Just like Anna Paquin, who tweeted about her bisexuality and marriage for Pride Month, I am a bisexual woman, attracted to both men and women, and I am proudly married to a man who's only attracted to ladies*. But together we have discovered that, through no conscious fault of our own, we confuse people. (More on that later.)Much of this confusion seems to come from two sources: preconceptions about bisexuality and how it works, and preconceptions about marriage and what it's for. Bi people are in a particular bind when it comes to their dating pool: If they find a partner of the opposite sex, they run the risk of being accused of queer treason.
One of the first uses of the word in this way was in 1941 by author G. It is now simply a colloquial term for "heterosexual", having changed in primary meaning over time.Some object to usage of the term straight because it implies that non-heteros are crooked.The colloquial shortening "hetero" is attested from 1933.The abstract noun "heterosexuality" is first recorded in 1900.As a sexual orientation, heterosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to persons of the opposite sex; it "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions." Someone who is heterosexual is commonly referred to as straight.
Along with bisexuality and homosexuality, heterosexuality is one of the three main categories of sexual orientation within the heterosexual–homosexual continuum.
When our relationship is viewed from the outside, these ideas sit atop it like an incongruous cheap baseball cap and affect how we're perceived. Having a legally married dude partner means that, for some very lovely LGBT friends, I have sadly lost all my gay points, copped out, thrown in the rainbow-colored towel, and can no longer take part of Pride activities because I'm too busy being committed to male genitalia.
Here are the four ideas about marriage and bisexuality that I regularly encounter, and why they're wrong: More than one person has assumed that bi-hetero relationships must involve threesomes, regularly. Except that it meant that a drunk girl at a party we both attended, who'd never met me but who had heard that I was bi and therefore "must be up for it," tried to force her way into the room where we were sleeping for an unexpected menage a trois. Committing to a lifelong heterosexual relationship when you've been a part of the queer community can cause conversations like this:"Why didn't I get an invite to your Pride party this year? It's also frankly frustrating when anybody, straight or gay, assumes that I have been magically, permanently cured of my (very real) attraction to boobs by prolonged exposure to my dude's heterosexuality, like it's musky anti-LGBT radiation.
The LGBT community and marriage have a very fraught relationship, with a legacy of "traditional" gender roles and inherent historical patriarchy to battle. Marriage is never an "easy" decision, regardless of sexuality, and if I'd fallen in love with a lady, I would have married a lady. Won't your partner think there's a little bit of you he can't satisfy? Attraction to others, regardless of orientation, doesn't cease because you put a ring on it.
Taking advantage of a right that many gay people still can't have — and aren't sure they want — can put a big wedge between yourself and your queer identity and community. If anything, the ease with which I could get hitched to a dude, and the sheer happiness that accompanied that act, makes me even more conscious of what it means to deprive other queer people of that right. That's a conversation that modern society is only just learning how to have: that commitment to one person is a continued choice, and that it's OK and healthy to think other people are cute.
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