“Someday…” is a series written by contributors, who pen their thoughts and hopes for a more open-minded society.
People and their sexuality can be classified with relative ease. First they’re divided into two camps – Either you’re straight, or you’re not.
If you’re not, that’s where the acronym LGBT comes in, efficient as a sorting hat, placing people into neat sub categories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
Of these, bisexuals are the perhaps trickiest to categorise, because they are inclined to both genders. Some in the LGBT community regard them with some degree of suspicion, because they have the best of both worlds, they have all the options, and if they’re lucky, they never have to deal with the sticky process of coming out.
Throughout history, bisexual women have been ostracized by their Sapphic sisters for their romantic and physical relations with men. And while bisexuals these days have a movement of their own, and their own coloured flag to boot, the meaning of the word remains nebulous.
Dictionaries define it as men or women who are sexually attracted to both genders. Others seem to think that in order to be considered “authentically” bisexual, one should have been in relationships with both sexes. Yet I know people who, despite having been with both genders, do not consider themselves bisexual because they are still discovering which gender preferences suit them best.
And having come from an all-girls secondary school, I’ve seen my fair share of teenage lesbian romances give way to traditional, heterosexual, long-term relationships come junior college and university.
“Turning straight,” we used to call it, in a more youthful and ignorant past, dismissing these relationships as experimental girl-on-girl trysts their proponents dabbled with merely because it was trendy at that time.
But if sexual attraction to the same gender – no matter how brief or fleeting – is enough to identify one as bisexual, perhaps the LGBT community is far larger than we think. Not all of them are chest thumping, flag-waving activists who bleed rainbow stripes.
I have old friends who, at first glance, might look completely straight. Having left their same-sex crushes behind, they might have settled down for the long haul in a heterosexual partnership. Perhaps today, they might not even remember the heady rush of falling for someone of the same gender. Should we consider them heterosexual? That’s debatable. Does it make them part of the LGBT circle? It should, but to the conventional eye, it doesn’t.
The LGBT community champions love and acceptance for all. But sometimes its penchant for neat and dandy categories means people who don’t fit the characteristics of any, or identify with the sentiment of a larger group, are set adrift.
In the ongoing quest for public acceptance, people in the LGBT circle often see themselves as the minority. But when we strip away the labels and open up boundaries on the Venn diagram of sexual attraction, perhaps we’ll realize we’ve got a far larger pink dot than we could have ever imagined.
So maybe it should be less about the LGBT, and more about the Everyone. After all, we’re all part of the movement too.
Clara is a third-year Journalism undergraduate at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. She is currently interning at a magazine publishing company and also champions elephant conservation.
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