Friday, October 25, 2013

For Bisexuals Passing as Gay

Just a simple poem to get across a difficult fact.

For Bisexuals Passing as Gay

Every day I wave my gay flag high.
Every day I live the same lie.
Every day I wave my gay flag high.
Every day I suppress the urge to cry.
Every day I wave my gay flag high.
Every day I ask myself why.
Every day I wave my gay flag high.
Every day I don’t tell them I’m bi.

I tried to tell them.
They said I was confused.
I tried to tell them.
They just looked bemused.
I tried to tell them.
But I got abused.
I tried to tell them.
But understand, they refused.

They use to think I was straight.
They thought that was really great.
Then I brought home a same-sex date.
They want me to be hetero,
Or at least declare I’m homo,
But my sexuality actually isn't mono.

They told me to be proud,
My gayness shout out loud.
They told me to be proud,
But my true sexuality is not allowed. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quietly Coming Out as Bisexual

During these past weeks, with Bi-visibility Day and National Coming Out Day, I have come across a lot of bisexuals seriously stressing about coming out of the closet. Not everyone can do this, but when it's safe and possible, I believe that the quiet method of informing others of one's bisexuality is a great way to go. If successful, you get the information across quietly then go about your life. Besides needing to be in a safe environment, this method mostly just requires being secure and sure in who you are.

Of course coming out is often difficult for gays and lesbians too, but they do have some "quiet" options not available to bisexuals. A lesbian who chooses to have a "boyish" hair cut and wear butch clothes is likely to be assumed to be a lesbian. A bi woman who does the same will also likely be assumed to be a lesbian, and will remain closeted unless she comes out as bi. A gay man who shows up at social events with his boyfriend and introduces him as such is going to be seen as gay. A bi man who does the same will be seen as gay too, and will still be closeted unless he comes out as bi.

Gays and lesbians can also put rainbow flags or an equality stickers on their cars and be out as homosexual. Though the bi community has relatively recently come up with a flag to represent bisexuality, it's still so new that only other bisexuals who are involved in the bi community (a mostly on-line presence) recognize what it is.

So being out as bi is usually something that has to be more directly addressed. Still that doesn't mean there aren't subtle and less stressful ways to go about it. I'll share some examples from my own life to show what I mean.

I met a woman recently who's new in town. Upon discovering she is doing public relations work, I mentioned my experiences with building up a blog. I went on to mention that my blog has gotten a lot of traffic from reddit; mostly from the subreddit "Bisexual," and that I was blogging about bisexuality because the main character in my novel "Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe," is bisexual.

The conversation could have gone differently. I could easily have not mentioned the word bisexual. Knowing that bringing up my blog might lead her to ask more about it, I could have never even brought up the blog at all. But in fact, I made a conscious decision to mention the it, and made a conscious decision to use the word bisexual. To have navigated conversation away from where I saw it naturally heading would have been closeting myself. Instead, by allowing the flow in that direction, I instantly outed myself to a new-found acquaintance in a non-dramatic/traumatic way. Sure I didn't make it 100% clear I'm bi, but she'd have to figure I likely was. If she wasn't comfortable with that, I'd know right away, and could dismiss her as a potential friend. By going this route, I also avoided ever having to decide if and and when and how to tell her, somewhere down the road, about my sexual orientation.

This is how I've mostly come out. I know I'm lucky; I come from a relatively progress and non-oppressive background, and I've always lived in progressive and non-oppressive places. As a result, coming out has been mostly a non-event.

Sometimes coming out can just be a matter of not hiding. One night, years ago, I was kissing a woman on the sidewalk a few blocks from where a big event was occurring. Someone we knew was walking by and she tried to conceal my face, thinking I was trying to pass as straight. I told her I didn't have anything to hide. Again, I outed myself just by not making it a point to closet myself.

This simple act of not hiding also occurred a  few years ago when I was exchanging comments on Facebook with a friend who knew I was bi. All the sudden, he went to private messaging because he wanted to ask me something that he knew might out me if done publicly. I told him that the fact that my bisexuality wasn't known by our mutual friends wasn't due to any efforts of my own, but rather because people made assumptions, and I continued the conversation publicly. I'm not sure if anyone was paying attention, but if people who knew me to be in an opposite sex relationship saw the conversation where my friend asked which female actresses I thought were hot, they would have had a good hint I wasn't exactly straight.

In fact, many people I know just found out recently that I was bi when I  set up a Facebook Author's Page for a bisexual themed novel and posted links to my blog about bisexual issues. Again, a non-dramatic/traumatic self-outing. I just thought well, if they hadn't figured it out yet, they'll know now.

Though I think that for many people coming out could be a lot less stressful if they'd only not build it up as such a scary monster in their heads, I also know that sadly, for many, coming out has serious ramifications. Certainly there are situations when a one-on-one sit down talk is necessary. Even then, I'd recommend not acting like it's a big deal, but rather a fact that needs to be shared. Those we come out to take our lead when considering how to respond. Sure some people will be biphobic and overreact no matter what, but if we project that we are okay and fine with who we are, and don't act like our bisexuality is a big deal, chances are a lot  of people we come out to will be more likely to keep their cool too. Meanwhile let's all look forward to a time when a person's sexual identity - to borrow a phrase from Bob Marley and Haile Selassie - "is of no more significance than the color of his eyes."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Gays Don't Support Bisexuals

Gay and Lesbian people often are not only not supportive of bisexuals but actually go so far as to bash bisexuals or deny our existence. A lot of people are perplexed by this. After all, shouldn't homosexuals be bisexuals' allies? shouldn't they feel our rights are just as important as their own? Shouldn't they relate to being oppressed, ridiculed, marginalized? Why are they not on our side?
I have a few thoughts about this, just thoughts, not saying these are facts, and I would love to hear other people's ideas as well.

First Thought:
If you have a lot of frank conversations with a lot of bisexuals, as I have, you will find that many bisexuals feel that everyone is fundamentally bisexual and that gay or straight people have, for one reason or another, ended up focused on one gender or the other. I read an article in Penthouse when I was fourteen which had this notion as its focus. At the time, I thought, "yeah, that sounds right," and this is actually how I came out to myself. Thus I went around believing everyone was fundamentally bisexual for a very long time. It was only upon some very frank conversations with some very open- minded gay and straight people that I realized that they were really actually fundamentally mono-sexual.

Why was it so hard for me, and many other bi people, to get this? I think that for many bisexuals the idea of not being attracted to one gender or the other is difficult to grasp. If there is a good looking, sexy, man who has a great personality and who you get along with etc. - how can you say, no, not attracted?  Same for a hot beautiful woman who has a hot beautiful well matched personality. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she's all beautiful and wonderful and sure, sexy, and we get along great, but no I'm just not attracted to women? I don't get it. But, I've come to accept that it's not for me to get; if people tell me that they cannot be aroused, not be attracted, interested, in someone like that because of their gender, then I have to take their word for it. I'm not in their head, not in their body, so who am I to say? Conversely - and now were getting to the point - I think, gay/lesbian and straight people - in other words, monosexuals - do not get how we can be attracted to both genders. It just doesn't add up to them. I'm thinking that in their minds they feel that men and women are so different physically and mentally, how can us bisexuals be attracted to both? Either you like feminine body types and personalities or you like male body types and personalities and to like both is beyond their comprehension. If they can't understand it, then in their minds, its not possible. Bisexuals will often use the chocolate and strawberry ice-cream analogy - you can like one or the other, or both, right? But for monosexuals it must seem more like a mutually exclusive situation. It must sound more like if someone said "I'd love to go live in a quiet monastery, and I'd love to play guitar in a heavy metal demonic band." They're all like, what? Make up your mind already. You can do BOTH, and you certainly can't HAVE it both ways!

So the theory here is a difference in perspectives, each side not understanding and there-fore denying the other side.

Second Thought:
It's pretty well established that some gay/les people who have struggled with coming to terms with their identity do go through a phase of deciding that maybe they can find a way to fit into established society. The hope is maybe their same-sex attractions can be ignored, because maybe they are also attracted to the opposite sex. Maybe they can just have a normal hetero life-style and subvert their same-sex desires. For a kid growing up in a homophobic family/school/community/religion the effort to grasp onto any hope of not being that which they know is not accepted and considered evil or sick, must be substantial. "Bisexual" then would be like some shining light in a formerly dark tunnel of "oh my god, why can't I stop lusting after that cute same-sex person sitting next to me in math class!" So maybe I'm bi and can try to live a nice hetero life and no-one will know about my hidden desires. But eventually they find they can not pull this off, and they come out to themselves as being gay and not bi. Then as they become more prideful in their new found love for who they are, they look back disdainfully or pitifully at who they use to be. This colors their view of everyone who claims to be bi and they just think "Oh stop fooling yourself, stop hating yourself, stop hiding yourself! As a result these well-meaning homosexuals make some true bisexuals try to fool themselves into believing they are really gay, and hate themselves for not accepting their "homosexuality" and hide from them-selves and others their true bisexuality.

Third thought:
Gay people have been trying to be accepted by the larger hetero population for so long that the ideals of "being  respected for who you are," and "being able to love who you love" have been overshadowed and largely forgotten by "Acceptance and rights! Acceptance and rights! Acceptance and rights!" I'm going to guess that others besides me have heard bisexuals - especially in the earlier days of gay rights - say that they identify publicly as gay "for political reasons." Fighting for gay rights was paramount, more important than, addressing bisexual-specific issues. The idea was that once we have gay rights and acceptance, things will be much better for bisexuals too. Of course gay rights and acceptance has addressed many issues that bisexuals also have to deal with, but what perhaps no-one saw coming was the day when many homosexuals started to identify with their former oppressors more than their fellow opressees. Perhaps many gays - finally enjoying somewhat the fruits of their labors and getting to be finally considered "normal and included" by many in the majority population - do not now want to muddy up the situations by saying, "bisexuals need to be taken seriously too and need to be acknowledged and accepted."

Homosexuals have one major thing in common with heterosexual that neither have in common with bisexuals - yep, mono-sexuality. And it's all very "let us normal, mono, types stick together and snub those silly, out-of-control bi people."

Again, I'm generalizing and over-dramatizing to make a point. I know there are still lots of gay people who are bisexuals' advocates. These thoughts are about those who are not.

Fourth thought
This is really an extension of the third. Back in the 1960s and 70s, gay people - in celebrating their newly, found pre-HIV, out-and-proud euphoria - got rather wild with displays of overt sexuality. After AIDS/HIV settled all that down considerably, many gays, especially as they got older and society got more accepting, looked back and maybe felt all that bath-house, glory-holes, stuff didn't help any in the cause of fitting in. They look at how bisexuals are stereotyped and see "oversexed" and "sex-greedy" and want to distance themselves from that. There is so much in the current gay rights movement that says over and over again to the straight community "Look, we are just like you!" Aligning with the bisexual contingency does not help in that cause, because straight America still sees us as being perverse.

I'd like to end with a shout out to all the gay men and lesbians who still do stand by our side, defend us, and recognize and respect our existence.
Please everyone, share your thoughts and ideas about this issue.

Friday, October 11, 2013

10 Reasons to Come Out if You're Bisexual

In observance of "Coming Out Day" here are 10 Reasons to Come Out if You're Bisexual.
If you're close to a place in your life where you're seriously thinking of coming out, then here are some helpful reminders of why it might be a great idea. However, if you feel that coming out would be dangerous for you, then keep this list as a reminder to help you when you hopefully will someday be in safer circumstances.

1) The weight of the huge burden that is being closeted will be lifted off your shoulders.
2) You will be proud of yourself and can more fully embrace the person that is you.
3) You will likely find that some of the reactions you worried about will not manifest at all.
4) With those who accept you, you will develop a closer and more intimate relationship.
5) You will weed out those who truly do not care about you as a person and only want you to be what works for them - something you'd find out eventually in some other way anyhow.
6) It's much easier to find other bisexuals to interact with (friends/support/lovers) if people know that you're bisexual.
7) You'll be a role model for others to come out and feel good about their sexuality.
8) You'll be a role model for everyone in the lessons of being yourself and standing up for what you believe in.
9) You'll be lifted from the fear of being accidentally outed.
10) You'll help heal the problem of Bi-invisibility.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bisexual verses Pansexual.

Unfortunately, while those of us who are attracted in one way or another to more than just people of opposite sex, or just people of the same sex, are continually faced with discrimination, belittling, invisibility, bashing and abuse, much of what is said and written by and about us - including the blog post I'm writing here - revolves around definitions and semantics.

I feel I need to add to this because, as I have just begun to write a blog about bisexuality, clearing up this matter from the start seems essential so that I can hopefully get on to more pressing matters.
Recently, Solon posted an article heavily touching on this. One of the points made in that article which struck me, was that since "bisexual" as a word has come to have negative connotations, some suggest, we give it up. This reminds me of how no matter the extent to which someone believes in women's rights, there is often a huge resistance to being labeled a "feminist." Feminism got a bad name from its enemies and unfortunately that negativity has stuck, and unfortunately, along with that negative connotation for the word, a negative connotation for the concept has largely remained as well.
Do we want to let that happen to bisexuality too?

Gay and straight monosexuals do not understand us and thus claim we do not exist. Homophobic straight people see us as being sick or evil or perverse, just as they see homosexuals. Politically correct straight and gay people see us as gay people with internalized homophobia who need to embrace our same-gender attractions and announce ourselves as gay or lesbians from the peak of the highest mountain we can find. Some people insist that "bisexual" omits the love or desire for those not strictly male or female. Some of those who have labeled themselves pansexuals also insist that bisexuals are caught up on gender and fixate on "what's between someone's legs."

My input on this matter is that I think it would be wise to own the word "bisexual," not throw it to our detractors to abuse and mutilate as they will. Let's stand strong behind the word and insist it be taken seriously.

Though I understand the idea behind pansexuality, I think it is far from preferable. For one thing, bisexuality has been around much longer and most everyone realizes it applies to the idea of being attracted to more than just one gender. Pansexuality is still very obscure. And while most people in the general population have never heard of it, pansexulity is already facing plenty of its own ridicule. Twitter is full of comments like, "pansexual? does that mean you love frying pans?" Or, "pansexual means you're attracted to everyone who breathes."

Back in the 1970s and 1980s there wasn't anyone using the word pansexual. Back then, bisexual was defined to mean that you were attracted to both men and women, but this was never meant to exclude non-binary transgender or inter-sexed people. The truth of the matter was that back then people outside the gender binary were relatively unheard of. The whole trans rights movement had just started, and words for non-binary genders were (with few exceptions) not coined yet, and those that were being used we known by only a relatively few people What I'm trying to say is, bisexual wasn't about ONLY being attracted to men and women, it was about being attracted to BOTH men and women, with no intent to exclude other possible genders.

Another truth of the matter is, bisexuality is hugely varied. Some bisexuals are attracted to very masculine men and very feminine women, some like only very androgynous people of either gender, some like only feminine people of either gender, some are into all kinds of men but only boyish women, some have been almost exclusively into women but if a big bearish guy winks at them they just melt, etc. etc. There is nothing here meant to exclude attraction to genderqueer or trans folks at all. If people want to call themselves pansexual to make it clear they are potentially attracted to ANY kind of gender that's all cool, but please don't say bisexuals want to, or do, exclude this. I'd like to see pansexual as a specific subgroup of bisexual.

Now some self-labeled pansexuals are probably pulling their hair out at this point. And this brings us to the other problem with the label "pansexual," and that is, there has been more than one focus for the term, further lending to confusion. Thus far, I have failed to fully acknowledge the other aspect. Not only does pansexual mean, for many who identify that way, the ability to be attracted to "other-sexed" individuals, but often the point is that they feel that they are "gender blind" or that their attraction is "gender irrelevant," meaning they don't care about gender at all. They care about personality and individuals as far as attraction; for them gender happens to be of no concern. Unfortunately, many of these sorts of pansexuals believe that all bisexuals are focused on gender and do care very much about the sex of a potential partner. Again, yes, SOME bisexuals are into men and into women and are into which gender potential partners happen to be, but others are not, others are just into being open about potential partners and their genders. I have never, I repeat, NEVER, anywhere heard of a self-defined bisexual who has said, bisexuals by definition are ONLY into men and women , and always concerned with gender. I have been reading a lot on Facebook, reddit, twitter, blogs and in print and talking in real life to bisexuals, and not one ever claims this. Yet I repeatedly see self-defined pansexuals saying this about bisexuals. So now bisexuals not only have to fight straight and gay bi-phobia, they also have to fight other bisexuals who are now calling themselves pansexuals and actually put down "bisexuality" as gender fixation. Though not all pansexuals have this attitude, a great many do. Enough I say! Let's all focus on fighting our mutually experienced bigotry, oppression and ridicule.

I will stick to using "bisexual" to refer to all non-mono-sexually interested/attracted individuals. So if you read anything I write on the matter you can assume that is the definition I intend.

Please do feel free to comment though!

Friday, October 4, 2013


I'd really like to see people start using NSP instead of LGBTQIPA etc. NSP - for non-straight people, it seems to me, would cover it all, and be a lot more manageable.

I'm old enough - 53 - to remember a time before anyone ever used LGB, much less the loger version(s). I'm working off memory here, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, and I realize too that different things may have been happening in different places. Anyway, what I recall is that back in the 70s, people were talking about Gay rights a lot. Then I remember lesbians wanting to be mentioned separately and not assumed to be included in "Gay" rights, very likely partially as a result of the feminist movement. Then the press etc. started referring to Lesbian and Gay rights - most likely "Lesbian" came first because if it came second it would upset feminist.
Eventually,bisexuals said, "hey, what about us?" As it got lengthy to say Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual rights the press started using LGB rights. A little later, not much, the trans world chimed in as well, and LGBT was born.

It was - I believe - some years later, that I saw a Q added. At that time Q was for queer to cover mainly, I understood, people who either didn't want to be labeled, or didn't feel they quite fit any of the labels. I'm not sure how people now define queer, but at the time queer, which had been earlier derogatory for homosexual, was taken on as an umbrella term to mean "not straight as an arrow." Now, I've seen Q in LGBTQ refereed to as specifically, "Questioning."

Back when I fist heard the word bisexual, 1974 or so, I'm pretty sure no one had yet coined the term pansexual. The whole pan verses bisexual will be another blog post for me soon. But yeah, self-defined pansexuals consider themselves not the same as bisexual and so a P had to be thrown into the lot. 
Inter-sexed people is another whole group that is ignored, bashed, and discriminated against, so the I was added too, I think much more recently.

In an earlier blog post The Superpower of Bi-invisibility, I offhandedly used "LGBQT" to lead readers to a related link. One such reader was kind enough to comment that I should also add "A" on the list to include asexuals. I believe everyone needs recognition and respect and equal rights, so I agreed. However, this made me all the more aware of something that I'd long thought about and intend to write a blog about soon - the extent to which, as the list grows longer, we (meaning all of those included on the list) have our individual group's issues, problems, joys, legalities, etc, watered down. Further, bundling ourselves like this, I believe, has been the cause of some in-fighting. Stay tuned for my future blog about that if you want to hear more.

Meanwhile, when we do all want to stand together, or be refereed to together, in regards to common issues, can we just start using NSP? I think this way we are less likely to leave anyone else out too. Or perhaps, NTHP - for non-traditionally heterosexual people?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pinning to Pinterest From Facebook

Social media, and creating a platform is important for getting the word out when you're about to publish a book like I am. I've learned a lot along the way, one thing I found out was, that you cannot pin an image directly from Facebook to Pinterest. This was frustrating since there are a lot of great images posted on Facebook.
I fiddled around trying different things until I found a way.
Click on the image in Facebook that you want to pin. It'll open up larger, with comments on the side.
Now right click on the image.
Now scroll to "copy image URL."
Click on that.
If you have the pin it button on your browser, open up a new page (tab) on Windows. (If you don't have the pin it button on your browser, and want it, click on the link in the previous sentence. If you want to pin directly from Pinterest, skip to where I talk about that.)
 Now, on the new windows' page, go to the "address bar" at the top of the page, right click, scroll to "paste," and click - you should see the image's URL in the address bar now.
Hit "enter," the image should now appear. Click on the pin it tab on your browser, and you'll be walked through the rest.
If you want to pin directly from Pinterest, click the plus button which enables you to add new pins.
Select, "add from a website," click.
You will now see a space to enter the website. Right click and paste. Then hit enter. You will be walked through the rest.
I've pinned several images on to my Pinterest page from my Facebook friend's posts this way.
Happy Pinning!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Superpower of Bi-invisibility.

Just like with the Harry Potter invisibility cloak , bisexual can walk around totally undetected. It's amazing really! Bisexuals can go to LGBTQ conventions and not ever even be noticed.

Even when you run around waving your arms shouting "I'm bisexual" people either see a straight or gay person. If you're in a relationship with a person of the opposite sex, people know you are straight. If you are in a relationship with someone of the same sex, people know you are gay. If you say, no, I'm bi, people laugh, or get angry, or pretend they did not hear and still see a straight or gay person. If you act the way people think gay people act and have been in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, then you are a closet homosexual. If you have only been in relationships with people of the same sex and start talking about your sexual/romantic interest with someone of the opposite sex, then you are confused, or oversexed, or trying to fit into society.

And make no mistake about it, lots of bi people who have learned that their bisexuality is greeted only by negative, hateful, hurtful, negating, responses, are walking around clinging tightly to the safety and hell of their natural invisibility super powers - maybe even in your neighborhood, or workplace, or at your family Christmas dinner, masquerading as that nice gay boy or that sweet straight girl.
As my character Jim, in my novel "Love, Sex and Understanding the Universe" puts it: "I could even tell him the truth, point blank, and he still wouldn't know. I could say, "I read the gay papers because I'm bisexual and these issues concern me," and he'd laugh, think it an off-color joke, and leave it at that. I was invincible, and I knew it. Invincible, like invisible..."