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The More Things Change…

23 Jun

…the more they stay the same.  I devoted some processing time to think about bisexuality from the perspective of some of the other bloggers I’ve been checking out and the one consistent thing I’ve seen is that today’s bisexuals – and the newbie ones – are facing many of the issues I faced growing up with my sexuality.  To put it into perspective – and as most of you already know if you’ve been following along – I’ve been actively bisexual for 49 of my 58 years and I’ve been seeing many of the same questions and issues that I saw, say, back in the early 1970s.  With the exception of the recent wave of biphobia that’s been running rampant and, specifically, people saying that bisexuals don’t exist, I was kinda amazed to see that nothing’s really changed where this is concerned.

Back then, if you liked pussy and dick, you kept this information to yourself, mostly because you didn’t want to get labeled as being queer, something that meant that you’re gay more than anything else or, really, rather different from what “queer”means today and the only people who knew would be anyone you interacted with (read that as having sex); getting outed by those very select people wasn’t something one had to worry about… although the risk was still present – all it took was to have sex with someone and they didn’t like and they decide to put your business in the street, something that usually resulted in violence but, nah, that didn’t happen very often where I lived.

Yeah, you had to be careful about who you were getting with because you might wind up with a dose of the clap or, rarely, syphilis – but the neighborhood grapevine was great and up-to-date on who was burning people and you’d know to stay away from them.  HIV/AIDS came along later and, well, we know the deal surrounding this.  And speaking of getting with others…

Since there was no such animal as the Internet, shit, if you think trying to find someone to throw down with is hard today, ya should have tried it back then!  More often than not, you ran into people like us purely by accident and, yeah, some action could be had when you tossed in some booze and some Acapulco Gold (top shelf weed at the time) or some Colombian Red (ditto).  There used to be this “paper” called “The Swapper” where you could pretty much find anything you were looking for, from a new engine for your 64 Mustang to, yeah, people into wife-swapping and those “queer” folks looking for some action.  So for $1, you could go right to the back of “The Swapper” and check out the “Men Seeking Men” or “Women Seeking Women” sections and you might get lucky enough to find someone to get busy with and without knowing a lot of stuff about that person before the fact unless they left a contact number or you could contact them through the paper’s provided mailbox thingy.

But even back then, bisexuals worried about being outed and coming out to friends and family and I think it was hard doing it because, again, if you said, “Mom, Dad, um, I’m bisexual!” it was a safe bet they wouldn’t hear “bisexual” and their minds would automatically insert “gay” instead.  Yep, if you think there’s drama today in coming out, it wasn’t any better back then either and maybe even a little worse because if you were seen as being gay, there was a good chance some violence could be headed your way.

Being married (or otherwise off the market) and bisexual wasn’t a picnic either – and keep in mind that “being on the down-low” hadn’t really been “invented,” for lack of a better word – but that didn’t change the fact that bisexuals either wound up having to be totally heterosexual or they were sneaking out on their straight partner.  If they weren’t sneaking but their straight partner found out, well, you could pretty much forget having that straight partner unless you were a woman; yeah, female bisexuals were seriously all the rage back in the day and maybe this was the genesis for today’s unicorns that are highly sought after.  Still, I knew women who somehow got outed and their men kicked them to the curb because dick wasn’t the only thing the women needed.

Trying to break the news to a partner hasn’t changed much:  It’s still a very hard thing to do and the thing that gets my attention about this is that, well, I can understand if, back then, not a whole lot was known about bisexuality… but today?  With the flood of information that’s available?  So if a wife/girlfriend were to learn that her man was bi, how is it that they wouldn’t have a clue about what it meant to him and all that?  I guess I’m saying that the level of ignorance – or the lack of knowledge, if that makes you feel more PC about this – hasn’t changed and neither has the negative actions that can result.  Sure, I know that not everyone knows about everything where this is concerned – it just surprises me that I can read about reactions today that I saw all those many years ago.

I love reading science fiction and in a lot of the many books I’ve read over the years, you can see where the authors would have in their storylines acceptable bisexuality and homosexuality, right along with polyamory and even multiple-partner families with many husbands and wives living and working as a single unit… and today I’m seeing where science fiction is beginning to become science fact except we still have a long way to go before total acceptance of these things becomes a matter of course and just as normal as breathing is.  I recall one book where if you were monogamous, people thought that was weird and unusually old-fashioned!

But it’s not that bisexuality has changed as much as the players in the game have changed… but the problems are still the ones I had to deal with coming up, not that we, as bisexuals, need to have new shit cropping up – having to deal with the implication of HIV/AIDS is bad enough, ya know?  The angst against homophobia isn’t as bad as I remember it to be… but it’s still there and while I’ll hazard the guess that bisexuality wasn’t really all that well-known back in the day (not like it is now), we still wound up having to deal with the problems that gay folks had each and every day… and I don’t know about y’all but it makes me wonder about a lot of shit, like, why haven’t we as a society gotten better about these things.  In my nearly five decades of being a bisexual, I’ve not seen any change in the problems we have to deal with:  The lack of acceptance, the disease issues, and trying to integrate one’s bisexuality into their everyday life and as seamlessly as possible and, oh, yeah, the many people who continue to look at us as freaks of nature… and that now includes some gay people and it seems to me that the number of gays riffing about bisexuality not being a real sexuality state hasn’t really changed much – they’re just more vocal about it than ever before.

There are times, my friends, that I feel like a really old-school bisexual but that’s not a bad thing ’cause when it comes to today’s bisexuals, I know I can be of some assistance when they’re facing the uncertainty, the prejudice, and other factors that are involved in being bisexual because I’ve been there; I’ve gone through the gauntlet and have seen – or been a part of – just about all of the situations that give today’s bisexuals fits and headaches.

I’m just mildly surprised that the source of said headaches hasn’t changed in the last fifty years.  Not that I expected them to; I might be optimistic but I’m far from being naive about such things – I hope for the best but have learned to expect the worse and I can remain optimistic about bisexuality going forward and more so when I just knew that I probably wouldn’t live long enough to see an African-American sitting in the White House; kinda stands to reason that if I was wrong about that, there is some hope for the future when it comes to bisexuality and, if anything’s gonna be erased, it’s the prejudice that gets wiped away.

Okay… on to other stuff…

 
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Posted by on 23 June 2014 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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