Home > Language > Beyond Bisexual

Beyond Bisexual

I love the word queer, on many levels. From the fact that it encompasses more than just my sexuality, into my gender, and certain aspects of politics and community, to that it means odd. I’m more than a little odd, and I’m more than a little queer. I say queer, and people ask me what I mean.

Except in so many instances I dislike the word queer. It’s incredibly frustrating that those not familiar with queer communities don’t ask. It’s unfamiliar, confusing, and not helpful in connecting with different groups of people. More than that, I have huge issues with many parts of various queer communities. They can be self-isolating, unrealistic, judgemental, and occasionally vicious. That is true of most communities at one point or another. But as I’ve heard from strangers and friends recently, so often it is those in the queer (or kink, or other such) community that judges and turn in on each other. No one has come up with a way to keep out the assholes and douchebag.

Carol Queen used a term that I am coming to really enjoy. “Beyond Bisexual.” I don’t identify as bisexual, because I am interested in so many more people than just two of the variety of sexes or genders out there. Except, that is a word that a lot of people understand. There is a lot of meaning there, of biphobia from within straight and GL communities alike. Hell, even I’ve gotten the “so you’re greedy” comments many bisexuals get, and that was without even mentioning being poly.

I’m not exempt from the biphobia found within queer communities. In high school, I was very angry at this one group of girls who would get drunk and make out with other girls and call themselves bi. I dealt with so much shit. I was the school dyke, and anyone could take one look at me and tell. I got asked “are you a boy or a girl” walking down the halls. They got attention, positive attention. They got boyfriends from  those makeouts. It pissed me off. I had gone through confusion, harassment, etc., and they got none of it… and they weren’t “really” even bi! Yeah. I judged. I was one of those policing douchebags. I also grew up and got over myself. A lot about the situation in high school was fucked up, but getting angry because I thought of them as “supposedly bi” only contributed.

Once out of that situation, I chilled a lot. Many friends of mine in college did similar things, making out with their female friends while drunk… while having boyfriends. I didn’t get angry, hell I probably encouraged. A good number of them don’t identify as straight either. I didn’t even think about the connection until recently, at the 5 College Queer Sexuality and Gender Conference during the wonderful keynote by Michelle Tea. She brought up the drunken make-outs, how so many queers police those who partake in them, and that she herself started out that way. Between that, and something I do not recall that my friend next to me said, I started thinking about my role of policing queer identities in high school.

I’ve been on multiple sides of biphobia. I don’t want to discount it, but I also don’t want to discount my much broader sexuality, or risk obfuscating my own non-binary, non-spectrum, and very fluid gender identity. Beyond bisexual takes a word with a history, uses it as a launch pad, so I can go soaring towards the stars. Mainstream people can understand it enough to ask “what?” because it is grounded in a term they understand (whether or not they believe it exists.) Moreover, it’s a term that is specifically sexuality focused. I can use it, expand on it, without having to deal with my explaining my gender. Which is something that degenerates into fluid dynamics and 4 dimensional images of the universe.

Beyond is part of the title of this blog for a reason. It is an expansive word. Beyond bisexual can mean anything from attraction to more than two sexes/genders to going beyond attraction based on gender and into sexualities based more around specific kinks, personalities, etc.

One of the great things I learned about the word (prefix really) trans is that it doesn’t just mean across or on the opposite side… it means beyond. Trans lunar means beyond the orbit of the moon around the earth. Transcendent, transhumanism…

Yes, I’m a word nerd.

  1. 04/15/2011 at 11:34 am | #1

    Labels! This is the problem with labels. No matter what label you create, it cannot be all-inclusive because labels are inherently dividing (or otherwise meaningless).

  2. 04/23/2011 at 6:09 pm | #2

    I’m a big fan of the word ‘sapiosexual.’ But it also requires explanation when people haven’t heard it before. This is a great post.

    I remember bitching one day to a queer female lover of mine about drunken girl makeouts in bars, and expected her to jump in supporting me. Instead she really set me straight about my thinking, and I’m grateful to her for it.

  3. 04/25/2011 at 8:46 pm | #3

    Labels are only dividing if people are negative about the labels. Why can’t labels be just that, a label, a descriptor, a category?

    Before I’d starting blogging I hadn’t heard anybody use the term “queer” as sexual orientation. To me, in my little bubble of conservative-Pennsylvania life, “queer” was just another word for “gay man”, or just gay/lesbian. I love that it’s getting more use and a better definition but you’re right, it requires explanations.

    What still gets me is why the divide in the gay community? Why is there such a stigma about well….everything? The gay men who “pass” as straight are derisive of the flamboyantly gay. The lesbians who are femme get treated like a straight girl and not part of the clique, they are eyeballed as outsiders, guilty until proven….gay? And jesus what IS so damn bad about genuinely being attracted to more than one gender?

    Maybe I’m just a newbie to everything outside the hetero bubble but it feels like…like the Queer community as a whole (anybody other than hetero) has been persecuted and railed on and beaten up and hidden for so damn long, why is there such an intercommunity divide?

  4. 04/30/2011 at 11:03 pm | #4

    I have been liking the word “flexisexual” a lot recently. I think it fits my particular orientation.

  5. Erin
    05/07/2011 at 7:16 pm | #5

    Hah. I remember that high school crap. Wasn’t it fun? I don’t think I noticed a lot of what got said to/about you because I didn’t notice the things people said to/about me. It just didn’t register. Maybe that’s a good thing? I dunno.

    Anyway, as to the wonderful question of gender, you know what I think. Why can’t we just all say “screw it” and be attracted to people? Trends and curves and normal distributions be damned. Some people like their boxes and compartments I guess. And they can keep them. Fluidity is not equal to chaos.

  6. 07/21/2011 at 7:48 am | #6

    I added this valuable post to the links list on my web site.

  7. Matthew
    01/10/2012 at 12:23 am | #7

    I have had relationships with girls and guys throughout my life. I never felt to much apart of the gay community because I would always often have girlfriends but it often seemed beyond gender to me. Gay guys always ridiculed me for it. Gay and straight guys fetishize bodies. I have a strange attraction to anything androgynous: masculine women, feminine men, trans people, gender queer folk of any gender.

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