Bisexual Conundrum

angelieEveryone has fantasies. In fact—everyone has sexual fantasies. For bisexual people those fantasies include any variation of men and women that is pleasing – because of that fact, when someone comes out as being bisexual it is sort of a big deal. A celebration is held that maybe, just maybe, the subject of our most intimate fantasies is—to use the vernacular—batting for “our” team. Why does this matter? What possible consequence could there be behind Angelina Jolie, Pink, Billie Joe Armstrong or Daniel Radcliffe are attracted to members of either sex? Beyond the fantasizing outlined above, the only possible reason there could be is—what other people think.

When it comes to men, bisexuality is probably just as common as it is in women. Though there isn’t much research to that effect. While Alfred Kinsey estimated that nearly 46 percent of the male population had engaged in both heterosexual and homosexual activities—there is research from only a few years ago citing that bisexuality simply doesn’t exist in men. Rumors have arisen surrounding the sexual orientation of our favorite celebrities for years—some complete with facts and quotes. Pink, Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are all bisexual and the information comes from some very reliable sources. Gerard Butler, Robert Downey Jr. and Billie Joe Armstrong are also reportedly bisexual—though the sources of this information are far less credible than a Barbara Walters special. All of these people may be bisexual.

gerard-butlerThe fact remains, however, that this hot button issue will be met with a decided difference of opinion—seemingly based on gender. Regardless of being a man or woman we all have social standards we’re brought up to believe and for every Barbara Walters interview that makes it safe for a celebrity to come out, there is an article in a reputable newspaper such as Newsday with the headline “Anti-Gay Jock Tells it Straight” making it completely unsafe for a male celebrity to come out. The bias itself isn’t limited to gender. In fact, many women would prefer not to think of their favorite heart throbs as being bisexual and to that end the search begins to refute the “rumors”—sometimes with success. Gerard Butler (Actor of 300), for instance, in fact never stated that he was bisexual and the article that reported it was confirmed as a fake. Regardless of the reasons why, the question of sexual orientation regarding celebrities will likely never go away. Their life in the public eye marks them as the elite of society. Their portrayal of our heroes on television, in sports, in film and on stage make them the role models for ourselves and our children – as such society places importance on their personal live

As long as there is a question of morality a celebrity’s sexual orientation will be questioned. As long as society as a whole believes that same sex relations, particularly between two men is a sign of weakness, a detriment to virility then the question of male sexuality specifically will continue to be a cause for concern. In the face of these concerns, however, there will always be those that admire those in the public eye for being brave enough to be who they are in the face of excessive scrutiny.

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.

You Don’t Look Italian

As the bromide goes-if I had a dime for every time someone said that I didn’t look Italian, I’d be a millionaire.  Admittedly at 6’4” with blue eyes, less-than-olive skin and long, light brown hair, I am not what most people in the United States would imagine an Italian American looks like. However, visit my mother’s hometown of Isola del Liri in Italy’s Lazio Region and you will see plenty of people with my features.

So what does this have to do with being bisexual?  Well every year in October when Italian American History Month rolls around, I  fulminate about how much I want nothing to do with Columbus, how little anyone knows about Sacco and Vanzetti, and how I wish I had other Italian American bisexuals, gay men and lesbians to hang around with.  It’s as if I spend the month in a protracted and wide-ranging intellectual version of hide-and-go-seek.  Come out, come out wherever you are.  Please.

In fact, I see the surface level of parades, nostalgic remembrances of Little Italies, and the struggle to ‘make it’ in the United States.  What I see little of is critical discussion of Italian American history and the state of the community as it is.  In fact, one of the few places I see such is the Italian American studies discussion list, which I have been following for a few years now.  What I see nothing of is a continuing discussion of what it is to be BLGT and Italian American so there are moments when I feel on the margins of margins because of my ethnicity and sexuality.

I have an intense hunger for connecting to other BGLT Italian Americans because of our common culture and history.  As an Italian American, I have maintained a certain attachment to tradition.  One of the things this means is that I value community , although not necessarily in ways my ancestors would have understood.

In my great hunt for other Italian American bisexuals, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

When I was on the board of the Bisexual Resource Center a few years ago, I asked my confederates if they knew of any other Italian American bisexuals-especially men.  My colleague Sheeri mentioned Tom Limoncelli and I immediately went to his web site.  Well, I’m not the only one, I thought.  Anyone else?

Well, there are two women I can think of: Camille Paglia has been out for quite a while and Lady Gaga seems to have joined the ‘party’ lately.

And that’s where my line of inquiry ends.

I also did a web search for works on BLGT Italian Americans, I found Fuori: Essays by Italian/American Lesbians and Gays,  one of whose authors, Giovanna Capone, suggested I also look at the anthology Hey Paesan! Writing by Lesbians and Gay Men of Italian Descent. Although these insightful and poignant books do not mention bisexuals, they have become indispensible to me as a way to assure myself of the existence of other BLGT Italian Americans.  In short, I’ve grabbed on to what was there.

But that is not enough.  I salute the authors of the above works, although it is clear that more is needed.  This more is part of the reason I do this column.  The Italian American community prefers not to talk about ‘alternative sexuality’ and so, maintaining family solidarity, opts for silent tolerance.  The BLGT community, I have found, seems ill-at-ease in discussing ethnic differences that do not fit neatly into the Black/White/Asian/Native American/Latino rubric.   Not that we are all that comfortable discussing race and ethnicity at all in the United States.  We all have an ethnicity-or ethnicities-and it plays in how we view our sexuality and act it out.

Given all that, here’s what I want to see:

I want more Italian American BLGT folk to come out of the closet, tell their stories and build community.  I want the larger Italian American community to listen with respect to and embrace its BGLT members.  I want the BGLT community to understand and honor the fact that its Italian American members come from a different cultural space.  I also want the BGLT community to have more open and honest discussions about race and ethnicity, as well as religion and class, that lead to more effective representation of the community as a whole.

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

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe

guideWhenever I visit my local book store (which is often), I always peruse the gay and lesbian section. While there, I am looking for one thing — books on bisexuality. I am nearly always disappointed. Leaving aside the fact that I am rarely able to find anything other than gay or lesbian erotica; the books that are available fall into one of three basic categories (not counting the aforementioned erotica):

1. Tragedy (see Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons)
2. Gay (see The Greeks and Greek Love by James Davidson)
3. Lesbian (see Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships by D. Merilee Clunis)

There are a great number of titles available, but it seems that they all can be categorized into these areas. It is rare to find a book that deals exclusively in bisexuality; which leaves bisexual men reading books about being gay and bisexual women reading books about being a lesbian, almost exclusively; contributing to the confusion of bisexuality as a valid orientation. On my most recent trip to the bookstore, I was pleasantly surprised.

The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe, by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski is a poignant, researched and fun look at the “invisible orientation” of bisexuality. The book offers the reader (who should be bisexual) a journey on the path of bisexuality, breaking it into three parts. Part One: Beginner, seems to be all about coming to terms with being bisexual. Chapter One: The B-Word – starts the journey by referencing the “flip-flop” that we all know so well. That period of time in our lives when our families believe that we’re straight and our friends have seen us flirting and have labeled us as gay. It goes on to define bisexuality, both by its dictionary definition (pointing out the absurdity of the hermaphroditic and botanist connotations) and the etymology of the word. It turns out that bisexual was added to the dictionary in 1892, while the abbreviation “bi” was coined in 1956. Chapter 2: Measuring Sex continues on the beginner’s journey to discover who they are – bi, gay or straight. The Kinsey Scale and research of the Kinsey Institute reveals that 13% of women and 37% of men achieve orgasm with a partner of the same sex. The Klein Grid (expanding on Kinsey’s research) makes things more detailed by breaking things down to seven elements of sexuality. Antonio Galarza has developed the “Three Circle Graph” which shows 70-80% of men to be bisexual.

Part Two: Intermediate, recounts what it’s like to be bisexual. Chapter Four: Two Closets opens with a step by step “how to” for coming out. “Coming Out Without Coming Out”; this guide shows the method of creating an air of mystery around your sexuality. Never fully explaining who you’re interested in, feeling that your sexual orientation isn’t really anyone’s business; refusing to label it for even those that ask point blankly. “Coming Out to Your Conservative Mom” suggests using television to your advantage, appealing to things your mother already knows and likes and then pointing out that they’re gay. “Coming Out to Your Hippie Mom” offers a humorous how to, suggesting any time any place and cautions the reader of learning too much about their mother’s past. “Coming Out to Your Radical-Right Dad” this how to is extreme in its recommendations of caution; saying “Do stand a safe distance when you utter any word or phrase containing sexual.” The guide does not limit the situation to parents, however. Providing additional advice and how-to’s for “Coming Out to Your Straight But Not Narrow Siblings” and “Coming Out to Your Curious Co-Workers.” Chapter Six: Doubling Your Chances opens with a quote from Woody Allen “Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday Night.” This chapter tends to focus more on how to attract members of the same sex. Providing tips for both the guys and the gals; while also providing the transition into Part Three: Advanced.

The four chapters of part three cover sex and love for the bisexual person. Everything from getting laid to playing “bi” heart. When I closed the book, I fervently wished for two things. 1. That it wasn’t over. 2. That there were more books like it. To my utter delight, I was able to find more information from these wonderful authors as there is a companion website to the book, linking the blogs of the authors. As I said before, it is poignant, researched and humorous. It was a joy to read and it had the calming effect of letting me know that things really aren’t that bad if you’re bi. Something we may need reminded of occasionally.

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.