Please note: A person’s sexual orientation is separate to their gender identity. For example; there are people who are gender diverse who are heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. Therefore, a gender-diverse persons sexual orientation is inclusive of how they identify and their presenting gender.
The definition of the label ‘bisexual’ in the Oxford American dictionary is: (informal bi): “Sexually attracted to both men and women.”
The definition of bisexual in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is: (informal bi): sexually attracted to people of more than one gender.
Traditionally ‘Bisexuality’ is a romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behaviour, toward both males and females. When a person is romantic or sexual attracted to people of any sex or gender identity, it is known as ‘pan-sexuality’. This particular definition of Bisexual can be based on some misconceptions about gender, as you can’t always tell by looking at someone whether they’re a man, a woman, trans, or ‘cis-gender’ (a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex), or the person may identify as ‘non-binary’.
A simple way to view the different between the label ‘Bisexual’ and ‘Pan-sexual’ is that people who are ‘Pan-sexual’ are gender blind, meaning that they do not choose their sexual and romantic partners based on their gender. The term ‘Bisexual’ or ‘Omnisexual’ allows for being attracted to different variations of gender.
Therefore, the label of bisexual is not simply confined to being attracted to just cis-male and cis-female, nor does it sit on the half-way mark between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Many bisexual identifying people have a preference for one gender over the other, but this preference can change by the connections they have to individual people.
One of the most persistent myths about bisexuality is the idea that it doesn’t exist, and that the person is just going through a “phase” or hiding that they’re really gay? For numerous reasons bisexual people receive unfair judgement from both heterosexual and homosexual identifying people. For many gay men coming to terms with their sexual orientation, they often identify themselves as bisexual to “test the waters” or as a ‘stepping stone towards the self-acceptance of being gay. In these situations the gay person often has a lot of confusion, fear of judgement and rejection, therefore often portrays the identity of Bisexual as being insecure and one that misleads people, or is indecisive. In reality, this is a gay person giving bisexuality a bad name.
Other myths include that bisexual people are “sitting on the fence” and will eventually must pick a side (Male or female). Some people’s sexuality is fluid, meaning it changes from time to time, or it is more diverse than fitting into a definition of a particular sexual-orientation label. It’s also possible that you’ve learned more about yourself and sexuality over time, and realized you were never bisexual in the first place.
The journey to figure out who you are is an important one, growing to know and accept yourself, is a display of personal strength that often translates in being viewed as more sexually attracted by others.