On Being Bisexual+

This year for Bisexual+ Visibility Week, I came out, again. I’ve become much more intentional about claiming space within the bisexual umbrella. You see, for a long time I understood bisexuality to denote attraction to cisgender and transgender binary men and women.  As I have made clear, I don’t understand myself as functioning within the binary. I have facial hair, lipstick, a large chest, body hair, dresses, and pants. I blend and break down all of the aspects of gender which function to make me easily categorical, even as I claim the label trans-femme for myself.

Thin waning and waxing moons in the bisexual pride colors.
Thin waning and waxing moons in the bisexual pride colors.

Femme is a complicated term and one that I’ll probably use a few times. It originated in women who love women spaces, for people who engaged in and celebrated sapphic love. I use it both as a person who loves women, sexually and non-sexually, and as a person whose gender expression lives firmly on the feminine of center side of things.

For so long, my queerness was tied up in my transness. In many ways, it still is. No matter who I have a relationship with, it’ll be a queer relationship. My bi+sexuality adds another layer to that; my relationships will be queer, no matter what, because I am bisexual+.

Bisexual is another complicated term, with different definitions spread every which way depending on who you ask, or the mood of the answerer. Robyn Ochs put forth a definition of bisexuality that encompasses most of what I understand bisexuality for me to mean. She says “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

My name is River. I’m a consultant and educator. A graduate student and a student of religion, especially Christianity. I am bisexual+, and transgender. I am fat. I am me.

Coming out, no matter how many times you have done it, no matter how many ways you have done it, no matter what is a terrifying experience. Often, because transgender people are desexualized, the thought of having any romantic or sexual entanglement is beyond comprehension.  The thought of being open to more than one specific kind of sexual/romantic shocks many people.