Rainbow Center holds panel on bi- and pansexuality
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 23:09
In celebration of Sunday’s National Bisexuality Awareness Day, four members of the Rainbow Center’s Speaker’s Bureau shared personal stories and challenged misconceptions about bisexuality and pansexuality on Monday night.
The members began by letting students and participants know that the session would focus on answering questions. By sharing their own stories about finding and accepting their sexuality, the members wanted students to not only understand the meaning of bisexuality and pansexuality, but to also feel comfortable with asking questions without trying so hard not to be rude.
The speakers explained that when they were growing up, they were realizing their sexual preferences at different points of their lives. For each of the members, there was always a period of self-questioning and confusion that led to introspection. Some were confused about whether or not their thoughts and feelings were normal. Some faced rejection from their parents. Some had to find security by facing their insecurities.
“You’re sad because you’re not accepting who you are,” one panel member said. “You’ve been denying it for years.”
All of the members were discriminated against by the gay community as well as the straight community, facing criticism that was even harsher by identifying as bisexual or pansexual. For this reason, most members will identify themselves differently depending on who they interact with. The speakers informed students that there is a multitude of terms, definitions and affiliations that confuse many people, and that also mean different things to different people.
“There are just some people who get it and some people who don’t,” said Stephanie Jacobs, a 3rd-semester psychology major and member of the panel. “I didn’t find out about the Rainbow Center till my senior year of high school and it was pretty exciting… People were inquisitive and open; it was new and interesting. I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.”
Though the speakers mostly found support and were happy to meet people who thought and felt the same way as they did, they still challenge misconceptions about bisexuality and pansexuality. One of the biggest false impressions about people who identify themselves as either or both is their hypersexuality.
Despite the reality of their experiences and struggles, the members wanted to keep the discussion lighthearted and positive, instead of portraying everything in a negative light. By using humor and sharing jokes, the panel opened students up to ask questions.