This article rocks. I don’t think I have ever seen such a thorough look at bisexuality in anything that wasn’t a bi-specific book. And even then, this author looks at so many of the current issues and does a really good job of exploring where they are coming from and what they mean for bi people.
I especially like the look at the gender difference, and why men may be more reluctant to identify as bi than women are. It certainly has been true in my experience that I know many more (bio/cis)women who identify as bi than (bio/cis)men. And most women I have encountered have thought about their attractions a considerable amount and have considered the identity of bi, while most men I have encountered would not consider the label of bi, even if they have had sexual experiences with more than one gender. I have often wondered what the cause of this is, and thought of reasons why. I think article does a good job of pointing out that straight men control a lot of what happens around sexual identity. I think there is also some social conditioning around sexuality that is different for men and women, which could be another cause. Women are typically socialized to believe that attraction can come from emotional intimacy, and also may have strong emotional bonds with ‘girlfriends’ while growing up. Women are conditioned to form those attachments early on and throughout their lifetimes, and also may see emotional attachment and sexual attachment as related. Men, however, are not conditioned to be as ‘touchy/feely’ and also are conditioned to see romantic relationships as a sexual thing, rather than emotional. They have less movement between emotional and sexual, and also less initimate bonding activities between men. Does this emotional attachment between women create a more fluid sexual environment that allows more women to feel comfortable going between the lines of sexuality? Does the lack of emotional attachment between men create an environment where men feel less comfortable moving between these boxes? Is this reinforced by straight mens’ ideas about bi women and homophobia surrounding gay men? Does the gay mens’ community reinforce these boundaries by being generally unaccepting of someone who is not “all on one side” of the line? Being out as bi is hard enough for me, and I think its much harder for men.
I also really like the part about both thee straight and the GLBT communties pushing bi people to the other side. There is no space to move between the two, and there is hardly a community large enough to be in a ‘bi space’ most of the time. For me, I have definitely felt more comfortable in a GBLT/queer space, however, I have also spent a considerable amount of time /effort/energy making space for myself within these community spaces. I have encountered a lot of biphobia and have had struggles to maintain my bi identity within these circles. I don’t blame people who don’t want to work as hard as I have to quell stereotypes and make sure bi folks are included, its a lot of effort. I also find it difficult to navigate straight spaces as a bi person. I can be out as ‘queer’ sort of, if people know what that means, but usually they assume it means I am a lesbian, and if I am dating a guy that assumption could be confusing. My strategy so far has been to be out to people I trust and enjoy confusing everyone else with a side of generally not talking about my dating life.
Overall, this article has covered many issues that I consider relevant, and does a really good job of giving a fair approach to the topic. Impressive!