Is there really a "bi mindset"? For decades, I preached the Gospel of Bi -- that people who have attractions to more than one gender are, or can be (or, in any case, should be), catalysts for world peace, human bridges to overcoming the divides between genders, races, religions, creeds, and cultures. I asserted that bi people are, by nature, accepting, appreciative, and celebratory of differences, that we are an all-encompassing, all-compassionate, all-loving, all-nonjudgmental, and all-nonhostile/nonbelligerent group of beings. After all, I certainly was -- or wanted to be.
And I thought, or hoped, that we would win people over to the "bi point of view" -- our nature -- by exhibiting our holistic way of being and thinking, our love and acceptance of fellow humans, sexually and otherwise, unfettered by the artificial constraints of gender roles, gender points of view, monogamy, jealousy, machismo, and so on.
Others would admire our way of being and want to emulate us, liberating themselves from their narrow, bifurcated, binary, either/or mindset of "only straight" or "only gay," and they would emerge with a broader worldview of behavior. Voilà: world peace, love, and harmony.
Well, besides being daft (I reasoned that Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Dr. King, and other peace advocates had fallen short of their ultimate goal by merely neglecting to advocate bi behavior), my circular rationale was sophistic and sophomoric at the least; just because I was bi and for world peace didn't necessarily mean the one was intrinsically linked to the other or causal. Embarrassingly, this took me decades to accept, despite the evidence: I was personally impatient, often angry, and occasionally hostile, and I had all sorts of friends and acquaintances who were less than ideal themselves.
But what about the idea or concept of a "bi mindset"? After all, wasn't there a "gay mindset"? Why do so many gay men feel a special connection to The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland, and musicals? Why do so many gay men, lesbians, and bi people self-identify as "liberal" or "progressive"? Is any of that valid evidence of a "gay mindset," "mentality" or "sensibility"? Is wanting world peace a "bi mindset" or just a mindset, a philosophy, separate and apart from sexuality?
While I wanted my sexuality to be part and parcel of a panacea, wishing it to be so doesn't make it so. Nor does wanting a "bi mindset" make it a real mindset.
So this left me with the uncomfortable realization that maybe my outlook on humanity and my approach as a bi person to other humans was only good for, say, seeking one-to-one relationships (or finding dates for Saturday night), not for saving the world.
But maybe it is not so limited, after all. Sure, my awareness of having bi feelings came before I figured out how to integrate those feelings into my everyday life, and they certainly preceded my formulating a philosophy that incorporated those feelings into my worldview. Intrinsic? No. My "bi mindset" is just that: my approach to fitting into the world. It isn't a "bi mindset" as such. I haven't given up on hoping people will be more open-minded and accepting, and I still think that if more people felt bi feelings, the world would be a better place. But I know Christians say the same thing about Christianity, Jews say the same thing about Judaism, and so forth: if only everyone else saw the world through their eyes.
And then I think about all those hostile, angry people out there -- bi, straight, and gay, the ones who don't have a serene (Zen?) outlook on life -- and I think that maybe a "bi mindset" doesn't really promise world peace after all. But maybe it's a start -- one of several.
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