Why should you care? Because we are everywhere. And we don’t mind if you know it. As a matter of fact, we are often unrecognized on the front lines and the trenches. Sadly, sometimes we are in the closet, daring not to move outside the boxes of gay and straight. Sometimes, we get put in those boxes in spite of modest efforts to be ‘out.’ And sometimes we are screaming at the tops of our lungs and are still misinterpreted.
Robin Ochs, for instance, became the first woman in Massachusetts to marry her same sex partner (okay, her spouse shares the distinction). She is the founder of the Bisexuality Resource Center in Boston. She was identified as a lesbian in the media in spite of repeatedly drawing reporters’ attention to her bisexuality. By definition, the marriage couldn’t be gay or lesbian. Only one of the spouses was a lesbian.
Sometimes, we are placed in those boxes through omission or error. We are easy to overlook as our agendas are similar to yours. But, sometimes, we are squeezed into those boxes for better marketing (‘gay’ marriage plays better to the Joe and Jane America than ‘same-sex’ marriage).
“Homosexual” people get cool names like ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ that leave thoughts of sex on the cutting room floor. Oh, sure, we’ve tried on omnisexual (really? omni? everything?), pansexual, ambisexual and bi-affectional, but the first three still point primarily to sex (and apparently a good variety of it) and the last makes us sound like we can be really good friends. The ‘bi’ in bisexual (Hey Microsoft Spellchecker—there is no hyphen in the term “bisexual”) still points back to those two boxes, gay and straight, male and female. Unfortunately, we aren’t so uncomplicated. Even ‘queer’, while seemingly ideal, is overly broad.
So, we are stuck with ‘bisexual.’ Fine. So what do bisexual people do? Well, I wondered that too. So I found some. We got together at Coffee Social (new, organic, eco-friendly, queer/poly-friendly). We drank some great Doma coffee and played dominoes. Apparently bisexual people are easy to please after all.
What I really found was that we were an eclectic group with varied ages and interests. And it wasn’t the coffee or the dominoes. It was a vague sense of togetherness. While we didn’t talk much about bisexuality, it was amazing and wonderful to be able to look around the group and realize that everyone in the group was like me. One participant wrote to me to say he finally felt comfortable in a public group. While it is great to be one letter in the alphabet soup of our movement for equality and dignity, it is a little breathtaking to be a ‘B’ in a veritable sea of ‘B’s.
If you would like to join us, meet at Coffee Social, 113 W Indiana Ave, on Wednesday May 13 and May 27 from 6-8pm. Dress in a smile and loudly ask where the bisexual people are.
“A normal person is just someone you don’t know real well yet.”
--Robin Ochs, Bisexual Activist and Author www.robinochs.com