Queeries is an LGBTQ+ advice column catering to any individual across the gender and sexuality spectrum. Throughout this series, we will be answering questions or “inqueeries” that readers may have, and hopefully provide some closure and/or useful advice that can be used in everyday life. All questions are anonymous and will be answered to the very best of our abilities. Inqueeries can be sent to our Instagram’s DM @risenzine, Twitter DM: @risenzine, email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tumblr page: risenzine.tumblr.com
V: You talk about ‘suspicion’ and fear of being wrong - it seems to me that identifying as bisexual is very loaded to you. Maybe ask yourself why this - is it out of attachment to your ace identity, or due to internalised biphobia, or something else? Understanding why you are so cautious could clear the path to being more sure in how you identify. For now, I would like to reassure you that you do not need to worry about taking up space in a community that I am certain welcomes you. Questioning is a stage many people go through and for some much longer than others. Questioning does not make your feelings any less valid, and finding a space where you can talk with and listen to others can be helpful in exploring and recognising your feelings. Finally, remember that identity is not a race, and it’s not concrete. You are under no obligation to choose a label for your identity, and even if/when you reach one, you are allowed to identify differently later.
Amelia: Okay, there’s a bit to unpack here. Bisexuality means the attraction to multiple genders - two or more, specifically. Personally, as a bi person, I see it as the attraction to same and other genders. This is inclusive of trans people, binary and non-binary. Pansexuality refers to attraction regardless of gender, which also includes trans people. Often, how someone identifies has more to do with personal reasons than the labels themselves. Bisexuality has a longer history, for example, so may be viewed as a more political label to align oneself with. Pansexuality is a newer label (which doesn’t make it any less valid), and people who discover this may feel it encompasses their sexuality in a more succinct way. Importantly, though, bisexuality does not exclude trans people, and so you can identify as bi instead of pan and not exclude the trans community. Thus, you can identify as bi. As a person who doesn’t wholly identify as a female, I still call myself bi, and know many trans people who also do. It’s a personal choice!
A: To start off: trans people - whether they identity within the gender binary or not - are not and should not be excluded from a bi person’s idea of potential love interests purely because they are trans. Although bisexuality started off as a term to explain attraction both genders, it’s clear that after two decades we have learned that gender (and sexuality) is much more vast than this set binary we have been forced into. Quite frankly, bisexuality and pansexuality both overlap in definitions - and that’s completely fine. People have different reasons for preferring one over the other. As someone who has identified as pan, and now identifies as bi - it really just depends on your own personal reasons. Although my attraction to other people is based on who they are and not their gender, I still call myself bisexual since I have a bigger affinity with the history of bisexuality and the people within this community.
Amelia: Oh, this is the constant struggle! I’d say if you can, going to LGBT+ events/bars/parties etc. is a good place to start, because there will be other non-straight girls there, and so you negate the whole “are you attracted to women???” issue. Another way is to outwardly state your intentions (which you should probably do with all people you want to get it on with, really); as in go, “Hey, I think you’re beautiful/funny/smart/etc., not in a purely friendly way - wanna hang out?” What my friends do as well (this one is good if you’re closeted at home, too, as it’s subtler) is wear LGBT+ pins! Rainbows, bi badges, etc. - you can buy them really cheap on Etsy from queer stores. Good luck!