It really gets on my tits when people tell me that bisexuality doesn’t exist. As a practicing bisexual (because as we all know, practice makes perfect) I can attest to the fact that, sexually, I can go either way.

On a recent day for example, I spent my morning ogling men on tumblr in various states of undress and in the evening became aroused while watching a parade of nude female models at the end of the film Prêt-à-Porter. Other than the divine Linda Horn, it was the only thing that made the film worth watching.

With such clear evidence from my life and the lives of others, it astounds me that so many people outside of the LGBTQIA community and more disturbingly within it, still struggle to accept that we exist.

I blame Carrie.

If we cast our minds back to the late 90s and early 2000s, those blessed days before the invention of One Direction, we might recall Sex and the City, a television series beloved by legions of women and (predominantly gay) men the world over. As well as the show’s sexist and anti-feminist flaws, the episode ‘Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl’ from its third season did all that it could to perpetuate every negative bisexual stereotype.

Carrie, the main character, is dating an openly bisexual man, and she and her friends agree that his sexuality is a real problem. In their obligatory lunchtime discussion they concur that bisexuality is merely “a layover on the way to Gaytown”, that bisexuals are greedy, and that they were the reason why there were no guys to date in college, as both male and female bisexuals always end up with men.

By the close of the episode, after attending a party with her lover’s friends (mostly bisexuals, of course), during which she plays a game of spin the bottle and has to kiss a girl, Carrie decides to end their otherwise perfect relationship. She concludes that he and his friends’ amorous versatility is just a game, and one that she is from the wrong generation to play.

One would hope that this episode merely represents archaic views from times past, but, unfortunately, there are still Carries in this world, as I discovered when I revealed my bisexuality to my family and friends. I was informed that I was actually gay, and that my claims to bi-dom were just a cover. As offensive as this dismissal was, it was even worse when it came from a gay friend. I expected greater understanding from a person who was part of a community still struggling for recognition and equality and I still wonder how he could have invalidated my sexuality so casually. He didn’t realise that he was being just as ignorant and bigoted as those who would tell him that his sexuality was the result of psychological or emotional trauma, or that he was straight but deceived into thinking otherwise.

A similarly insulting idea is that bisexuality is some kind of sexual greed (could there be such a thing?) with bisexuals presented as constantly stealing from the dubiously distinct reservoirs of straight and gay partners, because a single lover can’t satisfy them. Yet just because you’re attracted to both men and women it doesn’t mean that you’ll have the inclination or the opportunity to sleep with every one, or that you are incapable of participating in healthy, committed, monogamous intimate relationships. I’m predominantly attracted to the cock, but in the three years that I’ve been in a relationship with a woman, I haven’t run off to find any.

If only the Carries of this world could be more understanding and didn’t feel the need to categorise people within a limited, and limiting, sexual binary. But this is the wont of mainstream conformity, as demonstrated by the media when Tom Daley revealed that he was in a relationship with a man. Too many news outlets pronounced that Daley had “come out as gay”, even though, in his touching confessional video, he clearly stated that the relationship came as some surprise to him, and that he still fancied girls. Still fancied girls.

If only the Carries could realise what Albert Kinsey proved seventy years ago, that sexuality is fluid, changeable, more a sliding scale than fixed categories. After all, even Stephen Fry – the King of the gay community – has written that he is only 90% gay, and that he has been strongly attracted to two women in his life thus far. Maybe then they would realise that the sexual binary is as untenable and absurd as those of sex and gender, and that classifications shouldn’t matter. The only important thing is that a person, any person, can find love with another.

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Caleb Darwent

The author Caleb Darwent

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