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Bi Now, Gay Later

Room For Squares

Elementary school sex ed used to tell us that there were three distinct categories of sexual identity: heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. I already knew about heterosexuality and I had an inkling about what homosexuality was thanks to playground banter, but the idea of bisexuality was completely foreign at the time and to this day, despite its prevalence, remains an enigma.

Bisexuals get somewhat of a bum rap in the queer community. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve questioned some people in their authenticity when spouting bi-curious mantras. I mean how are we full-fledged flamers supposed to take their “trysexual” longings, their casual questing for a queer identity which many of us had to fight so hard to claim? It just didn’t seem right for these “party bisexuals” to proclaim for themselves a queer identity just because it was in vogue.

I guess we have to thank the sexual revolution of the 90s for that, because among other things, it gave us HIV awareness, Madonna’s cone bra and the preponderance of bisexuals. All of a sudden, with the doors to sexual exploration seemingly blasted open, people decided to throw caution to the wind. Celebrities like Madonna, Dennis Rodman and Anne Heche helped make being bi fashionable, but while it was mainly free of social stigma, their flip flopping stances only served to enforce long-standing stereotypes about bisexual insincerity.

Both Kinsey and Freud argued that every one of us has the potential to become bisexual at some point in our lives. After all, nothing in life is ever black or white, right? Surely though, they weren’t talking about the “bi for hire” porn stars of the heterosexual adult film industry, were they? Or the “bi for show” publicity stunts of the Hollywood rumor mill? No, I suspect that what’s closer to their interpretations of bisexuality are the “party bisexuals” who, with a little alcoholic prodding, profess to harboring designs on both sexes.

Critics may call this term derogatory for leading to misconceptions about bisexuals being promiscuous and irresponsible, but the “party bisexual” phenomenon has made one thing clear: many of us still believe that bisexuality is not genuine in origin. There remains an air of deceit and a taste of indecisiveness. It is the same thinking that leads many to equate bisexuality with the term “pansexuality”, which argues that these people, far from being discriminating and direct, are just plain greedy; they want to have their cake and eat it too. But I think that pansexuality actually serves a different purpose.

For many, coming to terms with one’s perceived bisexuality can be a lot easier than accepting one’s homosexuality. True, this could lead to the suspicion that these people are merely in denial of inherent homosexual longings and only engage in heterosexual activity to remain socially acceptable. But of course, believing this reasoning is the same as prescribing to the belief that bisexuals are duplicitous in nature. To do so would be to deny its existence as a distinct sexual orientation. Far be it from me to discredit millions and millions of people, but sometimes suspicions aren’t without merit.

I will always remember what my sister said to me when I came out to her. She asked me whether or not I could just consider being bi. In turn, I asked her why she would even think to ask me that, and her response to this day has left me baffled: she said, “Because it’s easier for you to be bi than it is for me.” In some twisted way I guess her logic would make sense. But from that day forward, I knew I could never give that kind of reasoning any credit. For me at least, there will never be any “bi now, gay later” policy.