|Image from this intriguing blog|
I thought that as a gay man who loved his wife that there was something wrong about what I was, even something shameful. I was letting the side down. I knew that gay men were being bullied, beaten up and discriminated against. I knew that gay rights were vital. Yet I loved my wife, I found her sexy and desirable. But I was also attracted to men. I was ashamed of these desires, and I tried to suppress them, for after all there was no such thing as bisexuality, was there? You had to be one or the other.
I didn't tell people I met that I considered myself gay but was married to a woman. It was none of their business. My lady knew; she has always known, right from the beginning. But to most people I appeared straight. I was married with kids, didn't sleep around with men, lived pretty much the straight married life. But I wanted to write about being gay, about finding out you were attracted to men. because I had some very unhappy times as I found out about myself and how the world disliked gayness and dismissed bisexuality. I wanted to explain to others going through the same traumatic discoveries that I did that it was OK.
"Love is not love which alters where it alteration finds" -- and Shakespeare wrote that to a man he was in love with. I suppose that exemplifies how society wants bisexuality to be hidden. Shakespeare was in love with a young man. He wrote poetry to that young man, some of the most sublime poetry written in English. Yet no one is told. It is a dirty little secret. How about this, folks: Shakespeare was bi. So was Alexander the great and Voltaire and Caesar and Catullus and Plato and Frederick the Great. So were millions and millions of people throughout history, because being bi is wired into us by our genes. It's normal.
In my stories, my characters were a mixture of straight and gay and bi, of male and female; and their relationships were more complicated than sex for sex's sake. They were friends and lovers, and sometimes they were even in love.
I talked to other writers I met on line, and got to know about their own lives, and it became obvious that my neat orderly taxonomy was wrong. Bisexuality isn't hypocritical. People do quite legitimately find both men and women attractive, sexy, desirable. I did. I do. I finally admitted it to myself. And guys who are mostly straight, in the sense that they respond mostly to women, can love and even fall in love with another man. It doesn't make them gay. Some married men find that they are unable to live without having sex with men. Others know and accept their gay component but are happy to remain faithful to their wives. Looking, after all, is not being unfaithful. And even my own kink is OK: my "gayness" is not about sex, really. It's about affection and love; it's about romance. I can live without the sex, easily. I find it hard to live without love.
Some men are straight, irredeemably straight. Sex with men doesn't interest them at all. They may even be repelled by the very idea. Yet that doesn't mean that they can't love other men. Love doesn't have to involve sex. Duh!. Of course, as I've often commented, their fear of appearing "gay" often stops them fully expressing their non-sexual love for their friends, which is both sad and silly. Other men, equally, are one hundred percent gay, and have no interest in having sex with women. And in between there are a huge range of possibilities. There is no one bisexuality, someone who is equally attracted to male and female. There are bisexualities. Hundreds of them, which come down in the end to our common humanity. We find people sexy and lovable. Not types. Not categories. Individuals.
We are hard-wired to love, to interrelate, to have compassion, to feel empathy, to care. The genders of those you love, whether it be one or ten, are utterly irrelevant.
It's taken me a long time to get here, to a place where I can truly say about my own sexuality: it doesn't matter. So much of my life has been dedicated to worrying about what I am, where I fit in, whether I am 80% gay or 90% gay or bisexual or whatever. And I don't care any more. I am me, and so much more than a penis on legs, gay or straight. I have a brain. I have a heart. I can love, have loved, both men and women.
I'm not sure where that leaves my writing. For the past 8 years I've been writing about gay-shaded blokes and how they might live happily in contemporary Melbourne or in one of the mythical worlds I've invented. I want to experience via my imagination, my writing, so much more than just one aspect of human sexuality, of human nature. Just like me, my writing doesn't easily fit into a neat little box, and that bothers some people.
We'll see. Change is inevitable. But I feel now a great confidence in myself and where I am; and in my writing, and in the end I'll keep on writing even if I am the only reader.