"OK, so a new study proving that bisexual men are aroused by both men and women didn’t come as “news” to bi men, but most are nonetheless relieved by the results, because it will help to legitimize their identity in others’ eyes. (This is especially true since prior research controversially reported that there was no evidence of male bisexuality.) Still, the more than dozen bisexual men that I interviewed about the study say it serves as a reminder of just how far they still have to go toward acceptance and understanding. Despite enormous strides made in the past decade for LGBT rights, male bisexuality remains a challenging idea and a unique taboo, even within sexually progressive circles." ---- Tracy Clark-Flory, The Invisible Bisexual Man
"If you're asking yourself "Am I Bisexual?" then here's a handy checklist:
- Thinking about the people you've been attracted to, so far in your life, were they all of the same gender?If you answered "No", to any or all of the questions in our list above then we feel it's okay for you to call yourself bisexual. We don't care how attracted you are to the genders around you - you're bisexual as soon as you stop being exclusively attracted to only one sex." - The Bisexual Index
There's something that many people don't realize within the fight for LGBT rights. And that's that the "B" and "T" are particularly more ostracized than Lesbians and Gays. I can't speak for the transgender experience, as I do not currently have any trans friends nor do I fall in that category, but bisexuals - people who are in some way or another, to some degree or another, attracted to both men and women (to describe it simply) are often ostracized by both heterosexuals and homosexuals, being seen as fence-sitters or too afraid to fully come out of the closet. Particularly Bi men, more than likely because of gender stereotypes and the prevalent fear of STDs, particularly HIV/AIDS.
There have been a series of instances within the last few years where people I've either become friends or acquaintances with during my time in undergrad, have come out as gay or bi. In each instance, I wondered about myself. In truth, I had really had questions about my sexuality since at least high school. I found myself attracted to guys. Most of my friends have always been females. As a child, I liked "girly" toys and cartoons just as much as the more "boy" ones (although granted, I know none of those are 100% indicators of anyone's sexuality as they get older). Was I gay? No, that wasn't it. I was genuinely attracted to the females I had dated over the years. I was very much in love with Natalie during the time we were together. I was attracted to her physically and emotionally. But I still knew something was different. After we broke up, I decided that, as I'm in the process of "finding myself" in every other way, this would include my sexual identity. I won't go into sordid details here of course, but suffice it to say I basically did what probably anyone who questions their sexuality does. And it was probably about a week ago that I consciously tried out the term "bisexual" on myself, and it just seemed to fit. And I wonder now if that's contributed to the troubles I've had in all of my heterosexual relationships. None of my past girlfriends knew about my coinciding attraction to men. Natalie, even though she had a gay brother, had said in passing once, that she would never feel comfortable in dating a bi guy. So here I was, hiding a big part of myself not only from my friends and family, but from my extremely liberal girlfriend, even. Maybe now that I can acknowledge ALL of who I am, then I'll finally find a relationship that will actually last.
As I said, I only started seriously considering the possibility that I've moved on from the "bicurious" phase to accepting that I am indeed bisexual within about the past week. I feel this is a culmination of things. In addition to the friends of mine that have come out, over the course of the last ten years I've resolved a lot of internal turmoil. I've been able to become comfortable with my spiritual and religious beliefs (even if they do change over time as I change), and generally broken free of the dogma I was brainwashed with in my fundamentalist family. I've been able to make great strides in my career goals in ways I didn't think I was actually capable of doing. I've begun getting a handle on my depression through therapy and medication. I've made friends who are as open-minded and progressive as I am, which helps me feel less alone. I've finally been able to resolve my issues revolving around the question of my father, what he's like now, and what really happened in my infancy. Let's face it, the last thirty years of my life have pretty much played out like a Lifetime Original Movie. I've had a lot that I've had to work through. Sometimes it amazes me what I've been through and how I survived. So now I guess finally officially acknowledging my sexuality is the natural progression. One issue at a time. All starting with breaking free of my childhood dogmas.
My first outward verbalization of being bisexual is when I located a bi-oriented facebook group, called BiNet USA. I posted a general introduction and seeking guidance from those farther along the path than I. It had some unintended consequences. I had forgotten that things posted in Open Groups can be seen by everyone in the newsfeed. I was alerted to this fact by an acquaintance of mine who congratulated me and told me he was proud of me for being true to myself. He then proceeded to confess that he was gay, had been with his boyfriend for 16 years, but he did not tell many people because he had been severely shunned for it - even though he's a few years older than me, he had never even had the official "coming out" conversation with his own family because of their religious beliefs. The second friend told me she supported me as well, and that her sister is bisexual. At first I considered deleting the post, in case someone in my family saw it and having some awkward questions/accusations, but I decided against it. To me, doing so would have reinforced the idea that there was something wrong, something shameful, in it all. And I didn't feel right doing that, especially after a mostly closeted gay friend had just spilled his guts to me about the things he had struggled with because of his own sexuality. Besides, my family isn't exactly observant - they were in the same room as me when Natalie told me through instant messenger that she was pregnant and having an abortion, and they still don't know. So, I'll cross that bridge when it happens. Maybe I'll have a "big talk" with them at some point, maybe not. Who knows.
My second outward verbalization was when I officially updated my OKCupid profile, the primary dating site that I'm actually still a member of. Haven't had much luck on the site the last few years, so I don't anticipate much, but who knows.
My third outward admission of being bisexual is this blog entry. I'm still adjusting to the whole idea of being honest about it all, so I'm taking small steps. Those of my friends who know about this blog are among the most trusted, so I consider this a progression - writing it out for my friends to know who keep up with this blog, and then maybe I'll have the actual, verbal face to face conversation with them at some point as well, if need be. It's not a matter of fear of being rejected by them, more a matter of "would I be having the same conversation twice?" essentially.
Up to this point, I have not verbally opened up to anyone about it yet. On the one hand, the whole concept of being bisexual scares the hell out of me. I'm already such an outsider as it is. With the way bi men are marginalized by both the gay and the straight communities, it's just one more way I'm an outsider. One more way I don't fit in with my family. One more way to feel I don't belong. One whole new type of people to not really understand when I'm trying to date. On the other hand, it does help that there are online communities that I can turn to for support, and I know that my closest friends will support me. And I know my church will accept me, even if I don't feel the need to make some "big announcement" regarding my orientation. And it really does feel liberating to finally be fully honest with myself.