Bisexuality - Assume Nothing!
(Presented by the Australian Bisexual Network)

OzBi Map
Click on one of the followingto find the answers to your questions about bisexuality.

What is bisexuality?

Are bisexuals "fifty - fifty"?

Aren't bisexuals really just gay or straight and pretending to be something they aren't?

How common is bisexuality?

How come I don't see as many bisexuals as I see gays or lesbians?

Aren't all bisexuals promiscuous or cheating on their partner?

Don't bisexuals spread HIV/AIDS?

How about discrimination? After all bisexuals can always pretend to be straight!

I think I may be bisexual! What can I do now?

How do I find out more?

Do I have to be "out" to become involved?

Who is the Australian Bisexual Network?

How do I join ABN?


What is Bisexuality?

Bisexuality is the potential to be physically, emotionally and/or sexually attracted to both men and women including transgender people. Many people engage in sexual activity with people of both genders, yet do not call themselves bisexual. Sexual identity is a personal thing. People may call themselves straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or just plain sexual and have a sexual preference for both women and men. A person may identify as bisexual because of the feelings they have for both genders but engage in sexual activity or have a relationship with people of only one gender or remain celibate. This page was produced by part of a growing group of people who proudly identify themselves as bisexual. We are part of a national and international Bisexual Movement.


Are bisexuals "fifty - fifty"?

Some may be attracted equally to both genders but many are attracted to people of one gender to a greater or lesser extent. The degree of attraction for one or the other can vary over time. Often it is the people and not their genders that are most important.


Aren't bisexuals really just gay or straight and pretending to be something they aren't?

For a very small percentage of people they may really be straight or gay and claim they are bisexual for any number of reasons. However because of the pressure put on us to choose one or the other, many bisexuals have tried identifying as gay/lesbian or as straight. Many have found that they still have strong feelings for people of both genders. This can be a confusing time as little information has been available on bisexuality or "coming out Bi". It can be a painful process to identify as bisexual because in the past there has been little support for people trying to assert a bisexual identity. This is changing slowly. Whether a person comes out as bisexual after previously identifying as straight, gay or lesbian, the bisexual community can offer a safe place to discuss their issues and fears. The bisexual community has for a long time offered this support to those that do go on to identify as gay men and lesbians.


How common is bisexuality?

It is probably more common than you realise. According to various surveys and studies at least thirty percent of sexually active people admit to some form of bisexual behaviour. The older the person the more likely they are to experience a same sex encounter and to admit to such behaviour. Societal attitudes inhibit many people from admitting bisexual or homosexual behaviour and this can lead to under-reporting of the number of bisexually active people in a society.


How come I don't see as many bisexuals as I see gays or lesbians?

Since there is not a stereotypical bisexual appearance, way of acting or type of clothing, bisexuals are usually assumed to be either heterosexual or homosexual. Bisexual men or women in a gay and lesbian march are assumed to be homosexual or straight supporters unless they are marching as a bisexual group with a banner. A bisexual man and woman in a relationship would appear to others as a straight couple and similarly two bisexual men together appear as a gay couple. Where there is prejudice against bisexuals, it is hard to challenge these assumptions. You can help by not presuming that anyone is straight, gay/lesbian or bisexual until you have given them a chance to define their own sexuality or identity.


Aren't all bisexuals promiscuous or cheating on their partner?

These are common misconceptions. Bisexuals are no more or less promiscuous than any other group. Because most bisexual people have had to think deeply about their sexuality, they also may have had to seriously consider the sorts of relationships that work for them. Contrary to myth, a bisexual does not need to be involved with both a man and a woman, nor does attraction involve acting on every desire. Why should a bisexual's attraction to people be any different to those of straights or gays? Some act on them, some don't. Many bisexuals have long term monogamous relationships, others may have a greater number and range of partners. Some may cheat on or deceive their partner as occurs in other groups but many are faithful or honest to their partner. One thing all the best arrangements or relationships have in common is a great commitment to honesty from the start.


Don't bisexuals spread HIV/AIDS?

Bisexual men are often scapegoated as the agents of transmission of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) from the gay community to the heterosexual population. Lesbians are also concerned that bisexual women may pose a threat to their community because bisexual women have sex with men. However it is unsafe sexual behaviour rather than sexual orientation that puts people at risk of infection. Often bisexuals have more cause to think about their sexual practices than most other people. Nevertheless, bisexuals as well as straights, gays and lesbians must continue to educate themselves about safer sex practices. One guideline has become very clear: it does not matter whom you have sex with provided that you have safer sex.


How about discrimination? After all bisexuals can always pretend to be straight!

It can be just as painful for a bisexual person to hide their sexual identity as it is for any gay man or lesbian who is in the closet. "Out" bisexuals can experience similar types of discrimination as those faced by gay men and lesbians in the general community and at the same time face discrimination and prejudice directed from gay men and lesbians. Bisexual people may face whether out or not, violence and abuse in the same manner as gay men and lesbians. Legislative protection and increased education and understanding are what is needed. Bisexuals are an increasingly visible presence in a variety of political movements and organisations fighting for equal rights and opportunities and for better HIV education and support services. We all deserve respect regardless of our sexuality, gender, race, disablity and so on.


I think I may be bisexual! What can I do now?

Plenty! There are more bisexual groups and groups that also welcome bisexual people around today than just 12 months ago. Many of these groups can be found in the listings of gay and lesbian community newspapers and publications or can be obtained from telephone services such as gayline, lesbian line and bi-line or those of AIDS Councils. Others listings can be obtained off the internet. It is often enlightening when you have the opportunity to talk with other bisexual people. However, take one step at a time and be wary of other services or people who want to label you with a tag you do not feel confortable with. Many bisexual people do not use labels but just acknowledge their attractions to both genders. Others feel that "bisexual" best describes how they feel and find it empowering to call themself Bi.

Why not give the Australian Bisexual Network a call and talk to someone about how you feel, or you can e-mail us at ausbinet@optusnet.com.au.


How do I find out more?

Have a look at our Regional Bi Groups page for a list of bisexual and bi-friendly groups and e-mail lists in Australia.
You'll also find lots of links to Bi friendly web sites on our Worldwide Resources page.

The Australian BisexualNetwork also has a paper based resource library containing a mass of information. If you have a particular topic you want more info on we'll try to help out with photocopies from our library - we just ask for a donation to cover the copying and postage costs.


Do I have to be "out" to become involved?

No!We have active members who are only "out" with their bi friends, some who are "out" to everyone but their families, and some who are Bi for the whole world to see. And of course all the slight variations in between. We certainly don't force anybody to come out and we respect the rights of people to decide in their own way what best suits them in their life situations. This is just one of the areas that gives us:

Strength through diversity!

The number of groups in Australia organised for and by bisexual people is steadily increasing. They may vary from providing information and support to well organised social events to political activity in the form of lobbying, rallies and marches. Members are encouraged only to do what they feel comfortable with.

We believe that our diversity encourages acceptance and respect and it is one of our greatest strengths. If you are in an area where there is no bisexual group you may consider organising one or being a contact for other bisexual people in that region. If you are involved in a gay or lesbian group you might like to consider including bisexual people and developing programs that welcome their participation.

Return to the ABN Home Page

Copyright; 2001 The Australian Bisexual Network
This web page was last updated on: 15 June 2000