20th February 2019, Stu Fenton
The Beauty of Being Bisexual
Despite increasingly accepting views towards the LGBT+ community in recent decades, many straight, gay and lesbian people still find bisexuality difficult to understand. One of the main reasons for this is that straight, gay and lesbian sexuality divides humanity into only two categories.
This binary view of the world suggests that sexuality itself is distinctly divided into we and others; us and them. For example, straight men can feel confident in their heterosexuality because of the way they feel towards women differentiates them from gay men. Likewise, lesbians can reach a similar conclusions based on her relationships with other women. So where does that leave bisexual people?
Being Bi Challenges the Status Quo
Bisexuality challenges dominant worldview – and that can create confusion and fear. Whereas straight and gay/ lesbian sexuality is defined by a boundary between two sexes, bisexuality transcends it. Because bisexuality isn’t based on an unalterable dividing line between two sexes, it defies the very foundation of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and can confuse people who are not bi.
That doesn’t make bisexuality wrong. It just makes bisexuality different.
The location and set up of R12 has created an interesting phenomenon that I hadn’t encountered before working in mainstream treatment facilities: one that’s extremely supportive of the bisexual experience. Just as gay men, lesbians and transgender people struggle to come out and embrace their sexuality fully for certain specific reasons, bisexual people encounter the same challenges – sometimes for similar reasons and often for very different reasons.
One common reason is the judgment and stigma that bisexual people incur. Many people believe there’s no such thing as bisexuality; others offend bisexual folks by telling them it’s just a phase. Some people even believe that bisexuals are greedy, that they can’t be trusted in relationships, that they spread HIV and STIs or that they’re afraid of commitment. These assumptions are obviously untrue, and they can make it difficult for bisexual people to want to come out and explore their full identity. A large number of bisexual people – especially men – fear that coming out will bring homophobic taunts upon them. As a result, they act on their attraction to women but not men, and exploring their attraction towards men remains a mystery experience and a reason to feel unnecessary shame and guilt.
Finding Acceptance as a Bisexual Person in Recovery
As Resort 12 is an LGBT+-dedicated therapeutic community village among three other mainstream villages, we often find that here, people who have never explored this part of themselves find the courage to talk about it in private, one-to-one therapy. In this gay and lesbian rehab, that private therapies allows to find the deeper problem instead of just trying to see what happens in the present. This in turn leads them to seek further individual counselling and attend LGBT+ therapy groups.
In many cases, after a few days of attending LGBT+ groups, these people (often men) decide to transition completely into R12. They don’t make the move to become gay or even to become bisexual, but because we offer a safe and secure environment within which they can explore their sexuality fully and without fear of judgement, abuse or criticism. They decide what they will ultimately do when they know themselves and realise that their sexuality is unique, healthy and good.
Some bisexual-identifying clients identify this as an area to work on during their initial phone assessment, leading them to choose R12 from the start and make this issue their primary focus. Many of these clients say that discovering and exploring their bisexuality was their most important accomplishment during their time in treatment.
Celebrating Bisexuality in Treatment and Beyond
Sadly, even today, outdated beliefs and assumptions still get in the way of people fully living their lives and embracing their sexuality. But at R12, you can find the means to not only explore and accept your sexuality, but you can also learn how to strongly support and celebrate your bisexuality.