I find it very interesting that people always try to validate the choices other people make. Nowadays, society is doing a better job at "understanding" that men can like men and women can also like women, but invalidate those who are in the middle of the road, liking both at the same time. Let's start with bisexuality. A lot of people have the idea that bisexuals are just confused and say that bisexuality. People have this idea of bisexuals as "indecisive people" because you don’t really **see** bisexuals: if a bisexual girl starts dating a boy, everyone says “she’s straight; she just went through this crazy rebel phase and now she realized she likes boys”. If they see the same girl dating another girl, then the discourse changes to “she finally made up her mind and decided to come out the closet, she’s lesbian”. It gives this non-sense idea that, in order for someone to be accepted as bisexual, they need to date a boy and a girl at the same time. When someone who is bisexual dates another person, the bisexuality automatically becomes invisible as a result of the classifications as either straight or gay, but never what that person really is or identifies as.
In fact, saying that the person was confused, went through a phase and finally decided what they are is very offensive and very often bisexuals disappear within the LGBTQI community.
Another problem that's rising up within the bisexual world is the idea that we are only attracted to binary genders and are often accused of cissexism (when many of us see the 'bi' part of the term as denoting both ends of the spectrum and everything in between). It is very sad to see that there is this constant argument within the LQBTQIA world between bisexuality v. pansexuality, which, once again, causes us to be left behind and lose visibility.
I've dated man and women. I was married to a bisexual man and I'm currently dating a hetero man who knows about my gender identify and my sexual preferences. However, throughout my entire "dating-life" I heard things like "bisexuals are greedy/promiscuous/just want to fool around/cheat more".
Being attracted to more than one gender does provide more potential partners, but it doesn't increase one's likelihood of physically or emotionally connecting with potential partners. And just as having an eclectic taste in wine does not make one an alcoholic, being bisexual does not make you greedy or promiscuous.
My aforementioned partner has been quite understanding of who I am, and we often talk about gender-related topics. About 4 months ago I begun to not feel 100% comfortable with people classifying me as "girl/woman". Yes, I was born a woman, I do have a vagina and I love it, but some days I simply don't want to have the role of woman placed upon me (because, you know, society has gender expectations). Some days I don't **feel** like a woman and some days I want to opt out of any gender labelling at all.
Because of that I asked my partner to refrain from calling me "girl" and, at first, he was very understanding, but half hour later he asked me - according to him "just to be clear" - if that would affect our sex life. At the moment, I didn't think that question was a big deal, so I told him he had nothing to worry about. However, as the day passed, I caught myself mulling it over and over again. If he really understands my queer identity, then why did he feel threatened by it? Is the assurance of a good sex life more important than the assurance of your s/o's emotional well-being? Or maybe he just doesn't quite understand gender identity, despite all his efforts...
Our historical narratives, our founding myths of a non-historical time reveal the potential of uncertainty and, in some ways, it is recurrent in our speech. Even in the most normative ways we can think of, like “soul mates”: it is about them the myth that humans were created with a body that was both male and female but separated by a punishment of the Gods.
To think about the non-binary is not, as many suggest, thinking the unthinkable simply because one cannot use as a contesting argument the dimorphism of human bodies - after all, there are intersex people or even those who (very rarely) are born without any sexual organ. These people will identify with a gender (or none) throughout their lives according to the perception that they have of themselves and their experiences in the world.
But gender, as we all should know, it is not the body itself, it is an interpretation of the body given by culture, designated through arbitrary semiotic relationships of what is male/female. A baby comes into existence long before being born. It exists as the subject of sex and gender from the time the ultrasound is done and the doctor says “it’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”. From that, a world of expectations is built, along with impositions, colors, names, possible school life. Gender is rhetoric you are given even before birth, it is assumed and is performative. After born one must learn to be the gender that one was given: cross legs, not move his hands so much, not cry.
There is intense effort put into fitting the subject in one of the gender poles, and beyond the fitting effort there’s the escape from it, what some call “gender dysphoria”: the medical and clinical discourse that turned into pathology what is a question of identity.
When I say I am queer I am not saying that any of these gendered “ways of living” stare upon me. I can look at a man and think “Am I like him?”. And my answer is "yes, in fact, I am"... the same is true when I look at a woman. But this is certainly not the most important issue. The central question is: do we need a gender in order to socialize? Is it really necessary to live from an intellection of another in binarity?
I am not one of those naive people who say “we’re all human”. When we equate everyone we hide the deep chasms that we have built to separate us – social chasms, class, gender, religious, sexual orientation. We are not only human, this is, perhaps, just one of our many identifying marks.
At this time, I consider my body an instrument of micro-political resistance. When I go out dressed in clothes said to be masculine I break up with normative discourses. My goal? For people to look at me and not know what I am.
Modernity has brought us too much confidence. We learned that we have a “paradise” (be it religious or an utopian socialist world), we learned that science could save us, that the science of the mind could protect us from our monsters, that money could end hunger. But it didn’t work. And the reason is clear: there is human immobility, there is multiplicity. And the experience of being male or female is multiple.
Judith Butler begins her book “Gender Trouble” with a question that troubles us even now: “Who is the subject of feminism?” What is this transcendence that classical feminism gave the concept of “woman”? Do we all live all the same experiences? Certainly not. Anyone willing to go into deeper reflection will find in him or herself elements of femininity and masculinity, the question is to be happy with the rules that define us.
Maya - @mondociberdelia