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Setting the record straight

Why am I such an ally to gay rights issues? Why do I care so much about issues that don’t directly affect me? People ask me this all the time, and my responses so far haven’t been lies. I care about my GLBT friends. I care about civil rights. I think the world could use some more fabulous drag shows.

But I’ve always omitted that I personally understand.

I’ve bottled this up so long, that it may take a while to explain. Let’s hop into a time machine and head back 10 years, when I was starting the 7th grade.

It started when chatting with an online friend who was a couple years older than me. She was playfully teasing me, asking if I liked any boys in my classes. Answering truthfully, I said no. Being a progressive person, she then asked me if I liked any girls. Again, answering truthfully, I said no. I was still at an age where everyone had cooties.

But the interesting thing about that conversation was that I didn’t make any judgment call between opposite and same sex attraction. No one had ever explicitly told me “Girls are supposed to like boys.” It must be different for kids being raised in conservative religious families, or really, kids raised in this time at all. Gay marriage is much more of a public issue now, and it’s hard to ignore someone spitting venom on TV about how homosexuality is wrong. Being told one way was the right way wouldn’t have stopped my biology, but it would have definitely drag me down with guilt.

Why? Because a year later I found myself with my first crush, and that crush was a girl.

Oh, it was awkward, and it was heartbreaking – but mostly because that’s how all crushes are to a 13 year old girl. I was just lucky that I never thought it was sinful or wrong. I wasn’t religious, and I was delightfully oblivious to the people who thought my feelings were disgusting.

But it still wasn’t easy. There was something overwhelmingly horrible knowing the odds are against you – that, if you’re rounding up, maybe 10% of people would also be interested in the same sex. I couldn’t get my friend out of my mind, but I knew the odds of her feeling the same way were slim to none. It’s terrible liking someone without them liking you back, but it seems just a tad more terrible when you know there’s literally nothing you can do about it. No amount of persuasion will change their biology.

Eventually after much agonizing, I told her. And because she’s a wonderful person, she didn’t freak out or blab my secret. I knew she was pro gay rights, but I didn’t know how she’d handle being the object of someone’s infatuation. So, it could have been worse. But she still wasn’t interested, so I forced myself to move on.

In high school I started dating guys. It wasn’t an act, or a way to hide away the gay – I was legitimately attracted to guys too. Eventually I discovered the term for this was “bisexual,” and I felt relieved. There was a label for me, and that was comforting at a time where you feel like you don’t fit in. But also in high school I discovered another thing – that there was a lot of hatred targeted toward homosexuals. I was happy I was at least attracted to guys as well. I wasn’t lying by omitting my attraction toward girls, I was just avoiding the constant harassment.

I made my mistake when I felt comfortable enough to tell my friends. My boyfriend at the time laughed at me, though he doesn’t remember his reaction now. I do.

“You’re not bisexual. This is just a phase. Girls just act bi because they want attention.”

I was hurt. I had mustered up the strength to tell him, and all he tried to do was convince me I was straight. I turned to my gay friends for support.

“Uh huh, you say you’re bisexual now. Give it time and you’ll realize you’re gay. You’re just too afraid to admit it.”

At the time I didn’t know it, but apparently this was common enough to have its own name – bi erasure. Thinking that bisexuality doesn’t really exist. And you know what I did?

I erased myself.

I started calling myself straight. It was just easier, and I was sick of putting up with the constant debates about my personal preferences. And I was predominantly attracted to men, so it made it easier. I wasn’t shutting down such a huge part of myself like other closeted people do.

Now I’m nearly 23, and I still call myself straight. To be honest, I found the best definition when reading The God Delusion:

Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. ‘I cannot know for certain, but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.’

Except for me, I read it as:

Very low probability of homosexuality, but short of zero. De facto straight. “I cannot know for certain, but I think me having a relationship with a woman is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that I won’t.”

I could have called myself a number of things. Bicurious. Heteroflexible. A Kinsey 1. Two beer queer. Eventually I gave up, because all the labels were just silly. I was me. I decided if you want to know who I’m attracted to, you can get to know me instead of judging me from a couple words. I stuck with “straight” because it was good enough and because I didn’t want to constantly defend myself. No one has to defend heterosexuality.

So why did I make this post? Because even though it’s comfortable, it’s a lie. And as a skeptic and a scientist who’s always in search of the truth, it just seemed wrong to keep on lying. Maybe 95% of the time I’m attracted to men, but the other 5% still matters.

But even more importantly, I think it’s necessary to say it to show that everyone doesn’t fit in neat little boxes. Not everyone is 100% gay or 100% straight. Bisexuals don’t always like each sex in equal amounts. Bisexuality doesn’t mean you’re not monogamous, or that you can’t make up your mind. Someone’s sexuality doesn’t necessarily stay exactly the same throughout their lifetime. And if you want to experiment or you have that one person you’d go gay for (or straight for), that doesn’t mean you have to have an identity crisis.

You don’t need a new label. You’re you.

So here I am, saying it. Sometimes I like the ladies. I’ve crushed harder on some of my female friends than on some of the guys I’ve actually dated. Those drunken makeouts weren’t really due to drunkenness that much – I just thought you were hot. I’m disappointed that I somehow made it through undergrad without doing more than those drunken makeouts. I blame my unfortunate tendency to fall for straight women.

I wanted to post this last year, but I chickened out. I almost psyched myself out of it again. The fact that I was so afraid to admit a smidgen of gayness to a welcoming, pro-gay, liberal community really speaks wonders of how hard this is. Bigots want to shame us all into the closet, and we can’t make progress for civil rights until we’re able to be honest about who we really are. So, my secret is out.

Of course, after flipping through photos from TAM, maybe it wasn’t a huge secret after all…

Yay vaginas!

Comments

  1. says

    Hard post… and while I’ll “come out” as bisxual all over the place, chatting with friends in person, occaisionally online, I’m not yet ready to write it in a post, to say it loud and proud. Feel like such a hypocrite. Maybe it’s not helping my other problems?

  2. Bigad2111 says

    Great post. Glad you went through with it. One of the worst things about Bi-erasure is that it is equally savagely practised by 100% homosexuals as well as 100% heterosexuals…

  3. says

    Well posted Jen, well posted. I identify with what you posted (except it’s probably 98%, 2%). Seems like the whole black/white version of sexuality is overrated anyways.

  4. Karen Rustad says

    All I can say is: ME TOO!Like, Facebook knows I occasionally like ladies, most of my friends know, and hell, I’ll share it with random people if the topic comes up now that I live in the Bay Area. But I haven’t sat down and told my parents, or anyone else in the family. My excuse is I’ve never actually managed to date a lady, so it seemed kind of hypothetical and irrelevant from their perspective. And both parents are already vaguely pro-gay rights, so it’s not like I’d be revolutionizing their worldview if I did come out to them. But… All the same, I still feel a little guilty that I haven’t. Argh.

  5. Hemant says

    Fine… *take* away all the women from us male bloggers. See if we complain…(Excellent post, by the way. Somewhere, a Christian is crying.)

  6. Shin says

    I’ve never really experienced bi erasure, but then again I haven’t told a lot of people. Comments like the one your ex-boyfriend made piss me off though. Why others’ sexual preferences bother some people so much I will never understand.

  7. mkb says

    Jen, My suspicion from talking to various women friends over the years is that your feelings are not unusual. I have no idea how it works for guys, but I think many women who are usually attracted to men are occasionally attracted to women. Best wishes.

  8. says

    This is a bit presumptuous of me, since I don’t know you.But personally? It’s not hypocrisy to move in your own damn time. It’s your bloody sexuality. Do with it, and reveal of it, what you will. It’s yours, after all.

  9. says

    Heh, a few years ago my younger sister came out as going both ways, by telling me to read her webpage. I was horrified.The webpage was terrible, it autoplayed audio you couldn’t turn off and was terribly layed out. Oh the bi thing, yeah I don’t care but come on, make a better webpage {;-)Personally I’d hope that most/all readers of this blog to be of the ‘your body is your body, ignore (or poke with sticks) anyone that tells you you don’t have a right to use it how you wish’ mentality.

  10. yaoi_myantidrug says

    Comment was too long, so I made a tiny post about this topic and mehttp://yaoi-meantidrug.livejou…I’m a crappy writer, cautionI forgot to mention that I will sometimes call myself fluid, since my level of attraction to each gender isn’t static. ugh, I’ll post again tommorow, if my writers block is gone.

  11. Doggles says

    There’s a whole internet full of nasty out there which can tarnish your view of humanity, but then every now and again you find the antidote – a post like this one… Honest, open and sincere – a genuine sharing of this complicated human experience. Excellent job Jen.

  12. Praedico says

    Excellent post, Jen, glad you got it off your chest :)Oh, and… add another ‘me too’ to the list.Not that I’ve actually told anyone, but if I was forced to subscribe to a label, I’d choose ‘a little bit gay’. Partly because it annoys the people that think sexuality is a binary proposition, but mostly because it’s a perfect description.My first sexual experience (though not sex) was with a boy, but I’ve only been with girls since. Masculine features tend to turn me off, but I love penises. (Yes, I know… least aesthetically appealing part of the male anatomy and I develop a crush on it. Go figure)The extent of my coming out so far has been to put ‘bisexual’ in the orientation box on the dating site I registered on, since I figured it would be easier in the long run to be upfront about it.

  13. says

    I think there was a survey on sexuality here in Australia a few years ago, saying that 3% of people identify as gay and 1% identify as bi, but a whopping 20-30% have had fantasies or sexual relations with people of the same sex. Bi-erasure is clearly a big problem considering that of people who find both genders attractive only a small proportion are willing to identify as bi, and that’s even accounting for genuinely closeted gays within the 20-30%

  14. Chase says

    Long time lurker first time poster. It is important to be open and comfortable with your sexuality, it is part of you. Don’t worry about what % gay or straight you are, just be 100% Jen, and if others can’t accept you for that then fuck em! That’s my policy!

  15. Alison Eales says

    Heheh… your story rings so many bells! I first came out as bi when I was 17, then I went firmly back into the closet due to some unhelpful reactions. I was 24 before I came out properly – at which point I felt I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore. I joined a local support network and told my parents, who were great about it. For a few years I was very involved with the local group, sat on the committee and helped organise a national convention for bi people. In that time I did encounter a lot of bi-erasure, mostly from gay people. There is also ‘bi-invisbility’, perpetuated by the media constantly referring to ‘gays and lesbians’. But I also came across this lovely ‘baiku’ (not sure who wrote it):Bi now, gay laterYou’ll outgrow the phase, they saidTen years, still counting.Thank you for coming out today! I am a firm believer that every bisexual who makes themselves visible makes it easier for the rest of us. :)

  16. olifantje says

    And another “me too” here. Great post. I think men and women who like both women and men can play an important role in promoting gay rights and diminishing discrimination of non-straight people. I’m a guy and married to a woman, occasionally this makes people assume that I’m straight. Just as you describe in your post, it’s easy to ‘pass’. In such cases I love to make clear that their assumption is false. By doing so I hope to show that the space between completely gay and completely straight is well occupied. I hope this stops people to continue thinking in terms of “us and them”: if the boundaries between groups become more fluid, then the ingroup/outgroup processes that contribute to discrimation are likely to diminish. That my hypothesis at least…

  17. Star says

    I loathe how we as a society insist on labeling everyone as something. You summed up the problem with this practice perfectly. Just as gender is a spectrum, so is sexuality. Kudos to you for being brave enough to say it. Love/make-out with whomever you want. I’ll keep reading no matter what.

  18. Blitzgal says

    I think Kinsey was right when he said it was more of a spectrum (well, he called it a scale), rather than being as simple as three categories. For instance, I don’t identify as bisexual even though there have been times when I’ve been attracted to a specific woman — actually now that I think about it there’ve only been two specific women that I’ve developed feelings for. Otherwise, my baseline attraction is always toward men. So I consider myself straight, but open.

  19. says

    Excellent post. You like people, just people, and that’s cool :-)Since I tend to subscribe to the idea that sexuality is A) not necessary a binary and B) not necessarily static I like to tell those who ask that I am “straight, thus far.”

  20. says

    Well done, Jen. Not a *huge* surprise for long-time readers ;) But big props for biting the bullet and supporting Coming Out day in such a heartfelt way.The other angle you’re going to get bi-erasure from now is from religious folks. Bi-folks are just plain gay when it comes to issues of “immoral sexuality”.And don’t be so hard on the guy who screwed up your coming out. As your sexuality was developing, so was his. I cringe at the first couple of reactions I had to friends with queer or non-straight sexualities. Not bigoted reactions, just ignorance mixed with completely missing the point of what was being shared: coming out is huge (and well planned) to one party, it is often completely random to the other. Now I’ve seen enough to know how to react to someone coming out, and to understand how they’ll be feeling. As a teenage boy, not so much.

  21. says

    Good for you that you’re out of your 5% closet, I guess? I guess I just think that it is a screwed up world we live in, that people feel like they need to announce this sort of thing. I don’t know why everyone wants to blurt out their sexual “identity” all the time. I think your identity is something bigger than what parts get stuck into what other parts, or whether or not you think pink polo shirts and bushy mustaches are an appropriate fashion choice.You people who want to talk about your sexual business in public are just messed up. Sexual attraction should be a private matter, between a person and the 11 other people at the orgy. :) :) :)

  22. John says

    I see a lot of “Me too”s and I’d like to add one. When I can be bothered to explain the term I identify as pansexual (I don’t consider sex or the gender binary, I just like who I like). Because, like you, I’m “mostly straight” — or “just gay enough it matters” — I’m out to everyone but my family. I don’t want to try “proving” myself to traditional-minded relatives when I don’t even have a boyfriend to show it isn’t confusion. It’s not like they could honestly be surprised given all the LGBT stuff I do, but…. So, congratulations and thank you for speaking out for those of us who aren’t quite ready yet.

  23. Ashleyfmiller says

    To add on to the pile of me toos here, me too. Though, despite not having quite limited myself to makeout sessions, I’ve always felt like I would be lying if I tried to label that as anything. There’s a very strong prejudice against bis from the gay crowd, and I’ve always felt more comfortable with the open minded I’m attracted to people, not their genitalia line. Partially because bisexual feels inaccurate, partly because I don’t want to be accused of doing it for attention, and partly because I don’t really like labels.Great post. *hugs*

  24. Timsn274 says

    “Love between two people is beautiful. Between three or four, it’s fantastic” – Woody Allen

  25. Sylvia says

    As a 16 year old who considers herself to be bisexual, I’d like to thank you for making this post. It’s lovely to hear the story of someone who hasn’t “grown out of bisexuality”. Even thought I’ve never been a direct target for bi erasure, I’m pretty sure a small corner in my mind is suffering from it. Because I have never actually been intimate with a female, I’m plagued by the thought that maybe, just maybe, when I actually find a girl I like and who likes me back, we’ll start having sex and then I’ll suddenly realize “Oh, I’m not actually bisexual, guess I’ll have to tell everyone I’m straight now”. I somehow stay convinced that this scenario could happen regardless of how many crushes and fantasies about women I have. It’s really ridiculous what societal pressure can do to one’s perceptions about themselves.When I’m feeling more rational, I sometimes have to wonder why the hell more women aren’t bisexual or lesbian. I mean seriously, how can they resist the amount of amazing things to grope which one female body can provide? As much as I love male genitalia, men are seriously lacking in squishy bits.

  26. says

    Funny thing, but from reading your posts these past six months or so, I always assumed that you were bisexual, pretty much along the lines that you describe. So no surprise here, but kudos on feeling confident enough to let the whole world now (including those who couldn’t read between the lines!)

  27. LS says

    Glad you felt comfortable posting this, Jen. I’ve never strongly associated myself with being a bisexual, but there was a few years when I called myself one because of a few sexual acts which I am seriously interested in having with other men. A close friend eventually yelled at me about it, saying I was just calling myself bi to be cool. That’s when I stopped calling myself bi, but it wasn’t until some time after that that I realized bisexuality probably didn’t fit what I felt anyway.

  28. Eric says

    Great Post.I normally avoid leaving comment on the internet, but I feel like this is an important topic. To be honest I had never heard the term bierasure, but it fits the phenomenon pretty well. When I identify as gay, all my gay friends would describe bi as a phase, or he’s just afraid to come out as gay. I even felt this way when I hooked up with a guy who labeled himself bisexual. Then I feel in love with my best friend (a girl), which involved sex, huge indentity crisis, and many tears. I emerged from the experience with the new identity of bisexual. Now, I am married to my best friend and we have a wonderful relationship. (Luckily for me she is turned on by two guys together.) We have two lovely children and a happy home. Occasionally, we still will go to the mall just to check guys out. However, her entire family acts as if the whole “gay thing” never happened, but I didn’t really expect much else from fundamental Christians/ Republicans.Just wanted to say one more time, way to go Jen.

  29. Screamer77 says

    Well, I can’t tell “me too”, but I do agree that nobody is 100% anything. I’ve never been interested in a woman, but I have been sporadically attracted to women in the past. I remember once being at a bar with a few friends. It was packed, and it was hard to go anywhere. At one point, this girl passed by me, very closely, and my hormones went nuts. One of my good friends has always been straight, until one day, in her late twenties, she met a woman, and they were together for 2 years.It can happen to anybody. Labels, like rules, have their exceptions, and they are meant to be “broken”.

  30. says

    Wow, I have friends that went through a very similar situation as yours. It’s been a challenge for them, but they are making a go of it, and are doing well.

  31. says

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jen. More people need to hear this kind of very personal tale. Those who oppose anything gay or bi won’t be listening, but many who currently don’t understand who they are and what is happening to them as they grow up will benefit.You have done a wonderful public service.

  32. Methodissed says

    Props to Jen! It takes a lot of courage to openly be yourself in our homophobic society. I love the blog. Keep up the great work!

  33. says

    From your self-description (“liberal, geeky, nerdy, scientific, perverted atheist feminist”), I’ve often suspected that there was something about you that was not mainstream, sexually speaking.And you know what? That’s okay. There are a LOT of us out there who prefer the opposite gender but also watch those walking the other side of Gay Avenue occasionally.Thanks for that bit of bravery, Jen.

  34. Phil says

    Fantastic post. Bravo to you. My wife was raised in a Christian environment and was always more attracted to women than men. But same thing – in high school, it wasn’t accepted so she dated males – usually not the good kind. We eventually met, fell in love and got married. She’s still passionately in love with me, after 28 years, but about 10 years ago her love for the female touch started to really come alive. We’ve always had an open and honest relationship and I’ve always encouraged her to follow her heart. She’s had a few casual relationships and loves it. And fortunately, maybe it’s living in the Northwest, she’s told a few straight friends and they encourage her – the only people that she thought that would support her but don’t were some gay male coworkers. She has never told her religious friends or any of her family because she knows that reaction.

  35. kareth says

    Glad you kept your nerve and posted this, it is wonderfully well put and not only something that needs to be said more, but something that more people need to hear. I can only hope that when they are older my daughters (currently 2 years and 8 months) can be as strong, as comfortable with themselves and as well spoken about it all as you are, and I’m sure they will be because they have more and more women like you to look to as role models. So thank you for being you, and thank you for having the courage to do and say all that you do.

  36. Sean says

    I think sexuality is a lot more fluid than the gay or straight lobby would have us believe. As a father of three children I am amazed about how un hung up they are about sexuality. It is a breath of fresh air and I wish things were as simple in my generation.

  37. says

    I had a very similar experience as you, although from the point of when I started being attracted to *anyone* (i.e., realizing, hey, people are cute, not full of cooties!) to mid-high school, I was solely attracted to the ladies. Beyond crush, I fell head over heels for a girl – the first real time I was actually *in love*. She happened to be my best friend. Straight best friend. Looking back now, I’m not entirely sure how I ever suffered through listening to her dreamily talk about her crushes, knowing I could never be one of them. I never did tell her how I feel, since she stopped being friend with me a long time ago.

  38. WhatPaleBlueDot says

    This is how I feel. I chose the term “pomosexual.” It may not be the most accurate, but it’s more descriptive than “not straight” and it includes the nonbinary people who need love, too.Interestingly, I’ve become more attracted to feminine people recently, but all of it is for naught since I’m vanilla and in a monogamous marriage.

  39. mcbender says

    This is an excellent article; thanks. I always find it interesting to see others’ take on LGBT issues, because I grew up in a very odd environment with respect to them and sometimes have a hard time seeing the issues to begin with.Disclaimer: if my comments come across as privileged, I apologise. I should state up-front, in the interest of full disclosure, that I am a cisgendered heterosexual male (although I have asexual leanings), so you know where I am coming from.I went to a Quaker school for seven years, and part of the nature of the institution was that the prevailing opinion on just about everything was extremely progressive (which seemed slightly odd to me for an institution that had been founded in the 17th century, but so be it). I can’t remember if it was always like this, but I do know that throughout my high school years there was an extremely active LGBT club and that a large proportion of the students were openly gay or bisexual (I estimate it at 10-20% at the very least but I don’t know the exact figure; I also don’t know how that compares to the actual rates in the overall population, but it seemed high).We had a weekly Quaker Meeting at the school (if you are unfamiliar with Quaker Meeting, it involves a large group of people sitting silently in a room, during which time anyone who thinks of something interesting is welcome to stand and address the group); they claim it’s religious but I’m hard pressed to imagine any secular humanist taking issue with it. That said, the reason I bring this up is that I remember on a few occasions, we had Meeting scheduled on National Coming-Out Day, and the LGBT club would ask that it be a themed Meeting in which people would keep their comments related to the subject matter – and these meetings were always characterised by large subsets of the student body standing up to speak, to come out as gay or bi and talk about their experience.The long and short of it is that I always perceived homosexuality as conferring a social benefit, in that community. The community was so accepting of it in general that it sometimes seemed to me that the rest of us were regarded poorly for being straight. I wondered if, in that community, there might be incentive for heterosexuals to lie about their orientation – I don’t know if it happened, but it wouldn’t have surprised me terribly if it had…We had a few homophobes, of course, but they were never taken seriously. In the beginning I had a few homophobic ideas myself, but they quickly became unsustainable in that environment. It’s just odd, coming from that background, to encounter people from time to time who are either closeted or out but suffering because of it; I’m so used to the way it was treated in my high school that mistreatment of homosexuals simply seems absurd to me.One thing I do wonder is whether growing up in that environment was helpful to me or not. I can’t say it necessarily gives me hope for the future, even though it would be excellent if LGBT issues’ status in society looked more like it did at that school, because the situation did a very poor job of preparing me to encounter these prejudices in the real world. It’s similar to how children of atheist parents “raised as atheists” can become more susceptible to religion because they’ve simply never encountered the ideas and been inoculated against them: I wonder if people like me who grew up never really thinking homophobia could be a serious problem are less capable of doing anything to benefit the LGBT community.

  40. NotThatGreg says

    Yes, I had the same impression too. And likewise, major internet applause and hugs for Jen.

  41. says

    I’ve never understood why bisexuality seems to be so hard to understand for much of the world anyway. What’s so difficult about “I’m attracted to traits which, while they may generally correlate with certain sexual identities, do not entirely depend on the equipment in someone’s pants”?

  42. says

    I’ll go on the “me too” list but also specifically this variety (male and mainly straight but again my first sexual experience was with a guy).Penises are great fun (both own and others). Luckily my girlfriend is very understanding…What depresses me is that I always feel the urge to circumvent the truth with people until I’m very comfy with them; people at work still don’t know. It’s not something I feel I need to shout from the rooftops but equally I tend to pretend to be straight just to make my life easier…. :( It does depress me that

  43. says

    To each their own. If I was a woman, I’d, at the very least, be bisexual, women are way more pleasant to look at.But that could be the heterosexuality talking….

  44. Barbara_K says

    Glad you posted this! I have a couple of bisexual friends who are in relationships and don’t feel they can be honest with their partners about who they’re attracted to. It’s frustrating and disheartening to watch. I hope your coming out brings you fun and rewarding new dating opportunities!

  45. Azkyroth says

    You don’t need a new label. You’re you.

    But I like labels. Hence I create new ones out of whole cloth at the drop of a hat. And stew when they fail to catch on. >.>

  46. says

    You have shown great bravery in posting this. You have also shown great integrity as well, which is so important. You have stayed true to your skeptical ideals by showing that the truth is so important, sometimes even more important than your own fears and doubts.I know a little about how you feel in a way as I have been poloyamours for my whole life, but didn’t even understand what it was. I just thought I was strange. Even now, I find it very hard to admit to friends that I am poly, but since one of the core values of true polyamory is truth and honesty, and to stay true to myself and my skeptical ideals, I’m letting it be known here am letting my friends know as well. This post has motivated me to be true to myself. Thank you.Jay – [email protected]

  47. Lucas S says

    Your first paragraph rings true with me. I’m a straight white atheist male, so I’m very rarely singled out for who I am. In order to make the most of that privilege, I feel it’s my duty to speak out when I see others discriminated against. I’ve been accused of standing up for someone when I “have no right,” and that’s a badge of honor, as infuriating as it is. Despite all that, the best thing I can do is honestly be myself. Your post is a heartwarming reminder of that. My gender is–as is everyone else’s–performative. Whoever you be, be it well.

  48. says

    Thanks for this post. I know exactly how you feel – I’ve only recently been able to really come out as bisexual; I came out to my friends earlier this year, and to facebook just a few weeks ago. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time since about last year, but retrospectively, I knew I was bisexual in high school, and the reason I didn’t come out then wasn’t because I was afraid of homophobia, I was afraid of bi erasure. I was afraid of being dismissed, or being treated like I was trying to get attention. And I really did like girls more than I liked boys, and I figured I could be perfectly happy never doing anything I wanted to with boys, so it just seemed easier to not mention. Round down to Kinsey 0. (I didn’t know any of the words for this stuff at the time, by the way. I just knew it’d be easier to just say “straight”.)I finally decided to come out after reading a whole bunch of Greta Christina, and working in Maine on the No on 1 campaign. I decided it was more important to be out as bisexual, in support of the LGBT community, than to avoid social discomfort. Just like it was more important to come out and get vocal about being an atheist than it was to maintain the social comfort of religion among people I don’t know well.I still haven’t come out to my family… or on my blog.Thank you for this post. It means a lot to me to see that other people dealt with the anxieties I did. It means a lot to me to see it said by a blogger I respect as much as you. Thank you.

  49. says

    Great post, Jen.Funny, I’ve had almost the opposite problem. Because I’m so vocal about LGBT rights, people tend to assume I’m either bi or a lesbian. I wouldn’t care, except I think it’s important to be visible as a straight ally (and it’s awkward when another girl hits on me). I fail to see how not being part of a group means you can’t fight against discrimination of that group, and yet I’ve had several people say things like “you must be a little bit attracted to girls!”

  50. says

    Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that needs to be said, that straight people can support LGBT rights. And since sexuality isn’t something you can just look at a person and immediatly tell, it’s just kinda assumed that you’re the same as the people you hang around with, as if people can only connect if they’re the same. I honestly wonder how many straight people are hidden among LGBT people…

  51. Azkyroth says

    I have kind of the same experience, actually. I have very positive feelings about sex with another guy but I can’t imagine dating a guy. I meet few enough guys I even want to spend time hanging around. >.>The biggest issue with me and guy sex is that I’d feel slightly guiltier lying to the local blood bank about that than I already do about experimenting with one of my friends when I was 12-13. >.>

  52. Vanessa says

    “Why do I care so much about issues that don’t directly affect me? “Human rights affect everyone. You don’t have to have had a crush on the same sex to be directly affected.All the same, I’m proud of you for posting this. TBH, I didn’t need to be drunk either, but it sure does help! Haha. Anyway, I really hate the categories that we put ourselves into. It’s like male and female. Maybe there is not such a cut and dry line between the two. Maybe if more people realized that sexuality is a continuum, it would be easier for people to admit they are sometimes attracted to the same sex (or opposite if they’re “gay”) and that’s okay.

  53. Alea says

    I’m pretty sure that if you don’t like men now, you wouldn’t if you were a woman either.Gender and sexuality, they don’t really influence eachother that much.

  54. says

    I’m also wondering if it has to do with the fact that it’s the majority’s ideal to get married to one person and stick to that person. So if you like more than one sex, how can you get married to one and be happy, is what they’re wondering.

  55. Keelyellenmarie says

    Great post Jen.Personally, I’ve never bothered to label myself, as I have only been in one relationship. Pretty much as long as I have been thinking about sexuality, I have been in a straight relationship, so I am straight. Being with anyone else, male or female, is entirely hypothetical for me, so why bother?I am told, however, that once or twice I have waxed poetic about being ‘flexible’ when very drunk. Also, last time I was at a party with my female best friend, we had a very public make out session on the front step as I was leaving. Her boyfriend couldn’t believe it was happening, he was so excited.Anyhow, my plan is to go on sleeping with my fiancé, fantasizing about whoever I want, and occaisionally shocking my male friends by emphatically agreeing upon the hotness of certain female celebrities. For instance, the girl fron house is currently all over the place on tron ads, and I love them so very much.

  56. says

    Maybe we should be done with all those labels. Conditional love just seems stupid and pointless. It needs to transcend any accidents that happened in the womb. I didn’t choose my gender or eye colour and I am definitely not choosing what accidental happenstance will define my perfect match.

  57. says

    I’m chiming in on the “me too!” side of things. I actually came out as bi when I was 16 to a boyfriend… it did not go well. I think the only reason I didn’t go back on it was due to sheer stubbornness.When I was very young, I was molested by another girl. I spent my entire life denying that I was attracted to women because I somehow felt that admitting it would somehow make the thing that happened to me my fault. Once I came out about being bi, I experienced a lot of bi-erasure and a lot of hate. It always makes me really upset and – perhaps unfairly – even more upset when it comes from gay/lesbian friends. I think I just can’t understand how someone who has to deal with the hate and the denial of their OWN sexuality could perpetrate it on someone else.One of the worst ones actually happened to a friend in my hearing. This girl’s personal percentages favors women and she happened to be dating a really good female friend of mine at the time of this incident. She had, a couple years previous, dated a guy and actually almost got married to him. Apparently, when she started dating the guy, all her lesbian friends had disowned her. Enter the scene I was present for. I was with this girl and her girlfriend and we ran into one of her old friends who was a lesbian. This woman actually told my friend that she had to give back her “L card” because she had dated a boy. She said it really nastily and it got under my skin. So I turned to my friend and said “That’s okay, you can have one of our bi-cards. They’re like Mastercard – accepted EVERYWHERE.” And then I turned to look at this woman who had offended me and insulted my friend in time to see her mouth pop open in shock. My friend is kinda a pushover, so I don’t think she expected someone to stand up to her for her bashing behavior. She was wrong.Sorry if that story was a bit rambling… I really should go eat some lunch >.> But kudos to you, Jen, for feeling okay enough with yourself and thinking highly enough of us (your readers) for sharing this very personal bit of information. I’m glad that you were able to do so, and I can understand why it’s really hard. Hopefully, you’ll be able to take strength from the difficulty in the future. That’s what I did, because I would be DAMNED if I was going to waste the effort (or have to go through it again!) by going back in the closet and having to come out again later.*hugs*

  58. says

    I think it’s great you’re clarifying this. I presume you’ll be getting a slew of emails from women who would have otherwise just admired you from a distance :)

  59. Logical ABe says

    Why is sex and relationships (marriage) related in the first place? Can somebody give me a good answer?

  60. Keelyellenmarie says

    Rargh. This was supposed to be just a reply to the post, not to any comment in particular. Whoops.

  61. Kaoru says

    Fantastic post. It’s not an easy thing to come out in general. Coming out as bi can be harder in some ways because you’ll be blowback from both sides (such as you did in the past). Still, it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about who and what you are. Good for you, and good post.

  62. says

    I don’t know that I’m understanding your question, but if I am I think I can help answer.I would assume that sex being associated with marriage began being an issue around the time that people realized that sex resulted in children. Marriage, as I understand it, began as an institution to ensure the welfare of children created by the female(s) of the relationship. Men did not want to be responsible for the children of other men (in a general kind of way, I know not all men now or probably then felt this way) and therefore – since birth control wasn’t something that was reliable – insisted that the woman who’s children this man would be providing for would all belong to that man. The only way to ensure this – again, prior to birth control being as advanced as it was now – was for that woman to only sleep with that man.This would lead to each man coming to an agreement with a woman (or women) such as a marriage. The man would then not want to sleep with women who “belonged” to another man because of the revenge issue (I won’t do it to you, you don’t do it to me, and neither of us has to provide for the other’s babies, deal?). This is obviously a very VERY simplified run down of the way that I think marriage/relationships and sex became linked, but it is likely pretty accurate as far as it goes.Now a days, things are different. Birth control is readily available and many people even in monogamous, heterosexual relationships choose not to have any children at all. A lot of families are mixed in some way – some couples adopt, some get together after one has already had a child, some use a surrogate or inseminate – but the old concepts are hard to break away from for many people.As far as the concept of being with someone that you are not having sex with, well, here’s my two cents on that: If you like someone and are attracted to them, you date. If you like someone and you aren’t attracted to them, you become friends. Being in a “relationship” is tied to having sex because the relationship you have with someone you DON’T have sex with is called a friendship. That doesn’t make one inferior to the other, they are just different.

  63. Logical Abe says

    Thank you for your answer. I can understand why it became that way (the historical context). But my question is mainly why at the present time it continues to be tied together. I guess my question is more why aren’t more marriages open and what is the big deal of limiting yourself to that one person you married. I guess society will probably change in the future and go to that direction (which seems to me more rational). BTW I am not talking about cheating. Cheating wouldn’t be good as it is like deceiving someone.

  64. EdenBunny says

    I’m hopelessly straight (I wish I was bi- any increase in sexual opportunities is always welcome…), but I can’t understand how anyone could find bisexuality inconceivable. Do these same people, if they happen to like peanuts but not like broccoli (or vice-versa) believe that it is impossible for a person to like both? If everybody was intelligent, good-natured, sex-positive, rationally motivated, bisexual, and polyamorous, the world would probably be a much nicer place. So thanks for the post Jen- I’m now just a little bit more in love with you…

  65. Nrdctl says

    Jen, you are a role model of honesty and bravery. Thank you for sharing this, if there was karma, you’d probably have outkarmad the entirety of north dakota already with this blog.Keep it up, you’re awesome!

  66. EdenBunny says

    Re: the vagina picture above:Okay, so some guy doesn’t want his (presumably heterosexual) son having sex with women before he’s married so he simply says to his son: “They have teeth down there.”This works very well, but the father dies in a plane crash before the son’s marriage, so when the son gets married he still believes the myth. On his wedding night, his wife pleads with him but he firmly refuses, saying “No way. You have teeth down there!” Finally, his bride demands that he look for himself. He does and is shocked:”Wow! You’re right! You don’t have any teeth down there at all! And your gums are in terrible condition!”***Just one more…A bunch of guys write a few books filled with bizarre rules and superstitious ideas designed to control the activities of their current generation. To that end, the book works very well, but the authors of the books die off without bothering to reveal its true purpose…Generations pass, etc…”Wow! You’re right! There isn’t any god up there at all! And our intelligently designed DNA is horribly scarred with ERV damage!”

  67. cfmilner says

    Bravo! I’ve long believed (even before I heard of Kinsey, etc) that sexuality is more of a fluid spectrum than a set of fixed states. I know I’m probably chasing rainbows but I wish society could just be done with labelling and let us all be whoever we wish to be. All my relationships have been with men but I don’t see why I can’t also fancy Anna Paquin or have fantasies about Jane Doe from round the corner.

  68. hippiefemme says

    Happy National Coming Out Day! If only I’d known at the SSA Conference…At any rate, I’m glad you posted this. It’s a brave thing to come out as bisexual, and it’s brave to come out as an atheist. Did Greta’s speech about agnostic/bisexual empower you? I thought it was fantastic.

  69. says

    A distinction I like to make is between Bisexuals and Pansexuals. I think this is an important distinction because many people seem to assume that since they don’t respond the same way to different genders, then they must simply be “flexible” or “open minded”.As examples, guys that enjoy dick, but otherwise aren’t emotionally attracted to men. Or woman who are attracted to men, but crush on specific women. This really *is* what Bi means. Nothing about the label “Bi” means feelings must be consistent, or indifferent to gender. Only that under certain circumstances, you happily respond to either males or females.Someone who really is fully capable of loving any gender, who’s heart doesn’t discriminate based on genitals, can consider themselves Pansexual.

  70. Charity says

    I really appreciated this post. I never heard that term bi erasure, but that’s what happened to me. I had a few crushes on female friends, but I never took them seriously until I was in my early 20′s and I realized that I did like women. I am probably 75%/25%. Everyone kept telling me that it was because of the bad experiences I had with men – and I had some BAD experiences – and that I was sick of men, not really attracted to women. Eventually, I convinced myself that was true and stuck with hetero dating. It was only recently, when I left Christianity and started trying to find myself again, that I realized I still am attracted to women and I always have been.I know how much courage this post took to write. Thanks for writing it!

  71. says

    With humans being the social creatures we are, and both genders being sexually “available” nearly constantly (compared to most other species), and the 9-month gap from conception to birth, it’s very likely that for the vast majority of human history humans really didn’t bother with determining who the babies-daddy was.Humans were the smartest animal in the world, and there weren’t a whole lot of us. There was plenty for everyone, no need to horde, every kid in the community would be taken care of. It wasn’t until the agricultural revolution and booming human populations that resources got scarce and men stopped cooperating and started competing. In this environment you had to assure the paternity of your children if you wanted to make sure they had the best chances.I believe this is when humans started down the path of associating sexual fidelity and the “marriage contract” with love and relationships.

  72. splodie says

    I just figured I was attracted to whomever I was attracted to. I chose to marry the man I married because of how he is as a person, not necessarily because he’s a he.This is hard for some people to understand, but it works for me.

  73. says

    Just some thoughts….Humans have long connected the act of sexual intercourse with fertility and procreation. However I think it’s much less likely that humans understood the one-sperm-one-baby connection. It’s unlikely men worried about who “their” baby was. And why would any woman focus exclusively on the material support of a single man when she has the support of her entire extended family/community at her side?I’ve had plenty of smoking hot sex with “friends”, with no further commitment of any sort besides a little mutual trust and respect. And there’s plenty of people in “relationships” that aren’t having sex with anyone but themselves. I understood (if not agreed) with much of your explanation, but you lost me at this part.

  74. says

    Yay for coming out on this one. Your female readership is feeling much happier for it :pThe fact that so many people are confused by the concepts of Bisexuality, I have taken to saying I am a Lesbian, I’m just not very good at it. Or “Lesbian, with lapses”.Perhaps one day I can say I am Bi, and people will truly understand what I am.J

  75. says

    “De-facto straight”. I like that term. I’ve been twisting myself into strange knots for years trying to come up with a ‘label’ for myself to give to other people. I’ve gone through stages of calling myself ‘bi’, calling myself ‘straight’ just because I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle, and most recently calling myself ”straight-leaning bi”. I tend towards men but there’s been times where I’ve fallen hard and fast for a woman. I commend your courage – my closest friends know, my sister knows, I’ll quite happily tell people if they ask. But I don’t volunteer the information in general and my parents don’t know – not because I think they’d have a problem, more because I spent so long convincing them as a teenager that I wasn’t a lesbian that trying to backtrack a little would just be unbearable torture!

  76. Skywalker says

    What saddens me is that I’ve heard much of this before, from other bisexual people – 20 years ago when I was in college. I’m sorry my generation couldn’t do more to make it so people from yours didn’t have to struggle with all the same issues, ask all the same questions, and make the same belated discoveries.

  77. says

    When I started dating an ex-girlfriend of mine, she took me to meet her friends. In particular, she was sure to leave me alone with Barnaby – she wanted to know what he thought of me.Got to talking to Barnaby on the whole sex issue. Really tore down some walls and preconceptions. He called himself “gay, sorta.” He wasn’t campy like almost 95% of the gay guys I’ve ever seen in the media. If anything, he was one of the crudest, most disheveled people I’ve ever met. And he took deadpan black comedy to a whole other level.So anyway, here’s the Barnaby-ism on the subject of sexual self-identity:”Labels are for fooling other people. I make sure not to fool myself. So honestly, when it comes to fucking? A hole’s a hole.”The tone is absent from the text. With the tone in place? I laughed my ass off for, like, five minutes.Apparently he told her afterwards that I was ‘OK for a breeder.’

  78. says

    Since biology determines your orientation, then taking into account the percentage of the population that is vs those who aren’t, it would be safe to conclude I would be a straight female. Though you never know….It was more of a statement about identity and the possibility of acceptance without a shared viewpoint, even when that viewpoint is a commonality independent of actual sex characteristics.

  79. says

    Brave post well written. Also great to see the support coming in, but then, you’d expect it from the caliber of people who’d read your blog. At least I’d hope that’s the case. Good luck moving forward with your label-resistant life :)

  80. Adam says

    A courageous and well-written post. You really are a champion for reasonable thinkers, regardless of the topic. Love the blog.

  81. Skywalker says

    To be fair, having fantasies about same-sex sex is not the same as being attracted to the same sex.

  82. smendler says

    Eventually, we’ll get to the point where we can feel that we want intimacy with someone just because we want intimacy with *that particular person* – the details of the plumbing be damned…Excellent post, Jen, and thanks for writing it.

  83. says

    I once had a therapist who said, “You know, you identified on the form as bisexual, but I’ve only ever heard you get really excited over guys.”What I said was, “Oh, well, okay.”But what went through my mind was, “I have absolutely no idea how to find and date a girl, that’s why!”Guys are and always have been much easier for me to understand and get along with. But anyway. Now my fiance and I check out chicks together in the mall and reminisce about the beautiful breasts we’ve seen. Also we critique their outfits together. I luves him with a ginormous lurve. So it’s all worked out in the long run. But that therapist? Kinda douchey.

  84. Mechasheva says

    Ah ha! Liberals really want to promote their own secret sinful self-indulgence! And feminists really just want to remove all male dating competition! I knew it! :pAll joking aside, bi erasure completely confuses me. I just don’t get why someone, already knowing that people can like the same sex or the opposite sex, would vigorously deny the possibility of liking both. But then again, people vigorously believe in God and psychics and homeopathy and all that other stuff, so I guess it’s not THAT crazy… just crazy.Although, I suppose I can understand it in a high school context… I’m not particularly kind or trusting to my fellow teenagers, since phases and sexuality-faking-for-attention and other silliness does happen in high school. So I guess I can imagine myself doubting someone who came out to me as bisexual in high school–but if I had been dating them, or been friends with them for a long time, I’d hope I would know them well enough to make an accurate judgment, and not just be a butthole.

  85. Sarah says

    As a bisexual woman who has had pretty much the same exact experience you describe, hooray for coming out! I’m in a wonderful monogamous relationship with a man, and I’m allowed myself to be “straight” because of all the reasons you just stated- it’s easier, it’s less uncomfortable for other people. People have a hard time understanding bisexuals of either gender. Congrats on understanding yourself. That’s the most important part anyway :)

  86. Shoppingaccount415 says

    As an old Bi-guy who fought for bisexual acceptance back in the day, I thank you. I was a pro-bi pervert when we were ignored by the “Gay Liberation” movement. Hey, that 5% that wants you to boink girls? Hang on to it, and say it PROUD!I’m the last thing you want as a role model, (porn star, will suck whatever you have in your pants/skirt/whatever for $100) but I thank you for posting this.

  87. Ihateaphids says

    Honestly, who cares…sexuality is such a boring subject to those who accept that it’s flexible, and those are likely the people who read this blog! We don’t really care, it’s your fun. I’m a hetero who has no interest in kids but has done more chicks that i care to count…it’s all in the name of fun, love, whatever.

  88. Ihateaphids says

    i just realized that it sounded like i might have sexual interest in kids, i meant, no interest in HAVING kids

  89. NotThatGreg says

    Go get “Sex at Dawn”, it’s a very interesting and engrossing book, and asks exactly this question — why does your ‘life partner’ need to be someone you’re monogamous with? They put forward the theory that this monogamy is *not* long-evolved and instinctive human behaviour, but rather arose at the same time as agriculture. With agriculture, individuals had land and property (i.e. stored food) that was worth something, and therefore you would want your own children to benefit from it. Prior to that, in a nomadic hunter/gatherer group, everyone slept with everyone else, and everyone cared for and raised all the resulting babies. The authors study some contemporary cultures which have this general type of behaviour; interestingly, men are a bit more inclined to care for their sisters’ kids than those of their ‘usual’ partner. Higher certainty of shared DNA, of course. Some cultures believe that the continuous contribution of semen is necessary for the development of the fetus, and all the better if it comes from different sources.

  90. Atroposheart says

    Wow! It’s great to know I’m not the only one whos first crush was another girl However it was in a private christian school so I never confessed.However I consider myself straight with bi-curious thoughs. Seriously I love yuri manga and love stories that revolve around lesbains and find them cuter to read about than straight couples. Is that normal? LOL

  91. says

    Thank you, Jen! I’m a Kinsey 2, but I haven’t told many people. Although I’m attracted to women, I never dated a woman. People who know I’m married to a man assume I’m straight and people who know me through LGBT rights work assume I’m a lesbian. I guess I’ve internalized bi erasure because I don’t feel like I’ve suffered enough to deserve the label. Seeing this post and the response has helped me understand that I’m not alone. I don’t have to have struggled with my sexuality to call myself bisexual.

  92. says

    I need to apologize to whoever reads this that I was one of those people who said bisexuality was just a “cool thing to do” in high school and a “porn-driven myth” in college. I really did think everyone was either one or the other (hetero/homo). Now I know better. So I apologize to the universe for being one of the silly people who shut folks down who were just being true to themselves.I know it’s more acceptable for women to come out as bi because that plays into some sort of Girls Gone Wild fantasy for horny men. I’m honestly afraid of bisexuality getting caught in that hole. What I’d like to see is more bi men coming out and saying it’s just as normal and awesome and perfectly fine to be a bi male. I’m not sure about the numbers behind women vs. men being bi. Are there numbers?Anyway…Hoorah, Jen! This is one of the best things I’ve read all week. I love seeing people be real and honest. It’s inspiring in so many ways.

  93. says

    Thank you for this, Jen.I came out in 1996, in my senior year of high school. I remember that gay pride was gaining some tentative acceptance in some parts of suburban America – even in my little corner of New Hampshire. There was a kiosk in the local mall that sold Pride gear, rainbow stickers, pride-themed jewelry and the like, and people were starting to talk about gay people “like they were just normal like everyone else” (because they are! But back then…well, it was all a new idea around here.) From the very first dawning days of my sexuality, I’d always had feelings and desires for both genders – I’m a solid Kinsey 3 – and since I was one of those weird outsider kids with few friends until high school, I never really gave a lot of thought to the idea that other people didn’t feel the way I did. It wasn’t ’til I was in my late teens that there finally was a name for what I was. Now that I had a name for it, and I was only one school year away from getting away from anyone who’d hate on me for my coming out, I decided to hell with hiding and came out. Most of my friends were unsurprised, though I did lose a couple of friends because of my outing. A lot of girls would leave the bathroom if they saw me coming in, as if I was going to molest them or stare at them lustfully as though all of a sudden now that I was out I was going to be a ravening pervert or something. A few people claimed I was doing it for attention, or because I was “obsessed” with the only other out bisexual in my school at the time. Of course, all these years later, due to the Facebook revolution, I’ve now discovered that there were a LOT of closeted folks in my class…man have times changed. However, a lot of people’s ideas about bisexuality -haven’t- changed at all from the late 90′s.Hell, to this day, though rationally I -know- that the majority of the population is attracted primarily to the opposite gender, it still feels -weird- to me that things would be that way. Like, what do their dangly or non-dangly bits have to do with why you love or desire them or not? They all -feel- delightful and -are- delightful, so what does it matter what a person’s got (or not) between their legs? Then again, I’m sure it’s hard for a lot of straight people to understand how -my- brain works, sexuality-wise, so I guess we’re on even ground.But that’s the thing. A lot of people in my experience haven’t been able to understand, but instead of trying, they dismissed or erased my sexuality. I have a hard time emotionally understanding heterosexuality, but an easy enough time rationally understanding it. Many hetero folks I’ve met can’t emotionally -or- rationally understand my bisexuality. And since I’ve been married to my husband for 10 years, I’ve been even further “integrated” into the straight world. Plus, for the last four years, my relationship has been polyamorous. My other partner, who lives with us, is also male! For the people who know about my bisexuality -and- my poly-ness, it’s super-confusing. Like, if I’m pretty much swimming in dick, how is it even possible that I dig women, too? Occasionally during my marriage, I’ve been asked the question, “Well, since you’re with a guy/two guys now, doesn’t that mean you’re straight?” like I’ve got some sort of dial or button on my hip that I flick from one setting to another depending on my mood. Over the years, the erasure, confusion, dismissal, etc. has become something I just try to avoid thinking about – easy enough since, to the world I appear as a traditionally-married woman, thus I “pass”. For reasons I won’t list since they’re obvious, we don’t reveal the nature of our marriage/my relationship to just -anybody- we meet, which seals my passability further. It’s just easier to just hum along under the radar, but over the years it’s gotten harder and harder for me to keep quiet. There’s too much injustice and hatred and bigotry still, and unless I speak up, then nothing around me will change. Just because it’s easier for me, it’s not right. (I’m usually a lot more coherent and cohesive than this, but I’ve been up since 4:30 in the morning and it’s now half-past midnight…I’m too tired to make any much sense, but I hope at least one can grasp the gist of my sentiment.)(Edited to add stuff for clarity’s sake. Man, do I babble.)

  94. says

    Just wanted to add to the long list of Me Toos. I remember when I first came out to a handful of my closest friends, I was summarily rejected by one of them (I think she thought I was going to try something with her? I don’t know. Haven’t talked to her since.) and teased mercilessly about it by another. The guys I’ve dated didn’t seem to understand – my previous long-term relationship was with a man who, apparently, thought that me being bi meant he could bring home a woman and watch us have sex… I did say -previous- relationship, yeah?I got lucky, in that now I’m married to a bisexual male. We understand each other, and are as deeply committed to each other as two people can be. This is, in part to a huge shared experience of not seeming to fit in anywhere along the sexual spectrum – rejected by the gay community for not being gay enough, and not feeling at ease passing as straight.The best part about being out is being able to be openly yourself. It’s a big step, though. I applaud your courage.

  95. Syllie says

    Ugh. When I first dated a girl, most of the people I was around told me it was probably a phase. Then when I dated another girl FOR TWO YEARS, they divided into “it’s a phase, you’re straight” and “it’s a phase, you’re gay”.Now five years have passed and I sometimes wish I could track them all down and shout IT WASN’T A PHASE. I LIKE GIRLS AND BOYS! But that would be petty. And take away from valuable time that could be spent with likeable girls and boys.

  96. Krystal says

    I’mma come and add a me too to this one – though for me, it’s me too 6 years ago. I came out at 14 with no experience of either sex – lots of people assumed that I would settle on one or the other once I’d done my ‘experimenting’. That assumption was so strong that when I reported homophobic (biphobic?) bullying to my teacher, she said that I was too young to be bi and I should just shut up about it. Umm, even if that’s right, a bit too late at that point! Because I heard so much of it I started to panic that I might be straight or gay, and would have the embarrassment of coming out yet again once I had some experience. I lost my virginity to a boy at 16, and finally had sex with a woman at 18. It wasn’t until then that I stopped worrying that I might be wrong about my sexual orientation – I’d tried both ways and I liked them. Looking back, it shouldn’t have even been an issue. No one says that virgins don’t have a sexual orientation – people just assume that they’re the default straight until they do something to prove otherwise. I could know who I was attracted to without acting on it, just like I can know I’m attracted to celebrities, fictional characters and people in monogamous relationships who I will never get to have sex with. I don’t need to go there to know it’d be awesome.

  97. says

    Congrats for having the guts to write this. Speaking for myself an probably lots of other nearly-anonymous blog readers: we’re cool with that. We love you for who YOU are, and your particular sexual preferences are not important. Nothing’s different after this post than before, except that hopefully you feel a little less burdened.

  98. luke says

    OMG you are so going to hell, Jen. First you cause much turbaned consternation with your boobs, and now this?!But you were on the hell express anyway for wearing clothing woven of two different materials and cutting the hair on the sides of your head (Leviticus 19:19-27), so you may as well have fun, sinner!By the way, how do you know you’re only 1% if you’ve only ever kissed a girl? Or is it that percentages are like bases, and if you got to second base with a chick you’d be 2%, third base – 3%? But then a home run would have to be like 50%, right? Oh nevermind, there can’t be home runs with lesbian sex. Scratch that. :-(

  99. says

    Good words, Jen. Thanks for putting your story out there.My bi friends in college were very active in the campus GSA, yet were frequently reminded by other members that they “weren’t gay.”But they WERE the ones diligently re-posting fliers for Big Gay Week after other students ripped them down.

  100. Ryan says

    *applauds* Why does our society try to categorize so much, and not only shun the minorities, but also the ones that don’t fit in their categories. We need more people in this world like you!

  101. WhatPaleBlueDot says

    I was under the impression that bi- referred to being attracted to people who–more or less-fit the normal gender binary, while pan- referred to all manner of other identifications and queerings.

  102. Jeff says

    I consider myself straight, insofar as boy parts just don’t interest me sexually. That said, there are a couple guys I found attractive, but simply no sexual or dating interest on my part; I guess a nice face is a nice face. And the first girl a kissed/made out with (after college at 22, I was rather late to dating; am 27 now) was born male. It didn’t get that far, but I’m still fairly certain that her genitalia would not have bothered me enough to put me off of dating her. But she considered herself female, and I was attracted to her as a girl, so what definitions count? Talk about grey areas. On top of which I’m submissive and moderately masochistic, which tends to mess with all kinds of gender preconceptions for a lot of people. So what does that make me? Well, straight, as far as I can tell, since guys don’t do it for me, but rather unusual nonetheless.

  103. John Sherman says

    I think one of our greatest philosophers was Popeye. He said, “I yam what I yam and that’s all I yam.” I know Popeye is just a silly comic strip almost a 100 years old now, but that line did speak to me and still does.

  104. Mpor says

    Wow, that is oddly similar to the way I see myself. I’m in college and just realized a year ago that I’m attracted to women, too. I’m not sure to what extent I’m sexually attracted to them, but I feel like that will come if I ever have a relationship with one. Anyway, I’ve already experienced that exact same thing a number of times. Straights telling me it’s just a phase for attention, gays telling me I’m really gay and will realize it soon enough, and….two bisexual friends of mine that are in a relationship and are now chasing a threesome with me. Because of course I want that, right? :PAnyway, I’m really glad you posted this. It makes me feel like I’m not the only one of the same “proportion,” I guess. I think it’s also important for people to realize that there isn’t “gay” or “straight,” like you said. It’s more of a continuum of sorts. I only had the courage to admit to myself that I had that little bit of attraction to girls because somebody explained their viewpoint of “gay”/”straight”ness to me like that.

  105. says

    Thanks for being brave and sharing that with us, Jen! I can’t stand bi-erasure or the “it’s just a phase” line that many women get told by people in their community and families. I heard the latter said of my aunt, who had a same-sex relationship late in her life, from straight people and the former said about her from gay people, but I don’t think she ever cared much about what they all thought of her sexual orientation. Indeed, she was the one they all went to for guidance and friendship in their lives. It really bugged me when I finally learned about her more private life after she was gone because no one seemed comfortable letting her be bisexual in their memories. But she was.

  106. Azkyroth says

    and….two bisexual friends of mine that are in a relationship and are now chasing a threesome with me. Because of course I want that, right? :P

    Ingrate. Well, if you don’t want it, I’ll take it. ;/

  107. Diana says

    Me three. @.@ Almost exactly this.The other big barrier to me coming out as bi to more than just the few close friends who already know is that I hear the “women just say they’re bi for attention” thing WAY too much, and I’ve seen that derision from the LG-T community as well. That and the seeming-hypothetical bit. My field of study and major hobbies are very male-dominated, so there have always been a lot of opportunities to date men, and very few to date women; I never say I’m straight, but it’s pretty easy for most people to assume.

  108. Reed says

    I fail to grok how this makes sense. Even if you only like one gender, there’s still half the human race you can be attracted to. The “how can you get married to one and be happy” thing still applies…[He said, as a happily married man.]

  109. Ampgirl09 says

    Why would you have a fantasy about someone you weren’t attracted too, at least a little bit.Sexuality isn’t defined exclusively by who you actually have sex with, but by who you want to have sex with.

  110. Reed says

    Speaking as a straight white male (and therefore, with utter certainty that the rest of the world MUST be fascinated with my point of view), I say…Jen, you are awesome.I am so thrilled for you that you managed to tell your 13-year-old crush about your feelings. Imagine looking back on it now and NOT KNOWING if she may have felt the same?And I am thrilled for you now, that you are wise and comfortable with yourself enough to be able to make a post like this.I wish I had ever been half as wise OR comfortable with myself, at your age…

  111. Jack says

    As a bi closeted male, I sympathise with your situation somewhat. I initally had maybe a couple of ‘crushes’ on guys, but I don’t think I recognised it like that. I found myself masturbating to the males in porn videos, trying to make excuses by thinking it was only because I was really horny and I’d never be interested otherwise. Then I found myself getting turned on by gay porn and seeking it out. I thought it was a phase thing and maybe it would go away. I totally accept it now, though. I love cock. Thing is, no one even has to know. Since I’m attracted to females as well I can still do everything a straight male does, maybe masturbate to gay porn every now then, but no one will ever know. I can completely avoid all the awkwardness and judgement of coming out, and just fit in with everyone else….Why even bother coming out?

  112. says

    I used to work at a video store with an extensive porn collection.At first I was surprised at the number of men in heterosexual marriages that would regularly rent gay porn. At first I was, anyway. It was such a recurrence that eventually it lost all novelty.As for why bother coming out – as I said to Fiona earlier, it’s your own damn sexuality. Do of it, reveal of it, what you will.Coming out might make you feel good – if you value that, maybe consider doing it.Coming out might enable you to publicly pursue relationships with other men – if you value that, maybe consider doing it.Coming out might make it easier for other bi men to come out – if you value that, maybe consider doing it.Coming out might help to lessen the stigma against bisexual men – if you value that, maybe consider doing it.But again – it’s your business. Coming out – or not – is an intensely personal choice. The general atmosphere is that coming out is A Good Thing, but that shouldn’t translate to peer pressure that anyone should come out….Suddenly it feels really weird (again) to be the only straight guy I know that’s actively trying to stick up for gay/bisexual men (again).

  113. Becca says

    Dude, seriously…awesome. As someone who is so far back in the closet I can see Narnia, I really admire this. You have some big lady balls.

  114. Joseph C. says

    Thank you for this. It helped me figure out what was going on with my sexuality, and while your blog is spectacularly brilliant all the time, this was especially helpful. Love you Jen!

  115. Sra says

    Thank you for this post. I could have written nearly the exact story about myself. I have considered writing about this on my own blog, but have chickened out and will probably continue to do so. I too have found that both gay and straight people don’t understand bisexuality, and I am glad to know the term for this is bi erasure. Maybe I’ll get the balls to be more honest about myself publicly, but for now I operate under the philosophy of it’s none of your business, and luckily I can hide it with a hetero relationship.

  116. Katsbrain says

    Wow! I have never heard the term bi erasure before, and I have to say, I am relieved to find out I am not the only one who has experienced this from both the gay and straight camps! I recently blogged about this same problem (http://kats-brain.blogspot.com…. I have never considered my bisexuality to mean anything more than “My attraction to a person is based on more than what gender they are, and their gender has no basis on whether I am attracted to them.” That is my personal feeling, and it was a big shock to get involved in the GLBT community in high school only to find out that most of the other students in the groups were discriminating against people within their own community! May you find happiness and pleasure in all your romantic endeavors, no matter who they are with!

  117. Skywalker says

    And of course it goes without saying that if you ever find yourself inexplicably attracted to overweight men in their early forties, go ahead and shoot me an email. I’m sure we can work something out.

  118. says

    Haven’t read any of the comments… but two quick thoughts:1. Categories are important parts of how humans perceive the world and how they describe it. An awesome book–with an even more awesome title–about this is George Lakoff’s: Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. 2. Related to one and even more crucial–all of these categories are constructs. We define/create/inherit them in various ways–but they are still constructions that we impose upon reality to help us deal with it. Some of these constructs can conform pretty close to reality–and are therefore pretty useful, but they are still not reality itself. In biology–this should be pretty clear. Think about the category of “species”–as a group of individuals that can and do breed with each other. Obviously–if you go back in time and watch, the category of species and how it conforms to the individuals it is supposed to describe in the real world can come to problematic situations–for example–when two species start to diverge–there is a long transition period when individuals could breed with each other–and thus aren’t separate species—and some might even do so–but then later on–they cannot. We, of course, tend to give the species category a lot of weight–perhaps more in the popular understanding than in biology itself (I’m not a biologist–merely an engineer..)–but it obviously gets back to the situation where some individual is an ancestor of two modern species–but isn’t part of either of them.. and it gets all fuzzy about where the boundary of a particular species starts and ends… 3. All of this is just an analogy for what sexuality is also like in my view. The dichotomous understandings that people like to place on it are rather obnoxious in my view. While they may be powerful constructs–they aren’t necessarily useful when they are pushed in these ways.I’d say you are bisexual in my understanding–but that your main preference seems to be towards men.. (although maybe that will change over time…). My wife is bisexual–and I’d actually say her primary preference is either equally split or more towards women–but I happen to be one of the guys that works for her.4. In any case–I’d actually push you to be more subversive here and to pick the label/category you want and then flout all the rules of what it means whenever you want.. I personally am becoming a fan of “Queer” that a lot of my friends seem to be using as a way of saying that they just don’t fit standard “normal” categories… and it seems that the people most using it have been women who are attracted to both sexes–even primarily to women–but who happen to be in a relationship with a guy at the moment… Anyway.. good luck. Be yourself and be happy.

  119. Trevor Roberts says

    I know how difficult doing a post like that is, I “came out” slowly starting about six months ago, but my family and a portion of my friends don’t know (including my best friend, he timed saying “I hope none of our other friends come out as gay or bi” right before I told him).My mother is a strong believer in bi erasure, and that people who are bi are just easy, and the rest of the family is fairly liberal catholics. The one relative I came out to came out to me when I told him. When bothers me personally it that I’ve never really been one to hide the fact I’m an atheist, but I haven’t been nearly as open about being bi. I hate that I seem to be a hypocrite about this, particularly being from a family I’ve had to fight to establish with that I’m not a believer, and that it isn’t from lack of thought on the subject.

  120. says

    Wow, that’s a lot of comments. I actually came out in high school and a lot of people weren’t okay with it. At first. I changed many people’s opinions and it made me glad that I did it.

  121. says

    I can’t really say that it’s a “Me too” from me, as far as sexuality goes. But it’s definitely a “Me too” to this: “You don’t need a new label. You’re you.”That is spot on, and it affects so many aspects of life, not just sexuality. Though you could fairly accurately describe me as an atheist now, there were a lot of years between starting to lose faith and where I am now, where there just was no label that fit me. And it really throws people off if they can’t label you – they have such a need to put people in boxes. But it’s also really disconcerting when you try to label *yourself* and you can’t – like you said, you try to knock off the corners, erase the parts that don’t fit into the box. So I totally understand where you’re coming from in that respect (and the atheism is just one of dozens of examples).Spot on, and very brave. ‘grats.

  122. Luvlymish says

    Thankyou for the post. I remember what a relief it was to discover that there was a word for me as well. But after some bad experiences with the lesbian community I plunged myself back in the bi closet for years.I’m not sure what it says that until you made this post I’d assumed you were bi…

  123. Mieville says

    *whew*I was afraid you were going to come out as completely gay and break my heart…So there’s still a chance! ;DJust wanted to wholeheartedly agree on your anti label stance. I’ve been a labelphobe for years; every time someone tries to label me it let’s me know it’s time to reinvent myself to throw them off. awesome post, as usual.

  124. Fnmckool says

    There is a particular concept in there you used that I wanted to highlight. That you’re not any of those things because they sound silly, you’re just you. Now that’s where it’s at. That’s one of our next big stumbling blocks. Taxonamy is important. Lables for identification, organization, study, etc are necessary. But outside of textbooks and research, and especially in the context of people, especially especially in the context of identity, they have little place. The labels we put on things add so much pressure. Just look at the clunky nomenclature for non-hetero…LGBT. Whew. Mouthful. And it’s an acronym! How about “Just fine thanks”? Because it’s the abillity to label something as “different” an “x” relationship, a “y” relationship that allows non-participants to distance themselves. Hell look at what every new couple of any gender identity goes through in the early stages. Are we “a couple?” “Dating?” “___Friend/___Friend?” If we could, at least in our conversational vernacular pare everything down to “married”/”not-married” as in, legally binding committed relationship, I think we’d all be doing a lot better.So thank you for being one more voice putting that idea into the world. Maybe one day it’ll catch on.

  125. Steve says

    I belong in the camp that can’t imagine being in an actual relationship with a guy but that enjoys the cock on some level. For me it’s no emotional attraction to guys at all, but some level of sexual attraction. And even then I find women A LOT more attractive.

  126. Turk says

    Add another “me too” to the list. Reading this post and all the other “me too” comments makes me feel so much better, because I was thinking about it a lot yesterday and it was driving me insane. I’ve had a crush on a girl once (she lives in another country so it wouldn’t work out) and am definitely attracted to other girls, but I’ve never tried anything with one and don’t know if I’d ever have a relationship with one. I tried to settle myself with the idea that you can’t hate what you haven’t tried, but that never exactly eased my mind. The term “de facto straight” sits more comfortably with me than any other that I’ve come across (even on the Kinsey scale, I’m supposedly a 2, but I feel like a 1 1/2).

  127. dfl42 says

    I’m a guy, and I tend to identify about the same. I’ve been calling myself a .5 on the Kinsey scale for some time. Congrats on coming out.

    “Bisexuality doesn’t mean you’re not monogamous, or that you can’t make up your mind.”

    Having read you for a while, I assume you just meant that there’s something inherently wrong about making the assumption that someone is nonmonogamous because they’re bi, not that there’s something wrong with nonmonogamy. That said, it would be nice to have a “not that there’s anything wrong with that” around, since people do so often play the “At Least We’re Not” game around issues like this.

  128. dfl42 says

    Also, in a general sense, there’s something I’ve discovered over my years in kink and queer communities: one of the simplest ways to separate awesome people from less awesome people: awesome people treat labels as the start of a conversation, and less awesome people treat them as the end of one. That is to say, awesome people realize that labels are almost always an approximation, and use them as stepping stones to better understand someone. Less awesome people assume that if they know your labels, they know what you are, sometimes better than you do. Don’t fuck those people :-p

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