Yesterday, Nathaniel Frank gave us a male perspective on bisexuality; today, we’re getting a female perspective. In honor of the culmination of Bisexual Awareness Month yesterday, our long-time contributor Ariel E.M. Servadio wrote the following article on her recently relaunched Cephaloblog about her own bisexuality, which she’s graciously allowing us to reprint here today.
Make up your mind already.
My problem with bisexuality is not that “they just can’t decide.” My problem is not that “they’re confused.” My problem is not that “they’re being greedy”. My problem is that “they” are me, and you probably didn’t know that.
Really, it’s just not fair – bisexuals can live under the guise of being straight, and therefore conform more nicely into society somewhat unintentionally, if they just happen to only meet and date people of the opposite sex. I know this, because it’s what I’ve done all of my life.
It makes me feel guilty. In a culture where LGBTetc. rights are finally getting the respect and legal recognition that they deserve, and more people than ever are truly “out and proud,” I am hiding in plain sight. I guess I’m not out – but truthfully, I was never really in. Because I’m gay. And I’m straight. Once, in complimenting my outfit, my friend told me “You kind of look like a lesbian”1 and I replied, “that’s funny, because I am kind of a lesbian!” Jokingly, I’ve described myself as half-lesbian, or half-gay.
Growing up, I just thought I was very open minded. I felt that for me personally, it was more about the person inside than their genitalia. I realize that’s not the case for everyone and that’s fine – that’s just how I’ve always felt. But it never really occurred to me that that person would ever be a woman, because I was only ever attracted to and dated men. Although I occasionally found myself sexually attracted to women throughout my post-pubescent life, no one needed to know about it, because I had no intentions of acting on it. I never met a woman I wanted to date. It just didn’t happen. Once, much later, I finally did meet a woman that I wanted to date, and we ended up becoming great friends instead.2
And this is really where the problem with bisexuality comes in: the truth of the matter is, I have a choice.
Let me affirm that I do not believe sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice in any way, shape or form. To quote Lady GaGa, “I was born this way, baby.” But I do, perhaps to the detriment of our already quavering reputation, think that bisexuals have a choice in the way they live their lives. Regardless of whether I’m born with an attraction to both men and women or not, if I only seek romantic relationships with the opposite sex out of societal conditioning, convenience, fear or utter cluelessness, I can live an easier, more socially acceptable, straight life.
I could spend the rest of my life choosing not to pursue romantic relationships with the same sex and live as a heterosexual, as far as everyone else knows. If federal and state laws don’t go my way and don’t respect homosexuals as human beings that deserve the same rights as all other human beings, no sweat – I can marry a man, adopt a child with him, whatever I want, and everyone will be 1) none the wiser and 2) never disgusted by how I live my life.
And that’s just not fucking fair.
You can’t help who you fall in love with, that is true – I mean, hey, I’m as big a fan of Chasing Amy as anyone. But is it unrealistic to think that I can, and have, influenced my sexual orientation over the years by unconsciously not considering women dateable? Being straight is so easy, so smiled upon, so normal – who would choose to live any other way?
No one would, and that is why it is a certainty that sexuality is inherent. I guess in a sense, we all do have a choice when it comes to sexuality: to be happy and live as who we truly are, or to be unhappy and socially acceptable. And anyone who chooses unhappiness, despite how much society shits on you otherwise, is choosing wrong. Your happiness is everything. The entire point of life is to be happy – why choose anything else?
What my problem ultimately comes down to is this – if I never date and fall in love with a girl, I could live the rest of my life as a straight woman. But I’m not going to. Because whether I ever end up doing so or not, I know that I would, and I won’t limit myself with a binary label. I’ve made up my mind: I’m bisexual.
1. She sincerely meant this in the best way possible – she loves lesbians. ↩
2. This can be a problem with women, I’ve found – real crushes can turn into friend crushes which can turn into incredible friendships with no romantic possibility, ever. Sigh, the sapphic life. ↩
Craig Ferguson perfectly articulates my feelings about coffee, tea and bisexuality: