a bisexual woman who was wondering if she should marry, some people wrote angrily to say that one does not have to want to be in a plural marriage to be bisexual. That makes sense. They said that they were bisexual but happy in a committed monogamous relationship. That too sounds reasonable. Some claimed to have been hurt or insulted by my recent words about bisexuality. So I reexamined what I wrote.
I want to be kind and I want to be fair
and want to admit that I can make mistakes. I hurt some people and I am
sorry. I erred in not speaking to enough bisexual people to understand
the sensitivity of the issue. I got swept away in the pure logic of it.
For that I am sorry.
But let me state affirmatively what underlies
my thinking. People need to make choices based on who they really are.
In order to do that they must have legal choices that suit who they are.
am for maximum human freedom under the law. If being lesbian means one
wants the right to be partners with women, and being gay means one wants
the right to be partners with men, what does being bisexual mean if not
that one wants the right to be partners with both sexes? Does that mean
just one at a time? Doesn’t that mean either serially or concurrently
as one chooses? Is there an unspoken rule there that says not
concurrently but only serially? I am just looking at the logic of it.
it is politically unwise to acknowledge the obvious. But I am in that
sense a radical thinker and not an activist. I am not interested in
strategy. I am a lucky, free person, blessed with a free, widely read
platform here on the Internet, committed to the free exchange of ideas.
may be a politically strategic reason that in this period of public
attitude adjustment bisexual people do not want to raise the logical
implications of their status. The specter of polyamory and plural
marriage makes the public a little crazy.
But I want history to move toward maximum human freedom under the law.
am teachable. But I remember the cautionary liberals of the 1960s who
did not want to make waves. I remember the “go slow” integrationists of
that earlier period who did not want to make waves. There are times when
we must all examine our own thinking — not just those on the “wrong”
side but those who believe themselves to be on the “right” side.
Everyone. Even when our feelings are hurt. Right now, we are seeing an
unprecedented leap forward for sexual freedom. Ought we not take
advantage of this moment and try to see the logic of the situation
a private sense, one’s identity may shift. But one’s public identity
must be seen as a constant. Otherwise the law can have no effect. If
identity is not a constant then it has no meaning under the law. Gaining
rights would have no meaning. One can of course be bisexual and make
the choice to marry monogamously. But must one? Why?
It seems only
logical that a bisexual person is capable of having equal and
simultaneously deep, committed relationships with more than one person,
because one’s identity as bisexual is constant; it is not a changing
thing, where one is one day heterosexual and the next day homosexual. If
it were that then a third term would be needed. It would lead to
absurdity if under the law anyone could change one’s status from day to
day. There is a spectrum of bisexuality in which some people are only
mildly so. But should only the mildly bisexual be protected under the
law? What kind of law would that be, that only protected people who were
mildly this or mildly that?
If all people are to be protected
fully under the law and allowed to seek their free and happy destinies
under the law then bisexuals should be allowed to be married to both a
person of their gender and a person of the opposite gender at the same
time. That just makes sense. It places no affirmative burden on a
bisexual. All it says is that there is, in your very being, a
recognized, legal rationale for your choices.
What am I missing here?
closing I also want to mention my own status as a married heterosexual
white man nearing the age of 60. Is there something prejudicial in my
own status, some reason that I cannot possibly know anything about this
issue because, even though I have lived in San Francisco for 35 years I
am not avowedly gay or lesbian or bisexual? It is true that my close
friends of long acquaintance are pretty much like me. But the beauty of
logic is that it can transcend ethnic and gender identity. The beauty of
a law that seeks maximum human freedom is that it need not be rooted in
personality or race. It can stand above that and endure because it is
founded in logic that anyone can see.
For instance, we all agree
that no people should be slaves. We don’t say only black people from
Africa should not be slaves. No people should be slaves. Similarly, no
people should be forced to live lives that contradict their deepest
nature. Not just certain people. No people.