Recent research confirms Kinsey’s continuum argument regarding flexible sexuality, as well as finding that such an argument is more applicable to women than men. Female bisexuality also appears to often be discounted as a “phase”, despite 92 per cent of bisexual adolescent women continuing to identify as bisexual. Three Bossy contributors share their diverse and deeply personal experiences as bisexual women.
Where I’m from, we don’t talk about sexuality much. The subject is usually reserved for the odd church sermon, or hushed whispers about the neighbour’s son over hefty slices of Victoria sponge.
Even before we came to terms with our sexuality, young (queer) people in my community knew to keep themselves closeted until we inevitably left in search of bigger and brighter futures.
Until the age of sixteen or so, I had never considered being anything other than straight. When I look back now, it seems so obvious. There were signs. Heaps of them, in fact. But back then, the idea of finding girls attractive wasn’t just confronting, it was also dangerous.
I’d seen lives ruined by a single rumour. I’d seen firsthand how silent, judgemental stares could prove crueller than a physical blow ever could. I’d seen how badly the mere act of existing had taken its toll upon LGBTQIA youth.
Even now, as I practice the speech that I will inevitably present to my parents when I come out to them, I still brush over the fact that I like girls. I tell myself that it’s better this way. That since I lie somewhere on the bisexuality spectrum, I could pass for straight if I wanted to. I could have the loving husband, the 2 – 3 children and a house in the suburbs.
I tell myself that things will be okay so long as I manipulate my sexuality to suit everyone else.
So long as I hide my relationships, avoid dangerous conversations and keep my head down, maybe I’ll make it out unscathed.
Where I’m from, we don’t talk about sexuality much. But fuck me, I wish we did.
On Sunday 10 September, I chose to post a photo on Instagram with the caption: “What if one day I chose to marry the love of my life, and they were a woman? Please consider voting yes Australia, enough is enough, just let love be.” Followed by a series of love heart, rainbow and sparkle emojis, of course. The following morning I received messages from a close Christian friend of mine, who said: “I just hope you can really go back to the word of God.” Initially, I was appreciative of their concern, but then they said: “The love that you support isn’t the right love that God portrays, stop making excuses.” I was hurt by the accusation that I was a less-than-faithful servant of God because of my stance on marriage equality. Moreover, I couldn’t help but wonder if my friend knew of the personal reason behind my stance on marriage equality? Did they know I am bisexual?
My experience of coming out this year – even though it has been a slowly journey – has been intensely healing. I was only 14 when I realised my attraction to other women. I was a student at an Anglican high school, and an active member in my Anglican church. I never felt that coming out was an option. Now, at university, I have built the confidence to finally see myself as God has known me all along: I am bisexual, capable of loving both men and women, and I am also a faithful servant of God.
In Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) it says: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I am and all I do is God’s handiwork.
My first bisexual experience was a textbook example of a teenager exploring their sexuality: at a party, tipsy, and quickly losing inhibitions and dignity. However, unlike others, these intimate moments were not my own. My feelings were soon drowned out by onlookers murmuring “that’s hot”, “I’ll save that for later”, and “let me get a photo.” I felt like I had no control over the situation. My sexuality had been reduced to a spectacle for others to gawk at, and possibly even masturbate to later.
Admittedly, I have been guilty of dismissing my own feelings as attention-seeking behaviour that merely caters to the male gaze. Having only been in heterosexual relationships, it initially felt wrong to label myself as something without having experienced it fully. Further, ‘passing’ as a heterosexual woman affords me many privileges that other LGBTQI+ people do not have, which also heightened my reluctance to involve myself in the community.
Thankfully, I have come to understand that I am the only person who can truly dictate my sexuality. I no longer regard my experiences as eye-candy for drunken partygoers, but instead, as an exploration of my feelings. The path to self-acceptance is not an easy one; the transition from girlhood to womanhood is a tumultuous period of exploration and guilt, of liberation and shame, and of curiosity and sexualisation. Since emerging out the other side, however, I have decided to have a voice in my own narrative. Being complicit in the silencing of women, particularly bisexual women, simply helps to breed stereotypes and perpetuate fetishisation. I have realised that the most powerful thing I can do is reclaim my feelings, and to proudly take ownership of a label I identify with.