So today I want to talk about something that up until yesterday I had never even really considered at length: the existence of bisexuality. It came up in a discussion with a coworker of mine and I realized when asked about it that I had never put any thought into it in the sense that I had simply chosen a side without really thinking about the topic.
I’ve always been one to consider both sides of every argument. I pride myself on being impartial and have tried to remain this way in most aspects of my life. In thinking critically about the world around us we must be able to open our minds to stretch ourselves beyond our own limited perspectives. In this case, however, I simply discarded bisexuality as a stepping stone or a crutch for homosexual individuals who want to smooth the transition into a gay lifestyle, without ever really thinking about my position on the matter.
As a gay man, I should know better than anyone how it feels to come face to face with the narrow-minded notions of those around me. Yet here I am taking a stance on something that I haven’t critically thought about. I immediately ruled out bisexuality simply because of my own personal knowledge and experience of sexuality as a whole, which quite honestly is foolish on my part. Sexuality is a spectrum that varies from person to person. My experience is not the same as someone else’s (at least not in its entirety) and cannot be marked as such. Not only do I feel idiotic for ruling it out, but I feel slightly ashamed for making an assumption about something that I have no first-hand subjective experience of.
How can I sit here and tell someone else that something does not exist when there is absolutely no way for me to know? I can’t see what someone else sees and I can’t feel what someone else feels. To assume something about someone else’s perception of the world is to assume knowledge of something that I do not have. I’m gay and I identify as such, leaving me on one end of the spectrum. Many of you are probably on the other end. Doesn’t it fit that there would be people somewhere in between?
What bothers me even more than my initial failure to be impartial on this matter is the utter lack of positive resources out there for bisexual youths. I spent the better part of two hours last night scouring the internet for information on the subject and came up with very little. The majority of the information out there discredits bisexuality much like I did. It’s treated as a crutch and something that isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t resources out there; it’s just that the informative non hostile ones are few and far between. With that being said, it calls into question the way we are choosing to help those who are confused about their sexual identities. With so much negative information out there, it’s only natural for a younger person to feel overwhelmed and possibly isolated like those of us who went through the same motions when we were discovering our sexual identities.
Sadly in many cases, gay people have used bisexuality as a means to lessen the burden of coming out, which has in turn given heed to the notion that at some point all bisexuals choose one end of the spectrum or the other. This in turn has given way to literature that may be confusing and damaging to those who are just discovering who they are. Instead of helping those who need it, we are isolating them by declaring that their perception of the world and of themselves is wrong. We are telling them that they must fall into one category or another. Why? Why must they fall into one category? Why must they choose? What right do we have to further the notion that bisexuality is nonexistent without subjective experience of it?
After seriously considering this for the last twenty-four hours I find myself annoyed with my initial lack of thought on the matter and even more annoyed with the widely propagated notion that a person falls into one of two groups: homosexual or heterosexual. Add in the idea that we’re possibly causing damage to today’s youth with this thinking, and I’m let feeling somewhat sad about the entire subject; sad in the sense that there is so much narrow-minded thinking out there that may be causing more problems than we realize.
I think the basic point that I’m trying to get across after my rather verbose rant is that we need to open our minds. The only way we’re going to make progress in this world is to step outside of ourselves and try to see things through the eyes of someone else. Or maybe we need to simply stop focusing on all the labels. Labels don’t define us; they confine us. There is so much to each and every one of us and to label oneself is to limit oneself. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. What does it really matter? Maybe we just need to be and the rest will fall into place. I guess only time will tell.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry