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What’s the meaning behind ‘bisexual’?: Learn all about the awesome B in LGBTQIA+!

Robyn Exton

Jan 12, 2024

What’s the meaning behind ‘bisexual’?: Learn all about the awesome B in LGBTQIA+!
Group of three people with alternative style.

If this question has come to your mind often, you might have heard someone say,

“Everyone is a little bit bi.”

And that could be true; who knows!

In 50 years, we might have a queer utopia where attraction is not so black and white. In the meantime, having a label to express who we are and who we love is super important, so if you feel like bisexual might be yours, then tag along!

Why bi? The key to understanding bisexuality

We know that you or someone you care about might think they’re bi. The thing is, people experience bisexuality in a myriad of ways! That’s why we’re here to help you navigate it and understand it to the fullest, since having a guide when finding yourself is always better.

 Two people sitting while laughing and enjoying a drink.

Source: Medium

The English definition of bisexual

Time to break it down: the timeless Oxford dictionary, bisexuality means “being sexually or romantically attracted to both men and women, or to more than one sex or gender.”

While the wording is quite specific,  that’s because back in the 70s and prior, bisexual as a term was limited to the most common genders at that time: men and women. Since then, our wonderful community has grown and we’ve had the privilege to learn more about our queer peers. That’s why now we define it as “attraction to more than one gender” or “attraction to the same gender and others.”

Myths and misconceptions: A bi FAQ

There are some comments and stereotypes that people love to repeat, so let’s get them out of the way before we continue. Shall we?

  • Is bisexuality a phase? No. If it was a phase, then you’re not bi. Still, experimenting and getting to know yourself better is always encouraged and labels might change in the process.
  • Is it transphobic to be bisexual? Absolutely not! Bisexuality embraces the whole gender spectrum, it’s not exclusively about cis folks.
  • Can I be bi and not be attracted to men? Of course, sweetheart. You might like women, non-binary folks and gender nonconforming people, but not men, and that’s bi too.
  • What’s the difference between pansexual and bisexual? Well, pansexuality is more about liking someone regardless of gender. For bisexuality, gender expression and identity still play a part.
  • Is it hard to date when you’re bi? Dating can be a hassle for everybody in general. Luckily, HER gathers other bisexual folks eager to meet someone like you!

How to know if you’re bi vs gay

Many of us have wondered “am I really bi or just gay?” Think of it as the difference between finding someone objectively attractive or actually seeing yourself potentially loving this person (or at least having sex with them).

Like, a lesbian can admit Donald Glover is a hottie, and still not feel the appeal. Someone who’s bi would definitely have him as a hall pass.

 Three hands waving the gay, lesbian, and bi pride flags.

Source: Advocate

There is a “but,” though. ‘Gay’ is often used as an umbrella term for everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community. So you can be bisexual, see a pretty girl and think “I’m sooooo gay.”

It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what you find out when you start questioning your sexuality.

Is it okay to be bisexual with a preference?

Heck yeah! We all have preferences in many ways. Some like blondes or brunettes. Some like alternative styles and others the preppy look. And some might like one gender more than others.

Elder sapphic couple hugging lovingly.

Like women most of the time with the occasional man into the mix? You’re a valid bi. Never dated any men but still feel attraction to them? Also super valid!

Doesn’t matter if only 1% of your attraction belongs to a gender. It still exists and so does your bisexuality.

Most importantly, don’t feel bummed if you’re never been with anyone of the same gender, you’re always bisexual even if your relationship doesn’t “look” like it is from the outside. 

The bisexual flag

This colorful flag was designed by bisexual activist Michael Page in 1998 after realizing that many members of the community struggled to feel connected to the rainbow pride flag. Sure, it’s for everyone, but bisexuality was a little bit more niche and unheard of, so having a symbol of unique pride was, and still is, a need.

Bi pride flag with a fuschia, a purple, and a blue stripe.

Source: Wikipedia

The layer of pink or fuchsia at the top is said to represent folks having same-gender attraction, such as gay or lesbian folks. 

Then, the purple-y lavender stripe in the middle represents people who are attracted to those of the same genders or different genders. AKA, bi people!

Lastly, the  blue at the bottom signifies people who have opposite gender attractions.

Combined, they make the perfect representation of bisexuality for you to wave proudly!

Just bi things

Something cool about being part of the bi community is joining in on the fun! Besides the obvious things they share, like sexuality, there are a few common denominators that allow you to connect on a deeper level with people like you. Here are a few:

Bisexual memes

Just like any great thing that comes out of the internet, bisexual memes are a unique comedy genre that sometimes can be so accurate it’s spooky. Here are some examples that will make you LOL:

  • The classic hero: Biderman
 Spiderman drawn in bi coloring with a bisexual iteration of his theme song.

Source: Reddit

  • A simpler explanation of the bisexual meaning
Twitter post with text that reads ‘are you straight or gay’ and the image of a pirate replying ‘well yes, but actually no.’

Source: Reddit

  • The possibilities of “your type” are endless
Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch desperately eating pancakes.

Source: Reddit

Bisexual fashion 

There are many aspects of bi style that you might rock on your OOTDs, like the classic flannel button-down, the “bi bob” haircut, leather jackets, stylish cuffed jeans, and flaunting the bi pride colors in your clothes or accessories.

Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra flaunting her short hair in front of Asami.

Source: Insider

This doesn’t mean you have to wear a bisexual uniform wherever you go, it’s just a wholesome proof that bi folks have great taste.

What folks love about being bi

There are so many awesome reasons to feel proud of your sexuality, it definitely comes with perks. This is what some Reddit users have to say about it:

“I don’t have to change the pronouns in lyrics when I’m singing love songs”

Woman in casual clothing with headphones dancing on a couch at home.

“When someone asks if you gay and you say no. So they ask if you’re straight and you say no; they say so ‘you’re gay’ again, and once again you reply no. Confuses the f*ck outta those who don’t understand and I love it.”

Two people looking at each other confused.

The bisexual community […] You’re the chillest, most accepting community I have EVER had the pleasure to be a part of.”


So now that you know what it means to be bisexual, I hope that your newly-gained LGBTQIA+ lore will serve you well on your journey in the wonderful world of queerness.

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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