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Saturday 10 October 2009

Bisexuality - Exploding the myths

Posted in: Community
By Kaye McLaren - 23rd August 2009

Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie revealed she was "definitely bisexual" back in May
In our labelled world of 'gay' and 'straight', is it hard for bisexual people to fit in? Myths surrounding bisexuals can leave them insulted and sidelined.

The facilitator of a new social group for bisexual men and women in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty area sets the record straight about being bi…


Some people think bisexuality is a myth. Even in the queer community there are those who think bisexuals are just sitting on the fence, or scared to make up their minds, or greedy, or confused.

Many people don't really know what it means when someone says they identify as bisexual. Here is my personal definition:

Bisexuality is having the potential to be sexually/romantically attracted to someone from anywhere on the gender spectrum – male, female, transgender or intersex.

Pretty simple huh? And yet the world can makeit complicated for those of us who feel this way. Are we confused? You bet! We're confused by a world (queer and straight) that says we can't possibly be this way, that there's no such thing as bisexuality, to stop mucking about and jump one way or the other. So we try. But it doesn't usually work because it always involves cutting off a part of who we are.

Take my experiences. At age 12, I thought 'wow, I feel the same way about girls as I do about boys.' It was a confusing reality to deal with. The fact that none of the other girls were raving about girls the way they raved about boys made it even more confusing. It seemed like I was the only one in the world. Sound familiar? Coming out as bi is much like coming out as gay or lesbian – realising you're different and feeling there's no one you can talk to about it.

This wasn't something I chose. Why would I choose to feel confused and left out? Nowadays I would choose to be a lesbian if I could, but back then it would have been nice to have just fitted in. But instead it gradually dawned on me that I was different. Just like anyone else in the queer community. I accepted it then, but it took me another 20 plus years before I felt able to be all of me. As a twenty one year old just out of a relationship I tried identifying as a lesbian for a brief period. That lasted until (still single) I met a guy I was attracted to. Then (single again) I tried to go straight. That lasted until I fell in love with a woman. Then I had a really serious go at identifying as a lesbian. That lasted 12 years until I realised it just wasn't who I was. Finally I joined the Wellington Bisexual Women's Group.

The relief of being able to just be who I was – all of me – and talk to others who felt the same way was enormous. I was part of the group for 12 years, until I moved north. Talking to other bi women, socialising and making bi friends brought me great joy. It was the place I felt that I could most be myself. That's why when I moved up north I wanted something to replace it. Which is what this new group is all about (although this one is open to all genders).

If this sounds like you, or you'd simply like a chance to learn more or talk, get in touch with me. We meet every few weeks for coffee and chat, and are planning two events for Hamilton Pride Week next week. We'll probably branch out into other activities over time - the group is open to being taken in all kinds of directions.


New group for bisexuals in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty

For socialising, support and information

Meets every few weeks in café somewhere in Hamilton, with potential to meet in other places (for details contact Kaye)


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Kaye McLaren - 23rd August 2009