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Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing Identity: Fluid Identity and Narratives of Bisexuality Online

Nora Madison, Doctoral Student Dept of Culture & Communication Drexel University, Philadelphia PA
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Nora Madison

on 16 April 2010

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Transcript of Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing Identity: Fluid Identity and Narratives of Bisexuality Online

Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing Identity:
Fluid Identity and Narratives of Bisexuality Online
I I tend to value the romantic and spiritual connection that I have with someone over the body parts they possess. I believe this is what makes me truly bisexual. If I like you I don't care what is in your pants. I will work with whatever is there. However, a counselor at my local GLBT community center has diagnosed me as straight after asking me a bunch of questions about my likes/dislikes. Honestly, for me, it doesn't matter who they are. Male, female, transgendered or intersexed. But that's how it is for me. If my emotional attraction to the person is strong enough, the physical attraction follows naturally, regardless of who they are. Conversely, if the emotional attraction isn't there, I may not be physically attracted to them at all. For me, the emotional connection is more important and the physical only follows once that connection has been achieved. This is why I call myself pansexual, but I’ll say bisexual for people who can't make sense of "pan". When I was a little kid I thought that I was gay until around age 12 when it was explained to me that it is not necessarily either one or the other and that for some of us it is both. When I am with a woman I do not feel straight and when I am with a man I do not feel gay. I simply feel like myself all of the time and so I always feel bi. This doesn't mean that I am unable to focus on a single person because I am and I am able to focus on a single person of either male or female gender. I've spent many years trying to figure out if I was gay, bisexual, or a repressed heterosexual. It was all quite confusing for a very long time because my attractions shifted over the years. There were times when I was sure that I was gay, times that I was sure that I was bisexual, and when I was pregnant and flooded with estrogen and progesterone, I was so straight that couldn't for the life of me remember why I was ever attracted to women At this point in my life, I am equally attracted to men and women, but I find being sexual with women far more fulfilling, so fluid is what I have settled on. I tried queer, but being in my 60's, the term has such negative associations for me. I both like the concept and the word fluid. I've been bisexual since WAY before words like pansexual and fluid existed, and I had to fight long and hard to claim the word bisexual. Even though, going by the new definitions, I would be considered to be pansexual, I am not giving up a word I fought so hard for. Also, in this day of Internet searches, on a practical note there needs to be one word that gets searched for. Everybody needs to define themselves in the way that is most comfortable for them, and bisexual is the way that is most comfortable for me. I also use the umbrella word queer, since I am not straight. So generally I am queer, and the specific kind of queer I am is a bisexual. Sexual identity is complicated — it’s about political identity, cultural identity, sexual history, romantic and relationship preferences, etc., as well as basic sexual attraction. And when people are deciding which identity (if any) works best for them, they get to decide for themselves which of these factors gets priority. I don’t want someone insisting that I’m “basically lesbian” because I’m currently hovering around 5 on the Kinsey scale — so I’m not going to insist that someone else is “basically bisexual” because they’re currently hovering around 4. I’m not saying “everyone is basically bisexual.” I’m saying that, at least for those of us in the wide sloppy middle of the Kinsey scale, sexual orientation is at least somewhat malleable. Thank you
Nora Madison
Dept of Culture & Communication
Drexel University, Philadelphia PA I think of "bisexual" as a different orientation from both homosexuals (who orient exclusively toward same-sex romance/sexuality) and heterosexuals (who orient exclusively toward different-sex romance/sexuality). Bisexuals seem to think about the world in a different way: a world of "AND" rather than a world of "OR". I acknowledge the built-in difficulties in the label "bisexual"; there are more than two gender identities, not all relationships are sexual. I still refer to myself as bisexual because that is the accepted term that best fits. However, I will explain my sexuality as fluid. Although there is still confusion and lack of acceptance towards us, I am glad there are forums like this where we can express ourselves. When I am with a woman I do not feel straight and when I am with a man I do not feel gay. I simply feel like myself all of the time and so I always feel bi... I do not change my identity based on who I am with though many people seem to change their own view of my identity according to who I am with.
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