A few words about bisexuality …
„I think choosing between men and women is like choosing between cake and ice cream. You’d be daft not to try both when there are so many different flavors.” (Björk)
LOVE KNOWS NO GENDER
We often get told that we have to choose between homo- and heterosexuality. However it just isn’t that simple. For some of us the gender of the person in front of us is irrelevant, as we see the person simply as a person. For others a person’s gender is an important part of why we find them attractive. Whether you are one or the other, here are some tips for bisexuals in a predominantly monosexual (gay and straight) world.
Bisexuality is not complicated or difficult to understand, but some people do have problems understanding it.
In a world where you have a choice of 30 different kinds of coffee at your local supermarket it seems that when it comes to sexuality you only have two choices – gay or straight. In this flyer we want to challenge this view.
Here, we will be talking about being bi(sexual) and about bisexuality. In dictionaries you can find definitions such as:
„bisexual (adj.) sexually and/or emotionally interested in more than one gender.“
Being bi does not mean that sexual or emotional attraction is limited to the genders female and male. The term bi also includes attraction to trans- and intersexual persons, or to those who do not want to decide for a gender, but, rather, see themselves as genderqueer. Bi does not mean two, but two and more; thus at least two genders.
Some of us do not want to fit our sexuality into ready-made categories, or prefer to call ourselves queer, pansexual, non-monosexual or omnisexual. In principle these all mean the same thing, but emphasizes that people who define themselves in this way can feel attracted by a wide range of gender identities because they see gender as being on a scale similar to that of the Kinsey Scale (see below). Some people use these categories to emphasize that other factors are more important than gender, e.g. appearance or personality.
Using the definitions above is absolutely legitimate, but for the sake of simplicity we will be using the more well-known term “bi” in this flyer.
„I fall in love with a person, not with gender roles.”
Telling people you are bi can seem like a big step, but afterwards you often feel happier about your sexuality and no longer have the feeling of being in the closet.
But do you have to come out? And, if so, to whom and how?
The first person, and possibly the only one you really need to come out to is yourself. Accepting your own sexuality, who you are and who you are attracted to can be a very positive step. Maybe it will feel like you have been relieved of a great burden. Allow yourself the time to examine your feelings and find out what is right for you. When you have done this and decided you also want to come out to other people, you should find the right moment to do so. Nobody is forcing you to do it immediately. For some people it is easier to come out as bi after they have been to a bi event and heard how others experienced their own coming out.
The way you come out is also very important. If you begin by saying „I’ve got something important to tell you, maybe you should sit down“ people might think you want to tell them something terrible and this might negatively affect the situation. We’d advise you not to announce your sexuality as something terrible, but rather to mention it by (bi!) the way, when the other person is relaxed and in a good mood.
Some people might not understand why you are telling them this at all or might not even want to talk about sexuality at all. Instead of taking a deep breath and saying „I’m bisexual“ you could simply mention that you have been to a bi event, or that you were moved by a star coming out as bi. If you can be easy going and matter of fact about your sexuality and don’t make it into a big issue, you might not even have to come out to friends and colleagues as they will already have heard about your sexual orientation from others..
In any case you don’t have to come out to everyone – many people don’t tell all their relatives and colleagues. It’s your decision who you tell. If you want to come out to someone you are financially dependent on (e.g. your employer or your parents) and you think they might be bi- or homophobic you should think very carefully about how to do it and whether it is really the right time and place to do so. It’s finally up to you to choose what is right for you, It’s about you, your story and your life. Maybe your partner has noticed something – wait for a good moment to tell her/him (maybe not in the car or under the Christmas tree)!
PARTNERS, FRIENDS AND ALLIES
Not everyone reading this flyer will be bi. Perhaps you are the partner, friend or member of a family of someone who is bi and you want to find out more or help and understand the person who is bi. Here are a few ideas:
Accept us. Contradict everyone who tries to tell you or us that we are actually gay or straight. We know best about what we feel and who we find attractive. Who we are now is real, whether we have always defined ourselves as bi, or have, in the past, identified as gay, lesbian or straight. Fight against biphobia – whether it comes from the gay or straight communities. Many of us have been confronted throughout our lives with prejudices and have internalised them so that we have to work hard to free ourselves from them.
Fight homophobia as well! It hurts us too! Our relationships with people of the same sex are just as valid and important as relationships with people of the opposite sex.
Don’t put us all into the same box! Some of us are monogamous; others prefer to stay single, while others have more than one relationship at the same time.
One of the most persistent myths about bisexuality is that we need „one of each“. This is absolute nonsense! For some of us it might feel right to have more than one partner, but this feeling is also shared by some gay and straight people.
For someone in a relationship who realises he/she is bi might want to explore her/his feelings and talk about them. This is also possible in an exclusively monogamous relationship. In this case it might help to find bi groups or forums where you can talk to others about how this can be realised.
„At the beginning the fluidity of my sexuality was a problem – sometimes I wished I could choose one or the other. Since I’ve accepted that this is a part of my bisexuality it is no longer a problem. Coming out isn’t easy either – it’s most difficult with people who mean something to me although I’ve never really had a bad experience. The most stupid reaction came from my mother who really thought „it was just a phase“. I imagine that’s how she still feels 10 years later. I LOVE being bi and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world as it is simply right for me – it fits with my way of thinking and also with other aspects of my life.“
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
There are many places where lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people can meet. In big cities like Berlin you won’t only find coming out and discussion groups about sexuality, but also other musical and sports groups that also welcome bisexual members. A few may have problems with bisexuals. Usually it is best to simply go to them and find out.
Gay and bi visibility has increased significantly in the past few years. There are lesbian and gay stars, TV characters and even politicians. The number of people living openly as bi is also increasing, but not as quickly.