Hi, I‘m Terri. I am Bisexual.
People say to “do what you love” and I’m fortunate to have had the chance to follow my passion as a sexuality educator as it has evolved over the years. It seems as though my career in public health has involved many a “fight” for gender and sexual equality across the lifespan. To me equality means creating inclusive environments where people feel safe to be who they are. I’ve been providing health education, training, and counseling for nearly 20 years, and am currently the Coordinator of Prevention Services at ActionAIDS in Philadelphia. I am also a board member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elder Initiative of the Delaware Valley (LGBT EI), whose mission is to foster and advocate for services that are inclusive and responsive to the needs of LGBT seniors. I am a member of Widener University’s Consortium on Sexuality and Aging. I also am an adjunct instructor in the Public Health Department at Arcadia University, and developed a course entitled “LGBT Issues In Public Health” which I teach to undergraduate and graduate students. I have presented at numerous conferences and community events on bisexuality, and have authored a lesson plan entitled “What’s Your BiQ”, recently accepted for publication in the American Journal of Sexuality Education. Other writing by me has been published by various newspapers and websites. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, and graduate of Hunter College with a Masters in Public Health, Community Health Education. I received my B.A. in Sociology and Communication from the University of Buffalo.
What being bisexual means to me
Being bisexual means to me giving myself permission to acknowledge my fluidity in attraction to people across the gender spectrum. What we call ourselves is HUGE – it is a personal process that reflects the power of identity and language and sense of community. The realities of the world today are that these labels still mean something to people, something very important to their overall self-concept. I think being a bisexual lets me see each person as an individual. That’s the way I want others to see me, and I want to bring visibility to bisexuality.
What I would like the world to know about bisexuals
I’d like people to think beyond the all too common definition of a bisexual person as someone who is attracted to both men and women. This definition is too simplistic and dichotomous. My preferred definition is one that Smiley (1997) coined: “Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which an individual experiences a combination of sexual and affectional attraction to members of all sexes/genders; engages in varying degrees of sexual activities with them; and self-identifies as bisexual in a way that is consonant with personal, social, political, and lifestyle preferences.”
What was your path to a bisexual identity?
So why bisexual? Because I can’t ignore the allure of a wide spectrum of people…differentiating by gender never seemed logical to me. Although my bisexual identity has evolved over the years, previously identifying as a lesbian, for me bisexuality means I don’t stop attraction, caring, or relationship potential based on gender. I sometimes identify as a lesbian-bisexual. Some bisexuals adopt a “fractured” identity (ie, lesbian-identified bisexual or gay-identified bisexual) in an attempt to maintain identification with gay or lesbian communities and politics.
What is the toughest thing about being bisexual?
Being perceived as a heterosexual because I am partnered with a male. Also, the biphobia I have experienced from my lesbian and gay community members.
What is the best thing about being bisexual?
Having the opportunity to bring visibility to the invisible and create opportunities for dialogue and understanding about the “realities of bisexuality”…..which often means dispelling common myths. As a lesbian-bisexual, I can use my voice to advocate for gender and sexual health equality across the lifecycle.
How have other people in your life reacted to your bisexuality?
More times than not, they have been confused, and not really understanding what I mean by that term. However, I consider myself fortunate to have a partner who is one of my best allies in creating awareness and starting dialogue about bisexual individuals and bisexuality.
Hit him up @ http://www.bisexualsmeet.com if your interested. And his username is BiTerryforever