Take Me Out to the Ballgame

ballgameWhen I moved to the Boston area some six and a half years ago, I knew that I’d have to stop discussing baseball.  Those who grow up as Yankees fans know it’s rather pointless, if not downright foolhardy to talk about the national pastime right in the middle of Red Sox Nation.

I for one decided it was far better to keep my normally fat mouth shut regarding the boys of summer.  However, I have elected to break my silence because of a recent piece of news that dropped into my inbox a little over a week ago.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (see NCLR press release here) has filed suit against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA) on behalf of three bisexual baseball players on the San Francisco D2.   The players  were questioned about their sexual orientation and subsequently disqualified following the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle.

According to the article “Ballplayers Sue Gay Softball League” by Andrew Harmon of The Advocate, it appears that the three players, LeRon Charles, Steven Apilado and Jon Russ, were deemed “nongay” by the NAGAAA.  Furthermore, the only choices the players were given during their questioning were “heterosexual” and “gay” when it came to describing themselves.  Charles, as stated in Harmon’s article, maintained that he was attracted to women and men, which the NAGAAA committee did not accept.

Are you still with me?
I was incredulous to say the least.  The NCLR press release, The Advocate article, and the response by the NAGAAA (see the organization’s open letter at outsports.com) left me with my mouth hanging open.  Digesting this information took a while.  I had no idea where to go with it.  I have to admit that my first reaction to friends was rather sarcastic.  It seems last year we were lying homosexuals and this year we’re deceitful heterosexuals, I quipped.

What gives?  Really, what gives?
It seems to me that as bisexual men, our so-called true sexuality—that is when people patently ignore the words I’m bisexual as they come out of our mouths—depends on the convenience of others.  For writers such as—but not limited to—Dan Savage and Michael Musto (see my post from March 24th of this year) , we are straw men to be bashed and trashed, because we are lying to ourselves and others about our supposedly true natures.

We are also fodder for scientists as Benedict Carey’s 2005 New York Times article, “Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited” demonstrates.  Apparently no matter what we say, think or feel we really don’t know who we are.

But wait.  If we want to take part in activities within the BGLT community, we mustn’t take places away from those who are authentically gay.

It seems to me that other people’s agendas define who we are.  If others need us  to be gay in order to get their point across, then we’re gay.  If others need us to be straight to satisfy their agenda, then we’re straight.  That is what angers me.  It is positively maddening to be at the mercy of others and to feel like a pawn in their games.

It makes me want to holler, break down and cry
I can’t imagine what bisexual men have done to deserve such disrespect.  I can’t imagine because the answer is nothing.  We are just living our lives.

It’s high time for fair play for bisexual men, on the field, in the boardroom, in academia and on the street.

A Bisexual’s Dilemma: Who Can You Bring Home to Mother?

naked-truthAs the days lengthen and weather gets warmer I always start to remember my time in the Peace Corps.  Every year different memories will come wafting to the fore as I gladly anticipate the hotter weather to come in this country.

This year the first memory to come floating back was of a conversation I had with one of my mates as we went out to grab some supper to take back to the hostel/office.  As we stood on the corner with our plates in our hands waiting for the neighborhood women to put their wares out, I brought up the topic of my dating both men and women.

How or why I started talking about it on that dusty street as night began to fall is no longer clear.  What I do remember clearly as we waited to be served was that my dinner companion quite pointedly asked if I felt as free to bring my boyfriends home as I was my girlfriends.

The answer was a resounding, “no.”  I was a bit taken aback, not offended mind you.  It was just my friend the philosopher had asked perhaps one of the most pertinent questions I had ever been asked.  Whatever differences or similarities I found between women and men, I knew full well which of the two I could bring home to meet mother.

When you’re bisexual, that’s an issue because it can lead to a double life and a great deal of internal strife.  I longed to be able to share all of my romantic life with my family but I didn’t feel that I was able to.  No matter how I examined the situation, I always felt that my family had half the story.  In fact they did.  They got the edited version of my life.

Imagine Anna Karenina with only the story of Anna and Vronsky and the one with Kitty and Levin cut out.  It would without a doubt not be the same novel.  Yes, it would be much shorter but also much poorer.  We could not gather the same lessons because we would be missing a critical piece of the whole.

In other words I was suppressing a critical piece of my whole and it was utterly maddening.  How many bisexual men have been in this situation?  When we do this are we really living a double life or half of one?  If we give our girlfriends the “full treatment,” what in earth are we doing to our boyfriends?

Of course biphobia and homophobia sometimes oblige us to keep our mouths shut.  There are, however, limits.  To quote Abraham Lincoln, a house divided against itself cannot stand.  What the then Senate candidate said in reference to politics certainly makes sense to me in terms of psychology.  Living one kind of life with a female partner and another with a male partner makes no sense whatsoever.  There comes a time when we have to speak up and be clear about who we are in order to keep our sanity and to be respectful to all our partners.

So when my 40th birthday rolled around and I was actually in a relationship, I took advantage of the fact my partner was male to be clear with my family that he would be there to celebrate as well.  It wasn’t easy more me to do and probably less easy for my family to absorb.  Nonetheless, I did what needed to be done and my family came through for me.

I have felt a greater sense of wholeness now that I don’t have to do an editing job for those I care about.  Now if on some hot dusty road someone asked me whether I felt as free to bring my boyfriends home as my girlfriends, the answer would be a firm “yes.”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – A Memorial Day Reflection

memorialSince the end of the Civil War, the United States has honored its fallen service members on Memorial Day so it seems appropriate for those of us associated with Bi Social Network to remember the members of the BLGT community who have served and died in action.

It also seems rather appropriate to note the continued effects the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has on bisexual, lesbian and gay service members.  It’s even rather interesting — shall we say — that the House of Representatives voted to repeal DADT so close to the holiday.  The Senate Armed Services Committee in turn voted to approve the repeal measure, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.  If the Senate votes to repeal, then it would go into effect only after the projected December 1st submittal of a report by a Pentagon Working Group.

There seem to be more politicians for the repeal than against.  There seem to be more military top brass for the repeal than against.  More Americans are comfortable with same-sex attractions than ever before.   Yet there still seem to be a fair number of heels dug in. If the measure voted on by the House passes the Senate, then we need to wait for a Pentagon report to come through.  It seems the closer we get the more games are being played.

I remember when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” went into effect seventeen years ago.  I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.  The convoluted compromise to the outright ban on bisexuals, gay men and lesbians in the military sounded more like Ionesco than sound, mature defense policy.   You must be joking, I remember thinking.  No, they weren’t joking, using irony or displaying one iota of wit.  The government was as earnest as ever.

As a nation we have been going back and forth over DADT since then.  I find it a sign of progress that former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Colin Powell has changed his mind on the issue.  The current Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, is also in favor of repeal.  Have we finally understood the many costs of this policy?  Some 13,000 women and men have been discharged from the Armed Forces and we have lost some $1.3 billion in training as blogger Megan McDonald Scanlon notes in “The Hidden Costs of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” at thehill.com.

We have highly qualified personnel who are willing to fight and put their lives on the line for the United States.  We are in the middle of two wars, as well as a continuing economic downturn and worsening environmental degradation to name just two other pressing matters.  We should already have joined all the other nations which do not measure the competency of their soldiers by their sexuality.

In spite of all the people of good will trying to move us forward on this matter, I find it disturbing that we have been so slow integrate bisexuals, lesbians and gay men into the military — among other areas.

What is it in the national character that makes us so resistant to change?  What makes us so unwilling to take the decisive steps necessary and instead plod along with the more level-headed among us trying to do a delicate dance?

It seems rather disrespectful not only to BGLT service members but all members of the Armed Forces.  Let’s so some respect for our military women and men by closing this matter once and for all so we can attend to the critical issues facing them and our society today.

The Difficult House of Joy

What grounds you?  What keeps you rooted and centered?  What is that place of strength from which you move outward?

omosessualiThis was actually asked of me and my mat mates this past Saturday at the beginning of a yoga class.  What came to my mind first was my love of men, my capacity to love other men fully and intimately.

This is so because my love for men has been hard won and therefore something I value all the more.  I’ve had to work on it intensely because while society will always support relationships between women and men, however difficult they may be, it will often try to undermine intimate relationships between men.

In addition, if you are a man who loves other men you have to work on accepting yourself first.  This means not only dealing with the bi- and homophobia that exist outside you but with the bi- and homophobia on the inside.  We all know what a battle that is.  We also know how much harder that makes building a relationship between two men.

Add to that the ludicrous fantasy of what men are supposed to be: unemotional, self-contained, wealthy, aggressive, full of swagger, in charge.  And remember this craziness affects both of you.

Could there be any more roadblocks to two men getting together?

What I have learned from my relationships with men is that it eventually dawns on you that neither you nor the fellow on the other side of the bed can live up to the standards the two of you have been indoctrinated both to adhere to and expect.  You have to work past them into new ways of being together.

If you don’t know them, you have to learn dialog, compassion and cooperation.  You also have to learn to see someone as he really is, with all his faults and virtues.

In the end money, power and prestige can’t buy you love.  Being emotionally unavailable is antithetical to relationships.  And no one wants to be pushed around by a tough guy.  Besides, Prince Charming is a narcissist.

Eventually you have to learn to talk it out, work together and accept that you can either build a life with someone who helps to pay the bills or someone who spends all day in the gym working on six-pack abs.

In other words building a relationship between two men requires consciousness, dedication and effort above and beyond what opposite-sex couples have to put in.

For me this is what the late poet Paul Monette means when he writes in “Committing to Memory,” “No point/in having so much rope unless you can/tie a knot.  It has to hold.”  And that which holds will keep you grounded in what at the end of the same stanza Monette refers to as “the difficult house of joy.”

Coming Out as Bisexual

BSN Contributing Writers share their stories of coming out on National Coming out Day!

come-outWhen I think of coming out as bisexual, here is the clearest thing in my head: I am sitting on a student panel in the art history lecture hall in the Williams College Museum of Art.  It is evening and we are seven panelists.  We are making our introductory remarks; perhaps we were taking about when we knew we were “gay” or “lesbian.”  I distinctly remember being the seventh person to speak and being the only one to utter the word bisexual.  It strikes me as being the grand finale to some big production.  This is it; I am out in a big way.

I don’t remember much about the rest of the presentation.  I knew it was during my senior year but I couldn’t quite figure out when.  After dusting off my brain cells and doing a bit of research, it has to have occurred on what was the second National Coming Out Day, October 11th, 1988.

Exactly a year earlier, I had been part of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  I was giddy with collective embracing and celebration of same-sex love.  I was proud to stand up and be counted for our community’s rights.  There was no going back because we had determined not to live in fear and shame.  We were valiant.  We were steadfast.  We were…gay?

After the headiness of the march, I had to look into my heart and also do some serious thinking.  I knew I was attracted to women, but it felt so good and so right to stand up and say that I was attracted to men.  I was affirming myself and we were all affirming each other.  I felt like I was part of one big club.  However, in the end I knew that if I denied my attraction for women, it would be as much of a lie and an injury to me as if I had continued to hide my attraction for men.

I don’t remember that its being cool and hip in the 1980s to be bi, but I don’t remember people being overtly hostile to me about being bi, at least on campus.  I know that I also had bi friends there, if only in behavior.  What I remember is that I kept using the word bisexual and that I had to use it to express my truth.  I had to say “I am bisexual” when it was my turn on the panel.  Once said, the sentence seemed to hang in the air as if a professor had just revealed some new idea to us and the light bulbs needed a little time to warm up.

I’m still glad that I mustered the courage to be on the panel and to call myself bisexual.  It wasn’t all that easy, something that had slipped my mind before I sat down to prepare this, but it was the only way to thoroughly embrace and affirm myself.  I sincerely hope that I set an example for other bisexuals and made their coming out a little easier.

It is now October 11, 2009 and National Coming Out Day is here again.  I encourage you to come out for yourself and for our community.  Every time one of us comes out-especially a bi man-it makes the path a little smoother for another to do the same when it’s time.

Your Problem Is My Problem

romantic couple in front of santa monica amusement park at sunset. My friend Majed and I were on the road again a couple of  Saturdays ago and as he took me on the scenic, off-highway tour of Massachusetts’ North Shore, we spent a lot of time talking about the oftentimes difficult nature of human relationships.  We weren’t just discussing family and friends though.  As educators, we consider our ties with our students and colleagues to be of special importance.

Each of us has had occasion to work with students who needed support and encouragement.  Some need extra help with their class work.  Others have pressing personal issues-including illness in the family, divorce, childcare and work-that impinge on their academics.  Majed and I-like our colleagues-have worked with students to find solutions that make finishing their degrees possible because we consider the process part and parcel of the vocation of the teacher.

Majed, though, expresses his sentiments more directly and powerfully.  While we were having a coffee stop, Majed described how he faced one particular student in difficulty.  After having heard the student’s story, his words were, “Your problem is my problem.”  It’s a good thing I had finished my coffee because I’m sure I would have spilled the cup on myself.  I don’t think I’ve heard solidarity expressed so clearly and poignantly in quite a while.

In very much the same way, I feel that when it comes to the bisexual community-especially bi men and my fellow Italian Americans-“Your problem is my problem.”  I can’t very well exhort people to come out or explore their bisexuality if I’m not going to be there in some way.  I can’t complain about the lack of visible bisexual men if I don’t step up to the plate.  That is why I made a conscious decision to go online.  I know how lonely and isolated I used to feel as a bisexual man-as a bisexual Italian American man to be absolutely precise.  I could either spend my time feeling bad or I could take action.  I also realize that I have opportunities to speak out and be out that others don’t.

The more bisexual voices out there, the better it will be until we can all feel safe, supported and free to be ourselves.  The important thing to remember is that we bisexuals are not alone. We have a community that we are continuing to strengthen.  It is too easy to feel isolated and separate in this age and in our society.  We must remember that we do not live alone and  that in some way or another we have opportunities to reach out to each other.  As a columnist, I always hope that my stories will comfort, encourage and challenge you.  Those of us who can lend a helping hand should do so.  If you need help, ask for it.  Our joys and pains are community property.   In Majed’s wise words, your problem is my problem.

BSN: Celebrating a Year of Bi Programing

coupleI want to take this time to thank everyone who has made Bi Social News (BSN) what it is today. December 1, 2009 will be our first year anniversary (wow)—I had to check the Website domain expiration date on that one! But I can’t believe we’ve come so far!

Moving Into a New Direction

Our readership has grown from 198 hits a Month to almost 10,000 and growing! It’s because of your commitment to see more bisexual content, news, entertainment and hot topics that are keeping us moving in the right direction.

We have received many emails thanking us, wanting us to go farther, hit heated topics, more bi radio programming, more bi activist interviews, more bi entertainers and just more in general. We heard you and 2010 will be packed with all that you asked for. BSN is an interactive Blog—but more than that, it’s a place were we focus on entertainment news, social issues, politics and everything in between. It’s about people, ideas, removing bias about teens, bi men, women, people of color and everything which says—bisexuals don’t exist!

Why Does BSN Exist?

When I started this project, I wanted to go to a place where I read and connected to topics which concerned me and our issues. Why were the Lesbian and Gay communities removing themselves from the bi community? Why, when I went to a gay or lesbians bar, it felt like I wasn’t wanted or welcomed? Why are bi men discounted, dismissed and disowned? I created this site for you, for me, for all of us to counter the media that is coming full steam ahead that we don’t exist!

Social Status

We started a social media network on facebook, twitter, myspace and pinterest.  We’ve been featured in great BLGT communities like Logo, BiNet, Bi Women Boston and Queer United, who started it all for BSN and gave us a shout-out! (Thanks!) We started back on track with Bi Talk Radio and started partnerships with Fence Sitter Films, Queer/Bi Meetup andCenter on Halsted (COD) (2010, more to come on COH) Thanks for supporting us!

Thanking the Many

The job is big, the need is great, and BSN is ready for the challenge—but I alone didn’t get here all by myself. Without the great work of our Contributing Writers—Peter, Maria, Adam and others who are about to come on board in the next few weeks, I want to thank you! Your passion for thinking outside of the box, your commitment to seeing BSN grow and become something bigger than yourself is a testament to your drive for the cause and your need for change! I love each and everyone of you! With your help, bi-erasure will soon be but a distance memory.

Thank you interviewees, the sponsors now and in the future and last but not least, thank you for your readership each and every day that you come to our little world and learn something new and fresh on our sites! We love you, and keep coming back, share our articles with others in our community and anyone that are supporters. Support bi writers, and movies, events and companies that cater to the bisexual needs! Shop on bi sites, (like this one, see BSN Store) and give back by donating to groups like this and others that can’t do it alone! You want bi programming (See Donate button on top)? Help everyone by keep it all going!

Mata ne… (Until next time…) “Speak out. Live out. Voice out. Be heard.”

Adrienne Williams
Bisexualist, Founder, Web Producer

Solidarity Forever

solidarityThe fight for equality exists on many fronts.  In addition to the struggles of all sexual minorities, the struggle certainly continues for racial, gender, environmental and economic justice, among others.  Since we are at Labor Day in the United States and I come from a very strong union background, I naturally spent a great deal of time of late thinking about being bisexual in the workplace and the connection between being bi and fight for workers’ rights.

Times are tough and we’re all living with the fallout of a 9.7% unemployment rate-16.8% if you’re paying attention to the unofficial figures.  In other words, many people are feeling mighty insecure at the moment.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many resumes come into my email, and in the education sector there are always a great number of people looking for positions, even in the so-called good years.  Consider also that Massachusetts where I live and work was not as badly hit as other states.

From the perspective of many, our economy is in shambles.  The poor seem to be getting poorer, the rich richer, and corporations with as much as they can.  Labor standards are dropping and workers are being asked to give up more and more.

Now, let’s take the present anxiety of the workplace and add to it the anxiety of being BGLT on top of it.  It sounds like a recipe of for a nervous breakdown, doesn’t it?  But wait, you say, what about anti-discrimination laws?  Well, only 21 states, the District of Columbia and some 140 cities and counties have any statutes prohibiting employment discrimination against BLGT folk.  There is also very little at the federal level.  This means that if you’re not heterosexual, your sexuality-and gender expression-can get you fired in most of the country.

Talk about perspective.  I feel very privileged to find myself in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Neither do I forget that education at the college-level is queer friendly on the whole.  However, not all BGLT people live in the Northeast and not even every BGLT person in the Northeast is a college educator.

I’m sure some of you reading this live and work in areas hard hit economically and/or without workplace protections.  Otherwise if you share my good fortune, can you imagine the terror?  And I use the word deliberately.  We often face enough harassment and violence for our sexuality, but to have our employment threatened for it is too much.  After all, we in the United States derive our identities from our work, and even more basic than that, we derive out very livelihoods from it.  No work can mean no place to sleep and no food to eat.  It’s as simple as that.

So, what can we do?  Well, if you are one of the many pounding the pavement looking for work, I wish you good luck and Godspeed.  The rest of us can get active.  There are plenty of ways to get involved in the fight for labor rights.  There are myriad organizations, but if you’re interested in groups that work for workplace and economic justice from a BGLT perspective, I suggest you take a look at Queers for Economic Justice, based out of New York, Pride at Work, and even Public Services International.

Workers, as is often said, are the backbone of the US.  Labor is what has built and made the nation great.  It’s a cliché, I know, but one I very much agree with.  On this Labor Day, I salute all workers in general and bisexual, lesbian, gay, pansexual, and transsexual workers in particular.  Let the holiday stand a reminder that we need stand up and be counted as part of the march for workers’ rights, which are after all our own.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day

bidayGet into the minds of our columnist, Peter as he shares his thoughts regarding this national day.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day is upon us once more and I’m thinking about what it is we have to celebrate.  OK, that sounded like a heavy dose of bitter with a side order of grumpy, so let me explain.  We seem to have a lot of days, festivals, parades and everything else in our society meant to highlight a certain subgroup, but besides perhaps having a soirée-and I’m all for having a good time-what is the net result of having had the day?  Are we as bisexuals underlining how we’re different from the rest of the pack?  I for one don’t need a day to point that out; I know that 365 days a year.  A little less standing out would be nice, actually.

I also don’t what you to think that I don’t own being a bisexual man.  If that were the case, I would not be writing this column.  Heaven only knows that we need more bisexual voices-especially those of bi men-out there to be heard and understood.  But more to the point, I am neither proud nor ashamed to be bi; I simply am bisexual.

So what’s the point?  What do we need [to] Celebrate Bisexuality Day for?  How about this: a day to contemplate what bisexuals bring to the table and what we offer to the larger society.

First of all, I believe we should be the representatives of the Beatles classic, “All You Need Is Love.”   Whether we happen to be monogamous, polyamorous, alternating, or Kinsey 0-6, we bisexuals represent the capacity to love and engage fully with other human beings in the most intimate and varied ways.  That’s a level of openness you don’t necessarily find.  It is both precious and vulnerable.  It means living honestly, which entails more than a few painful moments.

How many of us have had our hearts broken whether from a mismatch with a potential partner or from the proverbial barking up the wrong tree?  What happens when we find that we have more in common emotionally than romantically with someone else?   On top of this, there are some extra challenges for the bisexual male.  If you’re one of the “regular guys,” folks may not want to believe that you are also attracted to other men.  If you’re a man who’s gender atypical, folks often have a hard time believing you like women.  I have [a] friend, also [named] Peter, whom I like to quote on this subject; “I’m here, I’m queer and I like women too.  Get used to it!”   I couldn’t have put it better myself.

This leads nicely to my second point.  Bisexuality is an invitation to complexity.  There is no coloring in between the lines with bisexuality because there are no lines to color in between.  The world is open to us.  What matters here then is defining an ethical code of our own.  In other words, an invitation to complexity is an imperative to critical thinking and making reasoned choices.  Who can we approach?  Will that person—those people also be interested in us?  Is our attraction physical, emotional and/or intellectual?  How do we eventually come out to this person/these people?

For me being bi means always having to come out in order to be clear and honest.  That’s my ethical choice, one that involves great risk that the other will reject me in terms of a romantic relationship. If the people in our lives don’t know, then we as bisexuals have to come out—because our bisexuality will eventually make manifest.  Bisexuality exists as both potential and realization always, especially if you are monogamous.  Your involvement with a man doesn’t negate your attraction to women and vice versa.  Talk about complexity!

For the record, let me state that I don’t find lesbians, gay men and straight women to be hardhearted dolts.  I am saying that being bisexual is emotionally intense and intellectually demanding, because it requires constant engagement and evaluation as part of the package.  When we bisexuals live up to the challenge, we show healthy models for human relations and that’s what we should be aiming for.

Bisexuals and Monogamy

So here’s the proverbial $64,000 question: What does it mean to be bisexual and in a monogamous relationship?

How do we even approach the question to begin with? It seems rather daunting; after all, I’m not the first one to pose the question. On a random sampling of the web, I found a few people who have been trying to grapple with the question. There was one young woman who attempted to answer the question in a college term paper, to no avail. Then there’s a fellow who said he loved his girlfriend but was chaffing at monogamy. I found yet another posting of by a young man who extolled his girlfriend yet seemed unnerved by his sexual fantasies that included other men. As you follow the links, you’ll notice the postings span seven years. I’m sure I could have found more, especially if I had done some scholarly research.

Before we continue with the question itself, let’s also consider that resources dealing with bisexuality seem always seem to field a question regarding whether bisexuals can be monogamous. Both the Bi Writer’s Association, which I have referenced here before, and The Alliance at Michigan State University discuss the issue.

So what’s going on? What is inherent in the question? What makes people ask it? I propose the following: The mention of bisexuality leads people to assume sexual voraciousness, insatisfaction and instability. After all, we live in a society – though it is by no means the only one – in which sexuality is still tightly controlled. Monogamy is the norm; celibacy is tolerated; polyamory is beyond the pale. Sexuality and reproduction are seen as synonymous to the point that if scientists could figure out a way to have us reproduce sans the pleasure of sexual intercourse, they’d be given the Congressional Gold Medal. There’s no need to wonder why the pornography industry is so lucrative!

Thus even in a heteronormative society, the labels ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ can be seen to represent a restriction of choice and some sort of control. There is also an element of concreteness in the designations ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’ and ’straight’. After all, if monogamy is the norm, we are restricted to going out with a member of one sex or the other. Desire, fantasy and expression can all exist in a nice neat package, along a nice straight line. What you see is what you get.

This is not so with bisexuality. There are no discrete entities here and what you see is only the tip of the iceberg. This metaphor is particularly apt since the bulk of an iceberg is below the surface and you can’t know it without diving and exploring. In other words, bisexuality is not simple (see Robyn Ochs as well as others) – well, no sexuality is simple although it may look that way. Bisexuality exists in potentiality. We may be going out with one given person of one particular gender, but our desires and attractions have not stopped. In fact this is true no matter which label we put on our sexuality, no matter how much society would like to believe otherwise.

So if we are in a monogamous relationship, what are we to do? According to Ruth Gibian, there is a tension between recognizing one’s attractions and acting on them. While this is true, the extra challenge for us as bisexuals is not to be pressured into feeling as if we have to choose sides or as if we have chosen sides by being in a monogamous relationship. What happens is that the grip of duality, of either/or, yes/no, 0/1 tries to tighten around us. Or at least it feels that way. We have to do the work of remembering that bisexuality is not a question of us versus them, or us versus them versus them – an even more preposterous thought.

As a bisexual man, I need to remember that my attractions to both men and women bring me closer to all people, not separate me from them. Then if I am in a monogamous relationship, I have made a choice based on the needs of my partner and me, not on society’s requirements. Furthermore, I have to keep in mind that there is a dynamic tension between the outward manifestation of my attractions and what is underneath. In other words, there’s more than what others see on the surface. And that there will be moments when I have to point that out.