I am not straight, or gay. So does that mean I should be celebrating Bisexual Awareness Week?
A few years ago I would have said yes, but today I am not so sure. More and more I feel like the term “bisexual” doesn’t describe who I am, and I see this sentiment reflected in the feelings of many others in my communities.
In my youth, “bisexual” was the only term I had ever heard that seemed like it fit who I was. These days, I tend to shy away from the term, because I feel like it enforces a sense that gender is binary, represented by men and women, rather than the spectrum I believe it is.
In her article “The Queer Heterosexual,” sex educator Tristan Taormino discusses this binary confusion and opposition. She writes, “queer people are flaunting our fluidity when it comes to gender and identity. Whereas in the late ’80s and early ’90s the dominant LGBT narrative was a coming-out story, today it’s more like, ‘I’m a lesbian in a relationship with a gay-identified bi guy, so what does that make me?’”
Today, I feel that it makes me a pansexual queer femme. It makes my friends claim identities ranging from “queer bisexual” to terms like “label-free,” “pansexual,” “omnisexual,” or simply “queer.” There are folks who prefer terms like “queer heterosexual,” and “straight-ish” alongside the possibly hundreds of other terms that people are creating daily to more authentically represent their own identities.
There is a huge need for awareness among communities who don’t fit into the boxes of straight or lesbian/gay, but I am no longer sure that the best way to gain that awareness is through Bisexual Awareness Week. Still, there are plenty of people who feel that the term bisexual resonates with them.
So, perhaps what we need is a Queer Awareness Week—or, better yet, maybe we just need to remember that all our identities are valid and worthy of being seen, honored and respected.
Until then, I’ll be celebrating Bisexual Awareness Week by loving whomever I want.