I’m bisexual, but I’m not just attracted to men and women. I’m attracted to all genders. There is a common misconception that bisexuals are attracted either romantically and/or sexually to men and women, but are not attracted to genderqueer individuals who don’t perfectly fit in the gender binary. This is simply wrong. Bisexuals are attracted to more than one sex/gender. Not necessarily all of them, but they absolutely can be (like myself). Now, of course, there is a term for individuals who are attracted to all genders: pansexual. So while all pansexuals are bisexuals, not all bisexuals are pansexuals. It’s like in geometry class when your teacher said all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. Simply stated, pansexuality is a specific subset of bisexuality and the bi+ community. So yes, while being bisexual, I am also pansexual. Still, I claim bisexuality as opposed to other sexually fluid sexualities (pansexual, polysexual, ambisexual, fluid, heteroflexible).
First, I didn’t know about the other labels when I started thinking I may also be attracted to more genders than female. That was over a decade ago, and even though it took me years of experimentation and exploration until I finally identified and claimed bisexuality, I simply didn’t know these other labels existed. By the time I did learn of these other labels—I had grown attached to the label bisexuality, and it brought me pride to claim it. I didn’t want to abandon the label, and I felt it described me.
Second, I’m about inclusivity with sexual fluidity. I don’t believe that sexuality is stagnant. I think people can change, as do their attractions. This is especially true for sexually fluid individuals. I acknowledge that while I am currently attracted to all genders, this might not be true down the line. I like that bisexuality allows for growth and fluidity.
Third, I claim bisexuality for visibility. I want other individuals to avoid the trouble I went through as a teenager and young adult. I want kids questioning their sexuality to see that we do exist, we are real, we are diverse, and we are proud. We’re not confused. We’re not at a pit stop on the way to gaytown. We’re happy. Bisexuals are often forgotten in history or incorrectly labeled as monosexual. I want to be part of stopping that trend. I want to make bisexuality known.
Lastly, I claim it for community. The term bisexual is an inclusive identity, a historic identity, and one that all sexually fluid individuals can rally around. Despite the growing number of young folk identifying as bisexual and 40 percent of the LGBT community identifying as bisexual, we are often underrepresented. There aren’t the same resources for bisexuals as there other for gay men and women. That’s why the label is important. That’s why I specifically identify as bisexual as opposed to other sexually fluid identities. Bisexuality is a term that unifies us.
At the end of the day, I claim bisexuality because I want to: for myself, visibility, and community. It spoke to me when I learned about it years ago, and it speaks to me now. With all the Bi+ labels becoming more popular, I challenge you to find that label that speaks to you, whether it’s bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or something else. Just remember though, all bi+ people are part of a community. While we are of course unique, as sexually fluidity manifests itself in various manners, all members of the bi+ community want the same thing: acceptance, visibility, and community.