#27BiStories: Why a Bisexual's Sexual Orientation Is Still Important Even If They're in a Relationship

If a bisexual person is in a relationship, why is it important they're still labeled as bisexual?

BY Eliel Cruz

August 28 2014 10:00 AM ET

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Is your sexual identity still important even though you’re in a same- or different-gender relationship? If so, why?

Christina, 41, California: My sexual identity is important in many ways. It is a part of who I am, and that did not change because I found one person that totally gets me and is my best friend and lover. When I hid my sexual identity I was not able to relate to my children and could have missed an important part of their lives. The fact that my son felt secure enough to tell us that he is attracted to men and women, and that he had no stress about it at all is amazing to me. There was no fear, no worry. He is beautifully confident and knows who he is. I am also showing my children that the idea that bisexual people cannot have monogamous relationships is not true at all, and that is important to me.

Melody, 32, Texas: Our sexual identities are definitely important to both of us. I can't speak too much for my partner, but we both just experience the world a bit differently than monosexuals. Very little that is sexual is taboo for us, so it is important to us to feel comfortable with our partner, with each other. You know, I have been an out bisexual since I was 18 years old, but I have yet to meet another completely out bi in real life. Most bisexuals I know find out I am bi and want to whisper about it behind closed doors with me. I can assure you that their sexual identities matter to them! Some haven't even come out to their own partners for fear of fighting the stigmas on their own!

I know women who are hiding the fact that they like to watch The L Word from their husbands for fear that their husbands will be upset by them being attracted to women. I know men who live their life as "gay" because it's easier than "bi." But they spend their time hiding their attraction to women. Their same- or opposite-sex relationships didn't change their sexual identities, and those identities are important enough to them to hide. To be clear, I don't fault my fellow bis. Being out as bi in central Texas is very hard — even near Austin, since the gay community is still not very welcoming to bisexuals. My partner and I have just chosen each other so that we don't have to hide who we are all the time.  

Gabriel, 34, Illinois: Yes, very much so. My sexual identity is a part of me just like my sense of humor, my body type, my personality, and every other piece.  Denying or ignoring part of who I am limits how I can engage in the world. It would be like trying to speak without using the letter S.  You could do it, but your vocabulary would be stunted. Why handicap yourself like that? It can only lead to frustration. 

Sure, being out can have its frustrating moments, but I feel losing my identity to my relationship composition means I'm going to be frustrated in my own head about it. Being out and owning it releases that frustration. Then it's just outside opinion, which I'm free to ignore as I choose or counter with all the positive outside opinion I'm also surrounded with.  

Colleen, 58, Canada: I am with two partners, one male, one female, and our ultimate goal is to cohabit in one residence.  I can, however, see how it would be very difficult to maintain an "out" bisexual orientation if one is with only one partner, or none, as in that case, assumptions take over. I recently attended WorldPride Toronto, and on the back of my WorldPride T-shirt, I used iron-on lettering to add "Assume Nothing." My two partners were with me on the final weekend, and wherever we went, I proudly pointed out to people that the three of us were together. My sexuality is very important, and I am in the beginning stages of starting a bisexual support group where I live, because we don't currently have one.

Zefi, 23, Greece: It is very important because it seems like something I gained for myself, a realization and an acceptance I have gained after thinking and trying and working with myself. So yes, it is important even though I am in an opposite-sex relationship, and it always will be important.

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