Gay? Not Gay? Where’s the B+ in LGBT? Steffi and Chris Share their Stories
By Chris Wright
While most media coverage on LGBT issues features those who identify as gay (and gay men at that!), there are many who identify elsewhere in the sexuality spectrum. According to some statistics, for example, bisexual and other non-monosexual persons comprise around 40 percent of the LGBT community. Yet, it seems bisexual+ persons are sometimes an afterthought when it comes to discussing LGBT experiences, issues and people. Perhaps it’s because many presume they can pick and choose to live a heterosexual lifestyle or they can join the gay community and essentially, be gay.
This thinking, however, takes part in bi-erasure which undermines the bisexual+ experiences of people. Sexuality, like most things in life, should not be polarized. There are many, myself included, who genuinely identify near the middle of the sexuality spectrum.
My interest in girls probably started off like it does for most young boys. I remember my first crush clearly. Michaela and I sat next to each other in fourth grade and we enjoyed many moments of chit-chat and gummy worms. Going into junior high, however, I clearly noticed something a little different: I was attracted to some guys like I was some girls. Nevertheless, for both my junior high years, all my actual crushes were girls. So at the time, I thought my attraction to guys was a phase (oh, don’t we love that word?).
A little more than a decade later, in addition to accepting that I’m a bisexual guy, I’ve worked hard with advocating for all those who are LGBT at BYU-Idaho in a group called USGA-Idaho, short for Understanding Same-Gender Attraction-Idaho. While there, I met who would become my future wife.
This girl, after sharing a video with me on pansexuality the night I met her, was named Stephanie. Not only did this girl share many of the same interests and character attributes as me, she identified with me. Simultaneously, I was also physically attracted to her as she is very beautiful. Even though bi-erasure seeks to label bisexual men as gay, I was not forcing myself to like Stephanie. My attraction to her, like has happened to girls and guys in times past, was very natural and real.
Initially, our relationship began as friends. This was a wonderful time where we got to know each other. After six months or so, there was one point that we’d be talking almost daily on the phone. We’d always have something to talk about. After more conversing and time, we decided to start dating. This was the best decision of my life.
Stephanie has been a light in my world. I’ve become a happier and better person because of her presence in my life. We’ve grown a lot in our past year together. I’m so happy to say that my first experience with love is also my last.
I’m very privileged to be with Stephanie, to have had the experiences I’ve had and I hope to help society not forget that sexuality isn’t always gay or straight. The experiences of bisexual+ individuals are just as legitimate and noteworthy, and shouldn’t be neglected. And I hope many will be able, like myself, to be true to their self and find the person they love.
By Steffi Ann McGinnis
There are many of us who fall into the “in-between” category of the LGBT spectrum. We have to remember that we define labels, that they do not define us. I’m a feminist and LGBT activist. I strive to better the world and to make it a safer place for all of us. I’m also a member of USGA-Idaho, short for Understanding Same-Gender Attraction-Idaho. While there, I met who would become my future husband.
For the last two years I had been trying to figure out if I was bi sexual, pansexual or something like that. One day I came across some information about sexual and romantic identifiers.
I’ve accepted that I am a pan-romantic demi sexual. I never realized that there was a difference at all between romantic and sexual orientation before. Knowing that I am a demi sexual has helped me realize what it takes for me to fall in love. This can range anywhere from having deep meaningful conversations to spending quality time with them in person. I lack sexual attraction with someone until I form an emotional connection with someone.
Being pan-romantic, I’m not attracted to every single person I meet. It simply means that I have an orientation just like every body else. My partner could identify as any sex/gender, and it would not change anything about how I feel about them. Gender does little to define the relationship.
Friendship and love just come before physical arousal for me. I like the suspense. Yes, I can still tell if that guy or girl is aesthetically attractive. I just would never sleep with them on the basis of that alone. No non-committal make-out sessions (NCMO) or flings. I’ve tried it – it’s like my body doesn’t work.
I feel so privileged being able to marry my best friend. Someone who identifies with me and loves me for me. Someone who helps me become the very best person I can be. The last two years with him have been full of adventures, especially this last year. I feel lucky to have someone who wants to change the world with me and make it a safer and better place for all of us. I chose him over all others and I will always choose him. I love him for who he is and who he will become.
Chris Wright stole my pan-romantic demi sexual heart.
good luck to both of you, I hope your next 32 years together are as happy as mine have been with my wife and 4 kids. You have our support and best wishes.