Every gay man has a friend (or knows someone who has a friend) that, despite evidence pointing to the true nature of his sexuality, identifies as bisexual. It can seem quite odd hearing this friend (whom we sense with forbidding-certainty swings the gay way) confess his bisexuality. In moments like this, we might find ourselves raising our wall of cynicism; mount concrete evidence in our mind that suggest our friend is only playing the bisexual card because of a self-interested desire to blend in with tales of normality. But, in doing so, we risk ignoring the beneficial value of an idea our now bisexual friend has come to own all too well.
Perhaps he said it under an avocado tree, where you both sat. Rustling of green leaves as they swayed in the wind filled your mind with bliss. But reality’s unpleasant tune snatched the heavenly feeling from you when, as a conversation gathered momentum, your friend let the following words escape his lips: ‘I’m actually bisexual‘.
It’s supposed to mean nothing, really. But the manner with which our friend’s new life detail rests with us lacks consistency with the records we have of his life. Surely he has a girlfriend, but everyone knows she serves only as cover from the pry of those who reside in non-homosexual territories. She is only there because she has always been there, the girl thrust onto his life by happenstance. Our records show his sexual conquest. All are rife with stories showing his romantic engagement with men, events which lit up his soul at the times when they happened and trailed mutual hours-stretching conversations. How was it now possible to lay the detail of his bisexuality against the backdrop of everything pointing to his homosexuality?
We might scoff at our friend’s lack of a moral backbone. This is what the desire to be accepted as normal has reduced him to, we might think: a liar. All the stories that trail him insist he can’t play the straight card but the bisexual card is there for the taking because it offers explanation to his sexcapades with men, while allowing ample space for tapping into a narrative considered normal.
However, to reason along this line is to ply a profitless route, for it demands access to what lies beyond reach: first hand knowledge of what resides within the mind of another person. It would serve us better to look in the birthplace of what comes across to us as lies. Asking why-is-X-lying is a graduation from X-is-lying, for the former entertains the possibility that our bisexual friend tells the truth. Dismissing our friend as morally impoverish because he plays a card that increases his chances of acceptance needn’t be exercised.
Our tendency to latch on to cynicism comes at a cost. It means failure to engage fully with other people, sometimes those we love. The bit worthy of curious engagement is the idea that motivates anyone who tends to demonstrate a value for acceptance. The insight our gay-bisexual friends have that us ‘authentic’ folk think dirty is that, it serves to keep the truest version of ourselves away from the awareness of others because bits of us can get in the way of (things we might consider) the greatest good. Gay guys who announce themselves bisexuals are alive to the fact that we live in a world where a majority of those who reside outside of our bodies will never understand us. And while engaging with those in the world, we might need to shield them from the atrocities that reside within the core of our beings. For example, we may feel a desire to slap our shouting boss but never dare to; a friend’s new born baby might look like a freshly birthed goat but we would never voice our true thought; we may feel like sleeping with our new straight friend who happens to be married but defer from sharing our inside fantasies with him. Our place isn’t to shun ‘lying’ gay bisexuals. It is to recognize the value of acceptance and empathize with why it may feel needful to bend oneself to attain it.
Of course lying is for cowards. But the litmus through which we can test some truths comes designed by those who send it our way. Making peace with the truth that we will never know the full content of what lies in the minds of others is the first humane step in making peace with our bisexual friends. Not because we believe that they are telling the truth but because they have served us their own truth and in most cases need us to believe them. Gay bisexuals deserve recognition for they are attuned to the fact that we occupy this world with others. We needn’t accord them disbelief, even when they send us a version of their truth under an avocado tree. We need to let our gay friends play the bisexual card as much as they need to, lest they continue to remain weary of a truth we so desperately need them to know: we accept them for all that they are.
You are Awesome.
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