A conversation I had with a friend this week sparked a few questions around bisexuality – concerning the label itself, people’s acceptance of bisexuality, and more.
When you’re straight, people generally take your word for it. You don’t have to sleep with a significant number of the opposite sex to prove your inclination towards them. In fact you don’t even have to sleep with one. You could be a virgin, never even kissed a member of the opposite sex yet, and if you say you’re straight, that’s pretty much the end of it.
The same could be said of gay individuals, though perhaps not to the same extent. There may be those who want proof or can’t accept it (period), but by and large it seems our society accepts that a gay person knows that they are gay because that’s who they are and they don’t necessarily need a physical encounter to confirm it.
Why then do we question the claim of bisexuals? Those who feel they are bisexual but still have yet to be with both a man and a woman are often deemed “bi-curious.”
If someone is still questioning their sexuality and wants to identify as bi-curious (or straight-curious or gay-curious or homoflexible and heteroflexible if they rather), fine. But when someone identifies as bisexual but doesn’t have experience, why do others insist on labeling them bi-curious?
I had a friend in high school who identified as bisexual. Because she had only ever dated or made-out with boys, our fellow students insisted that she was instead bi-curious. To them, unless you’d been with both a man and a woman, you weren’t really bisexual. They didn’t consider the fact that her choice of potential female partners in our school was pretty much non-existent since she was one of the rare few who were honest about their orientation.
Then there are those who deny bisexuality all together. People can be homosexual and they can be heterosexual, but that’s it. They think that anyone claiming to be bisexual are…confused? delusional? greedy?
When I was younger my mom had two friends who were a lesbian couple. Both had been with men in the past (and both were again with men when they were apart in the future), but they identified as lesbians who happened to occasionally be with men. Neither accepted that bisexuality was a choice, for themselves or others.
Then there’s the grey area of where bisexuals belong, for as we know our society likes to classify and label people. Most of the time bisexuals are in the category of LGBTQ. But I recently ran into a situation which is the very thing that sparked this post. I was told by someone that bisexuals are not “queer enough.”
A friend of mine is working on a project for “queer artists.” A woman applied who identifies as bisexual. The project leader rejected her application because in the interview the applicant answered honestly that she was in a long-term relationship with a man and though her preferences were for both men and women, she had never had sex with a woman. The project leader felt she “wasn’t queer enough” to be considered a “queer artist.” She continued to ponder aloud whether bisexuals should be included in the project at all or if the “queer” project should be limited strictly to gays since they were “more obviously queer.”
So when is queer “queer enough”?
And why are there so many curiosities around the definitions and acceptance where bisexuality is concerned?
I really am curious.