When I first told my mom I was dating a girl, her classic reaction of "it's a phase" wasn't surprising. After two years, she finally accepted me as a lesbian, but what she didn't understand was that I am not a lesbian. More surprising than this, was the reaction I got when explaining my sexuality at a lesbian bar. "Oh, you're bi…BYE," was the usual reply. The Kinsey Scale was developed over 50 years ago to show sexuality in a spectrum. Since then, researchers have used the premise of this scale to explain the fluidity of sexual orientations. There are over 200 scales to measure a person's sexuality, which is perhaps the part of the problem, but at least we can say that the awareness has been here for a while now, and the biases should be long gone. Yet, despite all of this, stereotypes of bisexuals remain. Even now, after several years of explanation, I feel the need to avoid topics of my love life with my amazing mother just so I won't have to continue with the explanation. So, since I'm sure you are well versed in sexual orientation lingo and don't hold any biases yourselves, this list is here to provide you with things to look out for that the common ignoramus might expel and what you might say to them. 1. "You are SO lucky to have such a wide selection to choose from." This one really gets me. First of all, I am so lucky for MANY reasons, but dealing with a sexual orientation that is constantly misunderstood is not one of them. The thing these people don't get is that just because I enjoy all genders, doesn't mean I don't have standards. In fact, my standards are incredibly high and I am only attracted to those who meet these qualifications. It is very limiting… 2. "Which gender do you prefer, though? You can't like them both equally." In fact, I can. I love everyone equally. I love everything equally. I'm a pretty loving person. When it comes to romantic relationships, it's a person-to-person basis. I might like Joey more than Isabel, but I might like Cassidy more than Peter, and it's probably because Joey and Cassidy have qualities that I identify with… and great smiles. 3. "You're going to leave me for a guy, I know it!" I have heard this thought from more than one ex-girlfriend. My response is: I can promise you the reason I leave will not be for a man (It might be because of my commitment issues or my anxiety, but that's a topic for another day). I'm not confused about my sexuality. I'm not dating you to figure it out. I'm not supposed to just pick one. I'm not missing penises. I'm confident in who I am. I'm comfortable with who I love. Your reservations can subside. 4. "So, you wanna be a part of my threesome?" No. I don't. This answer cannot speak for the masses, but I'm sure the majority of us still don't want to be asked this question on a regular basis. Dating websites are the biggest contributor to this one. I can't even log into my OkCupid account without clearing out a load of annoying messages from couples asking for a third. Even close friends have had the audacity to ask me this just from the fact that I expressed my sexuality to them. My advice is, get to know the person first. Figure out if this is something they might be interested in, and only then should you consider asking this of someone. And for any of you interested, my answer is no, not because I find either of you unattractive (because you're beautiful), but because I place high value on my sexual practices and choose to enjoy one partner at a time. It is my hope that you will be able to use some of these reactions as a jumping point for further conversation about the biases surrounding bisexuality, queerness, and all the other labels we give to the not-gay-or-straight orientations. And thanks mom, for both loving me unconditionally and for the rainbow thong as an expression of solidarity.
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