I was browsing Tumblr the other day when I came across this quote:
I gave a speech on bisexual health at a medical association conference a few years ago. One of the attendees, who is a mental health professional — he’s a therapist — wasn’t at my talk, but when he heard the topic of my speech, he told me, "Oh, when I have clients who say they’re bi, I really question it. I really make them talk it through, and we examine it very closely."
I said, "What if they say they’re gay?" He was gay, by the way.
He said, "Oh, in that case, we just talk about whatever they came to me for."
It's a quote by a woman named Amy André, from a speech on bisexual health.
I was reminded of it when this thread emerged in The Lounge, regarding olympic diver Tom Daley. Now, Tom Daley has said that he's in a relationship with another guy. Good for him. I think this is awesome. He also says he still fancies girls. As far as I'm concerned, this places him pretty firmly in the bisexual category as far as labels go. Yet, some seem to feel that this means he's 'undecided'.
I tend to lean towards the masculine, but if I were to categorise my sexual orientation (personally I prefer to just call myself queer), I would probably call myself pansexual. If someone asks and I don't feel like explaining what that means, I will say bisexual, because that's easier. But I like guys, and I like girls, and I like girls who look like guys and guys who look like girls, and I like non-op transpersons and genderqueer people who feel no need to label their gender, and I don't believe in the gender binary.
Neither to I believe in monosexuality as some kind of default. I've always been of the opinion that people fall in love with people. That there are tastes and preferences that tend to make us more attracted to one sex than another, but that the starting point, the default state if you will, is that you can go either way. Dispute me on this if you like, my word isn't gospel. I'm not saying that no one is gay or straight, and I'm not saying that sexual orientation isn't innate, I just mean that as a species we can go either way.
I'm convinced that if 'alternative' sexualities were more accepted, far more straight people would identify as bisexual. As it is, many people, on both ends of the spectrum, don't even consider bisexuality to be a real sexual orientation. We're told that we're confused or greedy, that we should make up our minds. We're told that if we're in same-sex relationships we're gay and if we're in opposite-sex relationships we're straight. Mental health professionals don't take us seriously. We have a hard time finding lasting relationships because if our partners identify as completely gay or completely straight, they'll want us to identify that way as well, and they'll feel insecure and worry that we really want someone of the other sex if we refuse to.
This is probably part of the reason why far more bisexual people are depressed or suicidal. I think we're something like twice as likely as gay people and four times as likely as straight people to suffer from severe depressions and suicidal thoughts. Some will try to tell us to just choose, some will try to convince us we're really either gay or straight, and gay people aren't a bit better with regard to this than straight people.
I'm not confused. I'm perfectly comfortable with my sexual orientation. I know what I like and what I don't like. I've identified as bisexual for over a decade and I've never faltered in this. But it hasn't been easy when I've constantly been made to feel like my sexual orientation is invalid. The B in LGBT is being ignored, but we do exist, and we're not confused or greedy or undecided. We're real.