September 23rd has been National Bisexuality Day for 18 years now. Organizations focused solely on the advancement, education, and support of bisexuality are very likely to hold online as well as in-person events to celebrate the day. The organization I founded back in 2007, Bisexual Initiative of Greater Cleveland is no exception. This year I decided to conduct an online mini-conference on bisexuality.
Coming to terms with my personal identity as bi has been an interesting road.
By the time I reached high school, I knew that I liked boys and girls. Yet those around me either liked one or the other. There were boys who were gay in my school, but not only could I not relate to them on a basic cisgender level, I could only identify with the struggles of liking boys as well. I had no way of finding a definition and/or support for who I was.
The one cis girl I met who first exposed me to the word bisexual was very promiscuous and flighty and was looked at by the rest of our schoolmates as someone to be avoided. I finally not only found another cisgendered female to talk to, but she also happened to like boys and girls. Yet, her attractions and interactions with boys and girls were very different than my own. So because of her, I now had a term to find out more about, but I still had yet to find someone who experienced attraction the same way I did. I decided I was only just a little bisexual then, because I had to be promiscuous to be truly bisexual, and I wasn't.
Due to the sexual trauma experienced as a child, and since I had not met a bisexual like myself, in my freshman year of college, I came out to my friends (and accidentally to my family) as lesbian.
The biggest online hub in 1999 was CollegeClub.com, and once my lesbianism was announced there, I was immediately warned to stay away from bisexuals. I was told they ruin relationships, that they were promiscuous, and that they were not welcome in gay spaces since their primarily straight and not gay.
I hadn't had very deep experiences with other bisexuals — I only knew the one girl from high school and bisexuals I came across online. So far they were all promiscuous. So since the promiscuity of bisexuals was "confirmed" for me, I figured what others said about them was true as well.
It wasn't until a year later that I fell in love with a guy again. I met him at a local bisexuality group at the Lesbian/Gay Center of Cleveland. I had to find out once and for all if I really was bisexual or not. Turns out I was!
I've had brief relationships with guys and females over the years since, but we were always mismatched. I always wanted something long-term, they didn't. They were all in the closet, I haven't been in the closet since I was 18 years old. These were all other nisexual people I was talking to.
I couldn't find another monogamous minded bisexual to connect with. So I thought it would be easier to partner with a lesbian since they seemed more long-term relationship minded. Yet the promiscuity of a good bit of bisexuals turned away any and all lesbians. This is where I currently am in my journey dating and relating to others as a bi cisfemale.
I also identify as demisexual, someone under the asexual umbrella, who only experiences sexual attraction to someone after a deep personal bond is formed. Due to this factor and all my previous romantic interpersonal interactions, the more accurate orientation I've adopted is biromantic. I am biromantic because I can form romantic relationships with cismen and ciswomen.
I took over and currently run the Bisexual Initiative because I still would like to find and relate to other bi individuals like myself. I also believe its important to still hold spaces for bisexuals not like myself so they can find friends, lovers, and support too. I also want the organization to serve as a source of education and information for the greater LGTPQA+communities who have negative views of bisexual people.
We are not all the same, and that's okay. We shouldn't be shunned and/or discounted for that. We care as much about greater queer community issues as the rest; and for those of us bisexuals who are more heterosexually inclined, we care about greater human rights issues too.
We are not gatekeepers to other orientations. We do not exist just to have sex. We are Bisexual.