Sunday, September 23, 2012

Define: Bisexual

It turns out that this is Bisexual Pride Day. I knew about Gay Pride Day, but I didn't know about Bi Pride Day! This is pretty neat.

In honor of Bi Pride Day, I'm going to address a question: what the heck does "bisexual" mean, anyways???

I've found that there are two answers to that, and I'm not entirely certain what the correct one is. It seems that the answer depends on who you ask.

By the way, don't quote me on any of this.

1) Attraction to men, women, and gender queer

There are two very clear genders: male and female. But some people don't really fit into these two categories, and are gender queer.

Some say that the "bi" in bisexual means being attracted to one's own gender and the other genders -- encompassing male, female, gender queer -- and that a bisexual is someone who might be attracted to anyone.

Also: attraction to the genders doesn't have to be equal. A bisexual person might find themselves attracted to one gender more often than another.

2) Attraction to men and women

Others say that "bi" means "two", and that a bisexual is attracted to men and women, but not the gender queer.

As before: attraction to the genders doesn't have to be equal. A bisexual person might find themselves attracted to one gender more often than the other.

(At this point, I think I'm with this camp on defining what bisexual means.)

Pansexuality?

Those in camp #2 (including myself) argue that definition #1 describes pansexuality, and that it is something separate from bisexuality. Those in camp #1 say (if I understand correctly) that pansexuality = bisexuality...and I have seen one or two people get downright grumpy with pansexuals for calling themselves that.

So much for the LGBT community being all one big happy family. I haven't been this disappointed since I realized that Pagans aren't all one big happy family either.

So, ummm...

DISCLAIMER: As I said, don't quote me. This is Chapter One of me figuring out what the heck I'm talking about, though I think I pretty much know the arguments by now.

I figure that a good place to get my thoughts in order on this topic is on my very public blog, so that others who have been in or around the LGBT community longer than I have might comment. And if you do see something that you think is off in this post, please say so.

I would also like to note that I have spent over an hour on this post. And I guess it needs more editing...but I can do that next year.

5 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think situation #1 is best represented by the word "pansexual" and #2 by "bisexual." Not to be pedantic, but "bi" does mean "two" while "pan" means "all." I laughed at your infighting equation of the LGBTQ community and the pagan community. So, so true, LOL! But it's probably the same for any small community, especially a marginalized one.

Happy Bisexual Pride Day!

Sarita Rucker said...

Nothing wrong with being pedantic at times. :)

And yeah, I expect you're right about the infighting. At this rate I'll be jaded before I reach 30.

Sarita Rucker said...

Well actually the argument I've seen for "bi" representing #1 is that they do see it as representing 2: a person's own gender (whichever it is) and then the other of the other person(s). ...which doesn't make sense when I write it out here, though I understood (but sort of disagreed) with it when I read it somewhere else.

Yeah, I'm still processing all the arguments out there on the topic.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's an interesting explanation but splits hairs just a little too finely for me. What's wrong with "pansexual"? Why don't they want their own term?

Sarita Rucker said...

My understanding (and there might be other arguments/reasons out there I'm unaware of) is that they say all bisexuals are really pansexual. I would have to say that I disagree with them on that.