Hot or cold. We LIKE defining things. We like to think things are simple and easy and we like being able to classify ourselves and others with short, facile phrases.

"I'm Straight." "I'm Gay." "I'm a woman." "I'm a man." "I'm a Christian." "I'm a Buddhist." "I'm a vegetarian." "I'd kill for a steak."

All these things are labels, and simple ones at that. Even when we combine them, as we usually do, and come up with a near-infinite assortment of labels -- "I'm a straight, female atheist who loves a good steak, horror movies, and karaoke." -- these are simple labels that don't leave much room for interpretation. We like to think that we are what we are, and we identify most strongly with others who share at least a few of the labels we assign to them and to ourselves. This is how we form groups outside of family units. We find and attach ourselves to those with whom we share common traits, aka labels.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, as a general rule. I mean, it wouldn't make much sense for us to surround ourselves with people with whom we have nothing in common. We like to have a sense of belonging. It's why we form relationships outside of our families, really. (Well, that and the desire to NOT turn into a big bunch of inbred freaks, but I digress.)

The problem for a lot of people with regards to bisexuality is that there's no easy label, aside from "bisexual," and as it turns out? That's apparently too vague for a lot of folks, isn't it?

What does it mean? How can someone be attracted to both men and women when men and women are so very, very different? And how dare someone think they can have it all instead of having to pick a path and stick with it? That's just… not fair! And besides, there's no such thing as bisexuality, right?

Hell, depending on who you ask, there's no such thing as homosexual, either. Gays are just straight people who've decided to buck the system and have sex with people of the same gender. They've made a CHOICE to do so, apparently just for shits and giggles (and pleasure because it's not possible for two people of the same gender to have romantic feelings for each other)… and because it's so much FUN to leave yourself open to attacks of more than just a verbal nature. And the people who believe that would know, wouldn't they? (Yes, I'm rolling my eyes right now. At that mindset, not at writing about it here. Heh.)

Bisexuality is actually a "thing." Meaning it's real. It exists. It's not just guys and girls being unable to make up their minds. It's not people deciding that they want to be "greedy." And it's definitely not something people DO because it makes their lives EASIER. If anything, it has the opposite effect.

When you're bisexual -- admittedly bisexual and "out," so to speak -- most of your straight friends and family don't get it, and neither do many of your gay friends and family. You're caught in the middle, trying to live your life on your own terms, all the while knowing that whatever you do, SOMEONE is going to have a problem with it, whether that problem is merely disappointment or something that could very easily become hate. And then there's the fear society feels for bisexuals.

Fear is the most pervasive force that drives us as humans. We fear what we don't understand. We HATE what we don't WANT to understand. The things we've grown up hearing about as evil and wrong and just plain unacceptable are the things we don't want to examine too closely, because if we really look and research and open our minds, we might find that we DO understand… and from everything we've been taught, that's JUST AS BAD as being or doing whatever it is. (This is, of course, solely my opinion and you, dear readers, are welcome to disagree. I make no claims to being right all the time. Only MOST of the time. *grins*)

The thing is, there's an entire spectrum of human sexuality. It's ridiculous to say that there's gay and there's straight, with nothing in between. That's like saying there's only black and white, with no shades of gray, and we all know there are infinite variants on gray, right?

There are also myriad variations on sexuality.

Some people truly are a hundred percent straight. They've never had a single sexual thought about a person of the same gender, other than to possibly notice that so-and-so isn't hideous. The same applies to gays. And with those two extremes, that's what? Twenty percent of the population, at most? What about the other eighty percent?

I propose, as I know actual scientists have done in several studies, that the remaining eighty-plus percent of us are various degrees of bisexual. Some more attracted to people of their own gender, some to people of the other gender, and some -- maybe ten percent or so -- falling right in the middle.

Laid out this way, it seems obvious, right? The majority of humanity is technically bi. And no, I'm not saying people should leave their significant others and experiment with their bi-leanings. Let's face it, if we were going to do that, we would have already. What I AM saying is… I think I have some small understanding about why so many people of a certain political party and a certain assortment of religious sects are so sure that homosexuality is "a choice," because the law of averages states that a fairly large percentage of those people are actually bisexual and CHOOSE to live their lives in a way that is acceptable to their chosen segment of society and doesn't make things more difficult than necessary.

I also understand why these same people want to insist that nobody is BORN gay. THEY were able to make a choice and they're just regular folk, so it must follow that their children are able to make a choice as well. They fail to realize -- or refuse to admit -- that for someone whose position on the spectrum is different from their own, "choosing to be straight" is often physically impossible, or at the very least extremely uncomfortable and prone to causing severe psychological disturbance. Or perhaps they do realize these things but live with so much fear of being "evil-wrong-bad" that they don't care.

See, on the face of it, bisexuality seems like a sweet deal -- aside from the stigma attached. I mean, think about it. You're not restricted to one gender, you have a much wider dating pool than you would if you were either straight or gay, and that increases your possibility of finding the right person (according to popular myth).

The second face is… you don't fit in. Anywhere.

The straights won't have you, unless you lie (especially if you're a male, because for some reason bisexual females are more acceptable to straight people). The gays don't want you because you're just greedy and eventually you're going to decide to "play straight" to avoid all the bullshit gay people have to deal with… and there IS no bisexual community, as such. Or maybe there is, but the last time I traveled, I heard all about gay bars and straight bars, but nobody said fuck-all about bi bars, so what does that tell you?

It tells ME that as a society, we're far too oriented towards recognizing the extremes and ignoring the middle. That we're afraid of the truth. And for me, the truth is this…

We don't all need to be the same, but we do all need to accept that whatever any two (or three or more) grown adults do is their own business, not ours. We need to understand that there is no one true way. We need to embrace those who identify as bisexual, just as we need to embrace the other orientations. Human is human, people. No phobia, be it bi or homo, should be allowed! (I'm sure I'll discuss our asexual brothers and sisters at a future date, but for now, this post is long enough! Heh-heh.)

2 comments:

  1. The longer I live the more convinced I am that ppl are, at least potentially, bisexual. Good post!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. :)

      It does seem that way, though I've more or less despaired of anyone other than "perverted freaks" admitting it. (That would lead to anarchy, donchaknow. *rolls eyes*)

      Glad you enjoyed it!

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