“What to others a triffle appears/ Fills me full of smiles or tears,/ For double the vision my eyes do see/ And a double vision is always with me” Poet William Blake speaks of the double vision which allows for a wider perspective. Such is the view from high atop the infamous bisexual fence. Where others are confined to the view of their own backyard, fencesitters can see what’s going on across the field.
In her book The Wisdom of No Escape, Buddhist nun Pema
Chodron, tells the story of God who appeared wearing a large hat that
was red on one side and blue on the other. Walking down a road with
people working in fields on either side, God manifested himself for all
to see. At first they were all ecstatic, exclaiming that they had seen
God. However, they then started to argue over what colour of hat God was
wearing. Those on the left side of the field insisted it was a red hat
while on the right they insisted it was a blue hat. It is this
inclusive picture which can allow bisexuals a greater view of
Humanity—understanding that attraction to members of the same and
opposite sex can lead to a greater understanding of each sex and, it
could then be argued, a greater understanding of God.
Throughout history and various religions, we find examples of how
bisexuality or the incorporation of both masculinity and femininity into
oneness creates enlightenment and offers insight. Whereas conservative
theology may condemn homosexuality and bisexuality, a closer
examination reveals examples where it is celebrated and even worshiped.
The Sambia of New Guinea believed semen to be soulful secretions. Young
boys between the ages of seven and ten, would perform fellatio on
teenage boys and older men in hopes that ingesting the magical substance
would inseminate them into maturity and manhood. Similarly, in the
15th century, Mayan families would provide their adolescent sons with
male slaves to attend to their sexual needs until marriage.
Within some Native American and Aboriginal cultures, bisexuality or the
possession of both male and female characteristics is referred to as
being two-spirited. Such youth were sometimes identified in a ceremony
called “the bow or the basket” The children would have to run into a
burning structure and choose what was most important to them. If they
rescued objects attributed to the opposite sex, for example a boy who
saved basket weaving materials or a girl who saved weapons, then they
were identified as being two-spirited. These youth would sometimes grow
up to be healers, medicine people, tribal leaders and visionaries.
Greek philosopher Plato (c.429-c.347 BC) explored concepts of dualism in
Symposium where he suggested that human beings where actually perfect
spheres that were cut in two by Zeus. Plato also alluded to the fact
that homosexual love was actually a force that could drive the soul
towards wisdom. This idea was echoed by Friedrich Nietzsche who said “The degree and kind of a man’s sexuality reach up into the ultimate pinnacle of his spirit.”
Bisexuality and the attraction to both males and females is similar in
theory to androgyny and hermaphrodites, who have an infusion of both
male and female characteristics. Several classical Gods are said to
have encompassed such oneness. Most prominent was Hermaphroditus, who
was the child of the God Hermes and the Goddess Aphrodite and who
possessed both femaleness and maleness.
Offering another example of this, the oldest available commentaries on
the Hebrew myth of Genesis suggest that God created man as androgynous.
Given also that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, it has been
interpreted that Adam gave birth to Eve—a historically female act—as
would be God’s creation of man. And seeing as God created man in his
image, it has also been suggested that God himself was androgynous.
In fact, many Gods and Goddess have been shown to have dual sexual
natures. Omphale, was the queen of Lydia and also the taskmaster of
Hercules. Her name is derived from ‘Om’ meaning the Universal mother and
‘Phallus’ meaning the male organ. Represented as doubled sexed, she
has been interpreted as possessing bisexual qualities. She is
associated with male symbols such as the club and lion’s skin. Whereas
Hercules, who wore Omphale’s dress and spun for her can be associated
Mercury who was called “the male female” is also said to have been
androgynous. This is illustrated by the symbols associated with
Mercury: the serpent and the cornucopia. The serpent can be interpreted
in different ways. It’s tail and head are male in nature, but when the
tip of the tail is inserted into the serpent’s mouth, this represents
the woman. Also, the cornucopia or horn of plenty, is said to be a
double sexed symbol. The horn being the maleness, with the inside of
the cornucopia and the fruit it contained representing the
productiveness of femininity. Janus of the Greeks, who possessed two
heads and opposite faces is also said to have been double sexed or
hermaphroditic. One head was said to be looking behind at the past and
one head was looking forward at the future. Implying that God could
look both ways at once, referring again to a broader perspective—similar
to what is available with bisexuality. The Sufi poet Rumi eloquently
sums up these concepts of androgyny, with “I, you, he, she, we /In the garden of mystic lovers /These are not true distinctions.”
Angels have also possessed a certain amount of androgyny. They have
men’s names such as Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, however they also have
non-specific and confusing forms. Visual representations of angels
possess both male and female characteristics. With their cherubic faces
and robed attire, angels are both visually appealing and appeasing.
Because their apparitions are typically meant to be a sign of God and
the presence of peace, angels could be interpreted as representing
non-threatening imagery of androgyny, perhaps that of the wholesome and
divine combination of the male and female form in one astral presence.
These concepts of god-like androgyny where elaborated on by the mystic
Jakob Boehme (1575-1624) who claimed Christ and his father God were
androgynous with both male and female coming together in the soul.
According to Boehme, “When Christ on the cross once more redeemed
man’s virgin male-female image, and colored it with heavenly
blood—Christ changed sleeping Adam from being man and woman, back into
his original angelic image.”
Even within the holy trinity of the father, the son and the Holy Ghost,
the Holy Spirit is said to be the feminine aspects of God, represented
at times by the dove, which symbolizes the female procreative energy.
Believing that in the last several thousands years religion has been
male-dominated, some feminist movements have carved out their own
beliefs and practices. Dianic Wicca or Dianic Witchcraft was founded
in the 1970's by a lesbian named Zsuzsanna Budapest. Named after the
Moon Goddess Diana and attracting many bisexual followers, it is
practiced with women only rituals and typically does not work with male
energy or worship male deities. Although these women may be involved
with men to varying degrees, they agree that it is time to reclaim
religion in a more female form.
In Asian Tantric philosophies, the Sun and practicality are male whereas
the Moon and wisdom are female. It could therefore be argued that
bisexuality, being intimate with both energies, offers a more inclusive
perspective on the universe. This further illustrates the idea of
oneness given that Tantra refers to the divine union of opposites.
This can also be seen in Taoism or Daoism. Founded by Lao-Tse (604-531
BCE) it is also rooted in the concepts of oneness and balance between
male and female, represented by the black and white symbol of the Ying
Yang. The Ying represents eternity, darkness and feminity and the Yang
represents history, lightness and masculinity. When the Ying and the
Yang are equally present there is balance. When one is outweighed by
the other, there is confusion and disarray. Since there is a small
circle of ying in the yang and a small circle of yang in the ying, it
also symbolizes fluidity in sexuality and the balance that can be
achieved with bisexuality.
This balance between male and female can also be found in Atum who was a
God in ancient Egypt and a part of the Hellopolltan Cosmology. Said to
be a bisexual God, he was responsible for creation in Egypt. Atum, who
the Egyptians called the “Great He-She,” was said to embody all the
male and female aspects of life. His semen contained all that was
necessary to create life and deities. He gave birth to his children Shu
and Tefnut by masturbating. His name, Atum, means “the complete one”
and he serves as a good example of how bisexuality has long been viewed
not as an indecisive identity but instead the most complete and holistic
Often condemned for their indecision and lack of identity, bisexuals can
now take comfort in their androgynous, dualistic approach to love.
With a wider view of the world and each other and the possibility that
God himself was bisexual, it is obvious that our straddling seat high
atop the fence between male and female brings us that much closer to the
heavenly clouds. Perhaps our most esteemed sexpert, Sigmund Freud,
best sums it up. In a letter written to Wilhelm Fliess on March 25th,
1898, Freud wrote, “I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality—I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.”