An anon suggested that FYBis! reblog this post as a possibly explanation to the question : what is bisexuality?
After reading it, my mind is buzzing and whirring, digesting everything this persyn wrote. I’m seriously interested in what others of you have to say!
This entire post was fueled by the sentence “‘Bi’ is not binary.”
So, I identify as bisexual. I’ve done so for a while, but I’m still trying to figure out what it means to me.
I identified as bi long before I identified as genderqueer- so initially, I found “bi” to mean “two”, to mean I was attracted to two binary genders; one that was my own, female, and one that was the “other” gender, male. Because isn’t that, upon skimming through the history of the bisexual movement, the definition? Homosexuals love the same gender; heterosexuals love the opposite gender. Bisexuals love both the same and the opposite gender.
For a long time I have been operating under the assumption that if “bi” is taken to mean attraction to two genders, then those genders are male and female. Yet can’t someone be bisexual because they are attracted to two genders that aren’t male and female? Say someone is attracted to two different types of genderqueer- don’t they still technically fit into that definition of bisexuality?
In addition, being genderqueer myself changes things. If the “same” gender to me is genderqueer, then which binary gender becomes the opposite gender? For me, I suppose both male and female serve as opposites to my identification, although opposite is too extreme a word- they are not everything my gender isn’t, and my gender isn’t everything they aren’t, and yet there is a definite distinction between the boundaries/limitations of male and female genders and the boundaries/limitations of my version of genderqueer.
What I’m getting at is the question of whether or not “bi”-sexual can be taken to mean being attracted to greater than or equal to two genders. The thing is, heterosexuality is defined as liking the opposite gender. It is not called monosexuality, nor is homosexuality, though both the hetero- and homo- sexualities tend to be indicative of monosexuality. So why should bisexuality be entirely about the number of genders one is attracted to, instead of the types of genders? Perhaps it is because “types” of genders is not something people in our society are used to thinking about, and making bisexuality binary is a way to get the idea of non-monosexuality across to the everyday layman. Perhaps it is because the world bisexual began as a medical term
and we all know that medical terminology is always right in its limited definitions to infinity and beyond and does not need to evolve over time(that was sarcasm).
Anyways, in thinking about all this, I began to wonder if I would be better defined as pansexual, seeing as I am neither one-gender-sexual nor two-gender-sexual, but more spectrum-of-gender-sexual.
However in my experience, although it is not inherent in the term, pansexuality seems to be indicative of an attraction to people based not in gender but in personality. In other words, pansexuals have the potential to be attracted to any body type which contains a personality which is attractive to them.
Well, that just isn’t me. I think dicks are hot. I think vaginas are hot. The thing is, I can find dicks and vaginas hot whether they are on a boy and a girl or a girl and a boy or a genderqueer person and a genderfuck person- regardless of emotional/mental identification and personality I find those body types to be attractive. I don’t know from experience, so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I would find non-binary variations on penises and vaginas to be quite as big a turn-on to me personally.
But if I am assuming that pansexuality is “gender-blind”, then I further seem to be implying that all pansexuals are demisexual, meaning they require an emotional connection to someone before feeling physical attraction to them. And yet there are certainly demisexual bisexuals as well; if bisexuality is distinct from pansexuality in its inherent attraction to body types alongside personality, how can there be bisexuals who only feel this attraction following an attraction to personality? Isn’t this contradictory?
I suppose it is because these bisexuals do have these inherent binaries of attraction, but they only come out once they have an emotional connection with someone. This is different from the creation of an attraction which is relevant to that person’s body after getting to know them. Simply stated, bisexuals have types of personal attraction already set, though they can evolve based on romantic/emotional relationships with others; pansexuals create new types of personal attraction based on romantic/emotional relationships with others.
Being extremely aware of the way labels drastically vary from person to person, I am uncomfortable making huge generalizations about identities. Everything I say should be taken with a very large grain of salt; I am trying to define pansexuality in a way which excludes me and bisexuality in a way which includes me; this, I guarantee, is not the case for everyone.
Assuming I reconcile the limitations of the term bisexuality with my own personal identification, I have further to acknowledge that in this day and age identity is truly a political statement. I hesitate to leave the label of bisexuality behind instead of sticking with it and stretching its definition, disposing of its stereotypes, and overall creating a statement against biphobia and for the legitimization of healthy non-monosexuality. Even if I did not identify as bi I have certainly experienced plenty of biphobia directed at me; does this not make me understand the bisexual experience, regardless of personal identification? Does this not make my confidence and sense of identity a political statement against biphobia? I fear that to some people it doesn’t. And so, in keeping the label ‘bisexual’ I am encompassing my life experiences within that of the bisexual community, both altering and becoming a part of bisexual culture. And this is probably the biggest reason I don’t identify as pan; I do not currently feel like my experiences and I are a part of pansexual culture nor the community as a whole.
This may be equivalent, however, to the way a homosexual man may not identify as gay due to the subculture of flamboyant “gayness”, or a homosexual woman may not identify as lesbian due to a lack of relation to the various lesbian subcultures, which may include such things as being strictly femme, butch, or plaid-wearing. They are still homosexual regardless of identification, or lack thereof, with a specific culture/community. I guess that to me culture is a big part of my queer identification, and I cannot have one without the other.
So, to sum it up:
- I initially defined my bisexuality as the significant potential to like both boys and girls.
- I then changed my definition to mean the potential to like multiple genders; those which are the same as mine, and those which are not the same as mine- this is not necessarily confined to the gender binary of male and female.
- I considered the label pansexuality, but found it to be more related to emotional attraction than physical attraction, whereas I prioritize the two equally.
- I consciously choose the label bisexuality as a means of ending biphobia and making the word bisexual accommodating to a greater range of non-monosexuals. Furthermore, I identify with bisexual culture and feel that my life experiences are more relevant to living as bisexual than as part of any other identification.
- Basically: I started out bi. I still am bi. Who knows how I’ll end up? I dunno, but it’ll definitely involve more thinking, more writing, and more keeping y’all posted.
P.S.: In my exploration of the initial quote which started all this thinking, I found this post: http://bifurious.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/the-two-in-bisexual/
And I really, really like it. And suggest you read it. And I also found this post: http://radicalbi.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/why-i-identify-as-bisexual-and-not-pansexual/
Which is written by someone who read the first post and responded to it. Just like I did just now! So that’s cool.
I’d love to hear yalls thoughts, through replies or inboxes or photos or anything! How do you define yourself?