Frances Sybilla Howell (UK, UWC AC 2010-2012)
Personally, I think choosing between men and women is like choosing between cake and ice cream. You’d be daft not to try both when there are so many different flavours.’ Björk
When I came out at Atlantic College last year, I thought that being bisexual was simple – ‘I like boys AND girls. Done.’ However, as I felt my identity change in the eyes of myself and those around me, I realised that there was yet a little more to be done.
Firstly, I found that my ideas of sexuality were not necessarily those of the norm within the overall gay community. I don’t believe, as Gaga proclaims, that I was ‘born this way.’ I did not, however, choose to be bisexual. In my belief, it developed during my adolescence. Secondly, I felt an expectation to be some sort of enthusiastic activist for gay rights; that I should know that there are actually thirteen forms of bisexuality, follow everything online with the tagline ‘LGBT’, read ‘Tipping the Velvet’ and isolate myself to a group of non-heterosexual friends. I realise a lack of these interests renders me ignorant (although I did enjoy Sarah Waters’ novel). If I have concern over an issue, it will be because I have passion for it, not purely because of sexual orientation. Certainly within the AC community though, I would be fighting against a force that wasn’t there in terms of such expectations. We live in a predominantly accepting environment and I believe that creating a fight would be creating myself as an outcast rather than as a coalescing identity here.
Of course there will always be an undercurrent of diverging opinions. This is neither inherent in nor exempted from the castle we live in. One view is that ‘bisexuality’ doesn’t exist. For those who may believe this, I can contest incessantly that it in fact does. Right here. And in the wider world. Lady Gaga, Tila Tequila and Megan Fox are the names thrown around today as ‘bisexual icons’. They are portrayed as overtly sexual, promiscuous and avid devotees to minimal clothing. Whether these attributes are good or bad is subjective. However, this is not an issue confined to bisexual females and instead concerns media representation as a whole. Issues that target the wider community can quickly be altered to appear to target a specific group. Relative to other LGBT groups, bisexuals have few stereotypes and those who attended British National Evening will know that the aforementioned stereotype does not hold fast, having seen me in my underwear and knowing that it was not a particularly sexual experience…
Other ideas suggest that bisexuals are ‘greedy’ or ‘going through a phase’. I can only speak for myself in this instance and say that yes, perhaps I am greedy in the sense that I find the entire human form beautiful. I would not say I was greedy in the sense that I am strongly attracted to others more than a non-bisexual. I’m picky. And maybe I am going through a phase. Maybe I will turn out straight and maybe I will be gay. I will not force myself to choose one or the other, as some may believe is right. Confused though, is not the term to describe it. It is very definite that currently I feel the same extent of attraction to both sexes. I’m proud to be bisexual and I would be equally proud to be gay, or straight. I don’t feel the need to do prove this past explanation because I think of it as counter-productive, creating people as automatic outcasts.
In terms of ‘cake and ice cream’, students will come to Atlantic College to try ‘new flavours’ of life. Bjork, I, and many others will try different ‘flavours’ of gender. In this vane, I will try different flavours of bisexual identity. This stage in between confusion and clarity is fairly exciting, and luckily I am not lactose intolerant.
-United Words –