Well done Marcus. I’ve heard such nonsense before. I cringe when I hear stupid, ignorant, thick little squirts go on about bi- people being afraid to say they are gay, as if such people had mystic access to another person’s deepest fantasies.
I love a good Chardonnay for example. I also love Macallan whisky – I usually go through a bottle of fine malt about every three weeks. If I can fall in love with excellent whisky, and love fine wine too. I can enjoy tech house and classical music also. So why can’t someone fall in love with more than one type of people?
And if people find bi- people hard to believe, why do find versatile people any easier to believe? Amazing that people think they are entitled to a say in other people’s sexual arrangements.
damn right marcus. im not bi but im with you 100%. biphobia is idiotic and must stop.
I think that study a few years ago has a lot to answer for.
It found that bisexual men ‘didn’t really exist’ and that they found male porn a turn on and female porn a turn-off. (I think they measured their brain reactions/genital reactions)
Please don’t shoot the messenger!
I just think that study has stuck….
I suppose the problem lies in the definition of bi-sexual.
If by bisexual one understands a person who will to varying degrees engage in sexual relations with either sex, then I suppose there are plenty.
If on the other hand one understands bisexual to mean someone who would happily settle down for life with someone of either sex, then I have still yet to meet one.
I use the second definition of bisexuality above and am therefore sceptical about what those with a high media profile who define themselves as bisexual actually mean.
Are you attracted to every single piece of porn involving your gender of choice? I smell bad science here.
Science of my erections states that its possible for a man to get off on both…providing the porn is decent.
Lezabella, the trouble with that study is that attraction and love are more just than a correlation between visual stimulus and genital arousal. I don’t find any porn arousing, that doesn’t mean I don’t find anyone attractive and just because I find female curves more pleasing on the eyes than veiny throbbing things, doesn’t mean I am a lesbian.
But I agree that many people love to find a scientific study that suits their philosophy then wave it round as “proof” regardless of its applicability or context.
As a senior, I can honestly say that I’ve knowm bi-sexual men since my teenage years. In fact, I went through high school with a guy whose father was the laugh of the town because he was known as a bi-sexual, and whose mother was pitied because she attempted to hold onto her dignity by drinking gin in her coffee – all day!
In other words, while I will not deny the existence of bi-sexuality, I also cannot deny what a complex phenomena it can be when a bi-sexual man marries a women without telling her about his sexual orientation, especially in town where the grapevine cen be so vicious.
Maybe I am biphobic, I really don’t know. The image of this guy in high school who could never hold his head up high will forever remind me of how a bisexual man can hurt a woman, another man and his children because of his natural attraction to both sexes.
It is such a mystery to me, even though I socialize just as well with women as with men.
To give a bisexual the benefit of the doubt, I would say it takes a special kind of woman and a special kind of man to achieve a lasting relationship with a bisexual. Maybe my thinking is too traditional. Open marriages do exist after all; it’s just that my own experience has been to cherish only one person (a man) at a time.
bisexuals can and do find someone to love
bisexuals are people too
many gays and lesbians can’t settle down but many can and do
I find it pretty disgusting that gays and lesbians can and are biphobic – for lack of a better term
“Open marriages do exist after all; it’s just that my own experience has been to cherish only one person (a man) at a time.”
Myth about bisexuality #1: bisexuals can’t be monogamous.
I’m a monogamous bisexual. Nice to meet you.
Honestly, if I were to come on here and peddle such ignorant and hurtful myths about gay men or lesbians, I’d be cyber-lynched.
I’d whinge some more, but I’m too busy laughing at the phrase ‘science of my erections’, which will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I don’t actually care about people’s definition of their sexuality just as long as:
:they don’t use it as a stick to beat me with
:they don’t screw up other people’s lives trying to be happy.
Labelling is always sloppy thinking: a person is more than who they want to screw; a person is more than whether they top or bottom. To use the lazy way out plays into the hands of those who would destroy us.
As a bisexual woman, it is good to see this article. Well done, Marcus!
And to answer Bentham’s comment. All the bi people I know are open about their sexuality to their partners. But biphobia can be frightening and vicious and scary to deal with, so I can understand why some people might choose to hide rather than confront it. If we all challenge Biphobia and reject it in all it’s forms, it will become easier to be out. Hopefully then the painful stories of people like that high school student will be a thing of the past, because there will be no reason for anyone to deny their sexuality.
Bravo, I’m sick to death of hearing that any guy who says he is bi is lying and is actually gay. Some people need to get it into their thick skulls that sexuality is a very fluid thing. It is not black and white, there are no doubt far more bi-sexual people on this planet than homosexual people
I’m a bisexual man who a couple of years ago was divorced by my wife (who had always known I was Bi- , lets face it at the wedding I had an ex- as my Best Man) and one of the things she said was that I “was gay but just didn’t know it yet.” A comment I refute.
When I was growing up I was raised thinking you were either straight or gay, nothing in-between. That confused me a lot as I found myself attracted to people by WHO they are, not what was between their legs, so it took me a long time to find I wasn’t unique or a freak.
My present partner is really great and supports me completely. When we got together he did a lot of research on bisexuality, for me and for himself as he is gay and found it hard to understand. He even found out there is a ‘Bi Pride’ flag and a local group of us in the area who meet up for drinks every now and again. When you find the right, understanding, individual the love counts more than gender.
Personally I feel sorry for the man who has a drunken missus who isn’t proud of her husband, and cares more about the minds of ignorant little small town bigots. A decent wife would hold her head up high, say ‘So what, he’s shagged some men in his time, and that’s nothing wrong with that’ and get on with her life.
In my experience, bisexuality develops a negative reputation because people who aren’t sure of their sexuality often label themselves as ‘bi’. Enough said.
I am sure part of the problem has been the long tough road gay people have travelled so far to gain acceptance and some of the high profile ‘Bi now – Gay later’ celebrities have confused that struggle. Clearly some of those believed that not admitting to being gay but bi would somehow be easier to defend. But we are moving on and lots of groups go by the LGBT name so you would think that ‘Gay ‘ groups would be less judgemental of those who chose to be described as bi-sexual. The fight is for everyone to be accepted and pigeon holing is not helpful.
This is such a great thread. It’s a learning experience for me. I have often used LGBT to describe us, but frankly, this is the first time ever that I’ve heard so much positive feedback about bi-sexuality.
For example, I can easily connect with Dionysian’s comment that love matters more than gender.
So you see, it’s by talking honestly about my feelings and my experience that I am reminded by all of you that one is never too old to learn.
The fact remains, as the song goes: ‘It isn’t very pretty what a town without pity can do.’
Even the ancient Greeks wrote plays and poems about it. C’est la vie.
Science of my erections states that its possible for a man to get off on both…providing the porn is decent.”
I didn’t say I believed the study I just think a lot of people have, and no I’m not attracted to all porn involving women. Mainly because the ‘lesbian’ porn taht is everywhere is actually made for men wherein the women mess around with dildos for half an hour, squeal (supersonically!), and then a man with a big willy comes in for the ‘real’ sex!
I’ve only ever seen one lesbian porno made by lesbians/for lesbians ever and it was not to my taste either as it had a cast consisting of one, mature lady and another very, very mature masculine lady. I’m no ageist, but both were atleast 50 and I’m only 22 so it wasn’t my bag atall!
If we want people to say you being gay is just not an issue, then surely by the same logic, we need to find bisexuality not an issue.
I have known very together people in the past, who over the years I realised genuinely did like a bit of each.
It’s called diversity. Don’t criticise people just because they don’t fit into your little box (if you excuse the pun).
Dan’s right that some biphobic attitudes result from those poeple who use the bisexual label while they are coming out and may be confused about their sexuality, and who then later on realise that they are gay. There are certainly people who do this. HOwever, it makes no sense to judge all bisexuals by the behaviour of these poeple. (Isn’t that called prejudice?)
There are some people who have tried to promote the ‘Questioning’ identity. It would be nice if these (mainly younger) people didn’t feel pushed to pick an identity label and could just be questioning.
The study that Lezabella mentioned is a real study and it did find out that many men who identified as bisexual actually had a sexual response only to men. But that is many, not all. There were some genuinely bisexual men. Plus it found that a great many women, including many who identified as straight had bisexual sexual responses.
It all depends on whether you define sexuality by the Kinsey scale or the Klein scale. Is sexuality purely about physical reactions to sexual stimulus, or does it also include emotional attraction, sexual history etc?
At the end of the day it is up to each individual to decide how they define their sexuality.
I have had two very close male friends who said they were bi; they have now left their wives and live in gay relationships. I think being bi must actually be more angst than being gay because people don’t always believe you!
“I think being bi must actually be more angst than being gay because people don’t always believe you!”
I would agree wholeheartedly with this.
As a gay man, and having put up with plenty of prejudice in my time, its strange that I have found myself prejudiced against bi men and not wanting to get involved with any.
I think this is more to do with a perceived self-protection.
Thinking that not only would I have to ward predatory males off my partner, but also predatory females.
Sh!t. I’m a bigot, and I never knew. This thread is definetly giving food for thought.
Well well, this is news to me. I can’t say I had ever heard of bi-phobia before reading this article. What on earth would be the point of such a reaction? You learn something new every day…
1. Gay people often use the ‘bi’ label to ‘test the water’ before coming out as gay. That happens a lot. Therefore many people will regard being ‘bi’ as merely a stepping stone on the way to being openly gay
2. Many bi men are in the closet to their wives / girlfriends and cheat and lie to them about their sexual orientation. They may treat their male partners will an utter lack of respect also with requests not to call them if their wives are about etc.
3. Many bi men are out to their wives / girlfriends but not to their work colleagues, extended families etc. It is quite understandable that gay people who cannot avail of this hterosexual ‘privilege’ will feel annoyed by this selective honesty. Openly gay people do not have this choice.
4. Many ‘bi’ women seem to be bi as a means of turning straight men on but who would not ever risk being in an openly same-sex relationship. I get heartily sick of my female friends telling me that they think they are bi but when questioned further they admit that they can never see themselves as having a proper same-sex relationship.
5. If a bi person gets attacked for their sexuality it is not because their attacker thinks they are bi. It is because their attacker thinks they are gay. It is a homophobic assault. It is not a biphobic assault.
All of my points above are true to a greater or lesser extent. I am sure there are fully honest, open, trustworthy bisexuals. These ones need to make their voices heard more often. Bi people need to take responsibility for their reputations. Honest, trustworthy bi people will not face discrimination. Dishonest, selectively bi people (and I’m including gay people who pretend to be bi to ‘test the water’ here) are the authors of biphobia.
With all this talk of phobic attitudes and studies, I find myself imagining people being tied to seats in laboratories, hooked up to monitors and forced to watch porn Clockwork Orange style, with accusing fingers pointed the moment a blip of arousal appears. “Aha! I always knew he was *really* a… gay/straight/bi/balloonophile/delete as applicable” and locking people up on the basis of the results.
(Of course certain people who get turned on by being tied up are going to be in trouble there… )
The ‘pretending to be bi to seem more interesting’ sadly does happen though. I know girls that do it to attract guys (part of the reason I have so few female friends is that all too many of them decided to use me for this purpose – and then get upset when I take their flirting seriously), and I know guys, particularly in the goth community, that think it will attract girls, too – give them the ‘gay’ sensitivity that apparently women go wild for (please note the sarcastic tone). The most frustrating bit in my experience is that a lot of these types then get seriously phobic at you when they realise you’re *really* bisexual and not just pretending, like they are – and start telling everyone you’re a freak. Or is that just me?
I think you’ve hit a point Maxine which the writer of the article has not acknowledged ie the way that some bisexuals will ‘switch on’ their bisexuality when it is convenient but will keep it switched off when it is otherwise convenient. I have no choice but to be openly gay to my boyfriend’s family.
I would expect that a bi person in an opposite sex relationship to be out to his/her partner’s family. That’s only fair and reasonable.
The bottom line is that biphobia is mostly expressed by gay people. Biphobia is nowhere near as big a problem as homophobia. If someone hates you for your sexuality they don’t care if you are bi. To them you are just a dirty queer who deserves a kicking. They don’t care about the distinction that you are bi.
Actually, Simon, with regard to your comment about outness – I know a lot of bisexuals in opposite-sex relationships who do everything possible to be visible as bi. I am personally out to the whole world – certainly, my partner’s family, my university lecturers and other students all know that I’m bi, and I’d be surprised if there was anyone who knows me who didn’t also know that I like grrls :)
Too many people assume that if you settle down with a partner of the opposite sex, you’ve “turned straight”. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the same way that a gay man doesn’t stop noticing other cute guys after he’s in a committed relationship, or a lesbian doesn’t stop noticing other awesome grrls, bi people continue to be attracted to members of the same sex whilst in an opposite-sex relationship. I have friends who go on Pride marches with their partners and kids to show that bisexuals exist – and get sad because they get taken for “allies” rather than “LGBT”.
But yes – I agree with your comment about women pretending to be bi to turn men on (Katy Perry ick!), and your point about married closeted bi men who treat their boyfriends like shit goes a long way to explain why so many gay men aren’t comfortable with bisexuals. Like many others in the bisexual community, I do ethical non-monogamy, and abhor cheating. I can totally understand your disgust with those so-called bisexuals who can’t be honest with either of their partners. Fortunately, most of us aren’t like that.
It’s wrong to insist people say wheather they are Gay or Bi-sexual or anything in fact, to do with their sexuality. Why, because it’s none of your damned business! That is on the one hand. But, on the other hand, if a Gay or Bisexual person wishes to tell the world they are gay. Thats fine too! So, when so-called celebs. announce I want to come out, I’m fond of both sexes so I’m Bisexual. What’s the big deal? This ‘Easier bi the backdoor’ headline, is spiteful, callous, unfeeling, un-called for. Un-nesessary, Crass, unforgetably silly. The past or the present is of no importance in sexuality. It is with the future we have to deal.
28: Brian Burton: You say: “It’s wrong to insist people say wheather they are Gay or Bi-sexual or anything in fact, to do with their sexuality.”
Actually I think it is very important to for a married bisexual man to tell his wife (or girlfriend) that he is bi if he is not going to be monogamous with her. At least then she has all the facts at her disposal.
I think genuinely bisexual women (I am NOT talking about the likes of Katy Perry etc here) are probably more honest about their sexuality as a rule than bi men. I think there is a tendency for gay men easing their way out of the closet to lie about being bi as a starting point. And I think there is a tendency for bi-men in opposite sex relationships to lie about being straight to their partners and to treat their male sex partners like dirt once they’ve had sex.
Either way what needs to be remembered that biphobia as a prejudice is not the same nor as serious as homophobia. Homophobia is the all-emcompassing disgust at same sex attraction. I think the biphobia this writer speaks about is the distrust shown by the gay community towards bi people. But he does not examine why this distrust exists or whether it is ever justified. I think that this distrust is quite often justified.
The unicorn is alive and well in vast numbers – it’s biphobia we have to hunt to extinction. I’m surprised it’s hung around so long, when all its breeding-grounds have disappeared by now.
As I’ve just said over on the Duncan Whoeverheis story: homophobia and biphobia are redundant terms.
- Bigotry is bigotry is bigotry.
- People get the shit kicked out of them for being same-sex attracted. This is a Bad Thing.
- It is nobody’s right to play ‘guess-the-label’, no matter how irritating that Katy Perry song was.
When I hear gay people banging on about how bi people ‘hide’ in the straight world I can’t help but feel that it’s a level of sex-life control-freakery rarely seen outside of batshit fundamental Christianity.
I keep seeing references in this thread and the one about the Blue star coming out, suggesting that lots of bis are bi as a ‘stopping off point’ on the way to identifying as gay, or that people use the label as it seems ‘safer’.
Yet at my local bi social-support group, I see as many people coming along having previously identified as lesbian or gay as having previously identified as straight.
And it does seem to me rather peculiar to think that ‘bi’ is an easier label to own. I can point at plenty of gay bars in my city, a raft of ‘pink press’ magazines and so forth. For the bis there’s Bi Community News and a smattering of events like BiCon next month, but being community led rather than saturated in pink pound capitalism, it’s on nothing like the same scale. If you’re being out to the world about same-sex attraction it does look like it would most often be easier to label yourself as ‘gay’ – regardless of the truth.
I am a very good looking bodybuilder. I do not identify as gay because I shun the gay lifestyle as I find it bitchy, edgy and inherently self-destructive, but Iam nevertheless predominantly attracted to guys. I have never had trouble picking up other fit guys at various gyms I have trained at, both here in the UK and overseas. Most times I learn that the guys I am copping off with have girlfriends or wives, and having spoken to a fair few about their proclivities, the fact is that they are sexually adventurous and therefore enjoy occasional one-off sexual encounters with other men. Basically men are physically constructed to have compatible, fulfilling sex with both men and women. What makes these guys anything but gay, however, is that while they can appreciate the physical aspect of sex with guys, they are not hot-wired to engage in any emotional attachment or involvement as they are with women. The only reason men in general aren’t fucking like rabbits with each other like in the Ancient Greek and Roman times is that religion has taken a hardline stance against ‘gay’ sex over the last couple of millenia, which combined with HIV creates a great deal of fear, guilt and shame around the act. However, as people are becoming more sexually progressive and are starting to see through the deception and limitations of the gay/bi/straight labels and identifying themselves simply as sexual beings, there is a lot more same sex experiemtation occurring, particularly among women. However, web sites like randyblue and seancody dot com are also proof that you don’t have to be ‘gay’ or even ‘bi’ to engage in sex with another guy, though I know that is a lot for the militant gays to get their narrow-minded heads around!
“Actually I think it is very important to for a married bisexual man to tell his wife (or girlfriend) that he is bi if he is not going to be monogamous with her.”:
I think it’s very important for a person to tell their partner if they’re not going to be monogamous with them. Regardless of sexuality, gender or marital status.
What’s the bets that Pink News got this written up based on the backlash on here?
“OK, let’s find some little whinging turd that claims to be ‘bisexual’ – whatever the hell that means – and get him to complain online so all our regular fags can rip the piss out of him whilst all the other PC-leftie-my-aunty-was-a-lesbian-once can berate how ‘biphobic’ the rest of us are.
Biphobic? Isn’t that something to do with stereo headphones?
RobN will be back with more, after this message from our sponsors:
*glint from teeth – musical stab – fade to black*
“I think it’s very important for a person to tell their partner if they’re not going to be monogamous with them. Regardless of sexuality, gender or marital status.”
Simon’s statement that bi men should be honest with their female partners presupposes that bi men are more likely to be unfaithful.
I don’t understand how anybody can decry bigotry about same-sex attraction while holding such prejudice of their own.
I don’t understand how anyone can decry prejudice against same-sex attraction whilst carrying their own prejudice (the notion that bi people are more likely to cheat on their partners).
But then some people just aren’t very intelligent.
In reply to Alison.
I think it’s more the fear that whilst in say, a gay relationship with a bisexual individual that said Bi individual at some point may require / desire female attentions.
As a gay man who respects and pursues monogomy, I would not be able to handle this “perceived” threat and it has nowt to do with
In reply to Dave North:
That is exactly my point. The fact that someone is bisexual does not mean that they are twice as likely to cheat on you, or that thir sexuality will somehow repolarise and they’ll leave you. These ideas are indicative of misunderstanding and prejudice.
I would draw a parallel with the ‘straight’ myth that if you meet someone the same sex as you and they are gay, they automatically fancy you.
It seems to me almost inevitable that the majority of bisexual people will end up finding an opposite-sex partner rather than a same-sex partner, because finding a partner of the same sex is so depressingly statistically unlikely by comparison. With only 5% of the male population or 0.7% of the female population to choose from, as opposed to 95% or 99.3% respectively for straights, and virtually the entire population for bisexuals, I guess that might be one source of frustration and resentment among gay people towards bisexual people. But if so then why does this not extend to straight people as well, for whom it is also much, much easier to find a partner? Is it that some gay people fear that it is very unfair for those who can play the much easier straight mating game to take part in the much harder gay one, thereby stealing yet more of the very limited field we must play and making an already next to impossible task even harder?
No: 32 Jen: You say: “Yet at my local bi social-support group, I see as many people coming along having previously identified as lesbian or gay as having previously identified as straight. ”
I trust that you agree that only a tiny minority of bisexuals would attend such a suppport group. You cannot regard such a sample group as being representative
Simon: my own experiences from local bi groups, Celebrate Bisexuality Days and BiCons all chime with Jen’s. That’s hundreds of bisexuals from all walks of life.
Are your generalisations based on representative samples of the bisexual population?
Being gay and looking for meaningful relationship is f’ing hard enough without some Bi arse ready to switch sexual allegiance at their own whim.
Fine. Thats the way they are.
I do not want such potential instability in a relationship.
I sympathise the predicament. But will not be a part of it.
No 41: Allison: You say: “Are your generalisations based on representative samples of the bisexual population?”
No of course not. I was just pointing out that people who attend BiCons and Bi Support Groups are far more likely to be out as bi and politicised than the bi guy lying to his wife and treating his male lover like dirt.
It is far easier and more convenient for a bi person to be closeted than for a gay person. Especially when they are in an opposite sex relationship.
I hope you are not trying to invalidate my experience with bi men. All the bi men I have met have been closeted from their wives and cheating on them. I do not claim that is a representative sample of all bi men but it is true of all the bi men I have met. I dated a bi guy once who was not with a woman but had to end it because of his incredible capacity for lying about who I was to ensure that he could maintain his straight facade. It was so incredibly disrespectful.
And I will repeat what I said earlier. Nobody goes bi-bashing. Bigots go gay-bashing. If a bi guy gets beaten up for his sexuality it is not because he is bi. It is because his attacker thinks he is gay.
I’m not trying to invalidate your experience Simon, I just take great objection to your tarring everybody with the same brush based on that experience. It is prejudice and I do not think it is defensible.
And I will repeat what I said earlier: bigotry is bigotry.
(Saying wheather they are Gay, Bi-sexual or anything?)
Why should men be so desperatly honest about their Bi-sexuality to their wives? In my experiance, the Bi-sexual man knows, that his wife is fully aware that he is having male sex on the side. I have spoken to wives in the past. They have eventually told me that they knew their Husbands sexual habits, before they married. You see Simon, a woman will always think she is capable of changing her Husband after marrage, in the way she wants him. It dose’ent work like that. In my case I met a man at a Gay friend’s house and we had sex in my friend’s bedroom. He was very sweet and very passive. Aftewards, he told me he was in the area staying at a hotel with his wife and 15 year old Son. The next day, when I saw him, he had a black-eye. I asked what happened and he told me when he got back to the Hotel, she was waiting behind the door and socked him as he walked in. Her excuse for socking him was. I told you not to look for men on this trip. I hav’nt forgiven her yet for this, he murmerd to me.
And so there you have it Simon Cheers x.
But it’s not just my experience Alison. ‘Biphobia’ within the gay community (and I know you don’t like the word but it’s just easier to use in this context) is not a dislike based on the fact that gay people don’t approve of opposite sex relationships. More often I think it is as a result of personal experience with bi people.
Maybe you don’t agree with this analysis but you cannot discount it either.
When I was a wee young thing, 16 or 17, I was a member of a local queer youth support group. One day I mentioned that I thought I might be bi (it took me while to realize the option existed; neither “straight” nor “gay” ever felt like a good fit). Oh, the drama! The club actually took a vote on a day I wasn’t there to see if I would still be allowed in the group. One of the members said she didn’t feel “safe” with em around.
I hear a few folks talk about the “privilege” of “passing” among straight people. Funny, I recall not too long ago being told homophobia wasn’t as real an issue as racism, because gay people could “pass” and black people never could.
Simon – see my response on the other post. The tension between gay and bi people is perpetuated by prejudice which makes it difficult for bi people to come out.
BS – that’s a great point about homophobia and racism.
I believe that bisexuality as an orientation is just as valid as homosexuality or heterosexuality. And I obviously don’t think bi people should face any legal discrimination of any sort.
What I detest (and it is rampant on this thread) is the lack of acknowledgement by some bi people of their own responsibility for their often negative perception in the wider queer community.
Gay people who distrust bisexual people generally don’t do so out of bigotry. They do so because they have been burned in the past.
I’m being labelled some sort of bigot for my predominantly negative experiences with bi people and their lack of respect and honesty towards their opposite sex partners and same sex partners.
I know that my experience is unique to me but arguing that bi people are honest and trustworthy just doesn’t sit comfortably with me as that has not been my experience with bi people.
Sorry if that annoys you but that’s my experience with bi people and it’s just as valid as your wonderful experiences
#45: Brian Burton: you say: “he told me when he got back to the Hotel, she was waiting behind the door and socked him as he walked in. Her excuse for socking him was. I told you not to look for men on this trip.”
So he had lied to her if presumably he had promised not to sleep with men on that trip?
I think the reason so many people have so many doubts about bisexuality is because so many people, myself included, who are gay once identified as “Bi” just because they weren’t ready or able to accept their homosexual orientation.
Let’s be real here. It’s EVERY bit as ridiculous to act as if a lot of people who identify as “bi” aren’t really gay as it is to act as if there are NO bisexual people.
I wish that just ONE of these often repeated tirades would acknowledge that YES there are a lot of gay people who identify as bi while making the valid point that bi-phobia is a real problem that the straight AND gay community needs to address.
Not only is it a real problem, it’s more of a problem now than it was at the beginning of this thread.
Memories have been bubbling to the surface. I just cannot say that I’ve met an honest and trustworthy bisexual man, and I’m not about to apologize for my life’s experience, am I? This is, in fact, the first time that I’ve given it any thought; I had burried it.
The last bisexual man I knew, about 10 years ago, showed up at my front door with a box of triple X gay porn and begged me to store it for him in my home because he was afraid his wife would come across it in his garage.
He was an old friend of mine, and I lost a friend that day because I refused to be part of his deception. I knew his wife, and I liked her, and… no, I just couldn’t, and I don’t regret it.
They have since split up; his two sons disappeared after high school; he now has another woman living with him and he is seen cruising the parking lots downtown in the wee hours. What kind of a life is that?
Consequently and hypothetically, I can’t imagine making a life’s commitment to a bisexual man. What would my vows sound like: I swear to be a cuckold till death do us part? Hello!
So, the more I think about it, the more confused I become. It is a problem, and this thread has gone a long way in brainstorming it. Yes, the straight and gay community needs to address it.
This article seems a bit outmoded.
Yes, when the closet ruled, saying you were bisexual or asexual were two options open to a gay man threatened with exposure he may not have be ready for. That tradition of refuge in ambiguity still exists for many teenagers or adults who continue to experience sexual confusion. So it’s not altogether unuseful.
A quick review of Bisexual support websites reveals that real bisexual identity is far from easy to deal with. It generates it’s own unique complications and issues which often leave bisexual children, teenagers and adults thinking of themselves as much more isolated than gays/lesbians who they feel at least have a solid cultural identity available to them.
The type of celebs you are describing – well they are hardly ‘A’ list are they ? They don’t come with a huge amount of cerbal self knowledge ? Why expect them to behave the way you feel they should ? What you are doing is saying a culture of gay-denial is still strong among high-exposure individuals. Well that is true. But don’t mix that up with the bisexual issue. And anyway the fact they are even bothering to tell you anything about their sexuality at all is something, even if it is essentially none of your business.
Being socked behind the door! Did’nt it make for an exiting trip though?
Of course, having sex with Bi-sexual people, should not make any difference to the couple enjoying each other. I have not found any phisical difference! The difference, if any, is stricktly Pycological…Adios Simon!……I’m not a celebrity, get me out of here!
How could the man who got socked resist my irrisitable charms?
For the last time: nobody is denying your experiences with bi men, or that there are a dishonest minority who give the rest of us a bad name. What is being objected to is the equation in your head which says “all bi men I’ve met have been dishonest, therefore all bi men are dishonest”. It is the very definition of bigotry. Since you are unable to grasp that, this conversation is pointless.
Vulpus_rex wrote (in comment 5):
If on the other hand one understands bisexual to mean someone who would happily settle down for life with someone of either sex, then I have still yet to meet one.
I use the second definition of bisexuality above [...]
If on the other hand one understands bisexual to mean someone who would happily settle down for life with someone of either sex, then I have still yet to meet one.
I use the second definition of bisexuality above [...]
I suspect you have met bisexuals who would be happy to have a life-long relationship with somebody of either sex; it’s just that you assumed they were either straight or gay. This is similar to many straight people saying “I don’t know any gay people” when, in fact, they do know lots of gay people; it’s just that they assume those people are straight.
Regarding your definition of bisexuality… It is a flawed definition. I think you may find the Curving Both Ways article enlightening.
Simon… so you dislike and distrust bisexual people because of bad experiences and you’ve been been burned in the past? Hmmm, if that’s the criteria your basing your prejudice on its a wonder you’re not homophobic as well.
For someone that claims to support bisexuality, you’re doing an awfully good job of being biphobic.
Even if someone bi is ‘honest and trustworthy’ discrimination is still faced. Ranging from your very existence being denied, being attacked, being rejected socially or from relationships purely on the basis of your sexuality or having assumptions made about the way you live your life. It’s also not true that people physically attack others for being queer rather than specifically bisexual – it’s perhaps more common, but it’s not necessarily exclusively true.
In case you hadn’t noticed, various bi people on here are challenging your prejudices. However, whilst it is the responsibility of the bisexual community as a whole to combat prejudice, it is not beholden to each person to do so.
I’m sure you would agree that the stereotype of gay men is hardly that of stable, monogamous relationships, but would also not deny that many happy, stable and monogamous same sex relationships exist. Just as you (probably) choose to overlook the gay men that get pilled up, pull a different man each week and treat their partners badly, perhaps you could provide some leeway to the bi men that cheat outside an opposite sex relationship.
I don’t approve of that behaviour, but it’s not my job to police sexuality. Unfortunately I’m all too aware of why people behave in that way though : because you bigoted fucks won’t accept honesty. One sniff of the word ‘bi’ and a non trivial proportion of people disappear.
Mostly this is due to ignorance, prejudice and stupidity. Heterosexual people generally reject you (in my experience) because their outlook really is quite narrow, and many things that force them to confront their world view/prejudices is just too much hard work when they could find someone who is/pretends to be straight instead.
Gay people should know better, but don’t. It’s way easier to be exposed to different sexualities and relationships in the queer community, yet again old prejudices raise their head and people are particularly poor at confronting them. Far better to stick to that person who claims to be gay, isn’t it?
I’m sure it’s not your job to make things harder for yourself by risking that someone bi might cheat on you as opposed to.. a gay man that might cheat on you, or get bored after a few days and disappear. However, you also think it’s the responsibility of all bi people to be completely honest, even if not disclosing their bisexuality would have no impact on you.
Sounds a hypocritical, self interest oriented viewpoint, to me..
Peter, I can assure you Simon Murphy is not prejudiced on, Bi,Gay or Lezbion matters. Simon overstates his case sometimes when he gets carried away with a subject. But, prejudice, hypocracy? No, you are quite wrong in your (honest) assumption. I know Simon, I have studied him on these threads for a conciderable time. He is the first to defend sexuality. I myself, have crossed swords with Simon on occasions on Spiritual, Religious matters. I can therefore say with comfidence, Simon is only prejudiced against God, not you or especially Bi-sexuals….. Don’t be a stranger Peter!
“Simon is only prejudiced against God”
I’m starting to like him.
This would have had more clout if it had been written like a news article rather than a personal blog entry.
A lot of people are talking about people who identify as bi but are “really” gay, or vice-versa.
One thing to remember is that sexuality is fluid. It changes over time. I have over time identified as straight, then gay, and now I’m comfortable identifying as bisexual. Most people I know, regardless of how they identify, have identified differently over time – even if they’re not comfortable admitting it now.
So perhaps the “halfway house” thing is that people’s orientation has genuinely changed over time from bisexuality to homosexuality, or vice-versa? I’m sure that’s not *always* the case but it’s certainly worth thinking about…
OK, so let’s accept that Simon Murphy has had bad experiences of bisexuals. From that, he concludes that bisexuals are, as a sexuality, generally less trustworthy and more prone to lying. (I say this, because if he accepts that bisexuals aren’t really like that, and that it’s his perception that’s at fault, then that’s pretty much the *definition* of a prejudice, and we know he’s not prejudiced, because we’ve been told so.)
Now, that’s a pretty extraordinary claim. It’s suggesting that you can tell something significant about the character of a person just from knowing their sexuality. If I were to make a similar claim about gay men based on my experiences, I’d be quite rightly asked for some pretty strong proof. People might think I was only noticing the examples that supported my … well, if we’re not going to call it ‘prejudice’, what *are* we going to call the blanket mistrust of an entire group of people based on their sexuality? Gay men who didn’t fit my claim might resent being asked to apologise for other people who did, simply because they shared a sexuality.
You should not be prejudiced against anything you don’t understand including God.
The onley Alison I ever knew and admired, (her work that is!) was Alison Henagen, Gay Jorunalist. Super Lady, she worked with Peter Tatchell once. I wonder what she is doing now? I wonder If you will be wondering about someong in ten years?
“There’s no such thing as bi-sexuality mate, it’s just bleedin greed” Linda to Tom in ‘Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie’.
Alison: #56: I am not saying as you suggest that “What is being objected to is the equation in your head which says “all bi men I’ve met have been dishonest, therefore all bi men are dishonest”
I am merely saying that all the bi men I have met have been dishonest. Of course I am not suggesting that all bi men are dishonest.
“Of course I am not suggesting that all bi men are dishonest.”
Just that they’re more likely to be.
Ok Simon, maybe you don’t think that ALL bi men are dishonest, but you seem to be tarring MOST of them based on your previous experiences. How would you feel if the way you were treated was based on somebody’s previous encounters with gay men? Would you think that a logical, evidence-based attitude, or a prejudice that they ought to deal with?
Stop putting words in my mouth.
I have no idea if bi men are more likely to be dishonest than straight or gay men. And I don’t claim to know more than a handful of bi men so I’m not generalising about them. I am just saying the ones I have met have been dishonest. Don’t attack me for the experiences I have had.
And David of course I’ve been treated by people in a manner influenced by people’s previous encounters with gay men. I am assumed to be massively promiscuous by some people on 1st meeting. I’m not massively promiscuous but I can’t blame people for assuming I would be if all the other gay men they’ve met wear their boxers as ankle-warmers.
I look forward to meeting bi people who will challenge my preconceptions
“I look forward to meeting bi people who will challenge my preconceptions”
We have done our best.
Bentham said “I would say it takes a special kind of woman and a special kind of man to achieve a lasting relationship with a bisexual.”
I’m a straight bloke, but my wife is bi & has relationships with other women. I don’t think it takes a special man at all – most of my mates think I’m the luckiest b***ard alive :D
What’s wrong with adults who want a relationship (or indeed just sex) with another consenting adult regardless of what gender/orientation they are. Labels can be useful but they also serve to restrict people. Hopefully one day we can all be free to form healthy relationships with anyone regardless of gender and all orientations are equal without any other member of society being offended or distrustful of it – be good wouldn’t it?
A lot of what’s been said does seem to focus more on unhealthy sexual behaviour rather than orientation and lets face dishonesty sadly exists in all orientations.
I personally have no hesitation in believing bisexuals when they say they’re bisexual. I have, however, always avoided relationships with men who identify as bisexual, for the same reason I’ve avoided relationships with men who identify as straight – in terms of intimate relationships, I’m not attracted to males in general, but to other homosexual males. I don’t think there’s anything “biphobic” about that, any more than I’m “heterophobic” for not wanting sexual relationships with women.
I think many more people would come out if it wasn’t for the scepticism that claiming to be bi sexual is met with. I am bi and anything other than bisexuality mystifies me a little. In other words I can’t identify fully with people who are exclusively straight or gay.
As a bi male I have always been a little mystified that claims to biness have always met with scepticism. I have never felt gay or straight and find it difficult to identify with those who claim to be exclusively gay or straight. Perhaps this scepticism prevents many bi people from declaring their biness, in fact I’m sure it does.
Sorry about the two messges folks, mea culpa
Thank you Ted.
Your comment actually makes sense to me, and I’m 100% gay.
I don’t mean to pry, but I am curious as to your lifestyle. For example, are you married, do you have children, etc.?
For some reason the words ‘honesty and trustworthy’ keep coming up in our effort to grasp how bisexuals can develop and become mature, responsible and fulfilled adults. Are we being judgemental? Are we being unfair?
Also, while many comments here appear to have been made by atheists, does that mean that all ethics are put aside when it comes to sexual satisfaction?
Obviously, I have nothing but questions, and I hope nobody thinks I expect others to be as perfect as I am becaus I ain’t perfect, never have been; and I haven’t always been honest and trustworthy when I was young and exploring my sexuality.
I am now in a 19-year same-sex relationship and we are perfect for each other, our friends and families love us and we them. There are personality conflicts now and then with family members, but we think of that as par for the course.
My attitude is one of questioning, that’s all.
#78: Bentham: “Also, while many comments here appear to have been made by atheists, does that mean that all ethics are put aside when it comes to sexual satisfaction? ”
I sincerely hope you’re not being atheistphobic :P
Frankly, so do I.
You know me better than that, mon ami.
‘For some reason the words ‘honesty and trustworthy’ keep coming up in our effort to grasp how bisexuals can develop and become mature, responsible and fulfilled adults. Are we being judgemental? Are we being unfair?’
Could you unpick that a little. The way you phrase it could be read to mean that you don’t think any bisexuals already are mature, responsible and fulfilled adults, and I’m not at all sure you meant that.
Assuming you didn’t mean that, what are the bisexuals you refer to developing *from*? Teenagers? Why do you feel the development of bisexuals along that path is any different from the development of non-bisexuals?
(Honest questions, by the way. I’m struggling to understand what you’re asking here.)
“For some reason the words ‘honesty and trustworthy’ keep coming up in our effort to grasp how bisexuals can develop and become mature, responsible and fulfilled adults. Are we being judgemental? Are we being unfair?”
Are you saying you think bisexuals become mature, responsible and fulfilled adults in a markedly different way from gays or straights? Because I don’t see a huge difference, other than heterosexuals don’t have to come to terms with their same-sex attraction.
You earlier said that “it takes a special kind of woman and a special kind of man to achieve a lasting relationship with a bisexual”, and again I’m not quite sure what you mean by that (particularly as not all bisexuals are in opposite-sex relationships). I’ve been in long term relationships with both men and women, and while I’d like to think that I and my partners were “special”, in reality I suspect we were all quite ordinary!
Andy – there’s a difference between straight relationships with bi women and men. Whilst some bi women still suffer from the perception that they’re not capable of long term monogamous relationships, they also generally have the dubious ‘advantage’ of a sometimes favourable image in the media, although often of the ‘phwoar’ kind.
Bi men have few such advantages. There are some straight women who find bi men hot, but they’re comparatively fewer in number, and that doesn’t help when (like some bi women, contrary to stereotype) you’re not keen on threesomes or are looking for a serious relationship. More usual is that you’re tarred with the stereotypes that you don’t do monogamous relationships, will cheat, will require far too demanding or kinky sex plus not to mention You Have Done It With A Bloke.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done with a man or the fact men and women have a large proportion of body parts in common, a variety of narrow minded straight women can’t cope with that idea, will have to deal with the social implications, the gender role implications (dominance/submission etc) and instantly transform into either a strap-on wielding dominatrix or prepare to take it Up The Bum.
On the flip side, bi women get considerably more grief from lesbian women than bi men do from gay men.
To answer the question about the uk bi community – it’s as diverse as the gay community.
There’s a distinction between the people who are in the ‘bi community scene’ such as it is and people who are behaviourally bi.
The ‘bi community’ as defined as the group of people who do or attend visible activism, national and local bi events and speak to each other on specific bi themes tend to be more poly and kinky than average, but this is not universally true.
There are various other bi groups that operate locally and are allied to either health services, queer institutions or other groups. Certain groups have alternative, socialist or trans affiliations for instance. There are plenty of visible bi people who do not feel the need to be involved with specifically bi groups.
There are a variety of bi people who split their time between almost entirely gay/lesbian organisations/social scenes and straight alternatives, with no input into specifically bi scenes. They may or may not be visibly bi.
Then there are an awful lot of bisexuals that aren’t known about. Either because they’re happy being behaviourally bi in their own social circle, or because they’ve settled down in a long term relationship and aren’t broadcasting their sexuality. This also includes the cheating attached men, and the man and woman in a serious relationship who ‘just need another woman to make things perfect’ (quite how many women are pressured into that scenario is unknown, of course).
Oh, and finally, yes you’re being unfair in expecting bisexuals to be honest and trustworthy any more than anyone else. For better or worse, we’re still people. Bisexuality is not a magic bullet that makes you more or less wonderful, although there are certain pressures that might bias people towards being so in just the same way as other queer people are not always honest with their sexuality either.
The best you can do is have open communication and hope the other person is responding in kind.
David Mathewman(81), David (82):
Thanks for the feedback. You are both perfectly right to pick up on my confusion. Bisexuality does confuse me.
I may be prone to generalize, I’ll give you that. Fact is, my personal experience with bisexual men (I’ve never known a bisexual woman), has led me to blieve that they were immature, irresponsible and unfulfilled.
I don’t know how bisexuals develop. I suppose I mean becoming aware of one’s sexuality, assuming it, experimenting, falling in love, becoming happy and productive in society.
Also, I may be mistaken to believe that a bisexual man needs to have sexual encounters with both men and women all his life; in other words, that he needs to go from one bed to another while both his partners are alternately put on the back burner. That’s what I meant by having to be a ‘special’ type of person to fall in love and to nurture a love with a bisexual.
I like that you point out my ambiguities. I am struggling with this issue; I do not believe I am better than you; if I wasn’t interested in learning from you, I wouldn’t bother posting here, would I.
Although I am in a same-sex relationship, it is becoming clear to me that I have dreaded falling in love with a bisexual because I give my all to the person I love, and I feel a bisexual man could not possibly reciprocate bacause he would be checking out the ladies.
In other words, I would only have half of him while naturally wanting every scrap of him, every delicious scrap of him. It would drive me insane to share the man I love. There, I’ve said it.
but I’m still confused.
To point out the obvious, you do realise that your partner is highly likely to still be checking out the men, even if he isn’t going to do anything about it? If you accept that, ask yourself why a bisexual man checking out women is different. If you don’t accept that, I would suggest that is ignoring the reality of most relationships..
I’ve seen the argument used that a person of opposite sex to you could provide things you could not. Such people conveniently ignore the fact it is impossible to be all things to all people. Sorry, but you’re not the best lover, the best athlete, the sharpest wit, the most gourmet of cooks and the perfect homemaker. Even if by a miracle you are even one of those, you certainly are not all of them simultaneously.
The only way to know how things will progress is to ask. Some bisexuals need a male and female partner to be happy. Some do not. Some gay men need various types of kink and relationship styles in their life, which may or may not be spread across multiple people, to be happy. Sexuality and kink aren’t precisely the same thing, but the effect is the same.
For the record, I’m bisexual, monogamous and still check out people even in a relationship. Doesn’t mean I have to pursue opportunities or plan to cheat, though.
Nikolas (74): “I’m not attracted to males in general, but to other homosexual males.”
First lesson in understanding bi invisibility: never, ever assume that someone who engages in same-sex activities is 100% homosexual. Even if they identify as gay!
Bentham (79): “For some reason the words ‘honesty and trustworthy’ keep coming up in our effort to grasp how bisexuals can develop and become mature, responsible and fulfilled adults. Are we being judgemental? Are we being unfair?”
Short answer: yes. We have our share of bona fide dipshits, like every other community. We respectfully ask that you do not assume us all to be the same.
Peter (83): awesome comment, made all the more awesome by Entertaining Use of Capital Letters.
And (84): “I’ve seen the argument used that a person of opposite sex to you could provide things you could not. Such people conveniently ignore the fact it is impossible to be all things to all people.”
Precisely. For some bisexuals, gendar is important, i.e. they relate to men and women in different ways. (I think I probably fall into this category.) For others, gender is as inconsequential as hair colour.
Peter, of course both my partner and I do ‘check out’ the guys and we do ocassionally point out a beauty to one another. We are not jealous of each other because we check out other guys in passing. Nothing comes of it.
What I meant about a bisexual checking out the ladies was that he would be inclined to desire and persue her without telling me about it. I like women, I have female friends and 2 sisters. That’s not the point.
You are bang on when you say that some bisexuals “need” a male and a female partner to be happy. Those are the kind of bisexuals that I’ve known, and those are the kind of bisexuals who need a ‘special’ type of person to be happy while sharing their partner.
Personally, I can’t imagine my male partner coming home after an encounter with his female partner, and possibly his children. The word ‘doormat’ comes to mind.
I’m willing to admit I have a problem with it; I seem to be entrenched in the idea that people are harmed in such complex relationships. Is that biphobia?
On the whole though, and to be fair, I am not obssessed with other peoples’ sex lives, and I generally nurture the attitude of ‘live and let live’. In that sense I could probably be friendly with a bisexual, but I would steer clear of such an unpredictable and dynamic entanglement.
“a variety of narrow minded straight women can’t cope with that idea (that you’ve slept with a man)”-
I can kind of see their point though Peter, (not in that I agree) but in the sense that bi women are seen as ‘hot’ by straight men as a lot of straight men find lesbian sex one of the ultimate turn ons and things to see/be told about/be involved in.
Whereas straight women do not find men having sex with men as ‘hot’. They don’t find it attractive in any way that straight men find lesbian sex ‘hot’.
I think that’s part of the issue.
“You are bang on when you say that some bisexuals “need” a male and a female partner to be happy. Those are the kind of bisexuals that I’ve known, and those are the kind of bisexuals who need a ‘special’ type of person to be happy while sharing their partner.”
You’re aboslutely right. It’s sometimes glibly trotted out that it must be great to be bisexual, because you have the pick of everyone who is attracted to your gender. The kind of people you describe are in fact at an obvious disadvantage, in that the number of people who are open to unconventional relationships is tiny.
“I seem to be entrenched in the idea that people are harmed in such complex relationships. Is that biphobia?”
I don’t think that’s a prejudice about bisexuals, I think that’s a prejudice about people who are engaged in ‘complex relationships’.
I’ve been actively engaged in the UK bi community for five years, and it’s certainly true that within that community there are a large number of people who engage in what we call ‘ethical non-monogamy’. It’s not for me, and I don’t believe that it is representative of the wider bisexual population (there’s no way to know whether it is or not). What seems clear to me is that engaging in ethical non-monogamy demands an unusual level of self-awareness and honesty. I would suggest that an honest relationship involving more than two people might in fact be less complex than a relationship between two people where things are swept under the carpet.
“I would steer clear of such an unpredictable and dynamic entanglement.”
I can introduce you to some thoroughly undynamic bisexuals if you’re interested. ;)
Bentham : I’d echo what Alison said. I don’t do polyamoury. Partly because I don’t trust some of the people that practice it, and partly because it’s not a relationship style that makes me comfortable. It’s worth remembering again that the people who practice it remain people and that it does not necessarily improve them. People do, and will continue to, lie and cheat regardless of their situation.
I have no problem with someone rejecting a person because they demand multiple partners – what I have an objection with is people assuming it’s an intrinsic property of bisexuals.
Lezabella : it’s still about being incredibly narrow minded and immature, though. I’ll grant that the allure of lesbianism is a draw for various straight men (even though their fantasy is also suitably moronic) and that gay sex isn’t attractive to many straight women.
However, this isn’t merely lacking what is (possibly) an advantage enjoyed by bisexual women (and also often an annoyance, when you’re assumed to be indiscriminate amongst other things), it’s a definite negative point.
It shouldn’t be a negative point if the person is suitably mature, because then they should understand that what your partner has done in the past is not necessarily indicative of what they wish to do with you. If they find themselves imagining whatever act they find distasteful, they have some issues they need to work through.
Then again, very few people of any type tend to examine their own motivations and address some of their less pleasant prejudices.
Alison advises: “First lesson in understanding bi invisibility: never, ever assume that someone who engages in same-sex activities is 100% homosexual.”
I don’t make any such assumption. I’m not 100% homosexual myself. Just a big enough % homosexual to identify as such and to have only sought sexual relationships with other males, and the same goes for the long-term partners I’ve had.
You’re a delightful person. I’m part French so beware, I am inclined to hug a lot!
I am convinced that you never thought I was being judgemental, and I truly feel I’m closer to a better understanding of bisexuality.
Also, I had no idea of how well organized you are and how well equipped the Bi community is to guide a young person through the confusion of discovering and accepting their sexual identity. Perhaps the bisexual men I’ve met would have turned out differently and more honest (that seems to be the key word)about themselves.
My partner and I have been honest with each other for so long, I just take it for granted, I suppose.
Yes, you’re right, dynamic complex relationships… life is too short, and living in confusion is such a waste of time, although I do not mean the kind of complexities that arise when a couple is gifted with children.
Yes, I really did think multiple partners to be an ‘instrinsic property of bisexuals’. Thank you for your patience.
Hehe… hugs are good, particularly when engaging in a discussion where feelings are running high.
The ‘active’ bi community does its best to support bi people, but more than that, it provides support for people who are questioning their sexuality. We understand that some people use the word ‘bi’ as a stepping stone when the shores of hetero or homosexuality look a little too alien and scary; certainly the group with which I am involved (BiScotland) welcomes people in that position.
However, invisibility remains a huge challenge. I first called myself bisexual in 1997; after a couple of horrible encounters with gay women, I locked myself firmly back in the closet. It wasn’t until 2004 that I finally heard and read other human beings describing feelings and experiences similar to my own. I read a book called ‘Bi Lives’ (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bi-Lives-Bisexual-Women-Stories/dp/1884365094) and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life – within months I had become involved with BiScotland and had come out to everyone I knew. I felt validated, but my coming-out experience was somewhat undermined by the fact that it should have happened years beforehand.
I get very angry and defensive when I gay people suggest that it is easy for bisexuals to ‘hide’ by pretending to be straight. I ‘hid’ for seven years. It wasn’t safe, it was suffocating.
It’s sometimes even harder for people to out themselves as bi after identifying as gay. I remember one person at BiCon a few years back describing how when she came out as gay, she found a ready-made local support group; when she subsequently came out as bi, she felt completely alone.
So you see, the kind of prejudice we face can have a horrible effect on us at an individual level; and at a more general level, it is in nobody’s interest for bisexuals to be kept in the closet (either as straight or gay!), as this perpetuates our invisibility and makes it harder to be open with our partners.
It is a joy to know you are interested. :)
It is a joy being able to enlighten you. :)
However, invisibility remains a huge challenge. I first called myself bisexual in 1997; after a couple of horrible encounters with gay women, I locked myself firmly back in the closet. It wasn’t until 2004 that I finally heard and read other human beings describing feelings and experiences similar to my own. I read a book called ‘Bi Lives’ (ed Orndorff – recommended) and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life – within months I had become involved with BiScotland and had come out to everyone I knew. I felt validated, but my coming-out experience was somewhat undermined by the fact that it should have happened years beforehand.
Marcus, you’re making too much sense with your argument. Surely you must be gay… :)
Sex can be a joy, whatever sexuality you are. filling ones head with whys, hows, wherefores, all syphological barriers to sex life-styles, you are looking for. We are all, far from perfect I know that. Life can deal you a crummy hand and nothing seemes to go right. I have lived my life in fasers. Frightened Gay-boy formally. Then confident Gay-man. S & M practitioner. Then Lover, then Gay Spouse. Now Living a life of Riely, Happy, happy, happy.
Happy, happy, happy?
Can somebody fetch me a bag? I think I’m going to retch.
Happy, happy, happy?
Can somebody fetch me a bag? I think I’m going to retch. ;)
You must be ‘Glad to be Sad’ poor Sod! Hic! ‘nother drinkypoo!
What an interesting article and thread – and also extremely heart warming to see people debating things and then genuinely revising their views. Wow!
It has been an enlightening exchange for me, Christina. Although I am a senior (whatever that means), it dawned on me while reading these comments how much the letters LGBT mean to me, and how little the groups represented by each letter know about each other.
In fact, and maybe I’m pushing it, I wonder if a good percentage (if not all) of heterosexuals could not find their identity within the broad range of sexual orientations expressed by LGBT.
Basically, the concept of patriarchy could not stand up to the honesty with which these persons have expressed themselves.
21st Century, and all that…!
“I wonder if a good percentage (if not all) of heterosexuals could not find their identity within the broad range of sexual orientations expressed by LGBT.”
Heh… I suspect they are. It’s been suggested that we should have a ‘stay at home if you’re bisexual’ day. I think the country would grind to a halt. >:)
I find that through talking to a number of people about sexuality, that there is quite a range of sexualities which don’t necessarily bear a direct relation to someone’s personal identity.
There are some people who are completely heterosexual or homosexual – you have to believe someone is as they say they are, generally.
Everyone else has some level of attraction to both sexes, and then self identity comes into the mix – and boy is that complex. There’s social, political and personal factors that affect who someone identifies as, despite what they might do behaviourally.
Does bisexuality begin when you fancy both sexes, when you enjoy sex with both sexes or when you can enjoy relationships with both sexes. Are you bi if you like people that look boyish, whether they’re a boy or a butch lesbian, but otherwise only go out with/have sex with men or women exclusively? (yes, I’m largely avoiding trans issues here as it complicates explanations).
I think it’s quite illuminating to note that despite whichever combination of identities you have : bisexual, gay, lesbian, straight, trans, cisgendered (i.e. not trans) it is often possible to take certain behaviours/lifestyles etc from one category and find someone happily doing the same in another category.
Alison mentioned the book “Bi Lives”. Another excellent anthology of personal accounts by bi people is “Bi Any Other Name” (actually, that’s one of my favourite books of all time). In my experience, such anthologies can help a bisexual person feel they have found a valid self identity, and help a non-bisexual person find answers to their questions about bisexuality. There are similar anthologies of personal accounts written by people of other identities (such as gay men and lesbians). Since you have indicated you find the idea of non-monogamy to be offputting, you might find the book “Open fidelity” to be interesting. That slim book won’t doesn’t argue that non-monogamy is better than monogamy; it just explains that it can be a valid choice. I read “Open Fidelity” because it was written by a friend of a friend. It provided me with a better understanding of non-monogamy. I thought it provided some useful insights into monogamous relationships too.
Regarding people in the bi community being more likey to be non-monogamous than people elsewhere… I have noticed that a person who is unconventional in one way has a higher-than-average chance of being unconventional in other ways too. For example, here is a list of some “unconventional” lifestyle issues: being vegetarian, being interested enough in science fiction to go to sci-fi conventions, being non-monoganous, being in favour of home schooling, using a bicycle as your main form of transport, being comfortable with social nudity, making your home more eco-friendly (having a compost bin, using a water butt, recycling as much rubbish as possible, buying food with little/no packaging, using energy-efficient lightbulbs, and so on), being transgender, being gay/bi/lesbian, having a sexual fetish (bondage, SM, leather or latex clothes, and so on), being left-handed, being dyslexic.
I don’t know why people who are are unconventional in one way tend to be unconventional in other ways too. My *guess* is that if a person feels secure enough to “come out” as being unconventional in one way then they may feel secure enough to experiment with, or “come out” on, other non-conventional issues too. Because of this, an unconventional lifestyle issue such as non-monogamy or vegetarianism is more visible in a non-conventional community (such as the bi community) than in mainstream society. At least that’s been my experience.
Peter wrote: Does bisexuality begin when you fancy both sexes, when you enjoy sex with both sexes or when you can enjoy relationships with both sexes.
That is exactly the kind of question that approaches what I would call authentic probing, and while it leaves the subject open to further speculation, it points us in the right direction. Thanks again, Peter. You are a very attractive bisexual!
Ciaran: The intellectual level acheived by the LGBT community in England never ceases to amaze me. Not only are you well-read, for instance, you have pondered the writings of professionals and taken them seriously as a means of knowing yourself. Love it.
Of course, I will take note of the three books you mentioned. But you know how it is; I already have have stacks of unread books so I can’t promise I will get around to reading everything I have before I drop dead! Still, hearing your synopsis has been precious, and on the whole, I have grown a full inch by reading comments on this thread. Also, and more importantly, I am better prepared to speak intelligently about bisexuality to my friends whenever they mock (and they will) people who call themselves bisexual.
Hugs all around.
With regard to the isolation felt by bi people I am wondering why there isn’t a more high profile bi support network. When I came out as gay there was a support network in place which I could easily access and which could offer advice and help. Does such a thing exist for bi people. If not then why not? If it is hard to come out as bi (after already coming out as gay earlier) then why is it not possible to access proper support?
Secondly while I know that you can’t regulate who you fall in love with surely the best possible mate for a bisexual person is another bisexual person?
just to show you that i am not atheistophobic, I’d like to make a positive statement:
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
Thank you Marcus for this great article ^.^
it’s amazing how many people cant understand it still…
u break it down as easy as poissible for them but
a biphobic’s mind is too tiny to comprehend it.
I would love to write an article too but you say alot
of what i would say =]
“If you find yourself nodding to the sentence above, I’m
afraid you’re part of the problem”
Honestly and brillantly said ^.^
No 112: DTP: You say: “a biphobic’s mind is too tiny to comprehend it.”
Perhaps. But it could equally be argued that the bi population have failed to educate society adequately about their sexual orientation.
I mean considering how viciously homophobic society used to be the gay community has succeeded admirably in educating most of society about our homosexual orientation. To place the blame for lack of understanding of bisexuality at the door of the non-bi population is both lazy and self-serving.
‘…it could equally be argued that the bi population have failed to educate society adequately about their sexual orientation.’
In this case, a news item in PinkNews became an excellent means of educating us, and there is proof here that the bi population is perfectly capable of informing anyone who is open to being educated.
In my experience, I have struggled against giving bisexuals the benefit of the doubt because of negative experiences I have had where bisexuals did cause some damage to their families, loved ones and friends.
Also, and in favor of the bisexual population, I was surprised to see how well-organized, intelligent, articulate, patient and humourous they can be when given half a chance.
But, if the abuse bisexuals received on this thread is any indication of the kind of reception they would receive from the public, and considering the complexities of their daily situations, I can understand how they would prefer to be available for comments rather than to be in-your-face about the realities of their sexual orientations.
I suppose that could be considered a failure to educate, although putting that kind of a spin on it would be putting them on the defensive again, which is a good enough reason for them to keep out of sight. Is that really what you want, or what you meant to say?
Then again, as Alison said at one point, if every bisexual in the UK were to stay at home, the entire works would come to a full stop.
What has been made clear to me in this thread is that bisexuals are generally more apt to defend gays than gays, bisexuals. Now that we are informed, and that we have a better understanding of how delicate their situations can be, it would not be that difficult to at least speak kindly about them when one of them does come out, like ‘that Duncan bloke from Blue’. That’s what community is all about, right?
Oh for sure. I agree. But if every time a gay or a straight person asks a question about bisexuality and the immediate response is ‘Oh you’re biphobic’ (like DTP’s comment number 112) then that is simply lazy defensiveness.
I believe that if a lack of understanding about bisexuality exists within the larger gay community then it is the bi community who need to educate people. Perhaps gay people are instinctively biphobic but I think the likelihood of a gang of gay guys going out to physically attack a bi person is non-existent so there should be no risk in bi people arguing their point. They are not in any danger so they should simply do it.
I think most bi people are very open to answering questions about their sexuality in order to address people’s misunderstandings – defensiveness creeps in when assumptions are made. I’m the first to admit I’m chippy about it! :)
In terms of offering support on a wide scale, invisibility is a serious problem. People are assumed to be gay or straight based on the relationship they are in – they are put off coming out because of the perceived lack of support, therefore the bi community never gains the critical mass it needs to *become* visible.
How do we go about breaking the cycle? One issue which might need to be considered is that many groups which are ostensibly there to support LGB/LGBT people consistently treat bisexuals as an afterthought in their research and campaigns, or omit us entirely. I feel the same way as Marcus about the use of the word ‘gay’ – it is not understood to mean ‘attracted to both genders’, so I feel that it does not describe my sexuality. Therefore when I see organisations or events described as being ‘lesbian and gay’, I feel excluded, although what they offer may be relevant to me.
There is still opposition among some ‘lesbian and gay’ organisations to make the shift to LBG/LGBT in their names and objectives. Even worse, I have heard of bi groups approaching Stonewall for support in trying to get the word ‘bisexual’ used more widely and positively in the media, and being essentially told that this is not a fight worth having.
In terms of fighting discrimination against same-sex orientated people, it makes sense for us all to be pulling together, not broken into smaller groups depending on arbitrary labels – divided, we fall.
You’ve answered the question why bi people are treated as an afterthought by LGBT groups in your point above Alison.
First you say “they [bi people] are put off coming out because of the perceived lack of support, therefore the bi community never gains the critical mass it needs to *become* visible”
Then a paragraph later you say “groups which are ostensibly there to support LGB/LGBT people consistently treat bisexuals as an afterthought in their research and campaigns, or omit us entirely.”
So effectively groups meant to be representing LGBT people are not representing bi people as there are shortages of bi people in these groups to argue for issues relating to bi people. And it needs to be bi people arguing on their own behalf. Gay men are the best placed to argue on issues relating to them. Lesbians are best placed to argue on issues relating to them. I’m not sure that gay men or lesbians or trans people are best placed to argue the bi cause. They may support it in theory but they can hardly argue the case with the same knowledge.
How do you get more bi people involved in LGBT groups? That seems to be where the problem is?
It’s clear to me where you are both coming from, and yes, it is a corker.
The fact remains that every time we have seen a news item on PinkNews so far this year, the comments are generally negative with regards to a person coming out as a Bisexual. You know that’s true.
I do not basically disagree with either one of you; all that I’m saying is that as Gays, we could at the very least refrain from snide remarks about celebrities who do come out as Bi. Bisexuals who have attained fame of any kind are destined to become role models, aren’t they?
The only way I seem to be able to put my point across is to wonder how Gays would react if Lesbians, Transsexuals and Bisexuals were to publicly discredit the likes of Harvey Milk.
An extreme example, I know, but hopefully it will carry some weight.
“How do you get more bi people involved in LGBT groups?”
On the one hand, you’ve got LGBT groups who have added the ‘BT’ to their name and then seem to have carried on as a lesbian & gay group without making any attempts to be inclusive. On the other, there are groups who have recognised the lack of representation of bisexuals in their numbers, and have made active efforts to redress that.
For example, Unison’s lesbian & gay section used to have a terrible reputation for their attitude to bisexuals (which amounted to “no you can’t join us, go away and organise your own caucus”). Now, their LGBT section is trying to reach out to their bi and trans members, doing things like going to meet bi groups to drum up support. It’s things like that which will make bi people realise they’re actually going to be welcomed to a group (or at least will have support from the leaders). Otherwise, it really takes a critical mass of bi (or supporting) members within an organisation to make the necessary changes. It can be daunting being the only bi in a group, and you don’t want to be seen as constantly harping on about any instances of prejudice you encounter.
And some groups are a bit of a closed shop – how can we change the attitude of, say, Stonewall, other than by lobbying them from outside?
The Stonewall ‘Some People Are Gay’ campaign was an example of how existing large LGBT groups interact with the bi community.
Ben Summerskill introduced the campaign: ‘Homophobia is almost endemic in our schools and blights the lives of people throughout society. It makes sense that this zero-tolerance message should be extended to the wider public. Across urban and rural Britain, this plain-speaking slogan will remind people that discrimination against gay men and lesbians is no longer acceptable.’
All good stuff, but they’re supposed to be an LGBT organisation. In fact, in the press guidance on their website, they specifically state that the word ‘gay’ should not be used as an umbrella term to include bisexuals, as it is not inclusive. So they’re not following their own advice.
There was a postcard campaign launched through Bi Community News to lobby Stonewall on the issue… it’s not really fair to suggest we just sit back and let it happen.
#119; David – I would argue that it is not the gay and lesbian community’s responsibility to make an effort to include bi people. It is the bi population’s responsibility to demand inclusion and to kick up a stink when it doesn’t happen like the Trans group did for London Pride this year. Like it or not gay and lesbian people will generally argue on behalf of their own community (and you can see that there are tensions between L & G groups with the L’s also claiming underrepresentation).
And Alison – I think you are over-reacting about the ‘exclusion’ of bi people from the ‘Some people are gay’ campaign.
That was a campaign directed at straight people concerning homophobia in society. By homophobia he meant dislike or discrimination against someone based on their same sex sexual orientation. You might not want to accept it but that implicitly includes bisexual people.
If a bi man is assaulted for holding his boyfriend’s hand it is not because his attacker thinks he is bi. It is because his attacker does not make any distinction. He just thinks ‘dirty faggot, kick him.’
We can argue the finer points of biphobia on a site like Pink News because sexuality is something we have all paid some thought to. But a campaign like ‘Some people are gay’ is meant to catch attention. If the campaign was called ‘Some people are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, intersex’ then the simple message is lost and it reduces the impact.
That may not be perfect but the most effective way to deliver a forceful message is to keep it simple.
You may not realize it, but you are both talking the same language: activism.
This kind of dialogue should characterize regular meetings of the LGBT community. Does such a thing exist as a group coming together and, following the simple rules of a democratically organized meeting complete with an agenda, workshops, open comments and questions, and a closing statement to co-ordinate future attitudes and actions?
Homophobes of all kinds are organized, and powerful.
I understand how a campaign’s impact can be strengthened by keeping a message simple – I was merely using it as an example. My point is that Stonewall are ‘officially’ an LGB organisation (and LGBT in Scotland), so you would expect them to represent us all – and they yet appear unlikely to address the issue of bi invisibility in the near future, either within their own organisation or the wider public.
I think there is little point in discussing the various terms we use to identify ourselves and the bigotry we face. I would welcome a move to a genuinely inclusive term. Inclusivity can only lend strength to our efforts to address prejudice.
A genuinely inclusive term? Well some people like ‘queer’ as it is meant to be all encompassing. Then again many people regard it as offensive.
The only alternative I can think of is ‘giblet’ (Gay/Intersex/Bisexual/Lesbian et Transgender). Then again I suppose many people may not want to be named after turkey innards.
Sorry – I couldn’t resist :)
And I suppose if someone was to come out to their mum as a giblet it may cause a few raised eyebrows ;)
Hehe. I love ‘queer’ as an umbrella term – when I was over in Oz a few years back I remember it being used in that way in the student movement, and I genuinely believe that attitudes (bot hwithin and outside that community) were different as a result. Rather than having little silos of people competing for attention, you had one unified group of people who didn’t fit the norms of gender and orientation – and people seemed to accept that the edges of that community were blurred, not solid.
It seems obvious to say it, but in terms of promoting diversity, one large diverse group of people has a louder voice than ten small homogenous ones.
@ vulpus rex
“If on the other hand one understands bisexual to mean someone who would happily settle down for life with someone of either sex, then I have still yet to meet one.
I use the second definition of bisexuality above…”
Dumb. I can’t imagine settling down “for life” with anyone of either gender. Does this make me asexual?
Also, I’ve never met a Bhutanese person, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Our identities, prejudices, and milieux influence the types of people who enter our lives. Maybe the “real” (by your flawed definition) bisexuals avoid becoming close with you because they sense your small-mindedness.
That’s ridiculous. The vulpus_rex I know has anything but a small mind. There’s no need to belittle anyone on this thread. Why would anyone avoid a questioning mind, including yours? No offense.
I too like the word queer, only I spell it Queer.
I don’t like dropping authors, but one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read (and re-read and re-read) is entitled ‘Coming Out Spirituality – The Next Step’ written by …swoon… Christian de la Huerta, the founder of Q-Spirit in San Francisco. There is a website, easy to find.
It’s true that some people take offense at the word, though. Then again, unless I miss my guess, are we not saying in fact that some people take offense at the term LGBT? I’ll say it again, I like Queer.
And Giblet is most creative; leave it to Simon Murphy to come out with something like that! Love it.
I understand why some people find ‘Queer’ offensive (note capitalisation!), but I think forcing a positive meaning from a word which offends often makes for a *very* powerful word. I do like ‘giblet’ though, hee hee.
Part of the problem with the word bisexual is the focus on ‘sexual’ – it makes it pretty difficult to come out to your parents! Maybe we need a more user-friendly term. Personally, I like ‘halfgay’, and I’m determined to get it into common usage. :)
I have the same problem with ‘homosexual’. It implies that all gays do is have sex, and that is just not true.
It’s good that we are talking about it, though. Let’s face it, depending on who is using the word, it can have a number of connotations. The word ‘straight’ can be both complimentary and offensive.
We seem to be living in a world of ambiguous words. Even that, ambiguity, could be an umbrella term; let people give it whatever tone of voice they want. It could mean anything and that is what we find in the LGBT population.
But frankly, Alison, lately, and it could be a phase but it’s not a phobia, I’m more concerned with what the anti-gay population is calling us.
To some dangerous religious sects, we are not only infidels, we are also the scum of the Earth, and we are being murdered just because we are gay.
In that sense, the struggle would be against sexually related phobias. A phobia is an irrational fear, like the fear of spiders, or frogs, or bees. In many cases it is a mental illness, and we should be able to cure it, shouldn’t we, if we want to take our places and contribute fully to society the gifts that only we have.
But I’m losing it now, I’m way off the subject.
I don’t mind going off-subject, I can talk for Scotland. :)
I don’t like the word ‘homophobia’ for the following reasons:
- it is an echo of the word ‘homosexual’, which was most widely used at a time when being gay was considered a mental illness;
- the ‘homo’- part excludes bisexuals, who face the same bigotry for their same-sex attraction;
- it technically means ‘fear of the same’, and doesn’t have any specific reference to sexuality;
- if lends an air of medical legitimacy to what is basically bigotry.
The first three points are largely pedantry on my part, but the last one genuinely troubles me. I’ll accept that a lot of what we call homophobia is based on fear – perhaps especially among straight men? – but I refuse to acknowledge it as a genuine ‘phobia’. Even if it is… you can have therapy for that kind of thing!
You’re completely right, of course, about where the real threats lie for all of us. We do need to pull together to try and educate straight folk. We’ll get there eventually.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call you a pedant, Alison. The history of western philosophy was brought to a standstill at the end of the 19th century, I believe, by etymology.
Artists of all kinds appeared on the scene with new definitions of reality, e.g. Picasso, James Joyce. Traditional meanings and forms were put to the test and I’m not sure how well we have recovered from that.
Your own search for meaning, and mine too, is again part of the ambiguity of the voyage into the 21st century. Now I’m being pedantic. Haha.
But I am glad you picked up on the real threat to the ‘Queer’ community.
I would add, and this is my personal pilgrimage now, that perhaps the biggest obstacle to becoming who we really are as ‘Queer’ persons, is the general tendency to deny that, as human beings with the ‘gift’ of thought, we do have a spiritual life of some kind.
Moreover, to repress our spiritual lives is as damaging as repressing our sexuality. There’s no reason why we cannot have both a sexual and a spiritual life in order to fulfill ourselves, to recognize and be recognized as who we are, and for what only we can bring to make the world a better place. That would be using the ‘front’ door!
Rather than be known for ‘I am against this or that’, I would like to be known for what I have to bring that nobody else can bring because we are, after all, quite unique individuals.
And goodnight. Haha!
There’s also the term ‘Rainbow Population’ that would suit me.
Sounds a little bit too much like a Muppet song to me. ;)
Interesting new story today by Stephen Price about the formation of a Gay Council in the UK.
Fucking giblets. We love to talk. We should work for Vodafone.
I just find is bizarre. I simply don’t distinguish between genders – there are things about men and things about women I like. If I see somebody I like, my internal monologue doesn’t comment on their sex. I just find them attractive. I find it infuriating that people claim I’m a transferring lesbian in denial, or a straight chick who either a) does it for watching men or b) can’t find a man so would settle for a woman (which can only be faked for a little while anyway). Both really insulting. I’ve only occasionally kissed a woman when out and about and even then found a quiet corner to do it in so people don’t gawk. In my bed with one, I don’t think about men, and vice versa when with a man.
Add to that, not exactly a nun, but I am monogamous. Being bisexual does not make me a slut.