By HARRIETTE MCCALL.
Before you peg this as “just another gay rights article” and expect to have your throat jumped down with rainbow-coloured advocacy, take a second to consider how much you really know about the spectrum of sexuality. As much as it is something commonly discussed in social platforms, it is still not something that is required to be taught in school. Currently, there is little discussion of sexual orientation in sexual health lessons. For example, over half of the states in the US have no requirements of sexuality education.
While there is more of an acceptance of the LGBTQ community, it’s easy to see how there is still a lack of understanding of sexuality as a whole in society. There continues to be a mass misunderstanding of sexualities outside of ‘gay’ and ‘straight’, resulting in sexualities such as bisexuality being somewhat swept under the rug.
A common misconception is that sexuality is all about sex. Of course there is a certain degree of attraction that comes into play, but in an article by Huffington Post, it is revealed that love and connectedness are the salient characteristics to bisexuality, which could really go for any sexuality. In an interview with Jordan McKenna (18, Australia), a girl who has recently got into her first serious relationship with another girl (which involved ‘coming out’ to peers that weren’t even aware she ‘swung that way’), Jordan described some of the difficulties she has faced with identifying as bisexual.
Although never being asked, “So are you straight or gay…?”, a question many bi people seem to be asked, she stated that there have been some people, particularly male youths, who do not understand how or even why someone would like both genders. There seems to be a widely held myth that bisexuals are rapacious or promiscuous, living for threesomes and being highly unlikely to remain monogamous. This is a fallacy.
Porsha Gaston (16, Australia), a girl who similarly has just entered her first committed relationship with a girl, recalls in an interview that there have been some who have commented about her not being able to “pick a side” as such, which she described as “a little unsettling to realise that some people think that bisexual people are greedy, but when I can I just do my best to explain that it is not the case.”
Porsha revealed that while she feels generally comfortable to come out to peers, she still holds a fear, as many other LGBT people do, that her family will not accept it should she come out to them. There seems to be a mentality that bisexuality is a phase, a stage between choosing to be homosexual or heterosexual, particularly when teenagers come out as bisexual.
It is definitely a disheartening feeling when you choose to come out to someone, particularly if it is someone close to you, and they detract it entirely. Jordan conveyed that sexuality isn’t a choice, whereas it is a choice to criticise or discriminate someone for it.
Dr. Charles Roselli, a scientist at the Oregon Health and Science University, Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, revealed that there is much variance in sexuality, and not just in humans. In his extensive research of rams, it was shown that there is not just one type of sexual behaviour (i.e. male to female), and that it is not situational, or one-off. Through his studies it was found that natural biological differences caused these sexual variations, thus proving that sexual orientation is something that comes naturally.
Even so, there continues to be confusion and misunderstanding over bisexuality. There are many articles online debating its existence. Debate.org brings to light that as many as 20% of people believe it is an impossible sexuality, one debater even stating that “in most cases, a ‘bisexual’ is a confused homosexual who has not determined which preference they will stick with.” Another conveyed that “people who identify as bisexual are confusing emotional attachment and sexual attraction.”
Admittedly, realising that you aren’t what society determines as ‘straight’ can feel confusing at first. Porsha explained that she does sometimes wish she was one or the other as it “would be easier.” Surely knowing if you are attracted to both genders, and do wish to identify as bisexual, is at your own discretion?
Some argue that if one doesn’t feel they are equally attracted to both men and women, 50/50 so to speak, then they cannot identify as bisexual. While there is some logic behind this notion, it would be incorrect to assume that just because someone may have a preference for a particular gender, it cancels out any attraction they have for the other.
Bisexuality can vary in that some feel they are almost ‘gender blind’ in that they barely take gender into consideration when they are attracted to someone, whereas others love each gender differently, although having the capacity to love each as much as the other. Love is a thing as fluid as sexuality, and we all love each other differently. It should not matter what gender anyone is.
Sexuality is a very personal thing, and it really shouldn’t affect the way that individuals are viewed by society. While we are culturally becoming more accepting, we still have a long way to go before those who are not heterosexual will feel just as normal as those who are. With increased understanding of what sexual orientation really is, perhaps one day LGBTQ people will not even have to ‘come out’ as such.
But in the meantime, accepting those of this community is something we should all do, bi all means necessary.
“The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists – The New York Times.” 2014. 8 Aug. 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/the-scientific-quest-to-prove-bisexuality-exists.html>
“Biological Factors — LGBT Science.” 2014. 8 Aug. 2016 <http://www.lgbtscience.org/biological-factors/>
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