She’s Bi, get over it

I’m bisexual. I’m married to another woman. We’ve been together since 1998, and are coming up on our 15th wedding anniversary. And, as John noted in an excellent story yesterday, everybody assumes that either I’m actually a lesbian, or that I’m constantly jonesing to be with a man.

I’m not.

Unless that man is George Clooney, in which case all bets are off. (It’s written into our pre-nup.)

My wife’s lesbian friends warned her I couldn’t be trusted, that I’d leave her. They employed all the anti-bi stereotypes, including the notion there’s no such thing as an actual bisexual – rather, we’re simply people who like to experiment.

Bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki.

Bisexual pride flag by Peter Salanki.

There was a guy I was dating before my wife and I got together. When he heard about my new relationship, he didn’t take it well. (I suspect he felt like his manhood was threatened or something.) He said many of the same hurtful things as my wife’s lesbian friends.

I’ve run into both varieties of ‘truthers’. Those who deny bisexuality exists, and there are a lot of ’em, especially in the gay and lesbian communities. And those who deny that anybody doubts our existence. Doubly fascinating to me is how many people will say they don’t know anybody who is Bi.

We’re really not that rare. It’s just that everybody assumes we’re either gay or straight, all depending on who we happen to be with at the current moment. Our problem is we’re all but invisible, except when — as humans will do — we behave badly, or simply break up with our current love and pickup with another of a different gender. Then it’s suddenly stereotype time all over again.

The trouble seems to be we can’t win. If I was with a guy, my attraction toward women would be deemed irrelevant and everybody would assume I was actually straight. And if I’m with a woman, everybody assumes I’m a lesbian. If I try to make a point of asserting my bisexuality, not wanting to be pigeonholed, all of a sudden all the negative stereotypes come pouring out. (“Isn’t your wife enough for you? Aren’t you being all defensive?”) And it doesn’t matter if it’s the straight community or the gay/lesbian community, it’s actually the same negativity from both.

I’m not confused.

I’m not promiscuous.

And I fully expect to be with my wife until one or both of us kicks the bucket, or George calls, whichever comes sooner.

The only thing being Bi means is that if I were single, I’d have no clue whether I’d next be dating a man or a woman.

I honestly don’t care about the label. I do care about whether people are willing to believe the truth, and drop the prejudice.

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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  • EdHandy

    Only re-checking this thread very late, but really nicely put.

    re: [I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard (from both men and
    women, FWIW) “if we admit Trans* people to our all-[men or women] space,
    then I’ll have to have sex w/ them!” No, you won’t.] … it’s a silly worry, as existing people demonstrate: there are plenty of us (probably a number very close to “absolutely everybody”) with a set of (conscious or unconscious) non-sex/non-gender related attributes they are attracted to and not attracted to, and even with ones which are heavily politicized (race/ethnicity and weight both high on that list) acceptance doesn’t mean you have to be open to sex or romantic involvement with someone you’re not attracted to.

  • Any one

    I have a ton of friends that get it and don’t care and family that accept it, but there are those small family that I think would freak the f out thinking it’s some crisis in identity because just because they now know it must be news to me.

  • UncleBucky

    Well, I don’t think so, uhuhhh. To say that we’re all probably more bisexual, as I think I have written before, is not to impose on you (heaven forfend) but to suggest that there is probably not really a 100% anything. So, you are not 100% annoying me with being a hair-splitter.

    Seriously, a lot of people are reductionist, in that they have made a definition and then they lie in it.

    I am only suggesting that there might be more the L G B T A A Q categories, and that it’s not such a bad thing to consider that categories are artificial definitions.

    Do what you want or are. I am not limiting you.

  • SadButTrue

    And you think you have?

  • SadButTrue

    Wow, how rude. Graduate from grammar school yet?

  • Gabby

    We are all bissexual!! At least on the slightest. So called “lesbians” and “gays” are 99% pending to the “same-sex” side, but the bissexuality is in all of us…like different tones of color between two extremes (let’s say, black and white. No one is 100% black or 100% white). And believe me, that’s saying a LOT: I am a “99.9% pending to women lesbian”, who is trying to convince the “I think I’m 100% straight” girl she is in love with – and who by the way is in love with her as well (oh yeah, I have already shown her how amazing same gender sex can be) -, that there is no dumbest, boringest and dullest thing as FUCKING LABELS. The one who defines itself, limits itself (for a finishing, imagine all holding hands together singing Imagine – John Lennon).

  • Nathanael

    There are quite a lot of bi people out there. Uh, like me. Many are monogamous. Uh, like me. The thing is, monogamous bi people tend to be invisible to people who assume that bi people don’t exist.

    You only find out that someone’s bi when his or her relationship ends and the next one starts, and it happens to be with someone of a different gender. Or, you find out if you *ask*.
    Never assume (unless someone tells you) that anyone is straight… or gay. They may or may not be.

  • Nathanael

    Thanks for this, Becca.

  • pappyvet
  • The funniest thing of all: Being Bi is just about irrelevant to my daily life, aside from the fact that unlike a lesbian, I can look at some guy and say, “yep, he’s hot.’ Like George, or Patrick, or Mr. Dinklage.

    In terms of acting on that observation, there’s no question: I wouldn’t. I love my wife and would never cheat on her. Just the same as when I see some stunningly attractive woman and I might say, “oh yeah, I’d do her, yowza” — but also just as a joke.

    Despite the bigoted (and now banned) moron’s accusations at the top of this comment thread, I have no desire to step out or have a threesome. Our going to India was actually mostly my wife’s decision — I just decided to tag along, and because it was both of us, together and inseparable the entire time, that made the adventure of a lifetime possible.

    Yet as we’ve seen, there are those who are so attached to their bigotry and prejudices, the very fact I exist and don’t lie about my attractions to both genders offends them to the point where they feel compelled to attack in the most vicious language possible.

    Anyway, as ever, thanks for your words of support, my friend.

  • pappyvet

    Thank you Mod4, it saves me the energy of having to respond to this emotionally challenged pollywog.

  • pappyvet

    Greetings and welcome!

  • pappyvet

    Absolutely Sis! Lets not forget that some WANT to be confused or I should say they want to confuse. Others are so defensive that they have their finger on the trigger all the time. Such as the person below who did not like the use of the word “gender.” I find such squeezing of terminology useless. What about the person? What about the feelings and the harmony? That person knew exactly what you were saying.

    I am gay and happy to be thus. What burns me is when I hear my fellow gays and lesbians who ache for acceptance, slam a bi sister or brother. It bothers me more than when a hetero does it. As I’ve said I find it to be not only remarkable but ignorant.
    If someone cannot walk our path, so be it. The very,very least they can do is not throw a stumbling stone onto it.

  • GreenEyedLilo

    People like you are the reason bisexual people are reluctant to come out. Duh?

  • cole3244

    gotcha lol!

  • Welcome, GreenEyedLilo. I’m hoping you’ll feel comfortable enough to stick around.

  • I went through a slutty phase SG. I liked the exercise but in my case found it rather joyless. I really seek intimate friendship and the build up of years in love and all the richness that comes in that choice.

  • :-)

  • It’s okay. And I’m really sorry to hear you’re in pain. *more hugs*

  • *hugs*

  • Thanks Mod4.

  • That’s right Becca. I shouldn’t go on line when in pain it dulls my judgement and sharpens my tongue. I apologized to SGrandmother. I think she is genuine—would like to know why this blog and others like it appeal to her.

  • You are right. I apologize. I have enjoyed you comments over at JMG and know you are a mighty advocate. xxxooo :)

  • Sorry Becca I was out of line.

  • Got a life, sorry sourpuss. As for lightening up, maybe you had a better time of it growing into an authentic identity against all odds. Mike in the Tundra has it wrapped up—-very funny —that’s irony (look it up).

  • Maybe in your world.

  • OK Sparky

  • “Wow. Where to start.”
    Here is a place to start, Robert Jason Khattar. You are a bigot, and you are banned.

  • Robert Jason Khattar

    Wow. Where to start.
    “There was a guy I was dating before my wife and I got together. When he
    heard about my new relationship, he didn’t take it well. (I suspect he
    felt like his manhood was threatened or something.) He said many of the
    same hurtful things as my wife’s lesbian friends”

    I’m curious if the guy you was dating knew you were bisexual. Judging by his reaction, I’m willing to bet, he didn’t. Which by logical deduction, I’m assuming you weren’t “out”. Interesting.

    “Doubly fascinating to me is how many people will say they don’t know anybody who is Bi.”

    And why do you think that is? Maybe its because “bi’s” are nearly always closeted or just closeted gay/lesbians.

    “We’re really not that rare. It’s just that everybody assumes we’re
    either gay or straight, all depending on who we happen to be with at the
    current moment. Our problem is we’re all but invisible, except when —
    as humans will do — we behave badly, or simply break up with our current
    love and pickup with another of a different gender. Then it’s suddenly stereotype time all over again.”

    A stereotype your playing out. Your “behaving badly”…nicely sugarcoated as it is…is infact never telling the person your with your sexual leanings. Sorry…you don’t get a pass on that. No matter how you window dress it.

    “The trouble seems to be we can’t win. If I was with a guy, my attraction
    toward women would be deemed irrelevant and everybody would assume I
    was actually straight. And if I’m with a woman, everybody assumes I’m a
    lesbian. If I try to make a point of asserting my bisexuality, not
    wanting to be pigeonholed, all of a sudden all the negative stereotypes
    come pouring out. (“Isn’t your wife enough for you? Aren’t you being all
    defensive?”) And it doesn’t matter if it’s the straight community or
    the gay/lesbian community, it’s actually the same negativity from both.”

    The problem is, you DO win. And at a price of not being trusted. Everyone assumes your straight because your with a guy…why shouldnt they? Youve told no one your bisexual. You get married, have kids, buy a house in the suburbs all the while pining for a threesome and hoping it doesn’t get around. Thats called being closeted. And if the chaos is too much…well…you made your bed. If bisexuals DO exist…my question would be….why bother with a relationship at all? You bi’s want your cake and eat it too. And when you can’t, you bitch and cry that someone isn’t being fair. Its like when the drag queens and transexuals who cry wolf when a guy they were with beat the shit out of them assuming they were a woman. Yes, deviousness comes with a price.

    As much as I hate labeling as well…we need it. Without labels, no one would know what the fuck is going on.

    “Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting
    before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an
    ashram in India for 3 years.”

    LOL. Wow. Yeah…Becca isn’t confused at all. She ditches her career and takes off. Nice. I’m curious where your wife was during this time and what she thought about it. So thank you for confirming everything I already knew about “bisexuals”. Your selfish, emotionally flaky, greedy and self centered folk who would rather sell everything and take off to India than try to work on a actual relationship…with either sex. Being “bi” is not a get-out-of-jail-free card people.

  • Zorba

    Awwww! {{Hugs}}

  • GreenEyedLilo

    In that case, some people are “transitional” gays, lesbians, or straights, who later come out as bisexual. Shall we dismiss all monosexual people, too?

  • GreenEyedLilo

    I’m in this exact situation, as a bisexual woman who’s monogamously married to another woman and wants to stay that way. (My pre-nup specifies Tony Stewart, the NASCAR driver, though.) It’s extremely maddening. When it comes from gay and lesbian people, it makes me frustrated enough to cry, because those are people who know very well what it’s like to be second-guessed, told they aren’t what they say they are, lied about, etc. I have encountered it quite a bit from Aravosis and various commenters on this very blog, which is why I stopped coming. However, I’m very glad I was led to this entry, and I’m glad Aravosis gave her the platform to speak for herself as a bisexual woman, too. A right-wing blog wouldn’t do that for a LGBT rights advocate. I hope this is the start of a better trend.

  • Amberbangkokescort

    Thank you for writing. It was a great read. Wish there was more
    understanding about sexual identity than there seems to be in the world.

  • It’s okay — I take your suggestions in the spirit in which they were intended, which is nothing but the positive.

    BTW, be prepared for a nice shout-out in an upcoming post. It’s a doozy. I hope anyway.

  • You’re making me all teary-eyed, Zorba. :-)

  • My friend and brother: I ask a favor. Please give StraightGrandmother some slack. I think she’s more than earned it.

    I’m actually kinda proud to be one of the first truly Bi women she’s knowingly encountered, even in a virtual sense.

  • *shrug* I know.. but if nothing else, he’s amply demonstrated the prejudice side of things.

    Somehow, I — as someone who knows she’s Bi — am supposed to answer for the actions and behavior of everyone who ever said they were Bi, even when it wasn’t true.

  • Bingo. I’m SO glad you get it.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily say “lie,” John. I have more sympathy for those folks than many of the commenters here.

    They say ‘Bi’ because it’s a coping mechanism. They’re not ready to admit they’re really gay, so they pick a point in between. They adopt the label. It seems to work for a while, and maybe even they’ll do some hetero dating to maintain the fiction in their own minds.

    I personally believe most people like to believe they’re being sincere with themselves, even when it’s not true.

    Eventually — perhaps months or years down the line — they realize they’ve been dating one gender consistently. It might be someone who wanted to experiment with ‘alternative sexual activities’, but learned they really are straight. Or, far more commonly, someone who realizes they never really were Bi to begin with. It was just a comforting story they told themselves and others. Again, a coping mechanism.

    Meanwhile, those of us who do identify firmly and permanently as Bi are like Carol Burnett’s janitor lady, forever consigned to sweeping up after the missteps and mistakes of those who “transitionally” called themselves Bi, but who were really just confused and hadn’t worked out who they really were yet.

  • Thanks Jennifer. Besides which, I’d think that after being in a monogamous relationship, later marriage, with one woman for 15+ years, I’d be earned a little slack when I say, “It’s not transitional. I’m bi. And I’m happily married.”

  • I’m not at all sure that those “transitional” people are truly bisexual.

    They’re not, they’re just coming to terms with their sexual orientation, and the adoption of ‘Bi’ is a coping mechanism. It makes total sense, really. But unfortunately, as some of the commenters in this thread have indicated, apparently I — as someone who knows she isn’t transitional in her sexual orientation — am compelled to defend and explain those who are transitional.

  • Nah, I agree: Dinklage sexy as all hell, too. Out of everybody on Game of Thrones, he’s the only one who makes me sit up straight whenever he has a scene. He’s magnificent.

  • Thanks Karmanot. As one of my good ‘virtual’ friends, I know that even if we didn’t agree on something, we wouldn’t necessarily get into a rancorous argument about it.

  • One of the top points of confusion, my dear brother Pappyvet, is people don’t seem to understand the distinction between “actually bi” versus “gay or straight adopting the label temporarily and inaccurately.”

    As I read, with some degree of dismay, through the many comments below (and began to regret my decision to let John repost my original in-thread comment as a post), I kept seeing over and over the same thing: Bisexuals being blamed for the misdeeds of those who claimed to be Bi as a coping mechanism for their own sexual orientation conflicts.

  • Nope. Love his impish grin and sparkly eyes. All he has to do is begin reciting some Shakespeare and I’m in total sploosh-mode.

  • Jafafa Hots

    He’s not exactly ugly though, either.

  • JCF

    The similarities and differences of sex and gender are complicated (and I’m not trying to impose “Gender Theory” on anybody here). Throw in sexual (in the sense of stimulation, not chromosomes) orientation, and it get further complicated.

    We are not our chromosomes. That’s most evident for intersexed and/or transgendered people, but it’s true for everyone else, too. Every XY person who ID’s as “male” (or “man”), does so in his own way (w/ his own sense of masculinity…or not). And so on and so forth. If one IDs as (for example) lesbian, one may have a strict sense of the genitals and secondary sexual characteristics that meet your standards of “woman”. Ditto gender expression (how masculine, how feminine, how in-between?). But there are some lesbians, for whom the gender expression of the one they’re attracted to, is primary (what’s between the legs, less so). And vice-versa (vag not dick, and the rest is negotiable!). But they’re both lesbians (if they say they are).

    Everyone’s got a sex, and everyone’s got a gender. But there’s way more than two of each (and sometimes more than one of each in a single person!). Like I said: complicated.

    But that doesn’t (necessarily) make one’s own ID complicated. Everyone’s entitled to their own “I like this, not that.” It is to be hoped that people won’t be rude about their “not thats” is all [I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard (from both men and women, FWIW) “if we admit Trans* people to our all-[men or women] space, then I’ll have to have sex w/ them!” No, you won’t.]

  • JCF

    Physically, I think we’re omnisexual.

    But that doesn’t mean our orientation (which is found between our ears) is always bi (though probably a lot more “straight” people, male and female, are bi or gay, than are willing to acknowledge it.)

  • EdHandy

    As a straight guy, I totally get it about Patrick Stewart. I’d totally try playing tor the other team for that guy.

  • EdHandy

    “Sex” and “gender” are somewhat fluid terms in terms of how people respond to them. To a biologist, “sex” means something different depending on whether you’re talking anatomy or genetics (and they don’t always match.) Similarly, the intersection of transgender (or transsexual, although the term seems less in favor) people and sexual interest may be instructive; while there’s enough transphobia out there (and possible some legitimate lack of interest as well) I suspect most straight people of either sex would be more interested, sexually and romantically, in someone who identified as the opposite social gender and who exhibited the opposite gender secondary sexual characteristics and social cues … even if the actual genitalia matched their own … than they would be in someone with opposite-sex genitalia, but who identified as their own gender, and who exhibited socially and in their secondary sexual characteristics as their own gender. The popularity of M-to-F transsexual porn with straight guys also suggests this.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Yay, Bisexuality!

  • Matt Rogers

    I’m not at all sure that those “transitional” people are truly bisexual. Thus, I don’t see the logic in being prejudiced against one group, bisexuals, because of something that a different group, transitional non-bisexuals, are doing.

  • Zorba

    And where did you get that “9 times out of 10” statistic?
    Pulling numbers like this out of your ass does nothing to advance your arguments. Such as they are.

  • StraightGrandmother


  • cole3244

    you are so self absorbed you can’t even see when someone is being facetious, you really need to lighten up and get a life.

  • StraightGrandmother

    This line of uhhhuhh’s made a lot of sense to me, “Being skeptical of “bisexual” identifications may stem from experience, not prejudice.”

    Being skeptical does not mean refusing to acknowledge later on. Refusing to indefinitely acknowledge, say a friend, as being bi sure would be predjuce in my book though.

    I honestly never thought about this, how true bi-sexual people get screwed over by all the men who are gay and women who are lesbian, claiming falsely bi-sexuality, because they fear coming out as completely gay or lesbian but then do eventually drop the bi label and come out as authentically gay or lesbian. So when authentically people who are bi-sexual say they are bi they get met with, as uhhhuhh says “skepticism.” That must suck (for people who are bi-sexual). This has been a very informative topic for me.

  • Zorba

    Of course, no, it’s more than that. I have over the years especially appreciated the meditation and relaxation practices of yoga.

  • Isn’t yoga just Twister for the colorblind? :)

  • Zorba

    I have been a yoga practitioner for many years. ;-)
    It’s a learning process for many people, SG, and you seem to be one of the people who are willing to learn.
    I have never understood any kind of preconceived notions or anything like that. I like to approach people without those notions.
    Now I will admit, if they subsequently prove themselves to be a jerk, then my patience rapidly runs out.
    I salute you for your willingness to learn. Be well.

  • Buford

    Wiser folks have referred to being bisexual as being ‘fully sexual’… as in ‘not unnecessarily limiting my pairing choices by 50%’.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I’m learning Karmanot, I’m learning.

    You have to understand, a woman my age, I didn’t know any sexual minorities for practically all of my life, and as I said earlier, to this day I have never met a person who is bisexual, that I was aware of that.
    People were not out for most of my life. This is, relatively speaking, new information for me. I grew up in a small town in the midwest.

    Give me time karmanot, I’ll get better, more informed. We all have room for growth.

  • Zorba

    Yep, it’s her all right. ;-)

  • Zorba

    LOL! Thanks, k., but I am very far from a saint! And I certainly get annoyed and respond sharply to others on occasion.
    You’re a dear. Take care!

  • Fireblazes

    You are what you eat. LOL.

  • Fireblazes

    Now, now, no name calling. It only points out your thin skin and penchant for flaming.

  • Paul

    Actually, I think I qualified that enough when I mentioned young gays still in conservative areas. I don’t think younger gays would be more prejudiced because they’re younger. I said I’d be interested to know if their experiences growing up in areas of tolerance may have led to a lack of empathy, which is very much evidenced in populations of gays who detest bisexuals, or deny that they exist. And don’t call me Sparky.

  • Why do you think we want your HELP?

  • Like you announce ‘Straight Grandmother’? How droll.—–could give a damn about your straight, but it does explain why you are rather clueless about the journeys of GLTBQ folks.

  • lol

  • Yea, Im still not getting it

  • Exactly

  • Oh god I keep forgetting that’s her!

  • “I wonder how much biphobia (and racism, sexism, etc for that matter) there is in the older generation”. You forgot to mention ‘ageism’ in your little list ‘Sparky.’

  • lol

  • StraightGrandmother

    Now you made me go look up Namaste Thank you.
    Okay, it was an off the top of my head idea that on further reflection, is a dumb idea.
    I think people who are bisexual do have a point.

    The thing that confuses me the most is why anyone would think that they are “automatically” slutty. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I have never seen SouthPark so was quite amused that there is a character called “Big Gay Al” (from South Park)
    I suppose you are right, and it is a dumb idea. I was just trying to come up with solutions, instead of just writing a quick commiserating comment.

  • Paul

    To comment on the specific adversity you experience from gays, I have no patience for minorities who despise other minorities. If being a minority didn’t teach you empathy, you’re just a bad person. I wonder how much biphobia (and racism, sexism, etc for that matter) there is in the older generation of persecuted gays (as well as younger ones today in conservative environs) vs. younger gays lucky enough to never have been in that position. That would be a study worth doing.

    Do you think prejudice within the gay community comes from not knowing that bisexuality, like homosexuality, has also been scientifically verified? I think these types of articles would benefit from mentioning that Northwestern study as an educational tool. Kind of get it out there as fact, rather than opinion, you know?

  • StraightGrandmother

    “Unless you’re wanting some of this. If that’s the case, then we can talk privately”
    That was pretty funny, gave me a good chuckle. Thanks anyway but I am happy with what I have ;p

    I honestly was just trying to brain storm & come up with ideas to help.

    I think Bi people have a legitimate complaint and I was trying to come up with ideas that would force me, the stupid one, to realize how many of bisexual people there are.
    If it is not a good idea, it is not a good idea, it was just an idea off the top of my head trying to look for solutions.

  • pappyvet

    cant argue with that

  • pappyvet

    I think that the word “sex” when used to describe the sexes is being confusing with “sex” when describing the act.

  • pappyvet

    I would be gay even without sex.
    To say that ” gay people are gay because of sex, not gender,” can be very misleading. The definition of the word “gender,” when dealing with the sexes is in this context,incomplete. It in no way takes bisexuality into account.

  • pappyvet

    The fact remains regardless of the debate over word usage, there is a bias often leading to prejudicial treatment from gays and lesbians towards bisexual people. I find it to be not only remarkable but ignorant.

  • True, but Woody Allen, who makes the skin crawl, would be the exception to that rule.

  • Gays and straights aren’t threatened. It’s about the heart, the soul, love, attraction, friendship and human intimacy.

  • “it is easier to just say “get over it” and dismiss people as bigots” Yes indeed it is, because it is so obvious. You are dismissed now.

  • “No, we don’t need another of those commentaries.” Exactly, now go away.

  • Paul

    You do realize that bisexual attraction has been scientifically shown and accepted, right? Your anecdotes are really meaningless.

  • You are a saint Zorba, whereas I am very crabby and eat trolls for lunch.

  • Diana Rigg…. OMG! I did love her red rolls though in one of her detective films.

  • Straight Grandmother says it all.

  • Zorba

    K., if Matthew is still turned on by Diana Rigg, I don’t think that he’s all that young. She’s 75 years old!
    Although, it’s certainly possible that he’s a huge Game of Thrones fan. But I wouldn’t think that her character of Lady Olenna is exactly what most young people would consider attractive. Compelling, yes, absolutely.

  • Thank you Zorba….. Maybe I will take up the Tag: Non straight not even BI grandfather liberal socialist. LOL

  • pappyvet

    Becca’s usage was correct.
    Full Definition of GENDER
    a : a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms

    b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass

    c : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass


    a : sex

    b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

  • BINGO! X-straight—-very funny.

  • But ya are Blanche

  • Zorba

    Now, now, k. Some people can get caught up in the nuances of the specific, technical meanings of words.
    My brothers are like this, as is Mr. Zorba. They are all sort of borderline Asperegers, in a way. Actually, with them, I call it “nerds disease.” ;-)
    They are all scientists, and they tend to zero in on the minutia, sometimes to the exclusion of the “larger picture.” They can’t help it, it’s the way they are wired. Sometimes it drives me crazy (even though I’m more than a bit of a nerd myself), but I have had to learn to make allowances, and redirect them to the more important points.

  • Ignoring you would be a pleasure and a certainty if you just take you bigotry and move along.

  • Casting pearls before pop-beads Becca.

  • You are a perfect example FAIL.

  • Shove off. You contribute nothing of any consequence to this discussion.

  • Indeed

  • Wrong again, you are subject to criticism every time you open your troll brain.

  • Sigh, do we really need another patronizing troll scolding us about (fill in the blank). I’m also really tired of trendy whiners by the handle of uhhuhh.

  • For the young who shop online and play video games its all about the superficial and attractive.

  • “who we all know went through a transitional period of calling themselves “bi”” Ridiculous! I didn’t and many of us didn’t. You are simply wrong and projecting. BTW, re-read the post, Becca was discussing ‘BI” not “all the gays and lesbians.”

  • Zorba

    Matthew, I don’t think that many women are as concerned as many men seem to be about the physical appearance of the opposite sex. I realize that I am making a huge generalization here, but this has been my experience in talking with a whole lot of my female friends.
    Heck, I think that Peter Dinklage, who has achondroplasia, is sexy as hell. Doesn’t matter a bit to me. ;-)

  • Oh no, you are wrong and grossly misinformed or a bigot.

  • You didn’t advise me to be nice, so I went ahead and called it out. :)

  • A horse’s ass named Pegasus.

  • ppppffffttt

  • For the life of me I don’t understand the nit-picking and harping on this site about gender issues. It’s just ridiculous and seldom uplifts any constructive nuances. I say live and let live. Mind your own junk and love. Good post Becca.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for writing. It was a great read. Wish there was more understanding about sexual identity than there seems to be in the world.

  • Jennifer

    Well said!

  • Jennifer

    I’m not seeing where she dismissed the transitional use of bisexual. All I saw was her pointing out is that bisexual is not just a ‘transitional’ sexual identity. It is just as legitimate as sexual identity as homosexual or heterosexual. That just because a person is bisexual doesn’t mean that their sexual identity changes to homosexual or heterosexual because of who they are with.

  • Right, but you’re rejecting that bi people actually exist simply because some gay people lie about being bi when they come out. I’m not entirely sure I understand your point. One can think that bisexuals exist at the same time believing that some people who say they’re gay are actually gay people who are hiding :) I believe both.

  • In what way? She’s the only bisexual who’s faithful to her wife? I doubt that.

  • Okay, no snideness intended, but I’m not understanding the nuance you’re trying to convey. What is the problem with using gender instead of sex? And what is the difference? And Mono, be nice – at least let them explain themself :)

  • Zorba

    I disagree, SG. I don’t think everyone should be wearing a label, and I don’t assume that everyone who comments on this blog is gay or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered. Many are, of course, but many aren’t. This is not solely a “gay blog.” Yes, John is a prominent gay rights activist and advocate, but he writes about and is passionate about politics and many other subjects.
    I have been reading this blog for a few years now, and Becca has never made a secret of her bisexuality. It is only one part of her identity. She is also a writer (and a good one) and is interested and knowledgable about a variety of topics. She writes about politics, she writes about science and technology (she is quite the techie and a nerd. Yay, nerds! My entire family are nerds).
    When I started commenting on political blogs some years ago, I chose the name Zorba because I really like the work of Nikos Kazantzakis, and I am of Greek extraction. Zorba is a man’s name, and a few people originally assumed I was a male. They figured it out eventually.
    I didn’t feel the need to choose the username StraightMarriedFemaleSeniorCitizenGreek-American.
    To me, people are just people.
    Namaste, my sister.

  • uhhuhh

    So first came the attack lines to shut me down. Then was the pretending not to understand. And now simple evasion. Okay, okay. I get that you want to keep using the prejudice language without defending it. We can just return to our respective corners and keep ignoring each other then.

  • uhhuhh

    How delightful that you have reached such an ironclad, definitive, incontestable conclusion as to what’s in every other human being’s libido that you regard anybody who has a different view of his or her own libido as a liar, a coward, or a naif incapable of self-reflection. What breathtaking arrogance.

    The absurdity, of course, is that to avoid backing off your offensive, sweeping claim about every human being, you have retreated by the end of your comment to the point where you’ve redefined “bisexual” to include, hilariously, having “none at all” (opposite-sex attraction). So you’ve made “bisexual” a meaningless word rather than back off your outlandish overstatement.

    And you’re calling me a hair-splitter? LOL!!!

  • What you term a ‘lecture’, I consider merely a comment.

  • UncleBucky

    We’re all bi, I am convinced. But in me, in you, in Becca, there has to be critical mass (so to speak) for one to actually consider the possibility.

    Bi does not mean 50/50. Unless you are attacking a straw woman. Geez.

    I think it could be for some 20/80 (Good old Pareto!). It could be even less for many others. It could be expressed as one’s opposite as a kid and then when you get yourself settled, none at all.

    Just don’t be such a hair-splitter!

  • uhhuhh

    You’re saying gays and lesbians who are skeptical of “bisexual” self-identification are just prejudiced against bisexuals. That they have some irrational fear or hatred of bisexuals. You chose the word “prejudice” with all its implications.

    Perhaps it isn’t prejudice, hatred, or irrationality at all. Maybe it’s that 9 times out of 10, when someone has told us they’re “bisexual,” they later turn out just to be gay or lesbian, once they’re able to gain fuller self-acceptance. There are also all those “bisexual” men who have a wife they never fuck but are constantly out looking for hook ups with men, and only with men. Being skeptical of “bisexual” identifications may stem from experience, not prejudice. In both the examples, the root problem is the societal homophobia that makes it so hard for people who are simply gay to embrace that identity. Accusing gays and lesbians of prejudice misses the point entirely.

    But you didn’t consider that possibility in hurrying to call people prejudiced. That is how these bisexuality instructional lectures usually fail.

  • Zorba

    And his speaking voice! He could read me the phone book, and it would be a turn-on.

  • Pegasus

    I am saying that gay people are gay because of sex, not gender. Gender is an oppressive system that harms women. Also, you sound like a dick, so don’t bother responding to me any more.

  • Anonymous

    My point was: People think these cases make up the majority, which I don’t agree with. But no, people are not bigots for questioning someone’s sexuality.

  • Thanks for the thoughtful remarks,

    As ever, when I finally poke my head up to speak out on bisexuality, it’s usually in response to a whole lot of people who — not being bi themselves — decide to express all kinds of negative stereotypes about Bi’s.

    Or, as I’ve seen done in this thread, confuse “transitional bi” (i.e., someone coming out of the closet who says they’re bi, when really they’re not) with the real deal. And somehow, as someone who has accepted being a Bi woman for 18 years, I’m supposed to answer for the missteps of everyone who ever decided to wear the Bi label, whether it was accurate or not.

  • That remark doesn’t even begin to make sense, sorry.

  • Thanks, Pegasus.

  • Sorry, but I can’t get behind that notion. I’m a person, not my sexual orientation. And ‘Becca’ is my name. The other feels like trying to be “Big Gay Al” (from South Park). Does John have to rename his account to be “Gay John Aravosis” in order to be taken seriously and be recognized as a gay man?

    I’m not proposing solutions or anything. As I remarked upthread, what I wrote in yesterday’s post by John was just a comment about how it’s quite likely lovely folks such as yourself think you don’t know any bisexual people because we don’t walk around with big signs over our heads. And because if we’re in any kind of long-term relationship or marriage, it’s simply assumed we are either 100% gay or 100% straight.

    The problem is if — hypothetically speaking — I were to go and cheat on my wife with a man, all of a sudden we’d be back with the “Oh look, it’s those unfaithful bisexuals again — they’re always like that. Want to know how I know? Because I don’t know any bisexuals who don’t cheat.”

    Or the other person upthread, Black Masamune, who at least gave me the courtesy of existing, then declared I was an exception. A rarity, presumably on the order of the white rhinoceros.

    In any case, rather than running around with a ‘Bi-Becca’ handle, this is what I do: When a conversation comes up, especially when it’s non-Bi’s talking about bisexuals (and particularly when I see things being asserted that I know to be false or coming from misconceptions or prejudice), I speak up. I identify myself. I try to share my experiences. I refute the prejudice.

    And when it’s done, I go back just to being me. A woman legally married to another woman, living on a farm in rural New Mexico.

  • uhhuhh

    You can lob all the petty attack lines you want. But you were making a public argument, not writing in your diary. Sorry that you bristle at criticism of your public argument.

    The final word of your post is “prejudice.” You have dismissed all skepticism of “bisexual” identity as an irrational prejudice. But you’re only able to do that by refusing to mention the obvious, rational reason for much of the skepticism. Knowing lots of people who said they were “bisexual” on their way to coming out as gay or lesbian. If you’re going to accuse people of prejudice without considering the obvious alternative explanation, then you’re actually the one with the prejudice.

  • Monoceros Forth

    And gender doesn’t? Now I’m not sure what you’re attempting to say.

  • Pegasus

    No, I don’t think this is. This is particularly important to me as a woman who is a homoSEXual. I liked your article, btw.

  • Pegasus

    No. Sex matters.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I used to be like you. I’d say snide things like, “‘Gender’? Nouns have ‘gender’. Persons have ‘sex’.” But usage has changed here and I advise you to change with it.

  • Because I didn’t write the post for you, nor did I run it past you for your editorial approval.

    Funny, I thought John Aravosis ran this site. Sorry, my mistake.

  • No problem, Rudolf. John saw my Disqus comment in his post on bisexuality yesterday and asked if it could be turned into a post.

    For those who want to complain that I didn’t examine every angle or answer every single detail, it’s precisely because I didn’t spend hours on that comment. I wrote what was on my mind in that moment. This version is only slightly edited, a sentence or two added.

    What I find somewhat funny is how folks will take something like this, and then project all kinds of hidden meanings and messages onto it. Or pretend they have a clue as to knowing who I really am. To them I can only say: “It’s a personal experience. It’s what happened in my own lifetime. It represents people I know. And most of you don’t know me at all. Anything more, get over it.”

  • uhhuhh

    How can that be the whole point of a post that didn’t even mention all the gays and lesbians who we all know went through a transitional period of calling themselves “bi”?

  • No, I’m not. Which is the whole point to the post.

  • uhhuhh

    Where’s the passage you’re supposed to be quoting to support your criticism of my comment?

  • Re: Stewart — it’s not the looks. It’s the personality. The man is just too cool for words.

  • That’s being rather pedantic, don’t you think?

  • Monoceros Forth

    I daresay that “criticism” is rather too lofty a word for what you had to say.

  • uhhuhh

    Ah, yes, the “we’re all bi” nonsense again.

    Sorry, I have no desire to fuck a woman, but thanks for calling me a liar/coward.

  • Pegasus

    “of a different gender.” You mean sex, right? Because you are bisexual.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Umm plenty of women who were pretty well convinced they were straight until they got involved with a string of abusive men…

    The message has changed. In the past it was ‘I am the way I am, deal with it’, now the message is ‘How I choose to be is none of your business, deal with it’.

    I don’t excuse myself for what I am and nobody else should. One of the reasons Martha Coakley will get no support from me in her campaign for governor is that she strongly believes that the government should control what people do in their bedrooms and has a long history of anti-BDSM bigotry. It is none of her business. And besides which she does not get a second chance after Scott Brown.

  • uhhuhh

    Please quote the passage in this story where the author acknowledges all those people and concedes that this experience–not some kind of irrational prejudice–is why there is rational skepticism when someone identifies as “bi.” Hint: It’s not in there, and never is in these bisexuality lectures.

  • uhhuhh

    Um, I think I just said there are lots of gay people who identify as
    ‘bi” as a transition to coming out. Why are you repeating what I said?

    These bisexuality instructional lectures present the skepticism toward bisexual identity as some kind of irrational prejudice because they ignore the very rational reason why people have that reaction: because they know so many people who identified as “bi” for a time before coming out as gay. I guess it is easier to just say “get over it” and dismiss people as bigots than to actually address what is driving the reaction–namely, all those people who passed through “bi” as a transitional identity.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I only ever see denial of the existence of those gay men or, when forced to acknowledge them, fury that they exist.

    I think you need your vision checked, then, if that’s all you see.

  • Anonymous

    At the same time, there are gay and trans people that are “transitional” before they come out.

  • As a straight guy, I understand the concept that there are certain folks where you go, I know that I am married, but it’s *insertnamehere*.

    In my case Diana Rigg, even now.

    What I don’t get are why there are so many women who feel that way about Patrick Stewart.

  • uhhuhh

    What I see are people correctly pointing out that, as is usual in these lectures, the bisexual instructor has chosen to erase the entire issue of transitional “bisexual” identity. Failing to engage on that principal basis for the very reaction that she is criticizing allows her to just dismiss it as irrational prejudice. No, we don’t need another of those commentaries.

  • Anonymous

    I also think for a long time, most people didn’t even think about the other letters in LGBT; mainstream education on these topics is fairly new.

  • Anonymous

    Great piece!
    To the answer below, apparently “we” do need the lecture. Even on here, some people are accusing Becca of being an exception, and other bi people of being outright flukes.
    Being bi doesn’t mean you suddenly have the possibility of dating 7 billion people, just that you can occasionally find a gay/bi person who interests you. And it doesn’t mean “everyone is bi.”
    I think a lot of people judge because they are homophobic or got burned by someone that wasn’t serious. Of course, experiences may vary, but bi’s exist – throughout history.

  • uhhuhh

    Sigh. Another patronizing lecture on Bisexuality 101 from a smug bisexual who assumes that no one who is gay is aware of these issues. We are.

    Now here’s what I’m sick of. Bisexuals attacking anyone who questions whether a bisexual identity might be transitional for some people, while refusing even to acknowledge the army of self-identified gay men for whom “bisexual” was a never-accurate, transitional identity. Amid the bisexual demands for respect, I only ever see complete denial of the existence of those gay men or, when forced to acknowledge them, outright fury at their very existence. Look in the mirror before lecturing other people about respect.

    And here’s what else I’m sick of. Trendy bisexual whining about the gay “label” or “category,” usually accompanied by some smug insinuation that gay men are just too intellectually shallow to realize how much p-ssy they would truly want to fuck if only they weren’t controlled by a “label.” Well, here’s a newsflash for you, anti-labeling bisexual women, gay men are quite aware of what we want sexually and fucking you isn’t it. Sorry.

  • Personally, I just don’t feel the need to explain my sexuality to people. It’s not about being ignored to me, because I don’t think it is really any of your business. Unless you’re wanting some of this. If that’s the case, then we can talk privately. You can either accept that I’m an ally through my words and actions, or not. If making assumptions about me makes you feel better, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t be surprised if those assumptions are suddenly proven wrong. I see bi rights and gay rights as one in the same, and ultimately we all want the same thing: the equal right to love whoever we want without shame or fear, and to be held equal before the law.

  • BlackMasamune

    The thing is that this woman is the rare exception to the rule.

  • cole3244

    woody obviously wanted to increase his chances even more and went above and beyond.

  • SoLeftImRight

    I think this line is what got me: “The only thing being Bi means is that if I were single, I’d have no clue whether I’d next be dating a man or a woman.” That’s really well put. I heard a long and rambling, and frankly, quite tedious discussion of bisexuality on Dan Savage’s podcast, and I will admit to rolling my eyes at some of it.

    I would submit that the main reason many gays and lesbians don’t respect the bi label is that we have all met many, many (often young) people claiming to be “bi” when they are really just using that notion as a stepping stone to their actual gay or lesbian identity. It’s as though only-sometimes same-sex attraction is less icky than full on G-A-Y. I think with the increasing cultural acceptance of gays and lesbians, such an “interim” step will become less logical or necessary, and I hope that leads to truly existing bi people gaining a bit more acceptance and happiness.

    I have met a handful of actual bi people. I know they exist. But another challenge is evident in the exasperation of the writer. If you are “bi” and choose a partner and choose to be in a monogomous relationship, well, there you are from a social and cultural point of view. We are rather limited as a society by gender role and sexuality stereotypes, but choosing to be a “couple” is, “bi” definition (no pun intended), binary. If you’re a woman with a wife, you aren’t automatically a lesbian, but you’re only having “gay” sex. There is no such thing as “bi” sex, after all, if you’re only with one other person (three ways and strap ons be damned).

    So I feel your angst at being subject to hetero-normative prejudice, as I just engaged in some of the same, but honestly, for most gays and lesbians, it will continue to be a smallest-violin-playing notion. I will, however, try to be more open minded in the future.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    A bi, female friend once said, “If you swing both ways, you strike out less.” I was pretty young then and incredibly horny all the time, so I was quite envious of her.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You have some excellent points. We really aren’t free from prejudices, are we? My husband was definitely prejudiced against “effeminate” gay man. We have a couple of full length mirrors, so I could never figure out why he didn’t see the irony in his prejudice.

  • arcadesproject


  • rudolf schnaubelt

    thanks becca

  • JSJ

    I can understand the frustration she expresses regarding others judging her sexuality based on their own prejudices and fears. However…. welcome to the real world. It’s not just bisexual men and women that get judged by others. It’s part of the human condition, not a gay or straight thing. We forever promote the myth that gays and lesbians are more open-minded and progressive than the rest of the population, when in reality they are just the same and just as likely to react in very conservative ways in some situations, or very liberal in others. We’re people. My love for cock does not dictate my views on abortion, or taxes, or any of the thousands of other issues I’ve had to deal with on a daily basis.
    When we decided to adopt children, we got some nasty reactions from gay and straight alike. People. They were reacting on what they had assimilated about gays being parents.
    As far as weather there are people who are truly bisexual, well, why is that so hard to believe? I am sure that there are those who have used the bisexual label just as a way to test the waters, to see how others would react. I did that when I started to come out. However, just because I and others have done that, it does not mean that there aren’t those that are truly attracted to both male and female and could form a loving, lasting relationship whith either. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, what business is it of mine anyway?

  • alboy2

    I still think Woody Allen said it best: “Being bisexual automatically increases your chances of a date on Saturday night.”

  • cole3244

    bi’s have the best of both worlds when looking for a SO, that might be why gays and straights are so threatened its the competition, take heart bi’s we are just jealous of your advantage.

  • Indigo

    I know a fairly large number of recovering straights who married, had children, woke up and came out. And there they are with boyfriends and ex-wives and alimony payments and rebellious teenagers and in some cases, grandchildren. It’s a mixed-up world and one size never fits all.

  • UncleBucky

    Hey, anyone ever heard of ex-straight? ;o)

    Maybe I should open an “institute” or a “center”. Anyone interested? A lot of money in that ex-stuff! Hahahaha!

    But look. The only ex-gay or ex-straight or ex-bi or ex-asexual is a person who has ceased to be alive. You know. Get it while you can, and with someone whom you love in the bargain!

  • UncleBucky

    Good Lord (metaphorically speaking),

    Bi exists. We are all Bi, even though some straights and gay/lesbian folks deny they respond at least at times to the gender they say they don’t/can’t/won’t/shouldn’t respond to. Eh?

    But we are a reductionist species, aren’t we. All or nothing, yes or no, chaos or order, and all those opposites. I like some, maybe, organized chaos and all those intermediates. I bet that eye movement studies would show that most if not all look a little longer at stunning specimens or even run of the mill specimens. ;o)

    I am run of the mill, fortunately. ;o)

  • wmforr

    I really don’t understand why gays–who are constantly being told by the Right that it is a choice and they really must be straight–can turn on bis and denigrate their feelings.

    I know gay is not a choice because I know my own inner feelings. How dare I presume to tell someone else I know their inner feelings better than they do themselves.

  • olandp

    This is why Kinsey created his sliding scale. His theory was that few people are completely straight or completely gay, we fall on a continuum with predominate attractions. This is how anyone can be “ex-gay”, they are bisexual but “choose” to be straight (however there are not that many.) Probably most homophobes have homosexual desires, which would mean there is some bisexuality in there (not to say all bisexuals are homophobic, but it does explain a lot). Physically too there is a continuum of gender, although rare. On the scale of 0-6, I personally am probably a 5.5, I can’t imagine being with a woman, but stranger things have happened, and I probably won’t.

    We as humans want to place people as well as things in categories, it is natural. Bisexuals exist among us, but unless they identify themselves we don’t know it.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Becca is only the second person I have met, virtually who is Bi, wait maybe there is one more. And I have never met a bi-sexual person in flesh and blood, that I know of.

    Maybe you should take to having forum names that clue us in, like Bi-Becca?
    I went with StraightGrandmother because I comment on so many gay blogs and I didn’t want to have to repeat all the time, “Well I am straight but…”

    If I see a woman’s name on a forum I do automatically think she is a lesbian.
    Maybe this is a dumb idea, the Bi-Becca, but if you think about it, what if you were reading comments in a forum and you saw all these forum names that stated with Bi- it would really make you more visible. Right now to me you are invisible because I just assume you are a lesbian if you are commenting as a woman, especially when you comment about your wife. In fact it would not occur to me that you would be bi-sexual, the thought would never cross my mind.

    You can’t have it both ways, lament the fact that you are ignored as a group but then fail to identify yourselves as a member of the group. Remember, I can’t tell if you are Bi, you have to tell me for me to know.

  • goulo

    If there is such a thing as interpreting a rhetorical device like “being X means Y” too literally, surely it is this comment. :)

  • caphillprof

    Language is essential. Without it we cease to exist.

    If there is such a thing as bisexuality, surely it doesn’t mean that I’m married to a woman for life except when George Clooney knocks on my door.

  • Indigo

    Labels are traps. Reality consistently defies the labels we try to impose on it. Admittedly, a jar of Smucker’s Jelly labeled “strawberry” had better not be purple and taste like grape, and in that sense labels are useful tools, but in relationships, the only value a label has is if someone is shopping for a boyfriend or girlfriend from an underwear catalog. The real world is far more complex.

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