Sunday, October 23, 2005

The B in LGBT - part 2

As I have received some interesting comments to my previous post on the issue of bisexuality (both on this blog and outside), I have decided to dig into it a bit more and to maybe give my perspective on some of the comments.

First of all, EWI said it reminded him of the disapproval of “going outside of the community”. I am not exactly sure what he means by this but my interpretation of it would be, going outside of the community would mean that you would still belong to the community but seek or just happen to find a partner who does not belong to this community, regardless of what the community is based on (religion, sexual orientation, race etc.) In that sense, I am not sure this is what happens to bisexuals who enter opposite-sex relationships. There is a stigma attached to it, a sense of disappointment on the part of the community, a sense of betrayal even sometimes, a sense that the prodigal son / daughter might actually not come back and is denying his or her true self and is selling out to a certain extent.

Secondly, he asks whether there is such a fear or hatred of heterosexuals amongst gay people. Some fear, yes of course. Gays die every day for their “crimes” in certain societies, they get beaten up outside pubs here in Ireland and the trend is growing. When a queer comes out, he or she has to be prepared for any kind of response, from a hug to a fist in the face.

As to whether there is hatred, I don’t think so. What is not liked is people who identify as bi-curious, bisexuals (because quite often the difference between the two is not clear in people’s minds) because there is that impression that they do not know to which side they belong. Most people are proud to be gay and would not change their sexuality for anything because it has become such a huge part of their self-identity. However, maybe there is some tension towards bisexuals who (should they "choose" to), can demarginalise themselves and enter “normal society”? I don't know, not being either a lesbian or a gay man myself... Of course, this would be easy if matters of the heart weren’t so complicated. For bisexuals, gender or sex is not an issue, the attraction is elsewhere and most people fail to understand that.

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F said...

The root of the problem, however, seems to lie in a fundamental misunderstanding of bisexuality and distrust of the whole concept as well as in a presmption of what people's lives are like. This presumption appears to often trump any willingness to actually HEAR people's experiences and until that happens there's little or no chance of progress on this issue

I wonder whether bisexual men experience the same kind of difficulties in the gay male community?

Anonymous said...

I think it's even harder for Bi men in my experience they're really seen as not existing in any shape or form. I love how well you've phrased this though: "For bisexuals, gender or sex is not an issue, the attraction is elsewhere and most people fail to understand that." - This is exatly what I was trying to convey a few days ago to someone when explaining what attrcts me to someone - the gender isn't really it. Granted that's not a 100% trye statement to make. I am atttracted to someone gender but I'm somone who is attracted to all the "genders" inbetween the binary system and the gender. I don't know if I'm making any sense at all. The funny thing that I';ve foudn is that it's the attitude of some people in the "community" feel that it's easier for bisexuals. This just.. boils my blood sometimes. Ok, life is hard for most people, a lot of LGBT people have understand parents and have it ok, lots don't. Coming out as bisexual was about a million times harder for my family to take then coming out as a lesbian because they find it hard to understand, they still after 5 years alkmost haven't got to terms with it and everytime you're with one gender you have to go and justify how you STILL DO fancy the other gender. That is so much effort, constantly reaffirming your sexuality to everyone around you including your "community" is exhausting. Constantly ignoring the looks of "you're sucha dyke" or "you just need the right man" is hard. It's not like I could just go off with a member of opposite sex and get away from all the LGBT-phobic and hard life that I would have would I choose a partner of the same sex. I find that insulting, that someone thinks that I would be "less gay" because I have the "option to live as a straight person" I think that would be denying my sexuality as much as I would be if I were a gay/lesbian. I can't be straight. I'm bi. I don't know any other way to be because this is myself. I can't dumb down the part of me that likes opposite gender for the LGBT community and my real issue is that I shouldn't have to.
Yer all just jealous. ;)

Sorry for length of rant. Think I needed that.

Cadavre Exquis said...

Hi, thanks for your contribution!

I completely agree with you that it's harder to come out as bi. My mother's reaction was "give me time and give me hope". Don't need to mention she took it rather badly, do I? :-)
To her, it was as if I had a CHOICE, as if my partner's sex was a choice since I fancy both. this made it harder for her to understand why I would be with a woman since I could have everything she ever wantede me to have if I had a male partner...

And at the same time, I guess it gave her hope as she said. Hope that one day, there WOULD be a man and that it would stick. There have been and we split up, just like there have been women and we split up. What gender / sex a bisexual person's partner is going to have is down to everything but choice.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Like they expect you to just ignore and leave behind that part of you. That it's the wrong part and why wouldn't you want to settle down with a nice normal person and have 2.5 children. It puts a whole new set of pressure for when you are in a relationship with a same sex partner and it makes it so much harder for parents to accept your sexuality as they hold onto the hope of you being "normal" and "straight".
I wish there was a parents of bisexuals support group. Be worth setting up...

Anyways, thanks a million for posting this. I think I needed that rant. It upsets me how some people would even begin suggest that bisexuals have it easy. Nopt that I'm complaining going "oh me oh my life is so hard for me the poor bisexual" because life is hard for lots of people. Get on with it. If theres something you don't like, fight it don't just complain about it and certainly don't descriminate against others just because "they haven't had it as hard". That pisses me off on a general level.
Great post.
You have a great way with words.

Anonymous said...

I guess that it behooves me to add a few words ;-) On the "community", I'm thinking of the obvious things like religion, race, ethnicity. Where there's a settled, well-established community, there's often consequences for going outside for love or sex.

Coming from a rural, white, Irish-Catholic background where there simply were no Others apart from the 'Protestants', I've had to grit my teeth and say nothing more than a few times over the years when this sort of attitude came out, often very close to home indeed.

On a personal note, I am in a relationship with a much older woman, which I frankly couldn't tell the folks about - they'd freak, completely. I only let my very closest friends know the full story of what I do be up to at the weekends. So I have a good amount of sympathy for others who've been in the same boat, having to be circumspect.

On the hatred, perhaps too strong a word. Maybe it should've been "aggression". I've been in the George with friends (with a variety of sexualities), and more than once I've seen or experienced aggressive behaviour from 'bull' dykes. If they were men, I'd have said they were trying to pick a fight. Maybe they're trying too hard with the machismo, I don't know.

Whatever it was, once they had established 'straight vibes' off some of the people in our group, we got a good amount of stares and the occasional jostling. Maybe this is out of the norm, but this is what I've witnessed, and it made for an uncomfortable atmosphere. At least I could put friendly intent when I'd suddenly feel an (uninvited) male hand on my ass!