Lesbian Identified Bisexual ………oh those labels

So the labels become more intertwined as we struggle to free ourselves while gaining recognition for who we are, a debate now rages in certain parts of the blogosphere and social network sites leaning towards bisexuals about the above captioned “label” which could be interpreted as a bisexual female who identifies as lesbian mostly to other lesbians or lgbt people probably our of fear or rejection or having to explain who she is to others who are strident in their own “gayness”
Some of the comments from the debate which I took the liberty of copying for this post suggest persons are confused or at best trying to come to terms with the description given that bisexuals get a bad rap already just from “invisibility” faced even while grouped under the LGBT rights/activism banner.
Some comments include:

“I know people who are “Straight-identified Bisexuals” and straight women who call themselves “Women-identified” and in many cases to make it clearer the phrase “Bi-identified LGBT Activist” is used. I guess it depends on the context and the intent.”

“I see no problem with a lesbian-id’d or straight-id’d bisexual person. I think it’s more forthright of a description, certainly is more detailed and honest, to me.”

“I totally own this label, even though I am now married to a man. For me, it means that I am more into women and I identify a lot with lesbian culture.”
” If someone is embarrassed about the state of the bisexual community then instead of hiding their personal identity they should help make it safer for people to identify as bi. The act of closeting one’s identity reinforces the idea that on some level it really is something that ought to be hidden. This really is an area where, as a bisexual person, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution. I would venture that, proportionally, there are more closeted bi people than closeted lesbian, gay, or trans folks. When I came out it was partially a personal decision and partially a political one. In today’s America, anyone’s coming out is more or less the same in that way. There is a lot of internalized biphobia and it is related to, but distinct from, internalized homophobia. As a community internalized biphobia (as a separate issue from internalized homophobia) is something we need to be having a lot more conversations about”
“For what its worth-my own identification with the bisexual label, or any label I have chosen for myself over the years, has always made me look away from orientation and more towards one’s character rather than their category. The label only tells a small part the story. Not necessarily a popular view but still unique for those who choose to look it at that way.”

 

“they’re calling themselves lesbian only to later come out bi in close personal conversations and request that it be kept secret.”
“I know a couple of women who use this term to mean that they have had and would be open to future relationships/attractions towards men but they are primarily attracted to and date women. In fact, these 2 women, tend to use the term “lesbian identified bisexuals” when talking with bisexuals (I guess to denote where on the spectrum they fall). In mixed/un-known company, they use bisexual. I guess I’d have to evaluate the person using the title to know what they mean by using that term.”


Sadly even in the gay community we give bisexuals a bad rap and many do fear coming out or disclosing that they prefer both sexes in fear of being vilified as confused or even described as nymphomaniac and unable to be satisfied as we gays cage them in our homo normative world.
As one comment above states we reinforce the biphobia and invisibility problem when we condemn our brothers and sisters who go both ways, another problem in the Jamaican GLBTQI advocacy context is that bisexuality is ever hardly discussed thus the advocates commit biphobia by default and thus our inability to handle even homophobic issues when all are tied together and then we wonder about the downlow?
Identifying as Bisexual, Fluid, Pansexual or Queer simply means that you were born with the capacity to be attracted to people regardless of someone’s sexual or gender identity.

It does not define either one’s lifestyle or sexual behavior. It does not mean you are promiscuous, a fence-sitter, a slut, a nympho, in the closet, unable to commit, trying to claim heterosexual privileges or whatever. Bisexual and pansexual people can monogamous or abstinent. They may have multiple sexual partners or be married/partnered for life. In other words, lives of bisexual/pansexual people are pretty much identical as those who identify as lesbian, straight or gay except that you have the capacity to like people of more than one gender.

Being bisexual/pansexual is part of who you are, of what makes you”uniquely you”, but it does not dictate that you must then follow the crowd or what some people say about how “people like you” should live your life.

Many pansexual/bisexual people may have one committed relationship that lasts for decades while others may have many different kinds of relationships with different people. Some bisexual/pansexual people have no sexual relationships or they may have relationships with people of only one gender; yet, they still consider themselves to be bisexual/pansexual. On the other hand many people may have relationships with people of their own and the other gender, and yet they self-identify as Gay, Lesbian or Straight.

Also don’t worry about not knowing for sure right away. Sexuality and self-knowledge develops over time, and you should feel no pressure to identify in any particular way to please other people. Follow your own heart, it all comes down to what makes you feel most comfortable and what you perceive yourself to be.

Coming to terms with your bisexuality can be difficult. However, lots of people have difficulty learning to like themselves, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Some people also have difficulty understanding bisexuality, and some bisexual people may try to hide their bisexuality. In an effort to numb the effects of societal stigma, people may turn to drugs and alcohol and may even attempt suicide because their situation seems unbearable. However the vast majority of other bisexual people – just like you – lead successful, happy lives and you can too.

It helps to be informed and to know that you aren’t alone. Read about bisexuality. Learn what it means to be bisexual. Make an effort to meet other bisexuals – they can be a valuable resource to build your self-confidence.

Just remember that there are lots bisexual people wherever you are. Sooner or later you will meet someone who feels some of the same things you do and has had similar experiences. Realizing that you are not the only bisexual person will make liking yourself a lot easier.

Peace and tolerance
H
(excerpts taken from BiNet USA) or here
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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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