Quite a while ago I talked to a friend of mine and we came across our personal views on being bi. We spent quite some time and words on this and I stressed my view of bi as being very inclusive in terms of gender identities.1
She told me that, when she first discovered her own bisexuality and started getting in contact with other non-monosexual people on it, something different was explained to her: that bi meant two and referred to a binary understanding of gender as either male or female. If she fell in love or had sex with a trans or non-binary person, she was told, this wouldn’t be bi any more – it would be pansexual. I was angry to hear that such segregating and biphobic views still are around even in non-monosexual contexts in the second decade of the 21st century.
I could convince her that it is not true. That bi people have been aware of the fact that there is something in between the gender binaries at least since 1990. That bi people even back then opposed to such restrictive definitions – as in the Bisexual Manifesto:
Do not assume that bisexuality is binary […] In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders.Bisexual Manifesto
I told her that I already stumbled over this in my early coming-out phase – also in the early 1990s – and was extremely happy to read this back then.
Of course, everyone’s free to choose the label which feels best for them. But you don’t have to move away from bi just because of the gender identity of the other person(s).
Being bi opens up a world beyond the binaries. Everyone’s invited to enter.
Image source: On thinking / visualizing / queering fluid identity… in the BEYOND BINARIES Erasmus+ project (B2 E+), licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.
Please note that the above links pointed to the original image source when I started writing this text several years ago. They are now broken, unfortunately.
- I felt the need to mention this due to trans-exclusive and transphobic stuff I observed in the weeks and months before our conversation – see Das B und das T… (German)