Bisexual Awareness Week Series: Day 5 – Previous Posts: Introduction to Bisexual Awareness Week Series – Bisexuality in YA – On Failing to Recognize Ourselves in Mirrors – The “B” Word – There Once Was a Girl
by Justina Ireland
When I was in high school I used to argue a lot about politics. I was the girl in class who would raise her hand and correct the teacher when they’d say something wrong or just plan biased. This usually exasperated the rest of my classmates. Sometimes I cared. Mostly I didn’t. I thought it was better to be right, to correct what was usually a pretty ignorant worldview, than to be popular. And at the end of these heated discussions, as the bell rang and everybody else gratefully escaped, more often than not my teacher would say something along the lines of “You won’t always see things this way,” or “it’s only because you’re still young that you think this way,” excusing my opinions and points of argument with a modification of the “it’s just a phase, you’ll understand when you get older” lecture.
By the time I graduated the phrase was enough for me to plug my ears and sing “LALALALALALALALA.” But at the same time, when I messed around with girls “it’s just a phase” was a protection against thinking that maybe I wasn’t just heteroflexible, that I was a lesbian or maybe truly did like boys and girls. Because if I could be so fickle to find both attractive, what did that say about me, about the way I was made?
“It’s just a phase” has long been the rallying cry of the closeted bisexual. Once we settle down, grow up, we’ll pick a side. It gives us an out from thinking about our sexuality. We have time to decide! To pick a side: gay or straight, forever more. Even the comic book character Iceman got a variation on this speech when he came out recently.
“It’s just a phase…” is the erasure of every bisexual person out there.
Your sexuality is real. You can be equally attracted, romantically, sexually, to both men and women. Even marriage or a long term relationship won’t change that. I’ve been married a very long time. And if tomorrow I ended up divorced I wouldn’t just date men, my dance card would be open to both men and women, still. Because bisexuals are real, they exist.
And it isn’t just a phase.
Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate and dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows, both currently available from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Her essay “Me, Some Random Guy, and the Army of Darkness” is forthcoming in The V-Word, an anthology of personal essays by women about having sex for the first time, published by Beyond Words (Simon & Schuster). You can find Justina on Twitter as
@tehawesomersace or visit her website.