One of the criticisms often levelled at bisexuals from some other groups within the LGBT+ community concerns choice. It’s the same argument often put forward by religious conservatives, among others. The argument goes that bisexuals can choose whether to be gay/lesbian or straight. Those critics within the LGBT+ community insist that we’re playing, or that we’re afraid to fully come out of the closet. Those on the other side of the fence think our very existence is proof that they were right all along, and that homosexuality is an avoidable “sin”.
“The only choice is between self-liberation and self-oppression.”
I’ve even heard other bisexuals saying that they intend one day to choose a heterosexual relationship because it’s the easier option. They might fool around with the same sex, they say, but eventually they’ll choose the “easy” path.
To me, this suggestion of choice doesn’t ring true. My own sexuality doesn’t feel like a choice. The only choice I feel like I would have that would come close to this is one of self-liberation vs. self-oppression. I can find myself attracted to a member of one gender, or a member of another, but at all times I am fundamentally bisexual.
If I “chose” to be gay, I’d be oppressing my bisexuality. If I “chose” to be straight, I’d be oppressing my bisexuality. No matter who my partner is, I’ll still be bisexual – because I’ll still have the capacity to be attracted to members of other genders. If you think that gay men, lesbians or straight men and women in monogamous relationships are only attracted to their partner then you’re delusional, but even if that was somehow true I’d still have the capacity to find someone attractive who isn’t of the same gender as my partner.
“It reinforces the idea that bisexuals are really gay/lesbian/straight and will one day realise which it is.”
Sure, I could “choose” not to express my bisexuality once I’m in a monogamous relationship. I could identify as gay or straight. I could only express attraction to members of the same sex/members the opposite sex (delete as appropriate). But that’s oppression, and it contributes to bi-erasure by reinforcing the idea that bisexuals are really gay/lesbian/straight and they will one day realise which it is.
It’s taken me 35 years to shake off my own self-oppression. To be finally liberated and able to express my attraction to members of any gender I like is a wonderful feeling. The idea that I should voluntarily put myself back into that cage, or another one very much like it, is frankly terrifying.
I’ve made my choice. I’m not playing, I’m not in the closet and I’m not confused or undecided.