Dating is hard enough in the hetero dating pool, but when you start mixing up the genders, it can be as complicated as it is expansive. Sure, it may seem as though bisexuality offers more potential lovers because one would be open to both genders, however given the complexities of the gender binary, the stigma of homophobia and biphobia and the many myths and stereotypes that shroud bisexuality into a crowd of mystery and awe, it can be difficult for bisexual people to make sense of it all AND also find the perfect mate among all the smoke and mirrors. Here are some helpful considerations for anyone who is bisexual, bi-curious, or exploring their gender and sexuality anywhere outside of normative relationships.
- Complexities of the gender binary
It’s important to keep in mind that while the gender binary invites us to see gender in dualistic terms, for most bisexual people there are nuances of grey along the spectrum. It’s important to keep in mind that many people who identify as bisexual may also be transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid or any other type of gender-non-conforming person. They may also identify as queer, transexual, pansexual, and be fluid in their sexuality and gender identity. While this is an important consideration in all relationships, it is especially sensitive when dating among bisexual people who are most likely to fall anywhere on the rainbow spectrum.
- Facing homophobia and biphobia
While bisexuality can be regarded by some as somewhat more normative than homosexuality in that bisexual partners are at least ‘half straight’, the reality for most bisexual people is a highly confusing one of falling between the cracks of the gender binary. While bisexual people may have the privilege of ‘passing’ as hetero when engaged in hetero relationships, one must not dismiss the damaging effects of internalized homophobia and biphobia, as well as the homophobia they may experience when they are with a non-hetero partner, and the biphobia they may face in homosexual social circles. This can take on many forms, such as being dismissed as not a ‘true’ homosexual, feeling like a fraud in any relationship, and struggling to find a partner who understands them. In hetero relationship, bisexual people may have the privilege of passing, but find themselves experiencing homophobia or misunderstanding from their partner; while in same-sex relationships, they open themselves to accusations of not being truly gay. In addition, it can be a lot more complex for bisexual people to ‘come out’ for a plethora of reasons, which can cause tension in otherwise healthy relationships. It’s important to be able to have these discussions openly between partners, and to build supportive social circles that will not perpetuate negative stereotypes, homophobia or biphobia.
- The awkward question of procreation
Bisexual people may feel at odds with their desire to begin a family and struggle with the added question of whether to have children with a same-sex partner and face homophobia in their family unit, or choose a heterosexual relationship to start a family and have to grieve the dream or the desire to have a same-sex partner in their family unit. Neither choice is wrong, and it’s important to remember that bisexual people make these decisions for all kinds of reasons, that are not strictly related to who they are in love with or want to spend their life with, as these issues can be rather complex and may involved struggling with painful internalized homophobia or biphobia when considering building a family of their own.
The overall message that connects these areas of important consideration is to remember that whether you are yourself bisexual, exploring bisexuality or have bisexual friends, that suspending judgement and responding supportively and with compassion is the best way to go. Now you can take action to meet bisexual people.