When you think of bisexuals what are the first things that come to mind? Is it that promiscuous, attention seeker that kissed some girl in front of a group of guys? Or is it Katy Perry’s infamous “I kissed a girl (and I liked it)”?
In Sex and the City, Charlotte York once said “I’m very into labels; gay, straight, pick a side and stay there”. For one of the most sexually innovative shows of its generation, that line shows the ignorance that seems to be embedded in society. People don’t take you seriously. I should know. I came out to my family and friends at sixteen. And of course who’s going to believe a teenager? You’re either viewed as being a ‘gay in waiting’, or you’re just “experimenting”.
When I came out I felt confused about liking girls and being girly. I felt guilty about being femme. People feel comfortable when they can stick a label on you. And unfortunately bisexuality makes people uncomfortable. Suddenly you can’t be trusted. At any moment you could jump ship and start batting for the other team. And this is the problem, if you “marry” either sex in theory you’re picking a side.
The main theme of the Mardi Gras parade this year was gay marriage, which has thankfully become a hot political topic. Julia Gillard is behind the times when it comes to equality for non-heterosexual couples. And I for one am sick and tired of the discrimination and homophobic laws that determine who can’t get married. Evidently you can’t commit to another person unless you have a vagina, and they have a penis. Forget two vaginas or two penises, sorry that’s not OK. Next.
I get some interesting questions. A stand out was: “If you’re really a bisexual, why don’t you just date men? Then you won’t have to worry about gay marriage, equality and all that bullshit”. If only it was that easy. Unfortunately you can’t pick who you fall in love with. Just like people fall in love with someone who’s a different skin colour or even someone who doesn’t speak your language.
I’m lucky to have parents who have always been supportive of me. I’m not naive enough to believe all parents are this accepting. The truth can set you free but it can also leave you very lonely if your parents and friends fail to accept who you really are. My dad could’ve won the world record for chain-smoking three cigarettes in the space of five minutes after I told him I was bisexual. But, my dad is an absolute legend and although I know he’s not entirely comfortable talking about people’s sexuality – especially his daughter’s, I know in my heart that he accepts me for who I am. And that’s all I need. Love. The unconditional kind. My mum is the same; except we can openly talk about my relationships and her support is unwavering.
Karla, who also identifies as bi came out to her friends at nineteen. She admits “it’s easier for me to let people assume I’m straight”. The problem is that “people don’t understand bisexuality. It’s often thought of as an excuse for promiscuous behaviour, or viewed as me being gay but afraid to come out”. For this reason she tends not to tell straight men of her bisexuality unless she’s asked directly. I follow this too as it sometimes becomes the only aspect of you that the guy is interested in. And you know what? My sexuality is only a small part of who I am. Just because I’m bisexual doesn’t suddenly translate as I’m keen for a threesome. Shock. Horror.
Recently Karla was asked why she was still single. Surely if you have both sexes to choose from it must be easier right? But she admits “it’s more difficult. I’m attracted to the person regardless of their sex, not because of it but no matter who I’m in a relationship with, I tend to feel I’m missing an element that the other sex could provide. It leads to huge commitment issues for me”. For some this may seem as though bisexuals can never truly be happy or ‘satisfied’ with one sex. Untrue. Many bisexuals are in committed, monogamous relationships.
I’ve always thought that my attraction to girls would fade away and I would be straight and for lack of a better word, ‘normal’. I craved to be just another girl who was attracted to men. Exclusively. I have never felt pressure from anyone else in my life to feel this way. And it has caused endless battles within my relationships. I can appreciate both the curves and softness of a woman’s body and the strength and masculinity of a man’s.
Within the gay scene there isn’t much support for bisexuals and we don’t seem to have much of our own community either. It’s also difficult for lesbians to take bisexual women seriously. “They think I would string them along, I’m just curious and will still end up with a man”. Of the celebrities who have announced their bisexuality (think Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, and Lady Gaga) the majority are in long-term relationships with men. Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson are the last openly bisexual couple that I remember. And would you really call Lindsay a role model? Hell to the no.
While I’m comfortable with my sexuality there are people who I haven’t come out to (that will change after this post). I’m taking a stand for other individuals who are less confident about their sexuality or who are struggling to identify themselves. You have my support, whoever you are – don’t live a lie especially to yourself, be who you are and be proud. Life is too short.
Rose Russo is a freelance writer, blogger and self confessed chocoholic.