Sometimes I call myself a gay lady. Sometimes I call myself a queer lady. A couple of times, I’ve even called myself a lesbian. I’m usually not one to base my identity around strict labels or boxes, so I tend to go through them a lot. But ever since I transitioned, I’ve always been a bisexual lady. It’s just a matter of fact. I find men, women, and non-binary folks cute, I like dating and loving them. If I had to confine myself to just one gender, I’d be pretty upset; I could never do that.
But bisexuality is a complicated sexual identity. It’s one that’s rarely understood. You see, my bisexuality isn’t exactly a 50/50 split. The truth is, I largely lean towards dating other women.
I’m not really sure why. It’s not that I prefer a specific kind of female gender presentation. I mean, from soft femme to soft butch and everything in between, I love being with women of all types. I guess there’s no other reason to it than the fact that they make my heart rush and get me all nervous when I’m in front of one I like. Maybe that’s because women click with me, they understand me, they talk to me and hold conversations with me that are understanding, relatable, and empathetic. Or maybe it’s because many of the women I’m attracted to think like me. Other genders can be cute, sure, and I can’t say I’ve only been with women. But if I had to choose a specific gender identity to date, it would be girls.
See, that’s where my problems arise. Or rather, that’s where my problems with other people arises.
First off, whenever the word “bisexual” comes up, there’s this assumption right away that “bi” equals “two genders.” That’s not true. The “bi” connotes multiplicity in sexual identification, as opposed to only being attracted to one kind of person. So bisexual doesn’t mean “attracted to men and women,” it means one who is attracted to their own gender as well as another gender. Or a variety of other genders. In that regard, it’s quite complicated.
But that’s only one problem. Many people believe that bisexuality means an even sexual attraction between men and women. That’s not accurate to my life experiences at all, because I have preferences that lie within my bisexuality. I prefer other trans women most, cis men the least, and a variety of other genders in between. That’s just how I naturally connect to other people: I feel the most sexual attraction to trans women because I relate to other trans women very strongly, whereas I feel the least with cis men because we have very little in common. Sure, I’ve met some guys that can get to 3rd base any time, but it’s not like cis men as a whole are as attractive to me as other women are.
But I digress. When you’re bisexual, the assumption is that one’s sexual attraction between genders is always equal, as if one’s sexual attraction towards Man A is always going to be just as strong or stable as it is towards Woman B. But sexuality is fluid and complicated. The reality is, for bisexual folks like us, some genders are simply more attractive to us than others. It’s not that we are “really gay” or “really straight” or “really pan,” it’s just that we really, seriously cannot quantify our sexualities into percentages. Sorry, I’m not 35% straight and 65% gay. Who I’m attracted to and how I express that attraction is very individualistic in nature. And it also has a lot to do with where I am in my life, who I want to be intimate with, and why I want to have a relationship with them.
As a sexual identity, bisexuality is extremely varied. Bisexual men may experience a variety of sexual feelings and preferences: while one might prefer women, another bi guy might largely prefer men. Similarly, the way we feel sexual attraction and desire varies from person to person. Some bisexual women may feel an intense desire for a variety of genders; others might feel sexual attraction to just a couple men and women, and that’s it. Like any other sexual identity, bisexuals are all individuals with preferences and ideals. It’s just flat-out wrong to assume that bisexuality is a firm, solid split within the gender binary. As bisexuals, we feel and experience sexual desire in a variety of ways. Which is why there’s no single, universal “bi experience.”
As a bisexual woman, I understand that my sexuality can be complicated. That’s because bisexuality is based on a variety of experiences that encompass and embrace an umbrella of sexual attractions. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with stereotyping bisexual people and making assumptions about our preferences or sex life. That’s never okay to do. It’s important to honor our right to privacy and self-identification. And by respecting us and opening your mind to how our sexuality works, you’ll get the chance to become a better ally to us bisexual folks.