Hi, my name is Rae and I am bisexual. I wish I could tell you that I have some harrowing, awe-inspiring story that involves intrigue, a deep, montage worthy self-reflection, and some form of sexual awakening. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it happened. In truth, I was always aware on some level of my attraction to both men and women. From the moment I learned what it felt like to pine after someone, my pining knew no gender restrictions. It actually wasn’t until my peers began opening up about their own romantic interests that I realized being attracted to both men and women isn’t exactly “normal”. This, for whatever reason, never really confused me though. I’d be lying if I said I never asked myself that question every bisexual preteen/teen asks themselves: Am I gay or straight; but this deep questioning only lasted maybe a few minutes at most (like I said, not exactly montage worthy). In my heart of hearts, I knew that I was just as capable of being attracted to women as I was to men.
Despite this fact, it wasn’t until I was 18 that I finally understood what it meant to be bisexual. Up until this point I only had the usual bisexual stereotypes to inform me of what bisexuals were. Ideas such as, bisexual only being a brief stopping point while you figured out your “true” orientation, bisexual women only wanting to have sex with other women in order to seduce men, and, the worst on the list, there’s no such thing as bisexuality. Throughout high school I didn’t really know anyone who labeled themselves bisexual and who actually enacted on that label. Most of the bisexuals I knew were girls and they all dated exclusively men while we were in high school, and when my best friend went through his own gay existential crisis he very briefly decided he was bisexual. From what I saw, bisexual wasn’t something anyone took seriously. It was just a word that people threw around when they were still floundering with their personal orientation.
All of that changed my freshman year of college. It was 2007, I was addicted to watching stupid reality shows when I wasn’t in class, and A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila was in full swing. Though that show has its problematic moments, it was the first true representation of bisexuality I had seen. It was the first time I heard someone say exactly what I was feeling while also not shying away from it. It was also at this time that the band Tegan & Sara was the featured artist on MTv (ya know, back when there was still some music on MTv). This was my first true introduction to the image of a gender neutral woman. See, the few times that I had ever questioned my attraction to women came purely from the fact that I wasn’t ever really attracted to either extreme on the female spectrum. Coming across women who fit in the middle was an eyeopener for me. In that moment, any ounce of questioning that I experienced slipped right from my fingers. After that life changing week, I developed a rock hard crush on Tegan Quin and came out to an extremely select group of people.
I guess the first question is: Are you out? Yes and no. If it comes up in conversation, I won’t deny my sexual orientation, but I also wouldn’t introduce myself as “Rae the bisexual wonder” (Funnily enough, it has only come up once since I turned 18). This is partly because of where I currently live, partly because I don’t feel like explaining it every time I say it, and partly because it’s just not that big a part of who I am. There is a very long list of things that I call myself before the word bisexual even begins to come up. That doesn’t mean that I’m not proud of my orientation or my bi brothers and sisters, but it just doesn’t rule my life.
And, I’m sure the next question is: So why make this page to begin with? Because despite being confident in my sexual and romantic attractions to both men and women from an early age, I didn’t fully understand what the phrase bisexual really meant until I was 18 years old. I was lucky in that I didn’t need to look outside of myself to confirm how I felt. Not everyone is that lucky. Some people will internalize all the negative stereotypes they hear about bisexuals and, as a result, will turn that biphobia against themselves and will be forced to exist with that intense level of self-hatred. Some people will force themselves to be gay or straight simply to make the rest of the world happy, then destroy themselves the moment they find themselves attracted to a gender other than their current partner. Some people will never know where to turn to in order to better understand and love themselves not matter who they happen to love. One piece of advice that I strive to follow in my daily life is to “be the person you needed when you were younger”. When I was younger I needed positive examples of bisexual individuals. When I was younger I needed someone to show me that bisexual meant more than just floundering about trying to figure out your sexual orientation. When I was younger, I needed something like this page to help me come to terms with what I already knew. So, this page exists not for me, but for those who are lucky enough to have found themselves in the position I was in before the age of 18 and for those who are unlucky enough to have found themselves worse off and needing more than a simple nudge in the right direction.
What is the difference between bisexual & pansexual?
*Side Note: These two podcasts are from a heterosexual perspective and the podcasters do say a few things that are borderlining on bi-erasure.