Quick hit: why I loathe “Everyone’s bi”

bi pride flag

Bi Pride

When a bisexual1 person comes out and is greeted with the dismissive (but so persistent) meme “Everyone is bi”, what we’re really being told is: “That doesn’t matter”, “We all function as straight so should be able to too”, “Why do you need to say it?”, “You’re just looking for attention”. We’re being told that our identities — who we are, in a real, fundamental way — are false.

Because if everyone is bi, no one is. It becomes meaningless. And we — once again — become invisible.

I do believe that most of us2 have a much higher capacity for enjoyment of sensuality and sexuality with all types of people than we currently allow ourselves or admit to. And yes, that means we can enjoy sensual and sexual encounters with people of many genders. But that is not the same as being bisexual — it’s not the same as having persistent, sustained (though variable over time) attractions to people of multiple genders.

Not everyone wonders what’s wrong with them that they can’t “just pick”.

Not everyone is scared of talking about all of their crushes or all of their past relationships.

Not everyone wonders where the hell the people who are like them are on TV (and why when they’re there, they’re either jokes and sluts, or cheaters and murderers).

Not everyone struggles with the times when their lovers — their beloved, committed, beautiful partners — don’t feel like the right shape/right reactions/right gender, though they feel so very right at other times.

Not everyone has their ability to be monogamous questioned3 4, or has their non-monogamy assumed to be part and parcel of their deviancy and inability to choose.

Not everyone feels out of place in the straight world and out of place  in the queer world if they’re closeted, and not everyone gets kicked out of both on a regular basis if they cease lying about who they are.

You think everyone’s bisexual? Tell me that after you’ve actually felt what it’s like to be non-monosexual in a world of monosexual supremacy and privilege. You may mean it to be supportive, but if you’d been here, you’d understand why when you tell me “everyone’s bi” my face starts turning the colors of my pride flag.

*****

While I’m on the topic, you simply must must must read The day I “decided” to “stop” being “straight” parts one and two by Ruth Moss. She makes many excellent points and dispels many myths of non-monosexuality, and does it with wit and style.

  1. In this post I reluctantly use “bisexual” and “bi” as shorthand for all non-monosexual identities, including but not limited to bisexual, pansexual, and omnisexual. Normally I prefer to identify as and use the term “queer”, both because it does not support the false binary of gender and because it indicates solidarity with all non-straight sexualities; for this post, however, I need to make that distinction, and I find non-monosexual — with its definition by what we are not rather than what we are — to be both off-putting and unwieldy.
  2. In general, but I wish to acknowledge that there are many exceptions; for example, people who are asexual may desire sensual encounters but not sexual ones, and people with sensory issues or certain disabilities or neuroatypicalities may not enjoy sensual contact.
  3. As though everyone else is so great at that; taken a gander at divorce rates recently?
  4. It occurs to me I may be enjoying my new footnote generator a bit too much.
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85 Responses to Quick hit: why I loathe “Everyone’s bi”

  1. LOVE this post and may point certain ppl I know in this direction.

    When I came out, someone gave me the old ‘everyone’s bi’ thing….I said, ‘Funny how no one’s talking about it.’

    Coming out can be hard, and I think bisexual ppl have additional challenges to meet.

    You rock.

  2. Good post. I agree that the “everyone’s bi” statement is WAY too simplistic. I also agree that most people are not as firmly situated in the “only straight” end of the spectrum as they allow themselves to think … which doesn’t mean bi and doesn’t mean they’d be keen for more than just snogging with the same sex.

    Am I being coherent? Probably not. I should quit rambling on your blog, I suppose … I am very impressed with your footnote generator, though. That sounds like it could be a euphemism … it wasn’t meant to be … I’m shutting up now.

  3. Great point. I’m married to someone who’s bi, I most certainly am not. So while I can see that we all probably fit somewhere along a spectrum, that doesn’t mean we all have to deal with the complications.
    When it was all theoretical, I admit I used to think it must be hard to be with someone who was bi – wouldn’t you worry that they were ‘missing out’ and therefore more likely to stray? When I then, ironically, fell for someone who was I realised it made absolutely no difference – someone’s monogamous or they aren’t.

  4. Yes, yes this, yes.

    And your footnote generator is awesome. And TYSM for linking to me too and saying such lovely things.

    There is one tiny teeny thing though and I feel such an ungrateful sod for saying it after you linked to me. And it’s probably me misunderstanding your meaning, too. Anyway.

    But that is not the same as being bisexual — it’s not the same as having persistent, sustained (though variable over time) attractions to people of multiple genders.

    See… I can look back now and see that I was attracted to more than just the boys/men I allowed myself to experience that attraction too. But… at the time, I was very skilled at pulling the wool over my own eyes. Hell, I managed to successfully turn the feelings of attraction I had towards a good friend into play fighting with her! (Yeah, you know, if you’re seventeen, and you’re play fighting at kicking each other in the shins as hard as you can…? You, er, you might want to just have a little chat with yourself.) If you’d have asked me, I would not have said I was attracted to women, I would have said “oh, I just like to look at women you know from a purely aesthetic point of view honest that’s all it is” and I would have 90% believed that, too.

    So… well, does that make any sense? At all?

  5. Ugh, multiple comments, sorry, sorry, but what I meant to say is, the “you’re not bisexual enough meme” is also quite a prevalent one and… it’s a fine line between that, and “please for the love of sweet baby jebus and the orphans stop saying everyone is bi”… iyswim?

    I think what I mean maybe is, I do think people should be able to self-define as bisexual, even if they are much more attracted to one gender than others. But if they’re going to do that, take the shit that comes with it, too. If you’re going to use the label, use the fucking label.

    • Okay, I don’t see what you mean. I know both statements, having heard both, but I don’t see how there’s a fine line between them. I do think anyone who self-defines as bisexual gets policed by almost everyone else, bisexual, pansexual, monosexual, or whatever. Biphobia is about being wrong no matter how you act or feel when you’re bisexual.

    • I think you’ve pretty much summed up my sexuality in a nutshell. I mean, I am attracted to women, moreso than I am attracted to men, but due to one thing or another (see: growing up Catholic, repressing same-sex desires, etc.) I’ve never been in a relationship with a woman. This is partly my own issues – okay it’s mostly all my issues – but I still consider myself bisexual because I do still find myself attracted to women and, circumstances willing and/or planets aligning, would be willing to be in an intimate relationship with a woman. But I get it, I mean I get the “not bisexual enough” thing, because if you knew nothing about my desires and only looked at my behaviour, I’d just come off as another straight chick maybe playing the bicurious card, and I get that there’s a kind of privilege of passing involved with being mostly-heterosexual. I get wanting to police the boundaries because it’s so important to have a community that gets you and the special issues you face as members of that community, and it gets difficult if not impossible if everyone who’s ever had a passing fancy for someone of the same sex but otherwise is mostly into the opposite sex starts calling themselves bisexual.

      I don’t know where that leaves us, though, although now I better understand my husband’s unwillingness to identify as bisexual – he’s said before that he’d be wary of “appropriating” the term since he’s only fancied about six guys, ever, and never pursued them as relationships and is not interested in attempting pursuit of a male/male relationship – I think he gets more about what you’re saying than I do, and he’s never even heard you speak, lol.

  6. I agree with you, absolutely. I believe that there are as many different sexualities as there are people on this planet. But we do like putting people in boxes,putting labels on things, don’t we? If I find a man or a woman attractive it’s not that they are either male or female, it is something else that those people have in common, not necessarily something that I can describe in absolute terms, but their sex or gender is not the main thing.

  7. I love this post. Love, love, love it. I also got the “isn’t everyone” remark. The problem is I internalise all of the things you said in your first paragraph – the you just want attention, the you’re not special, the why do you have to complicate *my* life with your sexuality. I think being out online, and increasingly IRL, is helping me own it and shut down the voice saying those things in my head.

    People really don’t understand bisexuality (or as you say, non-monosexuality). It doesn’t just go away because I’m in a hetero relationship. It’s *me*. It’s the way I see the world.

    “I was very skilled at pulling the wool over my own eyes”

    This. My first experimental kisses as a pre-teen were with girls, hell, I’d *shagged* women but I didn’t use the term bisexuality to apply to myself until last year. Why? Not sure, probably for the reasons I mentioned above.

    Again, great post Arwyn. Thanks.

  8. Eh, that comment made so little sense. I apologise.

  9. “Not everyone struggles with the times when their lovers — their beloved, committed, beautiful partners — don’t feel like the right shape/right reactions/right gender, though they feel so very right at other times.”

    OH. MY. GOD. You get this? This is a normal bi thing? This isn’t just a, I don’t know, perverse flaky wishing-I-were-with-someone-else thing that I’ve been repressing for years? I’ve always been very comfortable being bi, but I never thought of that as being a part of it. Just… wow.

  10. A-frakking-men.
    Somedays I don’t even know where I am on the spectrum anymore, but having people blow it off as being dramatic or some other equally non-real phase is very hurtful. When someone shares something about who he or she is, one should never be dismissive of it, because that’s being dismissive of him or her as a person. (Werf just feels wrong to me today)

  11. I identify as bi, but since I am more attracted to men than to women (although I like *looking* at women more…), I have definitely had my “credentials” called into question – mostly by lesbians of the hardcore, you-like-dick-so-I-won’t-even-speak-to-you variety (I went to Mills College(which I frequently refer to as Lesbian U), and there was a coterie of them in my dorm). It doesn’t much bother me.

    What I find interesting is the common assumption that bi (or non-monosexual) equals non-monogamous (not that I’m saying that you’re propagating that). Not true, folks! I’ve played poly, and it’s definitely not for me. So here I am, passing for straight simply because I’m in a monogamous marriage with a man. I tend not to disabuse my ILs of the assumption; they have enough trouble with the idea that I’m not the same stripe of Christian as they are (let alone not Christian at all, which again, I tend not to go into). It’s simply easier not to go into the complications; DH knows, and it’s not like I’m closeted in any way, just situationally discreet. Not everyone in the world needs to know those parts of me, just like not everyone in the world needs to know about my depression (which again I’m not closeted about).

    I less-than three your footnote generator as much as I do my parenthetical remarks. :)

  12. I think I agree with this, although the terminology in the footnotes is, well, not very user-friendly to the average reader… Nuance is good but I think you risk simply not being understood by making your point unduly complex.

    For my part, I would have always identified as straight and male touch was a taboo growing up. Now I realize I can enjoy male touch, including intimate touch, but I am not very interested in or tuned into *giving* it. Based on the traditional equation “straight=homophobic”, still VERY widespread unfortunately, this might make me feel like I need a new label. I can call myself “normal”, but this is clearly an essentially disputed concept. For some people who don’t get it otherwise, I have been known to try “passive bi” but it seems to come out as “closet homosexual”. Fact is, I have the potential to enjoy intimate touch from both sexes, but I am sexually attracted only to women. There is no way you could compare, in may case, a certain sexual curiosity as regards men or an interest in letting them touch me with the potential all-encompassing hormonal response to a woman. To refer to this orientation as “bi” is therefore unhelpful from the perspective not simply of sexual identity but, I believe and assume, of the very endocrinology of sexual response. The term “bisexual” should, I would have thought, be reserved for persons whose (active) sexual response to both (or all?) genders, prior to any intimate contact, is essentially similar along at least some objective criteria.

    In this sense, I agree that not everyone is bi, in fact I think there are probably a lot of women who identify themselves as bi for a variety of reasons (fashion, politics, pressure, lack of better terminology…) but who in regards to women are more like I am in regard to men. Facing similar orientations, much fewer men would declare themselves bi. Having said that, I also believe there is a difference between men and women in regards to the relationship to the same sex and this is due to the role of the mother in early childhood, both the biological role of nursing (and whatever else we may believe to be biologically specific to mothering) and also the cultural role. A girl also has a different relationship towards being a mother than a man has towards being a father. For this reason, and maybe others, the quality of relationships between women is different from that between men; in part, regrettably. However, this may have little more consequence than in reducing the barriers to experiencing intimate pleasure with the same sex on the part of women compared to men. Fundamentally, it may not change a lot because the anatomy of sexual response is the same, just as what you look like, how old you are, where you’re from or what education you have does not change much from the standpoint of someone who is receiving intimate touch from you. Of course there are many factors, including these, which contribute to the quality of a sexual experience, but then on another level; the response to intimate touch, provided it is sensitive and caring, is primarily and in the first instance an experience of your own body. Thus we are all “bi” in an anatomical and rather trivial sense for which, indeed, better words should be found.

    • 1st paragraph: It really just sounds like you’re grappling with some homophobia. Also, lots of bisexuals have varying levels of attraction. The kinsey scale reflects this.

      2nd paragraph: Erm, I’m fairly certain that people identify as bi… because… you know… they’re bi. Not due to fashion, politics or whatever. And that includes varying attractions + having some ingrained homophobia. As for why many men don’t like iding as bi well, that I’ve got nothing on. I’m not a guy.

      What you said about relationships to same sex (at least biologically) is really a load of unproven hogwash. Culture might influence some things, but culture is always mutable and is currently changing.

      The rest of it I literally can not parse into concepts. It just doesn’t make sense. Sexuality is attraction, not “good golly, that feels good”. Or yanno, so many would be “handsexual”. Or vibesexual. So yeah, not getting your basis for saying everyone is “bi” or even what you’re trying to say with that.

      More user friendly wording next time, perhaps?

      • Dear friend,

        These were just my thoughts, based on my experience. I think the label “hogwash” doesn’t really reflect the spirit of tolerance in which these remarks were clearly intended. I recognize I am likely to be an atypical reader of this blog, but please recognize also that our experiences may be different. In my experience, certainly also particular to the milieux I know, many women refer to themselves as bi (and/or their husbands so refer to them) merely to mean that they enjoy playing (or at least do play) with other women. I think the blog’s author was making the valid point that this was not “bi” in the sense she understood the word and with that point I agree; but if I misunderstood then fine.

        I rather like your definition of sexuality, but it is certainly not a widespread one in the society in which we live, where people routinely ask themselves the question of whether) for example receiving an erotic massage is “cheating”. If we both agree that that is a silly question, then I am happy about that; but I think we still have a lot of others out there to convince.

        I am here to learn and share about matters which really interest me; I try also to listen beyond denigrating language but I of course cannot say I enjoy it. Could we possibly lighten up the tone a little?

        One of the things that often depresses me, as a heterosexual male, about the homo scene is its lack of interest in engaging with heterosexuals in debate. I quite understand why they may be reluctant to do so in general, but always hope that my good will would open some doors. And that is sometimes so, but often not. I do wonder how any oppressed minority expects to achieve justice in society if they will not engage in discussion with those members of the “majority” who absolutely, fully sympathize with their demands and support them as passionately as they do themselves. I believe this is referred to colloquially as a “ghetto mentality”.

        Anyway, no hard feelings on my side.

        • Y’know, it’s just possible that the reluctance of minorities to engage with the majority in debate that you describe is due to the propensity of the majority – even those who claim to be sympathetic – to then try to explain our experiences to us, as if we couldn’t possibly understand or declare what we are without their help.

          It happens a lot. And it’s pretty irritating.

        • Sean,

          You really made it seem like you were citing facts at me when you said them, hence my response of hogwash. Besides, how exactly would your experiences tell you what women experience? You’re not a woman. So I have a hard time taking your experiences as anything more than flawed assessments built from limited information. At best a hypothesis, at worst speculation.

          Some folk do appropriate the word bi for purposes like that, of course. Some. Not “a lot” like you said and certainly not just among women. Played off a bit sexist, just thought you should know.

          Well, cheating is as simple as breaking the rules of a relationship. Sexuality is attraction, but you can still cheat with someone you don’t want. So that kind of question is more a fundamental misunderstanding of what sexuality is.

          Oh my, I really don’t detect any denigrating language in my comment. In fact, my tone seems to be quite sweet. Perhaps you are merely getting stuck on the flaws of text communication? A lack of body language really makes it tough to communicate emotion.

          In response to what depresses you, one of the things that often depresses me, as a queer trans woman, about the heterosexual cis man scene is its lack of interest in doing much more than attempting to excuse its issues, escape blame or downplay them. Oftentimes using someone’s tone as an excuse, forgetting of course that if they had to answer the same questions over a thousand times in a row, their tone would likely become… strained as well. I do wonder how any privileged majority expects any oppressed minority to find them sincere about their “passionate support” when they consistently prioritize their comfort and need to assuage themselves of guilt (when it certainly isn’t about guilt, it’s about change and progress) over the lives and well being of those minorities. I believe this is referred to colloquially as a combination of “the tone argument derail” and “privileged centering”.

          More scientifically it’s called “entitlement”

          Anyways, I hope that helped. No hard feelings here either.

    • although the terminology in the footnotes is, well, not very user-friendly to the average reader… Nuance is good but I think you risk simply not being understood by making your point unduly complex.

      I read this as “I think I agree with you, but your footnotes confuse me.” Except that you might not want to admit that, so you generalise outward and say things like, well, what you just said.

      Fact is, I have the potential to enjoy intimate touch from both sexes, but I am sexually attracted only to women. There is no way you could compare, in may case, a certain sexual curiosity as regards men or an interest in letting them touch me with the potential all-encompassing hormonal response to a woman. To refer to this orientation as “bi” is therefore unhelpful from the perspective not simply of sexual identity but, I believe and assume, of the very endocrinology of sexual response.

      It sounds like you’re saying that you enjoy touches from either gender, but prefer sexual encounters with women because your interest in male-male sexual encounters is less than “all-encompassing.” Kinda like the difference between “he likes me” and “he likes me likes me”? Either way, I agree with @genderbitch that this sounds like you either a. don’t believe that bisexuals can have varying levels of attraction (i.e., it’s not split 50/50 between men and women) or b. are carrying around a bit of homophobia and probably c. both a and b. Which is – all right, in terms of how you identify is how you identify and I’m not about to try to bully you into an identity you don’t feel you fit.

      I also believe there is a difference between men and women in regards to the relationship to the same sex and this is due to the role of the mother in early childhood, both the biological role of nursing (and whatever else we may believe to be biologically specific to mothering) and also the cultural role. A girl also has a different relationship towards being a mother than a man has towards being a father.

      I am honestly not sure what you are getting at here. It sounds like “Women tend to be emotionally closer to their mothers than men are to their fathers, which is reflected in the ways that women tend to form closer relationships with other women while men do not tend to form close relationships with other men, and this probably has some impact on why the rate of women who are into women is higher than the rate of women who are into men,” and while homosociality is an interesting concept I’m not sure that’s even what you’re talking about, or if you are, if you’re using it to mean the same thing that I think it means.

      The last part of that paragraph – I’m lost. “Everyone is bi because most of us will experience caring, sensitive, intimate touches as pleasurable and therefore we need a better word than bisexual to describe that reality” is – missing the point? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s even necessarily true, and even if it were, as @genderbitch says sexuality is about attraction and relationships and things greater than simply “hey, this feels good.” It’s problematic to conflate the two.

      • Dear lovepeace,

        No, I fully agree that bisexuals may have varying levels of attraction. Sorry if I suggested otherwise. Yes, of course I am carrying around a lot of residual homophobia. But it’s not just me, it’s the nonsense I got from society around me and that society largely continues to believe it – I do not. So yes, in a way I’m free and it would be nice if everyone else were. That doesn’t make me, personally, bi. I think that’s the point and on this we agree, or?

        The last part were indeed some random thoughts and I agree they are neither complete nor necessarily clear. It was just to recognize some differences between f/f and m/m relationships which might nuance what I said earlier. I have no problem disagreeing with myself, and am only exploring these things from my side with interest, openness and honesty. What I honestly think very few “heterosexual” males do.

        • Well, in terms of “exploring things from [your] side with interest, openness and honesty,” I think you may want to consider the way you are performing your explorations in this space. You seem like an okay person, but you’re still falling into that trap of wanting to be validated for trying to stumble through the webs of privilege and oppression, and you’re doing it in a space that is not very anti-oppression 101. So you’re encountering resistance, which is causing you to become defensive, resort to arguing with the tone of your dissidents, and overall you’re just digging yourself into one heckuva deeper hole.

          If you want to genuinely engage with the topic here, you may want to read up on the difference between dialogue and debate. You’ve used the latter term twice in different comments and as these are two very different styles of communication – the former being more productive for conversations like these – I’d suggest learning how to use dialogue to learn from shared experiences, rather than bringing your relatively under-informed viewpoint (which is necessarily privileged in this space, to the extent that folks like me are running the risk of derailing the thread to explain it to you (apologies to all others, it’s the educator in me)) into a conversation where it is ultimately more harmful than helpful.

      • To be maybe slightly more precise, although still entirely tentative – the first relationship as a baby is to the mother. For heterosexual males, the gender of the desired object of attraction remains the same, but the attraction passes from the mother to other women (Oedipus phase). Therefore, a male has likely no comparable experience of intimacy with other men in childhood, whereas women do have an experience of very primal intimacy with another women – whatever their sexuality turns out to be. That mothers nurse babies is a biological fact, even if much else around childrearing is cultural, and (happily) changing. Is it or isn’t it relevant – no idea. I just contribute it to the debate.

        • I’d just like to point out that Freud’s theories have been replaced by far more accurate and scientific theories since. Meaning that most of this is no longer accurate.

  13. Bisexuals get a lot of stick, which isn’t really fair. A lot of the time I think people see it as a ‘stepping stone’ ’cause so many frightened gays came out as bi first to soften the blow. I also think people find it really hard to understand, because they can’t relate. In the lesbian community bisexuals get loads of hassle, I think they’re like grossed out by the idea of it, or they’re intimidated and think that a bi girl is going to go jump the first boy that comes along and she’s just the bit on the side.

    It’s sad that there’s so much prejudice even within our our community, but it’s a slow process. But I do think that until we can accept the Ls the Gs the Bs and the Ts ourselves, I don’t know how we’re going to convinces everyone else to get over it.

  14. I don’t know how politically correct my response to this will be. My intention is to be honest about who I am and apologize for my lack of knowing all the right terms to use. Perhaps if I lived more consciously in this realm I would speak a whole lot better. Anyhow. Since my 20′s I’ve considered myself as open to all relationship possibilities. I think what did it for me was Ellen’s relationship with Ann Heche. I found it remarkable that a straight woman could suddenly become gay. And then Ann spoke and straight-up said that she had just fallen in love and it didn’t matter that Ellen was a woman, she was just a person she fell in love with. And I saw the light. I erased the boundaries. I opened myself to whatever and whomever lay ahead. I marched in pride parades, not to identify as being bisexual, but to support the LGT people in my community. To be an ally. I was suddenly very comfortable in gay bars and dancing with women. I was shy, but I was there. Hell I was shy but dancing with guys at straight bars too! For awhile I wondered “Am I bisexual?” But since I lacked the experience of having had a sexual relationship with a woman, I didn’t find my answer. Do you have to have sex with someone of a certain gender to answer that? I have always been attracted to women, in many of the same ways if not more, like I have been attracted to men. I fantasize about women all the time. Some might say that makes me bi-curious. Maybe it does. I prefer to think that I’m just open to possibilities, the same way I am open to a person’s ideas that are opposite to mine. That’s why I like your blog so much – because you identify as being full of contradiction, being open to both the yin and yang.

    • Nobody asks heterosexuals if they have to have sex with a MOTOS to answer whether or not they’re straight – that question is exclusively asked of bi and gay folks.

    • If past sexual experiences were the determinant of sexual orientation, a lot more people would be bisexual and all virgins would be asexual.

  15. Thank-you for this post!
    I have always felt there was just no place for a queer cis-girl like me. I was hated by the straight boys and feared by the straight girls in my early coming of age time. In college I jumped directly into the Lesbian Avengers and felt, for a split second, safe and accepted. Then, the constant you don’t belong here, you’re a political lesbian, shite started. Went to Michfest, worked at Michfest, experienced the most HATEFUL sexual manipulation and attacks since being raped in high school. All this hate seemed to come from a need to feel powerful, and how did they go about gaining power?, by victimizing someone they perceived as privileged. (which is exactly why i was raped, straight boy wanting to put me in my place, remove what he saw as an undue privilege) All I know is that I never (again) want to let my experiences of victimization drag me to a place that I want to make someone hurt the way I have hurt. Being bi/non-mono/queer sexual has been an amazing experience for me that has shown me that we are more alike in our fears and our need to be loved, understood, protected. The ironic thing is, had I not been so vilified in the lesbian community, I probably would have never gone looking for something more revolutionary. Love, being the revolution I speak of.
    Alrighty folks, thanks for listening!

  16. All right, guilty as charged: I have been known to say to (straight, male) friends that “it’s all the same in the dark” and to further cajole using the “everybody’s bi” line, from time to time, although I feel it’s important (read: don’t hate meeeee) to add that it’s mostly teasing because I am so tired of hearing them complain about how complicated relationships with women are, so I tell them to try men instead.

    But, yes, and yes again. The response I got from my parents when I came out and admitted that I liked women too was so casual and dismissive, “Oh, we thought that might be the case,” and while I’m sure they were trying to be supportive by demonstrating that it wasn’t a big deal to them, it was a BIG HUGE FRAKKIN’ DEAL to me because I’d spent my entire teenage life trying to smush down those completely inconvenient feelings of attraction to one of my best friends. And of course now that I am “safely” in a marriage to a presumably-straight, presumably-monogamous presumably-male person (hint: he is not all three) they’ve kind of written it off as some college phase, and completely ignore any evidence to the contrary. And to a degree yes, I do enjoy the privilege of passing as heterosexual, which I tend to think is what drives a lot of the anti-bi sentiment in gay/lesbian communities, and which I understand because the wheels on the bus, man do they hurt when they’re rollin’ over your back day in and day out – but is it a privilege to suffer invisibility as a result? I don’t know. Part of me thinks it is, part of me thinks it isn’t, the rest of me wonders why we all CARE so much about who gets up to what with whom as long as it’s safe and consensual and then wants to go take a nap.

    • I hear you. I think we all care so much, because entire communities are created out of difference and if we bi’s are constantly ignored &/or betrayed we walk around feeling like noone has our back. It’s nice to have a posse that will go to the mat for you, but if we are invisible how do we create said posse?

      • This. You’ve actually really helped clarify my thoughts on that issue – because as an individual, I’m relatively insulated from the effects of invisibility, other than suffering a vague sort of angst when others take my sexuality for granted. In a larger, more communal sense though, even though my invisibility may not negatively affect my own life, it does contribute to the broader erasure of the bisexual community, which is not cool.

        Thank you for that lightbulb moment :)

  17. Sorta off topic, but in relation to something mentioned in passing in this post…

    I’d love to read your thoughts on how bisexuality is portrayed in the media. Sadly I can only think of a single example I’ve been exposed to {House}. Though one might be able to argue Firefly as well, but I’m not going to argue that one either way. I’m just curious to read what you have to say on that topic.

    • Did you see L Word’s, Alice, tell her dying friend that she agrees bi-sexuality is so uncouth. This coming from the only bi character on the show. Ouch, nothing worse than a heaping helping of self-loathing.

    • There’s also Captain Jack on Doctor Who/Torchwood, who I adore but nonetheless reinforces the “bisexuals are sluts” meme.

      I need to track down that tshirt that reads “I’m bisexual, polyamorous, sex-positive, and I still won’t sleep with you!”

    • You know, I have been thinking about this all afternoon, and I still can’t really come up with a bisexual character outside of Alice on The L Word. (Jenny … doesn’t count. Maybe she ought to – more like, I don’t want her to count, because I dislike her. *cough* Anyway.) I think there may be an argument for Inara on Firefly but she always read more as pansexual than bisexual, although I suppose reading her will depend on one’s understanding of those definitions.

      I had thought there were more, but then I realized that I just read too much fanfic, and while there may be sufficient subtext in the media to make the argument, I don’t think there are any “out” bisexual characters on other programs that I regularly watch.

      Disappointing, that.

  18. My comment is a bit like Melodie’s. I’ve sometimes considered myself bi-curios. I don’t think I’m bisexual and I’ve never been attracted to someone of my sex IRL but sometimes my fantasy world crosses over.

    I’ve never though ‘everyone’ is bi, but I kind of used to believe it was just that one was confused about being gay or straight. I no longer believe that but I know that’s a common misconseption.

    Anyway another fantastic piece of writing Arwyn

  19. I love this. I’m bookmarking it so I can refer others to it. I live in bible-thumpin Oklahoma and although I am straight, I often get criticized for standing up and fighting for GLBT-rights and equality. People around here find it perfectly acceptable to talk openly about gay and bisexual people much in the same way that people used to talk about their black slaves, as lower class citizens. The people who get hit hardest by this kind of verbal assault are bisexuals. More often than not, I hear something like, “Well they’re right half the time. Why can’t they just stay on the right side?”

    Some of the time I’m able to have conversations with these people and those are the people I will refer here. I believe that love is blind, completely and wholly. I wish others would see that too.

  20. “Everyone’s Bi”?? What does that even mean. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Yeah, on the surface it’s a simple statement, but does it denote that everyone is Queer as well? That everyone is Gay? That everyone is Trans? Saying everyone is Bi just attempts to wipe out those who are Bisexual, by claiming this is part and parcel of everyone. It steals and diminishes their sexuality. Please note, I did not say their chosen sexuality. I have yet to find a person who has chosen their sexuality outside of a few gays who are trying due to religious beliefs to not be gay. And even then folks…they’re gay.

    And when you apply labels, what am I? I prefer men and women, but lean strongly toward women. Ian pre-op trans and am in a relationship with another pre-op trans. Normally I wouldn’t state the condition of my genitalia, but here I think it’s needed to make the point. What am I as far as sexuality? I consider myself a lesbian. I do not check out guys or lust after them. The men in my life were all ones I fell in love with first. But there’s a lot more women and I do check out other women. But do I claim I am Bi? No. I don’t think I have that right to appropriate that term. Amd I gay? What, due to a mistake of genitals? Not so much.

    So be careful throwing around terms as if you have a clue. Sexually a person is defined by themselves and innately how they feel. Sure you can say, oh I think that (member of the same sex) is hot, but unless that is your primary sexual attraction, you’re not gay. Same with being ‘straight’. Bisexuality is best defined by those who are, such as raisingboychick, and I believe she has done that quite admirably point by point in the original post.

    Think before you decide it’s ok to co-opt any group’s definition of who they are. Because when you do you invariably wipe them out.

    • Godless Heathen

      @Alissia I chose my sexuality and I’m a panromantic polysexual.

      By that I mean, I believe that I was born without innate sexual preferences. I was raised to be heterosexual and aggressively socialized into that sexuality, but I began to feel that it didn’t quite fit me. While I felt some sexual attraction to women and did fall in love with a woman, it was quite a few years later before I made a conscious decision to set aside my heterosexual conditioning and allow myself to accept and analyze any feelings I had about sexuality. In fact, I made an effort to try to see people of all genders without the heterosexual focus of my upbringing and ask myself if I had attractions or desires.

      I could have simply lived out the programming that I was given, always feeling something didn’t quite fit, but otherwise assuming that I was straight. I made a conscious choice not to do this, to open myself up and explore. My sexual preferences are as informed by my intellect as they are by my feelings of affection and arousal.

      Even this journey was much more difficult than it needed to be thanks to both “everyone is bi” and “no one is bi” because again, I was starting from a place of actually feeling no innate preferences. I was being told simultaneously that everyone felt like I did and acted straight, and that nobody felt like I did and acted straight or gay. I was probably twenty five before I came to accept myself as a fluid polysexual. Now today I couldn’t choose to solely enact my heterosexual programming and turn my back on other attractions. It’s a fact about myself that I can’t un-know. But it’s a fact I chose to know about myself.

      I chose to be queer. And every time someone says “nobody chooses” I die a little inside for another layer of erasure from the queer community.

  21. “new footnote generator”
    This migth not be terribly deep, but I love footnotes, especially those automatically generated.

  22. I’ve always taken the “everyone is bi” comment in a completely different way. I’ve never thought of it as meaning that if everyone is bi, it should be easy for anyone to “play straight.” Rather, I’ve seen it as a message that if people were to shed their fears around homosexuality and bisexuality and just allowed themselves to feel their natural inclinations, they would likely find themselves feeling attractions to people of both/all sexes. To me, it’s a unifying statement, not a divisive one. I like that it counters the assumption of a binary system in human feelings or relationships. Of course, I am speaking from a totally different place since I am predominantly heterosexual in my orientation, having only felt occasional sexual attractions towards other women. I don’t know how much of that is related to my natural preference and how much is the limitations of “fitting in.” I’ll agree completely that by leaning far towards the hetero end of the continuum that it does in fact make it very easy for me to live in a hetero world; I certainly don’t mean to diminish the difficulties encountered in trying to navigate a straight world when you don’t “fit the mold”…I’m merely trying to express the idea that the statement “everyone is bi” doesn’t necessarily mean that the person saying it is trying to say that the person SHOULD just function as hetero. Sometimes it really is meant as a show of support.

    • This is still problematic because it still treats bisexuality as a simple human aspect, erasing bisexual people.

      For a fact here, abandoning fears regarding sexuality doesn’t open up new doors unless those doors were there already. I know people that don’t have a whit of issues with the idea of being bi, hell, some would prefer it (I commonly call bisexuality a superpower) yet they are very much monosexual. It’s deeply prescriptive to tell them how their lives would go if they only did so and so (with no clue if they have) and it just seriously erases the bejesus out of bisexual folk.

      It isn’t good, even if meant that way. Same harm as before.

      • Would it be similar to the concept of colour-blindness in racism?

        Most of the time (in my experience at least) people who state that everyone is bisexual are in fact usually referring to the Kinsey continuum. They aren’t using it to mean that all people are exactly 50-50 on the scale, but that people will have some degree of bisexuality regardless of which end of the spectrum they are closest to. I’ve always seen this as positive because I’ve seen how it’s opened the eyes of so many people who would happily believe that we live in a binary world in which people are either gay or straight, and that anyone who isn’t straight is a freak.

        The repercussions of that widely held view are quite obvious: fear of coming out, fear of being suspected as gay, and often real dangers for people who aren’t heterosexual (or able to easily pass for straight) ranging from rejection to murder. There are also degrees of homophobia, though. At one end are those who are disgusted and filled with hate, while at the other end there are those who celebrate the infinite variety in people. I think that a lot of people have been swayed by the “everyone is bisexual” idea, moving them farther down the continuum towards acceptance. Over time that’s how the views of an entire culture change…bit by bit…step by step. What one generation hates, the next might simply dislike, then the next reluctantly tolerates, until finally it is accepted or even celebrated as a normal part of society.

        I would love a world in which children freely tried on different genders and different relationships as easily as they play dress up. I would love it if adolescents could openly share their feelings with others without fear of judgement, fully free to explore who they are. Until tonight, “everyone is bisexual” has always been a statement (in my mind) that dismantles the assumption that anything other than pure heterosexuality is abberant or wrong.

        I’ve been thinking about this for most of the night. I’ve struggled to see your side of it. I can see that it would minimize the experience of a person who has lived with confusion or fear or had difficulty coming out to others because they aren’t sure how those around them will take “the news.” By simplifying the idea of a continuum to “everyone is bisexual” it’s equally valid to interpret it to mean that if everyone else is bisexual and easily chose a side or lives as hetero, that there is something wrong with anyone who doesn’t. No doubt there are many people who will in fact mean it that way.

        This is why the parallel of colour-blindness came to mind. I think it’s a very similar situation because I think the people who started talking about the concept of colour-blindness meant it to be positive in race relations. I think they meant to point out the ways in which we are similar under the skin in order to build bridges…and I think that it did work to a large extent…but at the same time they negated the fact that people do have different experiences based on their skin colour. It wasn’t about celebrating variety; it was about ignoring it, and ignoring it usually requires that people fit in to the right box.

        I also see that in both examples, the idea is coming from outside, in particular from the more powerful or dominant group.

        So how do I challenge the homophobia that I regularly face? What words can I use to express the ideas that people have different degrees of attraction, different levels of sex drive, different preferences, a multitude of genders, etc. and that it’s not only ok, but that it’s a good thing? There is no doubt that I’m in a position of privilege here as a heterosexual woman married to a heterosexual man. I believe there is some quote about privilege coming with responsibility. I had previously thought that “everyone is bisexual” was a way to challenge the often deeply held beliefs that heterosexuality is the only valid sexuality, in particular with my students during health class (I teach 11-14 year olds).

        How should I say things instead? I’m thinking of sharing the continuum (while also mentioning that there are many continuums and that this one from heterosexual to homosexual is only one of them) and pointing out that the extremes represent a black or white way of looking at things that is very common, but incorrect, and that most people are actually somewhere between the extremes.

        Perhaps I should have a discussion about a few points on the continuum, such as how a person closer to the heterosexual end might find it easier to blend in to society and not have to open up about his/her sexuality completely, while a person close to the middle may be faced with feeling like they need to choose or be rejected by others at either end of the spectrum, and how those closer to the homosexual end might fully identify as homosexual, but might also find themselves fanning the small spark of heterosexuality that they see in themselves in hopes of rejecting that huge part of themselves in order to fit in? And that people might not have those experiences at all, too…that being at any point on the continuum isn’t going to make anything happen a certain way, but that some experiences might be more common than others?

        I guess this is where I LIKE labels and terms and categories. They are so neat and tidy; they make communication much more straight forward. I suppose that’s only true when we all agree on what the labels, terms and categories mean, though.

        Thanks for giving me a lot of stuff to think about.

        • “I’m thinking of sharing the continuum (while also mentioning that there are many continuums and that this one from heterosexual to homosexual is only one of them) and pointing out that the extremes represent a black or white way of looking at things that is very common, but incorrect, and that most people are actually somewhere between the extremes.”

          I think this is a really good idea. It certainly wasn’t something that was ever discussed when I was at school, unfortunately. Also, the problem with sexuality or attraction is that it just doesn’t necessarily lend itself to labels and categories. It’s just so individual. Perhaps that’s something worth working into discussions on the continuum.

        • I like your comparison of “everyone is bi” to racial color-blindness. Seems to be a very apt one to me.

        • It’s possible. I’m less well versed on the types of harm caused by the “colour-blindness” cop-out w/ white privilege so I don’t know how similar the effects are. I can say that it connects closely to the concept of “I don’t see gender, just people” or “I don’t see gender identity, just people”. Both are erasing of entire groups of people, often pushed by an external privileged power and often makes it even harder to just have discourse about identity, minority culture and problems faced for a given minority (much less address the issues or aid the elements)

          In fact, it’s one of the more common ways trans folk, especially trans women, get erased by feminism. That whole, “but we don’t see gender identity, just people!” trope.

          And you’re right, that is exactly where this concept of “we don’t see A or B, just people” is so dangerous. It is externally applied by a powerful privileged group and it is immensely erasing despite the benefits of voicing the spectrum.

          So now, what should we do about it? Honestly I think your one idea for yourself (describing continuums) is a really good way to do it. But if you’re looking for something simple and catchy (and I can understand the appeal of simple buzzphrases, because they make good rallying points and good concept carriers) you could go with something like this:

          “Love is a spectrum”

          It’s more accurate than “everyone is bisexual” since the Kinsey scale does have polar ends and there are people who are 100% attracted to one single sex or gender (not always male or female or man or woman either, some folk are monosexual for nonbinaries and mixed forms, like say in pre/non op trans folk) and they do very much exist. It’s quite possible I’m one of them, despite my attempts to explore more and my views on polysexuality and bisexuality.

          It also doesn’t erase bisexuals and spreads its reach over everything without singling one group out. And there’s always that added bonus of it being a subtle rainbow reference, something our lot is a bit fond of.

          What do you think?

          • Thank you so much! OT, but I’m white and live and work in Aboriginal communities. I’m always really uncomfortable when middle class white city dwellers talk about colour blindness but haven’t been able to articulate what the problem is. This has really clarified it for me, and next time I’ll be able to explain it to them rather than being silent because I couldn’t find the words.

    • Mmm. I know a couple of people who were angry with themselves because they “didn’t believe in gender” and thus tried to enforce “everyone’s bi” on themselves – and were ashamed of their inability to transcend their monosexuality.

      Not only does it trivialise bisexuality, but it erases the potential acceptability of not being bisexual. I’m far more familiar with it being used as a tool of sexual coercion – “c’mon, everyone’s a little bit bi, you should try, open your mind” – than any sort of liberation from limitations.

      I recognise that some of that is backlash against the stupidities of a monosexual world, but that doesn’t precisely make it less of a problem.

  23. Sheri, I see what you’re saying but the statement “everyone is bi” incorporates a lot of presumptions about sexuality, both bisexuality, and monosexuality, that erases the experiences of the people who are concerned. Sure not everyone is at Kinsey 1 or 6, ie purely heterosexual or purely homosexual. I see saying “everyone is bi” as akin to saying *no-one* is purely heterosexual or purely homosexual, it erases those experiences as much as it is erasing the experiences of people who find themselves right in the middle. (Although I do agree that there are probably more of those people than we are aware of or would be if it wasn’t for social attitudes towards sexuality.) And that’s just working with a binary. The fact is that gender and sexuality are many and varied. Trying to say “everyone is” anything is always going to shove people in boxes where they don’t belong.

  24. shinynewcoin, I do see your point, too. As I said, I recognize that I’m coming at this from an outsider’s perspective, so I hope I’m not stepping on any toes to express my thoughts.

    I just can’t help but wonder, though, what the world would be like if “everyone is bi” was the main understanding throughout society. Granted, everyone is bi is a great simplification…I’d prefer “everyone is at a different place on a sexual continuum that ranges from fully heterosexual to fully homosexual, with most people being somewhere in the middle” (although that of course negates the experiences of non-sexual people…should that be asexual? I’m not sure of the correct term).

    Would a truly bisexual teenager still wonder “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just choose?” if the prevailing world view was that there isn’t anything wrong with not being able to choose? Would they still feel like they couldn’t talk about their feelings if it was accepted, and even EXPECTED that people would have a variety of feelings, attractions and crushes throughout life? If the overall society was comfortable with the concept of bisexuality, would people be depicted in a variety of relationships in popular media, thus bisexual people not wondering where the “people like me” are?

    I had never considered that “everyone is bi” could be damaging, and I’m glad to have my eyes opened to see this perspective. To me, it’s always been a statement that leads towards normalization…a step towards the acceptance of variety in human sexuality.

    • Call me silly, but I think we’d be much better off if we did away with policing peoples’ sexual attractions/orientations instead of creating yet another statement about what everyone’s sexuality is. It’d be nice to have labels available but not have the need to slap them on people so they could instead be used to help people be able to talk about themselves without any sort of “We’re all just the same.” thing since that is very not true. But, that’s kind of a utopian thing since society seems to be all into not letting variety be an acceptable thing when it comes to sexuality.

      • Yes. If there was less policing of sexuality, I could say “I’m bi” and have it understood as a statement like “I’m from New York” and “I speak English and a little Spanish” and “I am an atheist” and “I like listening to music, but can’t sing”: true things, none of them binaries, and not claiming that these are the best things for people to be, rather than true about me.

    • Sheri, I really like the idea and I agree that there should be more social acceptance of varied sexuality and gender. I just think that given some people *aren’t* bi, that is the wrong word. Myself, I am bi but it took me years and years to acknowledge that purely because I was thinking something along the lines of what you’re saying – it’s a continuum and people exist at different points along it. That most straight people have same sex sexual encounters or leanings. It wasn’t until I was in my current long term het relationship I realised that that just isn’t the case. But having wrestled with that in my own mind for years, having one of the first responses to my coming out being “isn’t everyone” was so hurtful and minimising. So, while I like where you’re coming from I’m not sure “everyone is bisexual” is the way to express it.

    • I believe it is a continuum because I personally have been at different spots on that continuum at different points in my life. I don’t think I was ever pretending or in denial, I just happen to have been more attracted to men at some points in my life and more attracted to women at other points in my life while still being able to appreciate both.

      When I call it a continuum it doesn’t mean that I think it is a bell curve where there are more in the middle than anywhere else. I just don’t have the stats to prove or disprove that. I just see it as a continuum because I think people can be completely heterosexual, completely homosexual or somewhere in between and that somewhere in between isn’t always right in the middle. It can be more to one side or to the other. So I don’t think it is as simple as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.

  25. I have encountered the “everyone is bi” statement. I agree is negates our existence. It obviously isn’t true. I do believe that bisexuality is maybe the next step in sexual evolution so it may become more common. I don’t like it when sexual preference becomes a fad. I see on tv girls in clubs kissing each other and playing with each other. But often it is their attempt to titillate the men watching and to get attention. But then they also do it for the physical pleasure.
    I have seen some shows, can’t remember which, where the character was the character and just happened to be GLB. It wasn’t what defined them, just an aspect, of the character. I enjoy seeing that.
    I also hate it when people say that bisexuality doesn’t exist. The first time I met my shrink I mentioned I was bi. He of course didn’t think that was real. Luckily and a turning point in my opinion of him, is at my next visit he apologized for that and accepted my sexuality as a valid state of being.
    I don’t understand the hostility that gay/lesbians exhibit toward bi/pan/omni. Not all gay people do it. But there are those out there that shun bi’s.
    I also hate it when someone says they’re bi like a person that says they’re vegetarian and then orders the chicken. It is one of the few things that offends me. I worked with a woman that said she was vegetarian but had some of the Chik-fil-A samples when they came around. It’s even better when I tell a waiter that I am vegetarian and they ask if I want bacon on that. But I digress.
    Through lots of thought and research and looking back at my life, I have come to realize that I am pan more than bi. I am attracted physically to both men and women. But when it comes to love, gender doesn’t matter. Of course my parents are breathing safely now that I am married. I really think they sent me to a psychiatrist after I graduated college to see if I was a lesbian. They don’t know the real me, unfortunately.
    I am married to my soul mate and it happens to be a man. He was at first worried that I would be missing out on something not being with a woman, like someone else mentioned. But he is the “person” I love. He satisfies me in every way.
    Oh yeah, I really liked the Doctor on Star Trek Enterprise. I think that is the name. It’s the Star Trek that takes place before Captain Kirk Star Trek, the one with Scott Bakula.
    I guess I will stop now. I hope I didn’t offend anyone or use terms incorrectly. I didn’t intend to. this is just what I verbally vomited onto this response.

  26. Thank you for writing this. You said what I’ve been thinking for quite a while, but much more eloquently than it goes in my head–what with the screaming and frothing at the mouth that would be part of my delivery. :)

  27. Annie
    I didn’t mean to confuse. It is hard to get the stuff in my head into words. It basically boils down to people saying they are something they aren’t. You’re not vegetarian if you eat chicken. It offends me, a vegetarian, when someone says that. SO when someone says they are bi, like just to fit in or because maybe they kissed someone of the same sex once, and aren’t it is offensive. Is that more clear?– (not meant to sound condescending)
    It is basically someone being a poser I guess. Make sense?
    (plus I suddenly had to vent about this crazy lady I worked with)

  28. You’re welcome Annie. I am new to this sort of thing so I am not too good at it yet. Still worry about someone misinterpreting something I say and being offended.

  29. I agree with you, Arwyn. I am heterosexual, and I don’t feel any self-doubt in making that statement. I am also acutely aware that I am in a position of privilege that I didn’t earn. I didn’t choose to be attracted to men, I just am. Just like I just am short and white and able-bodied and so on. To say that I am bisexual and I just don’t know it seems to both deny my experience, and deny the experiences of people who don’t enjoy the same privileges that I do.

  30. I love this post.

    I also like most of the comments, but I am very, very worried about any sort of policing of other people’s self-identification. If two women kiss in an ostensibly straight bar and lots of men find this exciting and the women are both go home with men, I totally get the urge to say that they’re just doing it for the attention—but you don’t know. You have to ask to know. And you also have to sort out why you think it matters at all if they are just doing it for attention. Why shouldn’t they?

    I’m unwilling to make rules like ‘You have to want/be [hypothetically] willing to have sex with people of two/every gender(s) to be bi/pansexual,’ or ‘You have to want/be [hypothetically] willing to have romantic relationships with people of two/every gender(s) to be bi/pansexual’. I know monosexual people who don’t want to have sex [yet] with the people of their preferred gender. I know monosexual people who don’t want to have romantic relationships [yet] with people of their preferred gender. It doesn’t mean they’re asexual. If you want/enjoy sex/romantic relationships with people of [gender A] but only want to kiss/enjoy kissing people of [gender B], and you identify as bisexual, that’s fine as far as I’m concerned.

    I do understand why the self-identification of 10/90 people as bisexual could make some 50/50 bisexual people uncomfortable. It might be for the same reasons that 50/50 bisexual people make some homosexual people uncomfortable. The nearer to one end of the Kinsey scale someone is, the more mono (possibly straight) privilege they probably have, in the same way that bisexual people have more straight privilege than gay people do. But just like whatever straight privilege a 50/50 bisexual person has can work against them to make them invisible, think how much more a 10/90 bisexual person’s straight and/or mono privilege can work against them in the same way. As someone said earlier, identifying as bisexual means everyone thinks they have a right to police your sexuality—other bisexual people included. And this is a problem that we need to address.

  31. I hear you! Often when people say “Everyone’s bisexual really..” the unspoken end to the sentence is “…so shut up already.” You might enjoy the Bisexual Index‘s website, which includes why “Everyone Is Bisexual Really” is bi-phobic in the FAQ

  32. Excellent post, thanks.

  33. Pingback: Interesting weekend « Raising My Boychick

  34. Pingback: On identity and “who [I] bone” « Raising My Boychick

  35. You know what I find more frustrating? “All girls are bi, but no guys are.” I’m a woman and supposedly that’s supposed to make me feel vindicated but unsurprisingly it doesn’t.

  36. Pingback: Sexual dissonance in bisexual monogamy « Raising My Boychick

  37. Hey. Just realised I should visit your blog. Thanks for this post. I like when others are more articulate than me :)

  38. Pingback: Taking The Education Out Of Sex Education «

  39. OH MY GAW YES!

    This is exactly the problem with this (and also with the dismissive “everyone’s a bit genderqueer/fluid/etc” genderqueer and fluid people get). I could never put down my annoyance with the idea in words- but that’s exactly the problem. Yes. Thank you.

  40. oh dear, i think i need some serious tutorials in terminology. i don’t know what cis means and am unsure the difference between pan and omni sexual. i am just waaaay confused. i would like to understand what everyone is saying, but i need extensive instruction. is there a recommended blog or a website etc for this?

    • Godless Heathen

      Cis means that the gender that you have agrees with what people told you it is, usually based on the primary and secondary sex characteristics you were born with. You don’t have any sense of your gender transcending the things that you were told about your gender and how it relates to your body. It was chosen as a prefix because it means something like “on the near side” where trans literally means “on the far side”. You don’t have to transition from what they told you about yourself to what you actually feel and know yourself to be.

      Trans(*) can be transgender or transsexual people (I don’t have the right education to explain the difference) but also encompass people who have multiple genders, are gender fluid, or have no gender at all. It’s thought to be an umbrella term, but there are some people who are not cisgender or cissexual who don’t feel that the term is all inclusive of their own identity.

      Sometimes the terms MAAB and FAAB (or CAMAB and CAFAB) are used to denote “male assigned at birth” and “female assigned at birth” (or coercively assigned male or female at birth), but some trans* people feel this places emphasis on the birth assigned gender and continues to define them as that gender instead of the gender they inhabit or are transitioning to. I have also seen GMAB, gender misassigned at birth, but again, some trans* people feel that it focuses too much on the assignment and not who they are.

      Ok, I’m cis, this is where I feel I should stop talking because there is a ton of stuff I really don’t understand, and if I’ve bungled something please don’t hesitate to correct me because it’s really not my life experience. Gender is a deep and broad topic and I don’t even have a college background in queer theory.

  41. Thanks for saying it for US! From one Bi Chick to another YOU ROCK!

  42. Oh this is a topic that eats me up inside. I came out as bi
    when I was 16, though chose to identify as queer towards the end of
    high school and into college. I heard many of the same things. Now
    I am married to a straight man and no longer come out to new people
    in my life. At work, at school, and with friends who met me from a
    certain point onward, I am assumed to be straight. To put it
    bluntly, I lack the courage to out myself when it is so easy to
    just play straight. I am very vocal about being supportive of
    LGBTQetc people and relationships, and I guess people assume I’m a
    “straight but not narrow” ally or something. I don’t know how I
    will address this when I have children. I feel like a coward most
    days, but I live in the bible belt and at this point being out as
    an ally is challenging enough. Anyway, thank you for writing this
    post, and sorry for the tangent! Just discovered this post from
    your best of 2010 post. Thanks for making me think as always! -A
    new(ish) reader and first time commenter

  43. Hey, Arwyn — I just tried to click through to the post you recommended at the end of this entry, by Ruth Moss, only to be informed that her blog is no longer accessible. Do you happen to know of anywhere else to look for those posts?

    • Chelsea — Unfortunately, Ruth deleted that blog in its entirety, and to my knowledge there’s nowhere else those posts are to be found. You could try Google cache, but it might have been too long ago.

      • What a shame… I’ll do some hunting via Google Cache and the like, and post a link here if I ever do find it. Thanks for the quick answer, though. :D

  44. I actually found Freud’s concept of innate bisexuality (i.e. “everybody’s bi”) to be very helpful in getting me to a point of self acceptance when I was a teenager. But different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  45. Pingback: Quick hit: why I loathe “Everyone’s bi” | Raising My Boychick | Isabel's Musings

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