Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's 'B' real tho.

I have so many feels as I think about what exactly I want my first post to cover. There are so many different topics and issues that have affected me in different ways, that I cannot imagine five posts will fully cover all of it. But, I have an inclination towards discussing bisexuality since that is what drew me to this program in the first place. I recently read a Huffington Post article that was released today (January 30, 2013) titled “Bi the Bi: Why Would Someone Not Want to Identify as Bisexual?”. It resonated with me in so many ways. Mostly because at this point in my life, I am not out to my family and friends back at home about being bisexual. Of course I know all of the stigmas and reasons that the article listed, but it just seems so much more complicated than just that.

Being a cisgender male that is commonly assumed to be gay, when I out myself as bisexual people are surprised and get uncomfortable. Ever since I was little I knew that I had an attraction towards boys and girls, but I never thought anything of it. At first, I figured it was normal. Through socialization though, I soon began to look at my attraction towards men as wrong. I suppressed it my entire life until the last two years of high school, when I first decided to accept it. It was so difficult though because I was afraid that maybe I was just claiming the identity to transition into being gay. Then I came to college and realized that I am perfectly comfortable with claiming bisexuality because I know that it is what I truly am.

The article states:
Be PROUD of who you are!
 “Due to a general misunderstanding of bisexuality, a large part of society views bisexual individuals as cheaters, confused, indecisive, greedy and incapable of monogamy; members of the straight community and LGT communities don't trust entering into relationships with bisexuals in some cases, believing that we will ultimately leave them for someone of another sex or gender; when in relationships, bisexuals are seen as the sexuality that goes along with their significant other at the time (heterosexual if in a seemingly opposite-sex relationship, or homosexual if in a seemingly same-sex relationship); and due to all of these aforementioned assumptions, bisexuals often feel left out of both the straight community and the overall LGBT community.”

This is extremely accurate, and anyone who is familiar with biphobia in the queer community and straight community knows all of this. The article also mentions how individuals are afraid of identifying as bisexual for four main reasons: stereotypes, biases, invisibility, and lack of inclusion. I feel like invisibility is a major factor, especially among male-identified bisexuals. The only representation of bisexuality in males, other than porn, is Brokeback Mountain, which is usually attributed as the “movie about gay cowboys” when in fact their sexuality is totally ambiguous and more closely associated with bisexuality. There is no positive representation of what bisexuality looks like, and for that I feel that people are super uncomfortable with it, among other reasons of course.

The way I see it is I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attracted to men, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t attracted to womyn; for that I am more than comfortable to call myself bisexual. Unfortunately, due to the extreme biphobia implanted in our society, I am always met with resistance about my identity. It hurts every time and no less than it did before, but I continue to come out because I know that the best thing that can be done is increasing visibility. People doubt the validity of my identity when I claim that I am attracted to a man or womon, but I just see it as me having the capacity to love all types of people romantically in different ways and for different reasons. The traits that I look for in a man or womon are two completely different things, but that does not invalidate my attraction to one or the other. Much less the fact that I am unable to be monogamous. I'm also NOT attracted to EVERYONE. I think I'll say it again, I'm NOT attracted to EVERYONE. It's important to get that across, because that's another question I get asked. Ultimately, I plan to settle down with one partner (female or male or neither). I just dislike this pressure of me having to “act” a certain way to be bisexual, as if anyone even has something to base the actions of a bisexual person on. I think that’s when gender identity and expression come into play too, which further makes the water muddy. Being bisexual is definitely not easy, and recent studies  show that being openly bi increases your chance of suicide and depression, let alone statistics show that bi people have the lowest income compared to gays and lesbians. How many books do you know on bisexuality? How many organizations do you know regarding bisexuality? How many characters do you know that are legitimately, positively, and resiliently bisexual? How many times have you caught yourself doubting someone's bisexuality assuming that it's a phase, transition, or fake all together? Let's be real, biphobia is one of the lesser talked about oppressions but it's all over the place.

I just hope that with all the work that is being done on behalf of the queer community, other B’s will stand in solidarity and become recognized just as gay, lesbian, and trans* people. I look forward to what work I can do as a (somewhat) openly bisexual cismale. I’m a proud bisexual!

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