14kgoldnyc replied to your post: There are a few people who use “bisexual” as “attracted to all possible genders,” claiming that the “bi” can refer to “people with genders like yours” and “people with genders not like yours.” But they’re also usually the people who deny the rights of others to identify as pansexual, so I’m wary of the logic, as it seems to come from a place of dictating how other people should identify!
Honestly, I frequently use ‘bi’ for convenience’s sake: most straight folk are more likely to understand me when I use that then if I just say ‘pan’ or ‘queer’. Plus, I’ve been identifying as such for a long time, before other terms were in use.
Fair enough! I am absolutely not here to criticize anyone for doing or saying things that make their lives as marginalized people easier, or for identifying themselves however they do. I’m sorry if it seemed like that. It’s the bit where they start trying to criticize other people’s identifications that makes me prickly.
Not that there aren’t times when it’s legit to criticize other people’s identifications. If a white person identifies as two-spirit or a cis person with somewhat non-normative gender presentation identifies as genderqueer then there’s obviously room for saying, ‘Er, maybe this is not okay’. I personally wouldn’t get too much into that because I’m not a member of any of the groups that have a two-spirit tradition, I’m not genderqueer, &c., and I think identity is one of those particularly sensitive things that people probably shouldn’t call others out about unless they can do it from a position of saying ‘I am one of the people you’re hurting’.
So I guess my position is that I’m not saying people shouldn’t use ‘bisexual’. I’m not saying it’s oppressive. I’m not saying it isn’t oppressive. I’m saying I think it has a certain undercurrent of binarism in it, but whether that makes it actually harmful (and, if so, whether the harm outweighs its benefits) is a judgment I can’t and don’t want to make. I don’t think it harms me, that’s all I can say about it. And whether or not people use it to describe themselves, I don’t think people should ascribe it to others who don’t want it. Especially not when, as with the criticism of Cynthia Nixon (because I’d hate this conversation to float too far from the original context — that’s when things get messy, I find), they’re doing so in order to reject the other person’s self-identification.
Me, well, there’s no word I can use to describe my sexuality that isn’t going to leave most people with either the wrong idea or no idea what I mean. So I guess that puts me in a slightly inside / outside position on the whole thing. :)