New Year’s Letter on Bisexality

Dear Readers,

As 2009 draws to a close and 2010 dawns, we are surrounded by a myriad of holidays: Hanukah, Ras as-Sana, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Ashura.  We are immersed in rebirth, miracle and thanksgiving.  I, for one, could not be happier for that.

fire in the skyWhile there is also suffering and bad news just as at any time of the year, tears and laughter are very much a part of life and how we chose to approach both shows a great deal about who we are.

So I am happy and grateful for a time of year that reminds me about the possibility of new beginnings, the nearness of wonder, and the importance of being appreciative.  I find it very important as the new year approaches to take time to evaluate what has happened over the past year to see what I have learned and what the big picture is.

I fully admit to being resolutely optimistic, something born of having been through the ringer more than a few times.  There are moments I have found where the choice is either to throw in the towel or keep on.  I have chosen to keep on.

In particular, I am grateful for the opportunity that writing this column has afforded me to reach out to other bisexuals, especially other bi men.  I have to admit though that I have been challenged by having to discuss myself in such a public way.  Don’t get me wrong, I fancy myself a raconteur.  However, opening myself up to a worldwide audience was not the first thing I had on my mind.  If I had thought about it too much, I might have been intimidated.  Well, I said that bisexual men needed to be more visible and I certainly won’t ask someone else to do what I won’t.  Voila, I found a vehicle to talk about the life of one bisexual man.

Further, I marvel at how my bisexuality has changed me.  I went from a state of confusion, curiosity and despair in my teens and early twenties to the present state of confidence I have, a confidence hard won.  First I was caught in the grip of heteronormativity, knowing there was something different about me.  Then I realized that really did like women too.  I felt as if I was at a tennis match-and I was the ball!  Let’s not forget that it often felt easier to join the Free Masons than to find other bisexuals.  There was a time that not much could be found in terms of information on bisexuality.    Yet, I knew who I was and I felt I had to be true to that in spite of what I heard in general and what was said to me specifically.

Bisexuality has also awakened me and made me go deeper into myself for answers.  For example, I have had to look at the various issues that I bring into relationships with women and men.  Since I don’t have the ability to say, “Well, I really don’t like men” or “Maybe, I really don’t like women,” I need to look at the heart of the matters that come up in relationships, something I used to be good at avoiding.  In my case, I have had to work on trust and intimacy.  This work has made me a new man through the exercise of honesty with myself.

As we move into the new year, I hope you will take some time to look back over the past year.  May you find something to marvel at and something to be thankful for.    May 2010 be a time of renewal and hope for you.  May you find new ways to embrace yourself and your bisexuality more fully.

Thank you for joining me on this journey,

Peter

Bisexual, the Antidote to Retrosexual

bi-raduApparently there’s a crisis sweeping the nation, one that even merited the airtime of CNN International last Friday.  In case you’ve haven’t heard the news, masculinity has taken a battering and it’s time to bring back the lost of masculinity.  Hipsters and metrosexuals be damned!  The evil feminists have destroyed men, who no longer occupy their rightful place.  Men have become too soft and lazy, reduced to mere objects of ridicule.

Give me a break!

At what point did we catapult into the post-feminist, post-biphobic, post-homophobic world?

We haven’t and that’s the point.  While certain people are waxing poetic about supposedly manly virtues, some have already pointed out that the gig is up.  I can only hope the phenomenon of the retrosexual vanishes before it has a chance to take hold.

Yes my friends, you read right – retrosexual.  Thanks to shows like Mad Men and the efforts of bloggers, we can now all learn how to be real men again and take pride in doing so.  We can learn to lionize ‘great’ men like Teddy Roosevelt and John Wayne. We can dress like real men dress, read what real men read, and take up manly hobbies.  Perhaps we can learn to duel in order to preserve our honor.  Maybe you feel like you lost out on a particularly gruesome male initiation ritual.

Well I think there is a crisis in masculinity–it’s very existence.

Women got it right.  Feminism has razed the bulwark of femininity to the ground thus opening the doors of possibility wide open.

We men, on the other hand, are often still caught in the vice grip of masculinity and the dead hand of male gender roles.  Look around and you see all the advertising pandering to male insecurities.  Trying to be a real man seems to be the most important obsession for the male of the species.

It makes me think of the song “Real Men” from Joe Jackson’s 1982 album, Night and Day.  The song asks “What’s a man now?/What’s a man mean?/Is he rough or is he rugged/Cultural and clean?/Now it’s all changed/It’s got to change more/We thinks it’s getting better/But nobody’s really sure.”

By the time I heard this song, I had already discovered that being attracted to other men meant my ‘guy quotient’ tanked.  I discovered soon after that being attracted to both genders put me in a no man’s land–pun intended.  I had a choice: play to a script or live my life.  I chose to live my life.

I’m not saying it’s been easy but it’s been authentic.  Along the way, I’ve come across plenty of other men just living their lives without obsessing about manliness.  What I have found is that bisexual men tend to have a good handle on the theater of the absurd that masculinity is.  Hold the door open for a woman and you’re either a gentleman or a dinosaur.  Hold the door open for another man–well why would you?  Or just hold the door open for other people and be polite.

How about this:  some of us are human beings who happen to be male.  We’re neither smarter or more stupid, tougher or more tender than those who are female.  I’m still not sure we know what a real man is, but does it really matter?

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.”

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.

Bi Candy: Team Edward or Team Jacob? Why not Both? (Video)

If you’ve ran to see the latest installment of Twilight: New Moon Saga, then you know there’s lots of

action and dripping sexy men with their shirts off! There were teens, Twilight moms, cougars and our beloved gays, all lined up to get them some love! The lines have been drawn regarding ‘Team Edward’ fans and ‘Team Jacob,’ but I say, why choose? Seems another group of ladies I happened to sit next t oo also said the same thing. “I like them both!” when I asked the preverbal question “which team.” So in the spirit of our bi candy section—we thought, we’ll just show them all! Also, if you haven’t seen this movie, why not go just for the pure fun a guilty pleasure.

Oh, if anyone’s want to know, I’m team Edward (Robert Pattinson) all the way, but I couldn’t help myself in looking at wolf-man Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner. Though, I do like my cougar stance, he’s a bit young even for me—oh well, perhaps I can look when Breaking Dawn rolls around.

This is a bi site, we love Bella too!

 

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.

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.