Bisexuality: Some Questions Answered By: Joe Woodhouse & Karina Roberts

Q: So what exactly is a bisexual?

A: A bisexual person is someone who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of all genders. Many people who experience a wide range of feelings towards both men and women use the term bisexual.

Q: So they’re equally interested in men and women and trans/intersex people?

A: Not necessarily. One’s feelings may or may not be equally strong for different genders. Some bisexuals are attracted to men and women in different ways (i.e. seek different relationships from different genders), others say gender just isn’t relevant to who they’re interested in.

Q: Does being interested in all genders mean bisexuals are less interested in any one specific gender?

A: Most bisexuals will probably say that when they are interested in someone, they focus on the person, not their gender. Like before, the level of emotion and attraction bisexuals feel for a certain gender varies person to person.

Q: Aren’t people really either heterosexual or homosexual?

A: No. It’s well recognized in medical and psychological circles that bisexuality is a very real and genuine orientation. Many bisexuals can attest to this.

Q: Is bisexuality just a phase?

A: No more than being heterosexual or homosexual is.

Q: Isn’t being bisexual a process of making up one’s mind whether to be homosexual or heterosexual?

A: Don’t make the mistake of assuming there are only two options to choose from. There is a wide spectrum of feelings and identities people experience, not just straight or gay. Bisexuality is an option in its own right. Some lesbians or gay men may “come out” as bisexual first, but most bisexuals remain bisexual for the rest of their lives. A lack of information about bisexuality is probably the cause of most of the confusion.

Q: Why would someone not want to identify as bisexual?

A: Some people think being heterosexual is more “normal,” and identifying as someone who is GLBT is still not accepted in all social realms. So if someone is still attracted to members of their same sex, it is easier to just say, “I’m straight.” Others, for political and social reasons, may wish to identify with the lesbian & gay communities. Also, bisexuals often feel ostracized from both straight and gay communities because they’re “in the middle.”

Q: To be bisexual, does a person have to be with a man and a woman at the same time?

A: Absolutely not. Just because someone has the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender, does not mean they are involved with more than one at any given time. Monogamy is no different to bisexuals as it is for anyone else.

Q: Suppose I have had some feelings for both genders – does that mean I’m bisexual too?

A: Strictly speaking, maybe. But what you call yourself is up to you. Some may feel the attraction they feel for one gender isn’t enough to call themselves bisexual. Others look past gender when considering a deeper relationship. There are many reasons for why people identify the way they do.

Q: Doesn’t the term “lesbian & gay” include “bisexual” as well?

A: That’s a hot issue for some people. Some people think so, but there are plenty (bisexual and otherwise) who disagree. Lesbians fought for the right to be explicitly named, because they felt invisible. That battle is still going on for bisexuals.

Q: Didn’t Freud think we’re all bisexual?

A: Not quite. Freud thought we were all born bisexual, and may develop a preference later in life. Further studies do not support this, but most people have had at least some level of feeling for both genders at some point in their lives.

Q: Why aren’t bisexuals more visible?

A: No one walks around with “bisexual” stamped on their foreheads. It’s very easy to miss them. If you see two people of the same gender kissing, you don’t think to ask if they might be bisexual, but they might be. Similarly, if you see a man and a woman kissing, either or both of them might be bisexual, too.

Also, there’s a real lack of information about bisexuality in our libraries and the media. And there are very few organizations that specifically address bisexual issues. Some bisexual people have felt as if no one knows they even exist.

Q: Where’s the bisexual rights movement?

A: Historically speaking, bisexuals have been part of the lesbian & gay movement right from the beginning and they’re still there now. They’re fighting the same sorts of issues: discrimination based on who they love.

Bisexual Resource Center
Boston, MA