By Bobby King
I don’t know if I’m of a minority but I definitely consider myself to be bisexual. In the gay community though, it seems like it is difficult or impossible to be bisexual. I’ve come across people that think that I am gay and am just afraid to commit to being gay, and others that say believe bisexuality doesn’t exist. There are internet forums and chat groups within the gay community where the mention of anything straight is blatantly shut down as being ‘gross’ or something unnatural. In my experience, bisexuality is not met with open acceptance, but more with a muted hostility.
With that being said, like any generality, there are always exceptions, and maybe sometimes those exceptions are loud enough to give the perception that they are the beliefs held by the majority. I’m willing to consider that to be the case here, however, I do struggle to find a place wherein I can balance my bisexual desires within the standards of the gay and straight community. It seems that there is a de facto segregation between the gay and straight community, at least among my peers whom are in their 20’s to 40’s in the Tampa Bay area. Most of my gay friends only hang out with other gay people. As a result, it is difficult or impossible to cultivate other kinds of relationships without living two different lives. Most of the woman I meet would not consider dating someone who is bisexual . Bisexuality appears to be more taboo than simply being gay. If I am interested in a woman, odds are I would have to not be completely open with her about my sexual orientation and most likely she would not be introduced to any of my friends until we have really gotten to know each other.
I believe that people fall somewhere on the spectrum of gay to straight, with many falling predominantly on one side of that spectrum. In the context of sexual fluidity, where you are on that spectrum may change from time to time or from person to person. There may be one person you would be willing to explore a gay relationship with, but you otherwise wouldn’t consider yourself to be gay. Others may experience sexual fluidity while ‘experimenting’ in their college years, only to settle down into a more ‘traditional’ lifestyle after college. The idea of being attracted to the person and not the gender is something described as ‘pansexual’. I’m not sure that pansexuality is something entirely different than bisexuality, given that the attraction to the person component is something that I believe would be present whether you are straight, gay, bi, or somewhere in between.
The millennial generation seems more willing to be open to the possibility of being gay, bisexual, or pansexual, at least so far. This generation grew up with TV shows like Will & Grace, having had many of the institutional barriers which oppressed the LGBTQ community already either removed or significantly diminished. They have an openness to explore without judgment. I think that this generation, if they can hold onto their openness, can really affect positive change in the world as they spread acceptance throughout.