Today I had to explain that no, being bisexual doesn’t mean I think there are only two genders. Which is a perfectly fair question that even lots of queer people have, but… I don’t think any cishet has ever had to explain being cishet, and that right there is cishet privilege and I feel a little bit tired.
Now I will explain, for the record, why I, a non-binary person, sometimes describe myself as bisexual. I will do so with a bunch of exclamation marks because why participate in discourse if you aren’t doing it angrily! I kid. You should probably read this slightly friendlier explanation of pretty much the same thing instead.
I personally use bisexual to mean attraction to multiple genders. Bi: two or more. Hence it is an umbrella term encompassing pan, poly, ambi, omni and others. I use it as an umbrella term to describe myself (I actually identify as poly, if we are being precise) because there are no better umbrella terms. It is a visible term that lots of people already use, and there is enough bi-erasure in the world as it is. And did I mention there are multiple flavours of bisexual, and so no I can’t “just use pan” because I am not pan..!!
Yes, bisexual does have the prefix meaning two, and did start out meaning attraction to “both” genders when it was coined in 1892, and is still used that way a lot, and Wikipedia still has that definition. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that. Kind of like how the word quarantine comes from the French “qarante” for 40 because quarantines used to be 40 days long but aren’t any more. Words mean whatever people who use them use them to mean! Etymology does not define words!! That’s the etymological fallacy!!!
Now can we turn our attention to straight, gay and other monosexual identified people who claim to be only attracted to ONE single (binary) gender? One??? Why do only bisexuals get accused of ignoring NBs and constantly asked “but what about NBs”? What dubious double standards. Petition to start asking everyone about that. Maybe I’ll print it on t-shirts; anyone wants one?