Fighting Against the Binary Assumption

I came across this post this morning, and, like this one, it got me thinking, particularly this Q&A:

Is bisexual a legit thing or is it a fence-sitting thing for either confused straight girls or half-closeted lesbians? Whether legit or not, does the concept of bi hurt LGBT political equality since the straight majority may see it as fence-sitting, as evidence that being gay is a choice?

I. Love. This. Question!

Many people see bisexuality as someone who’s “unable to choose,” “confused,” or “just waiting to cross over to fully homosexual.” I could not disagree more! There is this thing, and it’s called desire. As humans, we’ve got it. Sexually, we desire to be with people (for the most part), and those people differ per person. Heterosexual people want to be with a sex opposite of their own, because that’s what turns them on. Homosexuals: same, only same sex. It’s basic, when you think about it. So, for a bisexual person, their desires lie with both sexes. And who’s to say that’s not a real thing?

There are those cases that make it difficult for people who strongly identify as bisexual: the BTG (bi til graduation) folks who use their time in their 20s to hook up with lots of people, be it female or male, or for attention at parties… whatever. Those people happen. It’s called life. Maybe they really were legitimately curious — we aren’t here to pass judgment on those people, but they can make it difficult. If someone’s personal experience is only with girls who made out with other girls around a beer pong table to turn on the guy next to them and later take them home, then yeah, it can be frustrating. Coming out as bisexual is incredibly difficult, and can be hard to explain. My bisexual friends are fantastic at explaining themselves: they are very attracted to both sexes for different reasons. I’ve mentioned this before: I have a friend who finds nothing sexier than both a big strong man and a delicate woman’s touch, and that’s what works for her. Who are we to say that isn’t real?

There’s also some crappy shaming that does come from inside of the LGBT community toward bisexual people. I’ve seen it happen, and it sucks. When someone who’s supposed to be on your side wants you to just choose already, it can be disheartening (hello, Alice on The L Word!) and discouraging. It’s unfair for people to assume that all people should feel what they do on any issue, and sexuality is huge. Just because someone is attracted to both sexes (whether they identify as bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, or anything in between) doesn’t mean that it’s not true for them. There’s some identity-shaming that goes down, both from the straight community who may want things to be cut and dry, and same for the queer community who doesn’t understand why a choice can’t be made. What most people don’t see is that a choice has been made. Bisexual people are choosing to put themselves out there as a person who loves who they love, just as all other people have. It’s not our place to tell them they’re wrong.

Alison Wisneski, Ask A Lesbian, Vol. 4

I suppose this is another chapter in my ‘You’re Doing it Wrong’ beef I’ve got going on at the moment.

I identify as pansexual and happen to be in a heterosexual marriage.

Being married to J doesn’t magically make me straight. Just like being in any type of relationship doesn’t mean you’re no longer attracted to anyone else outside that relationship.

It doesn’t mean I’m confused, that I just haven’t decided which ‘team’ I’m playing for yet. There aren’t only two sides. Sexuality is a beautiful. fluid spectrum; you may fall anywhere along that spectrum, and you’re position may change over time.

Being in a heterosexual relationship doesn’t take away my legitimacy as a member of the LGBTQ community, though it certainly feels like it. I’m pretty sure if J happened to be female then it would be more acceptable, then I would only be a ‘confused’ lesbian.

I understand my relationship with J, the fact we are even able to get married, gives both of us privilege. But that privilege is only through assumptions of others (which all privilege is I suppose, to a degree). That privilege takes away my identity, makes me invisible.

Exclusion never really benefits anyone, the excluded nor the excluder.

2 thoughts on “Fighting Against the Binary Assumption

  1. It’s amazing how much people assume things. Just because you found someone you’d like to spend the rest of your days with and have by your side at every moment, doesn’t mean your sexuality has changed with it.

    People who don’t understand polyamory, assume that my husband and I have a lousy sex life and this is why we look for other partners. Or they wonder why get married at all if we still want to sleep around? It can never be thought of better living, but rather, something must be wrong with them.

    • Totally. If anything, polyamory means that your relationship is stronger, that you implicitly trust the other person. You have to, otherwise jealousy etc would consume both you and the relationship

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