So, I’ve started referring to myself as ‘gay’; that is, I include myself in statements about The Gays™ or ‘gay women.’ I would use the term ‘queer,’ but I feel like people have this idea that ‘queer’ means belonging to a counterculture or living outside of the perceived social norm. With my blonde hair, sorority pin and lululemon, I often get funny, bewildered looks when I describe myself as 'queer.'
But anyway, in the past month, both my friends and family have stopped me in the middle of what is usually a riveting story to ask “Oh — you’re gay now?” Not that they’re implying my sexuality is flippant or that I’m picking and choosing on a whim. But rather, the implication is that the way in which I self-identify has changed from bisexual to gay and that with it, so changes the outside world’s perception of me. Going from bi to gay means taking that final step and limiting myself, supposedly permanently, to an even more specific identity and pool of potential partners.
Unfortunately, many people still feel that bisexuality is just a pit stop on the road to full-blown Gay Town. I hate feeding into the stereotypical narrative wherein bisexuality is a lighter shade of homosexuality and not its own distinct identity.
Last week was Bisexual Awareness Week, which sparked a conversation around how we think about bisexuality. How do we define bisexuality? Does it mean being consistently attracted to all genders, or does it allow for more fluidity? Or does your label change as your preferences do? If I was attracted to one male-identifying person when I was sixteen but never again, am I still bi? Basically; does bisexuality expire?
So, when I’m asked, “Are you gay now?” I don’t know how to answer. Partially because I’ve been with my girlfriend for the past year, so my sexual and romantic attractions have been limited to a female-identifying person. I also don’t plan on engaging in sexual or romantic activity with men in the near future.