Friday, March 20, 2009

I Hate the Word 'Bisexual' - Brunch Tales From Albuquerque

written by Miss Bliss on February 4, 2009 – 10:00 am and X-Posted here with permission

Bliss Warrior: Faiblesses de Femmes “I don’t think of myself as bi. I actually hate that word,” says Jenn, a stunning brunette with sky blue eyes. “I think I am just a very sensual person who loves sex.”

It is a cool Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and ten women have come together to share the stories they cannot tell their straight friends. I have not been to Albuquerque since the first brunch I hosted almost exactly a year ago to the day. When I first saw the fabulous Lacivia waiting for me outside the cafe, I hugged her tightly and thanked her for working so hard to create a community for bisexual women in New Mexico. “It’s a lot of hard work,” she said. “I know,” I said. “But brunches like these make all of the work so worthwhile.” Now, it is two hours into the brunch and we have brought three tables together to make sure everyone can talk and be heard.

“I don’t like the term bisexual, either,” says Nicole, a girl with cropped blond hair and a tattoo curled around her ear. “I consider myself to be ‘open’.”

“A lot of women who date men and women don’t like the term ‘bisexual’ because of the negative connotations,” I say. “But I think this is exactly why we need to reclaim the term as a form of empowerment, like the lesbians did with ‘dyke’ and the gay rights movement did with ‘queer’. If we do not take the label back, how are we supposed to find one another?”

“But when you say you are bisexual,” says Jenn, “it just is so gross. People think you’re slutty or into threesomes . . .”

“That’s why I like to say that a goal of Bliss Warrior is to take the sex out of bisexuality. By creating a bisexual community that is strong and vibrant, we can show our diversity. Bisexuals can and do have successful monogamous relationships. Bisexuals are not liars, or confused, or discontent in their relationships. They are not trashy girls who will jump into bed with just anybody. The problem is, if we all go around saying we are ‘beyond labels’, how do we create community and fight the negative stereotypes?”

“That is so interesting,” says Nicole. “I never thought of it in terms of bisexual culture. Whenever I heard ‘bisexual’, I always thought it was in terms of sex.”

“That’s what we are fighting. When we have no visibility or power, it’s easy for pornographers to define our culture,” I say. “There is an incorrect assumption that if you are bisexual, you are sleeping with men and women all the time. It is hard to admit you are bi to people who don’t get it, because the minute you say, ‘Yes, I am bisexual,’ you can almost see their minds wondering, ‘Oh, so you’re a swinger,’ or, ‘Oh, you must have orgies,’ or, ‘Oh, that means you’re an easy lay.’ They don’t react how we wish they would react. We know we are attracted to a person despite gender; we love who we love and it does not matter if it is a woman or a man.”

“As soon as you say you’re bi,” says Lacivia, “straights think you’re hitting on them and lesbians don’t trust you.”

“It is the lack of a bisexual community that makes us feel shame. If we just keep floating under a non-labeled identity, we continue to perpetuate the myth that we are either gay when we’re dating girls or straight when dating men,” I say. “I have a dear friend in Seattle who is ’straight’ when she’s with her heterosexual friends and ‘lesbian’ when she is out with her dyke friends. But she has no space to be her real self and few friends who understand who she really is.”

“That’s exactly how I have been,” says Nicole. “When I’m with the lesbians, I’m gay. I even came out as lesbian when I was in high school, but later on, I fell for a guy. So then I thought, maybe I’m straight? And I tried to be straight for awhile, but then I fell for a girl . . . Ultimately, I married a man and when I was pregnant with my son I felt - maybe due to the hormones - really heterosexual. I had no desire for women at all. But as soon as he was born, something changed and I said to my husband, ‘I want to go to Exhale and dance with girls!’”

The table laughs and the conversation turns to other topics. I take a moment to smile at Lacivia for creating a space where women can discuss these complicated issues and feel less alone.

Bliss Warrior

Bliss Warrior is a happily married bi-girl who jets between her two apartments in New York and Hollywood.

Passionate about art, design, fashion, health, bisexuality and vegetarianism, her website, myspace page, on facebook and blog are dedicated to all the Bliss Warriors out there who are fighting for a fabulous, free, decadent, healthy, creative, and sensual life.