What’s A Bisexual Anyway? Ctd

Like so many children of the ’90s, James Patrik learned about bisexuality from Friends:

“Sometimes men love women/Sometimes men love men/And then there are bisexuals, though some just say they’re kidding themselves.”

As an impressionable kid, those lyrics [from Phoebe], comedic as they might be, represented the first time television had told me what to think about bisexuals. Whoever these bisexuals were, I was taught, they were foolish and cowardly. Too scared to just come out and admit their obvious gayness.

Growing up, the television and the community sold me a binary world view: gay or straight. There were only two viable options, and I secretly dreaded the eventuality of having to pick one. So I didn’t. I proceeded, undefined, not wanting to belong to either one of these groups. Not out of spite or youthful rebellion, but out of truth. I never really believed I was straight, and I never really believed I was gay.

After years of identifying himself as either one or the other – “I was always ashamed of my dishonesty when I did this, but also relieved at having avoided a potentially complicated conversation” – Patrik came out as bisexual. But he says the stigma remains:

Some likened my sexuality to a light switch, flicked in either direction on a whim. Some have regarded me as foolish and simply afraid of admitting my attraction to men. Some have just called me greedy. … What is it about bisexuality that so confounds? Labels and categories inform so much of how we interact with others. They flavor our expectations of how people will (and should) behave and force us to see otherness where none exists. In a society so bent on ‘outing’ celebrities and public figures, the bisexual man or woman circumvents this game and evades inquiring minds by sitting on the fence and defying categorization.

Read the whole Dish thread on bisexuality here.