Kathryn Lamble writes a lengthy piece for The Huffington Post where she tackles that Stonewall-age-old debate on bisexuality:
Bisexuality is a troubling state for many to grasp, simply because it wages war on the very idea of totality. I’m very lucky to have never endured the level of torment and hatred many [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people across time and space have. Instead, my experience has been one of near invisibility. When you can pass, you can cease to exist. I’ve had people very close to me say that every bisexual person they know, including myself, is simply biding their time until they come out fully, entering in to a same-sex relationship while not ready to come out as gay, that it’s simply an easy “in-between” phase.
Lamble is astute in her observation that bisexuality challenges the idea of totality. People think of humans as either straight or gay. Bisexuality challenges that notion. The unspoken, greatly-feared part of this challenge to sexuality is the idea that if you can be attracted to and love both sexes, you can change your sexuality.
The gay community has spent a lot of time challenging reparative therapy; the therapy that says you can change from gay to straight. We know that being gay just is, to borrow the words of a well-known sex columnist. People are gay and no amount of therapy, counseling, or self-examination is going to change that. Whatever the genetic factors behind it; singularly or in concert, people are just born gay, and they can’t change. This is the argument that we have used to invalidate reparative therapy and validate our existence as happy, gay human beings.
Bisexuality throws a perceived wrench into this defense of gay orientation. If gay just is, how do you explain bisexuality? If gay is an unchanging, immutable characteristic, how do you explain someone who can have relationships and attractions with members of the opposite sex as well as they can with the same sex? And with these duality-attracted persons, why wouldn’t it make sense that they just need a little more nudging to toward the opposite sex to “fix” them? These are the potential theoretical arguments that make bisexuality a scary topic to tackle. But the arguments against them are the same. Bisexuality just is.
That I would gladly have either of the two images at left set as my home screen speaks to the fact that bisexuality just is. If Connie Britton and Kenny Chesney were to ask me on a date, I’d jump at the chance to go with either one of them. We’re they to ask me for the same night, I’d find it a challenge who to choose. Kenny does have the beach and that new rum going for him, but Britton has that flame red hair that you’d just love to run your hands through all night long–and just look at those legs! This dilemma would be the same were my choices between Britton and Terri Clark or Chesney and Jason Aldean. I’d like a ride on a big green tractor as much anyone else. And no amount of therapy, counseling or self-examination is going to change that.
What should change, though, is our attitudes toward bisexuality. A topic that Lamble touches on further in her piece:
Why then, is it actually quite difficult to come out as bisexual? Why do we stutter around the subject, qualifying ourselves with percentages or lengthy detailed explanations about how fluid we are[…]and why does society have such a hard time getting to grips with the idea of bisexuality as a legitimate sexual preference?
Well, let’s deal with the idea of labelling[sic] our sexuality. In a perfect world, none of us would ever have to label ourselves because it wouldn’t really matter, right? It wouldn’t become a point of preoccupation for people to need to establish which category they can put you in based on your sexuality, gender, race, class status, job, diet… whatever. But that’s not the world we live in. Instead, in the 21st century we have inherited a legacy that still places an incredible amount of importance on labelling[sic]. We want to know who is like us and who isn’t, and we want an easy way to do that… so we do it through words.
The gay community has fought against labeling since the beginning of our movement. This fight has been well beyond the derogatory. We have fought to show people that we are doctors, lawyers and teachers as much as we are florists, hairdressers and figure skaters. We’ve fought to show people that there are gay men who enjoy weekend recreational rides on motorcycles; working with power tools and construction as much as any lesbian. We fought to show that there are gay women who enjoy hairstyles and fashion and shoes as much as any gay man. And we’ve fought against that archaic, but still occasionally asked question, ‘which one of you is the girl?’; a question that’s an inquiry not only to sexual roles but also the constrained box of perceived relationship roles. Someone has to be the “man” in order for relationship compliments to work. All of these fights taken on to provide a wider spectrum of the gay community and reflect it as it really is.
Bisexuality is no different. We are a part of the spectrum of human sexuality and we don’t fit into that neat, little box of your preconceived notion of us. And just because we don’t fit into that box, doesn’t mean that you have anything to fear from us.