|Attracted To:||Any two or more genders|
A common variance of this definition includes attraction to men and women, or attraction to a similar and different gender to one's own. Historically the bisexual community has extensively challenged the gender binary, resulting in the bi label encompassing more than the two binary genders, despite the prefix meaning 'two'.
Ancient Greek religious texts, which reflected cultural practices, had bisexual themes throughout. Ancient Greece is generally considered to have been largely accepting of LGBTA individuals, albeit with different standards of morality. Same sex relationships between boys and men were common and considered a part of life and learning, although it was expected that men would have relationships with women to procreate as they grew older.
In Ancient China and Japan, homosexuality and bisexuality was also documented, both men who had sex with men, and women who had sex with women. There were even ancient Japanese art prints, called shunga, which depicted homosexual relationships in full detail. Ancient China had similar artwork, which even at times depicted polyamory.
As well as being seen in humans, bisexuality has also been observed in various animals.
According to zoologist Alfred Kinsey's research in the mid-1940s, most individuals are not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. The Kinsey scale measures sexual attraction and behavior on a seven-point scale ranging from 0 ("exclusively heterosexual") to 6 ("exclusively homosexual"). It was found that most of us fall somewhere in the 1-5 category and are believed to have "varying bisexual responses". However, those who rank anywhere between 2-4 are most likely to be recognized as bisexual, as they are often not one extreme or the other.
The psychologist Jim McKnight was one of the first to write that the idea of bisexuality is a form of sexual orientation, as suggested implicit in the Kinsey scale, which he cites often in his work.citation needed However, despite McKnight and Kinsey's work on human sexuality, this conception of bisexuality has been severely challenged since the work Homosexualities (c. 1978) was published by Weinberg and his psychologist colleague Alan P. Bell.
Origin of the term
The first English-language use of the word bisexual referring to sexual orientation was by the American neurologist Charles Gilbert Chaddock in his 1892 translation of Psychopathia Sexualis, a seminal work created by Krafft-Ebing. Psychopathia Sexualis concerned itself with the pathologisation of sexuality and considered homosexuality a mental illness; 'bisexual' therefore referred to those who were both heterosexual and homosexual (hence 'bi'). Prior to this, the word "bisexual" was used in reference to plants, suggesting that species were hermaphroditic or intersex.
Openly bisexual individuals in early history
The first openly bisexual individuals in history were rare in early American life. Some examples of this include poet Walt Whitman, who has been described as both bisexual and homosexual in his feelings and attractions. In the early 20th century, during the Harlem Renaissance, blues singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith made no secret about their relationships with men and women. Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay was also openly bisexual.
Content Warning: Biphobia
|Pan||Similar||Attraction to all genders||Pan rejects attraction to gender constructs|
|Omni||Similar||Attraction to all genders||Bi doesn't have to encompass attraction to all|
|Poly||Similar||Attraction to many genders||Bi can encompass attraction to all|
|Di||Similar||Attraction to only two genders||Bi can be attraction to more than two genders|
|Bin||Similar||Attraction to men and women||Bi can be attraction to any two genders|
|Biaesthetic||Aesthetic|| ||arco-pluris, DistinctiveSoy|
Prefixes and Suffixes
|Label||Prefix / Suffix||Flag||Description||Creator(s)|
|Bambi Bi||Bambi||||A bi individual who prefers cuddles, hugs, kisses, and other affectionate and even sensual non-sexual acts over sexual acts.||ryanyflags, Unknown|
|Biflux||-Flux||||Being attracted to two or more genders, and that attraction fluctuates for certain genders between strong and weak attraction.||pride-flags-for-us|
Flags and Symbols
The bisexual pride flag was designed by a team led by LGBT activist Michael Page in 1998. The flag was created in order to give the bisexual community its own symbol which was easily recognized and comparable to the gay pride flag (rainbow flag) that represented the larger LGBT community. Page's aim was to increase the visibility of bisexuals, both among society as a whole, and within the LGBT community.
Page took the colors of the bisexual pride flag from an existing bisexual symbol, the biangles. The biangles, or bisexuality triangles, are another symbol for the bisexual community. The symbol has unclear origins, although it is most likely based off of the pink triangle, another symbol for the gay community in specifics. Pink represents same sex attraction (gay and lesbian). Blue represents attraction to the opposite sex (straight). They overlap to create the color purple, representing the attraction to both sexes. Page also describes the flag's meaning in deeper terms, stating: "...the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the real world, where bisexuals blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities." The colors of the bisexual flag are often incorrectly reinterpreted to represent attraction to women (pink), men (blue), and non-binary individuals (purple).
Other symbols used by the bisexual community involve the bisexual crescents (a pair of back-to-back crescents) and the bisexual symbol, an infinity symbol featuring the female (Venus) and male (Mars) symbols as well as a blank circle for the genders and attractions between.
- Bisexuals “Doing Gender” in Romantic Relationships - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15299710802660029
- Internalized Binegativity, LGBQ+ Community Involvement, and Definitions of Bisexuality -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8856634/
- "Sexual Orientation" American Psychiatric Association, https://web.archive.org/web/20110726144306/http://healthyminds.org/More-Info-For/GayLesbianBisexuals.aspx. Archived on 26 Jul. 2011.
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- "The Kinsey Scale" Kinsey Institute, https://web.archive.org/web/20221226184123/https://kinseyinstitute.org/research/publications/kinsey-scale.php. Archived on 26 Dec. 2022.
- Bell, Alan P., and Martin S. Weinberg. Homosexualities a Study of Diversity among Men and Women. Beazley, 1978.
- Von Krafft-Ebing, Richard. Psychopathia Sexualis. Butterworth-Heinemann, 1939, https://doi.org/10.1016/C2013-0-06569-3.
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- "plural aestheticities (multisthetic) flags" Tumblr, arco-pluris, 2 Mar, 2018, https://arco-pluris.tumblr.com/post/171469129367/plural-aestheticities-multisthetic-flags.
- "Biaesthetic" LGBTQIA+ Wiki, DistinctiveSoy, 22 Jun, 2021, https://www.lgbtqia.wiki/wiki/Biaesthetic?oldid=140732.
- "Bialterous" DeviantArt, Pride-Flags, 4 Jul, 2015, https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Bialterous-543925372.
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- "Bambi flags :D !" Tumblr, ryanyflags, 31 Oct, 2022, http://archive.today/2023.06.17-000309/https://www.tumblr.com/ryanyflags/699607786749919232/bambi-flags-d-bambi-lesbian-bambi-vincian. Archived on 1 Jan, 2023.
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