Savage Love Letter of the Day: Rocking the Boat, Coming Out as Bi, and Defending DACA


Maybe Dan had biphobic views in the past and no longer holds those views.

I would think that only _some_ people with bi identities would predominantly self-identify in that way, rather than as 'queer'--especially since adopting that latter designation making wider common cause with the stigmatised and sexual minorities. These self-identifying 'bi's might be those fearing bi erasure because they're often in straight relationships and present or pass as straight. In my experience they will heavily be bi cis women.

But this could be wildly, wildly off. There could be hordes of self-identifying bi men--whom I've taken as proudly gay--who feel a need to attest their bisexuality to prevent it escaping recognition. (My activities, when considered, would be 'bi', but as an AMAB genderqueer guy / gay man, I have considerably more need of the 'queer' label).
LW- congrats for the smooth coming out.

As for Harriet’s “queer” vs. “bi”- for me queer is more of an umbrella if you will, while “bi” is a more specific term. One is mostly a cultural statement, the other indicates the people you have relationships with.
From what I can tell this was also LW’s interpretation.
I agree with CMD @2 about one meaning of "queer" - that of including oneself in the broader community. Another way I see it used and sometimes interpret it is one of questioning - "I ain't completely straight, but I'm still coming to terms with my sexuality" or of fluidity - "I've thought of myself as straight, then gay, now bi and I've stopped putting myself in a box."
CMD @2, I have a different perspective that is more in line with Harriet @1. A term like "bisexual" works best among people who self-identify as predominantly male or female, regardless of one's birth gender or preference in sexual partners. But if you are AMAB/genderqueer and you have sex with a woman, is it really heterosex when you don't self-identify as a man? If you and your regular partner are both genderqueer, are your sexual encounters gay, straight, or bi - or does it vary with the time of day and the changing of the seasons?

As a lifelong androgyne, I have always felt that gender is a social and cultural construct based on one's assigned-at-birth genitalia. rather than a biological imperative. In reality, gender identity, like sexual preference, exists along an infinite and variable continuum - and genderqueer folk have flexible identities, just as bisexual men and women have flexible sexual preferences. I am blessed to be married to another androgyne who is as infinitely variable in their gender identity as I am. So do we enjoy straight sex, gay sex, bi sex, all of the above, none of the above...? The answer is - yes.

Harriet @1: "Maybe Dan had biphobic views in the past and no longer holds those views."

This is indeed the case.

As a lifelong bisexual, I don't think that identifying as bisexual implies a gender binary -- in oneself or one's preferred partners. To me it implies that one could be attracted to people regardless of their biological sex. "Queer", as CMD states, is a good term, but it is an umbrella term which includes gays, lesbians and transgenders (and potentially asexuals), and is also a political statement -- there is no such thing as a "closeted queer" because those who adopt the queer label are loudly out and proud. The alternative word-du-jour to bisexual is pansexual -- but I prefer bisexual for a number of reasons. One, it was the word bisexual that enabled 17-year-old me to finally have an identity instead of just thinking there was something wrong with me for fancying girls as well as boys. Two, "pansexual" implies that one is attracted to all genders; like you, Capricornius, I am not -- just those towards the centre of the gender universe. Three, bisexuals already have to deal with the "you'll fuck anything that moves" stereotype, and proclaiming that one is attracted to everybody (pansexual) just perpetuates that.

But I understand and respect the reasons someone else may have for identifying as pan and am happy to use that label for them. We queers should stick together.
David @3: Yes. "Queer" can mean "I'm not sure what I am, but it ain't completely straight."
@4. Capricornius. Exactly!--on 'is it really heterosex?'--especially if it's pegging or the 'biological' guy uses his dick in a non-standard way. I would not think the very occasional sex I have with cis women heterosexual. I guess I see gender as a 'social fact' a bit like nationality (being French or American or whatever)--but a social fact so pervasively accepted that it's easy to take it as a natural fact. There was a time I was well up on the philosophy and social science of this, but by profession I'm a lawyer working for big organisations and it's hard to keep up.

@5. BiDanFan. I'm not a lifelong bisexual--my life has been a series of badly negotiated comings-out--which might be part of why I wouldn't self-identify as 'bi'.

In my dating or cruising, a man describing himself as 'bi' sometimes rang alarm bells because it suggested his primary commitment was to e.g. his wife. I've come across sundry bi men who expect sex while giving little in return.
Harriet @7: And I've come across many straight men who expect sex while giving little in return. (Married men generally prioritise their wives over other lovers, regardless of their sexual orientation or the genders of the lovers.)

In addition to the bi cis women you mention @1, there are many bi men hiding in straight closets (including some whom you've mentioned), and probably a lesser number of bi men who find it easier to be mistaken for gay / bi women who pass as lesbians. As you yourself have illustrated @7, simply identifying as bi is enough to raise suspicion. No wonder so many choose paths of less resistance.

To follow on from Capricornius @4, if I'm having sex (or a relationship) with another bi person, anyone who would describe that as "straight" or "lesbian" sex, depending on that person's genitals, would be wrong. And if I'm pegging a dude, even a hetero one, that's not "straight" sex either. It's totally queer!
BDF @5, I didn't mean to imply that genderqueer people could not self-identify as bisexual, as you and a lot of others do. The point I was trying to make is that bisexuality, like a preference for straight or gay sex, can become a rather blurry concept for those of us who are neither male nor female - in line with your example @8. But then again, everything is sexually ambiguous for androgynes in a society with strong and rigid expectations for "men" and "women." As you put it - totally queer!
I just want to hop in here and state my thanks along with the LW. It has been Dan's years of advocacy for bi folks to come out which has convinced me that it is worth rocking the boat, opening my mouth, and telling people I'm bi. And you know, it feels so much better to not wonder if people would reject me if they knew the real me. I've been lucky enough to have a series of affirming, supportive (I live in Canada) interactions when I out myself. I feel more authentic and less like I'm hiding who I am. So thanks Dan.