When I helped edit XY Magazine back in the day I went through lots of text, layout, and photos. Only one particular page reappeared in my head as I read Benoit Lewis’ write-up of Mike Glatze in New York magazine. The layout was two drawings by Abby Denson, one was a girl the other was a guy, the caption said “Am I Gay?” and readers had to choose which character turned them on the most. Anyone who picked the boy was gay.
Nobody saw anything wrong with the layout because it was in keeping with the strong message of the magazine and the people behind it. There were no room for bisexuals because something like that was silly and it was only a cover for gay people who were too afraid to come out to society. This idea on the nonexistence of bisexuals wasn’t one that easily came to young people, but it was an idea that came from the older gay role models who ran the ‘zine.
When I told my Bf that I thought Mike Glatze was bi he told me that in all honestly he couldn’t understand how bi people could work. It is tough to understand because bisexual men, for the most part, are in hiding. I have encountered no men who are openly bisexual, and I know of maybe 1 or 2 that could apply that label to themselves but have chosen not to. In the NYTimes article on Mike Glatze the possibility that he is anything other than gay or straight is never broached. I believe it’s an honest assertion by the bi community that coming out bi is tougher than coming out gay because the third option isn’t even a possibility to most people.
The voices of people who are coming out bi are growing (in my experience on reddit) as I’ve read about men who have girlfriends or wives who bravely feel compelled to “come out” to them and are fearful that they would be rejected. As I understand it bi people can either experience a 50/50 attraction, or a even a 90/10 split. Many bi people experience shifts in mood from gay to straight. Some are in poly amorous relationships and others are creatures of monogamy, confining the other gender to fantasy.
Mike Glatze’s struggle is more complicated than it seems. I think he’s probably bi, or maybe asexual, or maybe pansexual, but I can’t know, I can only listen and so can you. Listen next time someone says that we “choose” our sexuality, or that we aren’t born liking a same-sex gender when we can steer ourselves straight, because while that sounds like baloney to you and me, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for a confused man with a 90% liking of girls and a pesky 10% he can’t get rid of.
I still remember that drawing in XY where you have to choose between a boy and a girl and I think we failed poor Mike Glatze.