A lot of articles are flaring up across the interweb these days about bisexuality, and whether or not its real. (Both of the following articles are thanks to new blogger friend, Cowtown Bisexual).
The first one that’s flying around quickly — which I think tells us how gay men get their news, in truth — is from Gay.com:
So what do we make of these guys who define themselves as “bi”? Are they really fooling themselves as they screw their way down the path to gayhood, or do they really enjoy having sex with women? I realize that some people are just sexually charged and will take it wherever they can get it. But I say that if you’re a guy having sex with another guy, chances are there’s a part of you that’s in denial, and only time will tell when you finally come around to the realization that, yup, you’re gay.
A lot of guys are all about animal instinct. We get it when we can. We need to drop our seed and move on to the next guy. OK, OK — I just heard a collective scream from all of you who believe in the sanctity of a monogamous relationship. Of course emotions play a role in gay male relationships, and there’s no question that men can commit to each other. But think about how many gay couples you know who play around, either together or separately. Why? Because gay men like to screw…
My opinion is that they’re not bi. They’re not straight. They’re gay and they’re fooling themselves. Or they’re fooling us. But do we care? As long as they bring the six pack, we’re usually pretty OK with it.
I’ve been oft to say that, “If he’s having sex with a man, he’s not straight,” which should be more apprpriately termed as, “If he’s having sex with a man, he’s not heterosexual.” It’s a subtle, but important difference.
But let’s move on to article two, this time from Michael Musto in the Village Voice:
Everyone always says they’re bisexual, blabbing on and on about how “sexuality is fluid, and I don’t really like labels”–but usually I find these are just gay men who are afraid to come out. I know there are real bisexuals out there–mainly because I’ve heard that there are–and I do think it’s a lovely idea to actually crave sex with people regardless of gender. I’m just wondering how real a phenomenon this is, as opposed to a smoke-and-mirrors coverup designed to keep antsy gays in the closet.
Now, the Bi Avenger @ Cowtown-Bisexual makes a great point: who the fuck cares what Michael Musto thinks? But that’s not my point.
Working in HIV, you get an interesting perspective on the behvavior vs. identity bit that seems to play out in the public discourse on bisexuality — a lot of people assume that the two are the same, that, somehow, just because you are doing something means that you actively identify as doing it. I think we need look no further than the racist/homophobic/sexist/hateful discourse on the “down low” to understand that it doesn’t matter whether or not someone identifies as anything. It matters, more, what their behavior is. If a man is having sex with men and women, he is acting bisexual, regardless of whether he identifies as such. If a woman has a drunken college party threesome with a man and another woman, she is having a bisexual experience, but does not need to necessarily identify as bisexual.
When we ask people about their behaviors, we do not use the terms “gay,” “bi,” or “straight” to talk about someone’s risk factors. We do ask about their self-identifier, but we also go on to ask about their behavior and with whom they have had sex. Why? Because you can identify as gay but still have had sex with a woman in your life. A lot of gay men understand that…
…but we don’t seem to understand that you can identify as straight and have had sex with men in your life.
It is not the business of this writer, nor the other writers of the world, to enforce a dogma of sexual or gender identity. It’s not our job. If someone identifies as bisexual, but has only had sex with men for 15 years, guess what? They are bisexual. Just because they live an exclusively homosexual life or have exclusively homosexual relations does not diminish their identity as bisexual. If a woman chooses to identify as bisexual, or (as I’ve heard sometime) heteroflexible, but only has had sex with men in their life… except for that one drunken party when I was 18… then they are bisexual (or heteroflexible).
We should not be in the business, as a community, of placing identities on other people, and we certainly shouldn’t be in the business of actively undermining other people’s identities just because we do not understand it. We come out and tell people that society cannot define our sexuality… well, guess what, the authors of the above articles now fall into the category of “society” and they are defining someone’s sexual orientation for them.
In the race to be equal, we have begun to become ignorant.