Eric Wahl

November 1997

Some questions, it seems, never go away, never get answered (or answered enough, or answered sufficiently). Confused? Aren't we all.

Every response I've received so far from my last month's essay has involved, in some way or another, one seemingly innocuous statement -- that I roll my eyes at people, gay and straight, who think bisexuality is a cop-out. So that's my issue this month, I guess: Bisexuality as a cop-out?

I am bisexual and am not confused about it at all, but that was no easy conclusion to come to, believe me. I would have loved to have been able to say I was 100-percent gay or 100-percent straight while growing up. I think my life might have been easier, but who knows? I started to think I was gay in high school, but found myself still attracted to females from time to time. I read every book I could find to see "what my problem was," and I think I came to the conclusion (at the time) I was just going through a phase (you know those phases, don't you? The ones all the school shrinks say you're going through that will pass--ugh!) It didn't take too long to see I wasn't enduring some prolonged "phase," as I was still drawn to people of both sexes--but not ALL people of both sexes ALL the time. Misconception number one: bisexuals are over-sexed people who would lie down with dogs, literally, if the dogs said okay. I think bisexuals, people who, after lengthy soul-searching have accepted that they are not just straight or just gay, are actually less likely to sleep around all the time. It is so hard to describe what it's like inside -- especially to skeptics. And some of the most ardent skeptics are, unfortunately, gays and lesbians (said with a heavy sigh).

I read a posting, not too long ago, on The Advocate's message board from a guy who found out his boyfriend was bisexual. This guy was furious, remarking how disgusting and pathetic it was for his now-ex boyfriend to be so "afraid to be gay." Other responses to his posting echoed his sentiments: Bisexuals are just scared gay people, bisexuals will sleep with anything and everything, there is no such thing as bisexuality, etc. I'd love to say that I'm not disgusted with gays and lesbians who are so closed-minded that they cannot accept the possibility of a person actually being bisexual, but I can't. It angers me. A lot.

Is it possible that some gay people may claim bisexuality because they are not yet ready to come out completely? Sure it is, but that doesn't necessarily mean that this is the case with every person. I can only speak for myself and the few other bisexual people I know. I don't worry about ratios or the darn Kinsey scale or whatever else there is to act as a template for my sexuality, and you shouldn't, either, eh?

So, how does it work then? Who knows? I find myself attracted to certain people less for their physical qualities than for their idiosyncratic personal characteristics. I do sometimes become attracted to people I think look good, of course, but I think I've learned not to trust that reflex as much any more. I can't say that I'm more likely to fall in love with a male than a female, but I cannot say that it's a 50-50 split, either (I think I've been attracted to more males than females, but I have had more relationships with females).

Does this mean bisexuals cannot commit to one person in a relationship? I suppose this is a valid question, to a point, from people who just don't know any better. The answer is an unqualified NO! If a person cannot commit, it's not because he or she is bisexual -- it's because he or she is a jerk! So I am attracted to males and females? If I'm in a relationship with someone, it's just that -- a relationship with someONE. I think bisexuals can marry and stay monogamous. I want a long lasting relationship -- I just don't limit myself to exactly what gender that person has to be, that's all.

I equate my bisexuality with my search for happiness -- it's an equal opportunity employer, for want of a better phrase (hey, it's late). Good people don't cheat on their significant others, no matter who those others are, right? If you are a straight man in a relationship with a woman, what keeps you from running off with every other woman? If you are a lesbian in a relationship, what keeps you from running off with every other lesbian? See, this question somehow has been slung at bisexuals as if they are this other category of humans entirely -- they just CAN'T be committed to one person. That just isn't so! Try not to be so quick to judge the next person you meet who confides to you he or she is bisexual -- it may be a harder thing to deal with than you might imagine. I know I haven't addressed all the questions people have with bisexuality, but I did want to take a stab at some of it. I'm amazed at the reach of this online magazine, so I know my essay might at least speak to a few out there who may feel like they are bisexual and perhaps not happy about that. There are no easy answers, but being happy with yourself is the best starting point I can think of. Morrissey comes to Kansas on November 5 and I'm about to melt here and now in my chair. I'll let you know how close I get to him next month!

As always, I can be harped at by zapping wahleric@computer-services.com

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