Regular readers will know that I’m no fan of Andrée Seu Peterson, a columnist for World Magazine. In the past, I’ve written about her sexist discussion of taking a man’s name in marriage and her dismissal of protections put in place to prevent child sexual abuse. But I have to say, this week’s column really takes the cake.
The title? “‘B’ Is for Bogus.” “B” as in bisexuality.
Someone in our Saturday morning women’s prayer group prayed for LGBT people to come to faith in Christ. For some reason, it made me suddenly fix on the “B” part of the acronym—“bisexual.”
I think this is because all the individuals we had interceded for up to that moment, since 7:30 a.m., had been sufferers of ailments like cancer and back pain. These are certifiable conditions. Even many lesbian (L), gay (G), and transgendered people (T) are arguably sufferers in some way. (Who would go through the trouble and financial burden of surgical anatomical alterations if he weren’t suffering—if only from profound confusion?)
But “B,” or bisexual, means that you have sex with both males and females, right? What’s up with that?
My friend Bill has a friend who enjoys a ride aboard the LGBT quasi–civil rights bandwagon in the “B” category. Bill finally said to him one day, “OK, so you’re bisexual, not homosexual and not heterosexual. Doesn’t that mean you fool around with whoever you want to?” After a pause, his friend answered, “Pretty much.”
That is not what bisexual means.
When I was a kid, my cousins and I put on a play in our grandfather’s barn. It was a big production and we practiced for weeks, made props, hung curtains, and sold tickets. Our parents and some neighbors came and paid admission. After the show, all the cousins raided the money jar to split the take, and Donald Barrette from next door, who had done nothing but lend his red wagon for one of the scenes, walked away with as much money as the rest of us (which was actually my fault, but that’s too long a story). The cousins were angry by the way Donald slyly infiltrated our ranks and cashed in unseen on the coattails of the thespian afterglow.
I feel that way about the “B” people in LGBT. The LGT guys should be asking themselves about now, “What’s with this ‘B’ guy standing over there in a circle having laughs and a martini at our party? He’s not a real anything! He’s not hard-wired homosexual or a tortured misfit in his own body trying to climb out; he’s just coming along for a free ride. He makes us look bad, because intelligent people will come to their senses and say to themselves, ‘The whole LGBT movement is as phony as a three-dollar bill; look at this “B” thing in the middle that’s just clear-cut straight-up promiscuity.’ This ‘B’ guy blows our cover!”
“He’s not a real anything!”
“That’s just clear-cut straight-up promiscuity.”
Someone needs to tell Andrée that people can be plenty promiscuous with members of only one gender. She seems to be missing that.
If there were a book for gays with parables in it like the Bible, the “B” guy would be the one at the wedding feast who gets kicked out when it is noticed by his lack of proper wedding attire that he is an imposter.
I don’t get this perspective—at all. Andrée seems to be aware that straight people are sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender, and that gay people are sexually attracted to members of the same gender. But when told that bisexuals are attracted to individuals of more than one gender, she concludes that they are . . . simply promiscuous? How does that make any sense at all?
Look, you can’t just choose to be attracted to members of more than one gender. It doesn’t work that way! Someone should ask Andrée if she could choose to be sexually attracted to women as well as men, in order to widen the pool of people she could date. I’m thinking her answer would be no. If you can’t choose to be bisexual, being bisexual clearly has nothing at all to do with being “promiscuous.”
And actually, bisexual individuals often find that their bisexuality limits, rather than increases, the pool of available sex partners. Many people, both gay and straight, don’t want to be with someone who is bisexual. I’ve heard stories of bisexual women being turned down by lesbians because they’re “not lesbian enough” and then viewed with apprehension by boyfriends out of an (unfounded) assumption that they’re more likely to cheat. And it works the other way, too—many women would look askance on the idea of being with a man who had been with other men, and so forth.
And if Andrée had any idea what she was talking about, she would know that bisexual individuals do not currently exist without tension alongside the L and the G in LGBT, as she seems to assume that they do. They don’t always feel welcome, and are sometimes viewed as flaky or simply unwilling to choose a gender and stick with it. Of course, transgender individuals do not always exist tranquilly alongside the L and the G either. And honestly, the L and the G do not always tranquilly coexist! Andrée seems to think the L, G, and T fit well together and that the B is the odd one out, but that in practice all four currently coexist without tension because (she argues) the L, G, and T don’t see B for the imposter it is. All of this is false! The real problem here is that she’s talking about something she appears to know literally nothing about.
I want to note one last mistake I think Andree is falling into. In fact, I think it’s a fairly common mistake among conservatives. Let me explain!
Remember that conservatives often urge women to dress modestly and “cover up” in order to keep men from lusting after them, and argue that rape victims who were dressed too skimpily were “asking for it,” as though men are incapable of resisting. There seems to be this idea that (straight) men would have sex with every attractive woman they come in contact with if they only had the chance.
Conservatives then apply this to gay and lesbian individuals. Because men are seen as interested in sex with everything that moves, gay men are seen as especially promiscuous, because men want sex constantly and it is women who are ordinarily the limiting factor (again, in this conception). Because women initiating sex with women is seen as turning everything about sex and gender on its head, lesbian women are also seen as especially (and disorderly) promiscuous.
So when conservatives like Andrée look at bisexual individuals, I suspect that this equation of the L and the G with sex sex SEX gets multiplied and thus amplified. In other words, in this conception a bisexual man is obsessed with having sex with every woman out there, and also interested in having sex with men, which multiplies the chance of sex happening by a lot (again, in this conception). A bisexual woman is seen as available both to heterosexual men (who are naturally highly sexual) and lesbian women (who are also seen as highly sexual). This, I suspect, may play a role in Andrée’s claim that being bisexual is simply about being promiscuous.
Of course the problem with this is that the rest of the world is not nearly as sex-obsessed as conservatives are. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals’ lives do not typically revolve around sex. Being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is about who one is sexually attracted to, not about how frequently or with how many people someone has sex. And in the real world, we’re constantly around people we find sexually attractive but make no plans to have sex with. That’s simply how it works.
One last note. Notice that Andrée does not appear to actually know any bisexual individuals. Instead, she mentions something a friend of hers told her about a friend of his—this appears to be the closest she is to a bisexual person. Well you know what? I have bisexual friends, and I am somewhere on the spectrum myself. I’m kind of appalled that Andrée felt some abstract thinking on her part combined with a second-hand account through a likely unreliable narrator was enough of a basis for a piece voicing such strong opinions.
Actually, you know why I’m appalled? Andrée sounds like Matt Walsh here, and while I get that both Matt Walsh and World Magazine are conservative, I’d thought better of World than this. And yet here they are, sinking so low that what they print is practically indistinguishable from the tripe that is a Matt Walsh rage piece. I didn’t think my opinion of World Magazine could sink lower, but apparently it can.