While thinking in the background about bisexual visibility, my brain took a short detour and thought about validation… but not the kind of sexuality validation for bisexuals that’s being bandied about in a lot of writings. No, this was more along the lines of asking yourself, “Um, self? How do we know that we’re bisexual? Can you confirm this for me?”
Of course, I thought about the way I did it – and it was all ass-backward because I was actively humping boys and girls for ten years before I got around to asking myself some questions about this. Now, you’d think that since I’d already been all in the Kool-Aid and up to my pretty brown eyes, the questions would have been moot… but, nah, not really… but maybe they should have been but since they weren’t, this point is quite moot.
Before you can admit to anyone else that you’re bisexual, you gotta be able to admit it to yourself – and this isn’t always as easy as it sounds because just the thought of having more than a passing interest in men and women just goes against what we’ve been taught about such things. Some folks get that verification pretty much in the same way I did – they tried it and liked it and, sometimes, they’ve tried it (and liked it) without having that hint of attraction floating around in their heads. For others, it begins with a feeling, something they can’t quite put their fingers on but it’s hard to ignore what’s going on inside of them when they look at girls and guys and feel that mysterious pull in both directions – and that’s whether the pull is emotional, physical, or both.
Trying to figure it out is a bitch; trying to confirm it internally is an even bigger bitch and I’d have to say that it is probably easier to process if you managed to get around to doing the nasty in either way or maybe just kinda fooled around with a same-sex friend (for example) or you’ve even confirmed that you’ve had some serious crushes aimed at someone who’s the same sex as you are… and right along with the opposite sex. I’d even go as far as to say that for some folks, there’s some denial going on; it’s hard to believe that you’re feeling something for someone when you’re told that it’s the wrong thing to do, that you should only be attracted to the opposite sex… yet, those feelings and even intangible impressions persist despite your attempts to act as if they’re not there.
There’s no… template or SOP – that’s Standard Operating Procedure – for verifying and validating this for yourself; everyone doesn’t process this the same way even if they do, eventually, wind up in the same place: Either it’s “yes” to the question of am I bisexual or it’s “no…” but still with the occasional “maybe” or an “I’m not really sure” tossed in just to make this internal audit harder to complete. If you’ve not had the sex or haven’t done anything that could be described as intimate, I can only imagine what it would take to answer the questions – you just don’t have a point of reference like “I kissed a girl and it was one hell of a rush!” I can only imagine how much soul-searching has to be done when you only have your feelings to work with and, again, no actual experience to look at. Still, people manage to do it and the folks I know who have come to this conclusion without the benefit of actual experience have told me that validating themselves was even harder than they thought it would be.
Al of this had me thinking in conjunction with biseuxal visibility; I’m not sure how it’s possible for someone to jump up and say, “Yeah! I’m bisexual!” if they haven’t been able to validate this claim internally and, um, even if they have managed to conquer this particular mountain, what makes society as a whole think that someone who’s confirmed their bisexuality in any shape, form, or fashion, would want to make this information known to the “public” at large? See, I can understand wanting to have all the stereotypes and misconceptions about bisexuals and bisexuality just go away, to be totally debunked and that people would be more… openly approving of bisexuality as a legit sexual orientation… but I can’t see this happening any time soon because look at how long it took gays to become more acceptable in society… and they’re still having issues around this.
The stereotypes and misconceptions can’t possibly go completely away because, sadly, there’s some truth to some of them and given how people behave, it’s not going to matter if you know you don’t fit the general descriptions of these things because if one bisexual is guilty of, say, cheating, all bisexuals are considered to be guilty in the court of public opinion… and that’s because it’s too much like work to have to separate the “good” bisexuals from the “bad” bisexuals but, oh, yeah, you’d have to get bisexuals to show themselves and stand-to for an accounting of their behavior in order for this to happen and at a level where the meter’s needle swings more toward “good” for all bisexuals than it points to the bad.
And all of this shit assumes that all bisexuals want to be visible and acceptable at the higher social level to begin with, right? We “struggle” with a couple of things: Validating that we are, in fact, bisexual in some way and getting those people closest to us to accept that, uh-huh, we are bisexual. Not to say that this can’t be simple for some folks – logic kinda suggests that it could be that damned easy – but logic, along with the revealed experiences of others, proves that, no, it’s hard enough getting over these two humps… and now folks are calling for higher visibility for bisexuals and offering up forms of validation that’s not going to work, like that nonsense that if you’ve never had a same-sex relationship, then you’re not really bisexual or the old shoe that says you couldn’t possibly be bisexual if you’ve never gotten laid like one.
If someone has decided that they are bisexual – and via whatever way they were able to verify this within themselves – how can anyone dispute it? One of the things we have to put up with as bisexuals are people trying to convince us that we’re either straight or gay, that we couldn’t possibly be bisexual and, of course, that we shouldn’t be bisexual and some folks can get rather indignant about it because in their minds, they’re right… but how could they be when (1) they’re not bisexual and (2) they couldn’t possibly know everything that’s been going on in a bisexual’s mind about this? If you say that you are, it’s usually because you know that you are… yet people will dispute this and they’ll even reject whatever proof you have that you are bisexual – that whole “going through a phase” bullshit that they obviously know nothing about. If a bisexual might wind up going through this kinda of nonsense when revealing that they are bisexual to the people closest to them, can you imagine the reactions on a higher, social level? Again, I point to the fact that while homosexuality is leaning more to the good than the bad, there are still people out there who think all homosexuals should eventually burn in Hell – and there are a damned lot of those people, too, but as long as there is one person who believe this, this kind of prejudice is never going to go away because you can bet the house that if there’s one person who is pro-straight, there’s another one someplace else.
This prejudice exists because there are people who cannot or will not accept that being heterosexual isn’t the only way for a person to be – and nothing you’re gonna do or say is likely to change their minds in this regard so if you know this, how does higher visibility help bisexuals? How does it make the stereotypes and misconceptions go away? Why isn’t it enough that those of us who know we’re bisexual – and it doesn’t matter if we’re out or not – have already validated and verified our sexuality and that no further validation – and no further societal exposure – is necessary or even warranted?
And I think that it has to be mentioned that all of this stuff isn’t going to make it easier for someone who thinks they’re bisexual to confirm that they are. The stereotypes and misconceptions will make them leery to engage with someone else at almost any level, even mere friendship – fear is a pretty big stick to beat people with, after all, from the fear of rejection to the fear of being infected with something and if you didn’t already know that our society (in particular) is rabidly heterosexual, well, when you find out – and you will find out – it’s not going to make your internal auditing on this matter any easier. When you toss in all the stuff concerning gender being a key indicator of one’s bisexuality – or not – whew, how could it possibly make “Roy” decide, determine, or otherwise validate his sexuality to himself an easy thing to do?
See, the internal audit was kinda “easy” for me: Look at what you’ve done, look at what you’ve been doing, look at how you feel about men and women and then come to what should have been a logical conclusion: I’m bisexual; I’m not gay (that took a load off my mind) but, nope, I’m not all that straight either. I didn’t have to think about gender; I did have to listen to all the stereotypes, misconceptions, and even the fears of others when it came to not being straight, just as I saw quite a few people fighting for their lives and all because they dared to not be straight. Compared to what bisexuals have to think about today, yeah, my self-audit was damned simple and perhaps this lends itself to my sense of being confused at times because, from where I’m sitting, nothing has changed except how people are now viewing, qualifying, and quantifying their sexuality and the way they’re doing it… but the end results are them liking boys and girls in some way if not equally.
Just another forty-five cents worth as I continue to make sense of this – and it’s important that it makes some kind of sense to me and more so if, truly, the entire dynamic around bisexuality is being changed.