Bi radical: Jumping in: some differences and similarities between bisexuality and pansexuality
Here’s my take:
Bisexual and pansexual identities often look the same:
- Both bisexual and pansexual people might feel desire towards any amount of genders. People who feel desire towards people of more than one, more than two, many, multiple or all genders can identify as bisexual or as…
This gave me some food for thought, although I still sometimes can’t help but get uncomfortable when people identify as bisexual because I’ve so often heard it defined in a wonderfully binarist fashion as “attraction towards both genders [or sexes].” And I have a really hard time separating bisexuality from all of the binarism it can entail.
Yyyyyeah. People get very attached to the idea that ‘you can’t disagree with anyone’s identity’ but that’s not actually true because some identities are based in oppressive ideas.
If some cis woman wants to identify as a “natural-born woman,” you better believe I’m going to object, because that’s a term rooted in cissupremacy. Yes, even if she considers trans women natural-born women too! That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a loaded term with a history in oppression, and you can’t just hand-wave that away and decide it doesn’t apply any more.
Bisexuality isn’t inherently oppressive, of course, but it is rooted in that ‘attraction to both genders,’/’attraction to both men and women’ like Brynn said - that’s how the term was coined and defined BY THOSE USING IT for decades. There’s nothing wrong with being attracted to women and men, full stop.
But when you shoehorn that around and pretend you can use it to mean ‘attraction to people of all genders’ despite its history of meaning ‘attraction to women and men’ and history of erasing people who are included int the former and not the latter, you’re being an oppressive tool.
Because sexual/romantic orientation identities aren’t just about you, they’re also about the gender identities of everyone you’re attracted to (if anyone).
So yeah, if you define yourself as bisexual and acts as though it includes me, I’m going to be triggered as fuck and react as though you’ve harmed me and erased my gender, because you have. I get that there are people who are trying to radically redefine bisexuality: using it to mean attraction to two genders but not necessarily man or woman, using it to mean attraction to people of the same gender and those of other genders, etc.
And honestly, the way the linked posts acts as though bisexuals are suffering one-sidedly at the hands of pansexuals is laughable. I have seen so many bi people attack pansexuals as ‘special snowflakes,’ deride their orientation, erase them, erase nonbinary folks, I’m going to stop now to try and avoid getting angrier. Not that pansexuals are innocent either of course; there’s a lot of shaming anyone else who doesn’t share their orientation (something in common with bisexuals, ~whee, you can relate on that note~), and a lot of obnoxious cissexism and binarism under the guise of recognition.
I guess in short I could’ve summed this up by just saying some identities reflect on others’ identities in oppressive ways.