The Fence
 A new place of power for bisexual women

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Here's just some of what you'll find in the 40 jam-packed pages of issue 6....

Being Bisexual
 by Cheryl Dobinson (aka Miss Bisexuality)

Coming out as bisexual has been a long process for me, and at this point I feel that my sexuality is more a journey or a story which is continuing to unfold rather than a fixed label.

When I first felt sexual attraction, around 12 or 13, it was towards men. It was only in my late teens that I became aware of any attraction to women. This blossomed at age 21, when I had my first sexual experience with a woman and came out as a lesbian. Over the next few years I dated, had sex with, and fell in love with women. But at the same time I also found myself feeling some attraction to men again, and I gradually started exploring this renewed interest. I entered a serious relationship with a man at age 24, which forced the identity issue for me. It was a struggle to let go of my lesbian identity for many reasons. My main fear centred around the possibility of being rejected by the lesbian community I had come to call home and not finding another community which would accept me. I began identifying as bisexual but still felt conflicted and wasn’t totally comfortable with it. I felt it was the most accurate term to use, but I didn’t have a strong connection to it or feel any pride in being bisexual.

About 2 years later I attended a Toronto Bisexual Network event and was introduced for the first time to bisexual community. The connection with other bisexual people was very powerful for me, and allowed me to move towards a comfort and joy with my bisexual identity that I hadn’t been able to achieve on my own.

Right now I live in Toronto’s gay village with my bisexual male partner of 4 years. At different times during our involvement we’ve been either monogamous or open to outside sexual partners. It’s all about whatever feels right for both of us at any given time, and about being able to communicate with each other about our wants and desires as well as our insecurities and limits. For me this has less to do with bisexuality than it has to do with not holding monogamy as an ideal and being open to exploring other possibilities for respectful and responsible sexual living. Sometimes I find myself feeling a bit apologetic because I worry that my life reflects the stereotype of the bisexual who can’t be monogamous, although intellectually I realize that I don’t have an obligation to live my life in ways that challenge every stereotype that exists about bi people. If people think that I’m a reflection of every bisexual person out there that isn’t actually my problem.

As an out bisexual, I get hit with both homophobia and biphobia. The specific challenges of being bisexual include invisibility, not being taken seriously, and dealing with all the myths and stereotypes that exist about bi people. Biphobia hurts the most when it comes from other queer people. The queer community is where I feel most at home, and yet it isn’t always that accepting of bi folks. We get excluded on a regular basis, even when the “B” is listed in an organization or event’s name.  

In spite of the challenges, I’m proud to be bisexual. It means I’m coming from a very authentic place and I can talk openly about my struggles and the changes I’ve gone through. My pride has now grown into activism. I teach courses and lead workshops about bisexuality, I facilitate numerous support groups and I publish a bi women’s zine called “The Fence.” I’m also involved in many different lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations as an out bisexual and I advocate for bi inclusivity in LGBT organizations. I’m committed to challenging people’s ideas about bisexuality and also to helping provide bisexuals with ways of expressing themselves, connecting with others, and learning that it’s possible to be bisexual and proud of it.

Post Script: This piece is going to be in a university textbook next year!  (Hence the mention of “The Fence,” as though you’re somehow not aware of it’s existence….)

It will be in: Hyde, J. S., DeLamater, J. D., & Byers, E. S. Understanding human sexuality: Canadian edition (3rd Ed.). Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 2006. 3rd edition


by NappyHeadWondah

Bisexuality, my sexuality?
Or is that men aren't enough?
Maybe I'm greedy and want to have the cake and to eat it too.
I don't think I'm greedy or else I would have had both by now.
Why do I check out men and women? I've only really been with men and I have refused women in the past.
I was unsure then, but I guess I'm unsure now.  Maybe it's just better as a fantasy, something to tease the guys with.
But women do fascinate me and there were times I wished I was brave to step up to a woman. Step up to her and just tell her I think she's cute/hot/intriguing/sexy/my desire.
Am I ready? Will I act like the shy little girl I was when I was a virgin. Will I be totally repulsed by the experience and lose my interest?
Will I be trapped in a lesbian world and never be with men again? It's not like I want to relive some porn scene although I don't mind watching them. I want to be to be intimate with and enjoy another woman just like I would a man.  Am I wrong to feel this way? to want to act on these feelings?
I know there's others out there that has felt or feel the way I do. But where are they? Why do I feel alone?
Will my questions be answered? or will I remain in this state of confusion? I know that life along the way can raise much questions, but I also know that sometimes the answers are there right in your face.  As I look in the mirror and look within myself hopefully I'll find out if bisexuality is my sexuality.

We Were Amazons

by Barb Crisp

We were amazons.
Our cause was right, our motives pure, and our pain real.
With novitiate fervour, we marched in the streets with our brothers.
We came out to family, to friends, to bosses
the dentist, the doctor, the landlord
the hotel clerk in Kingston
the dry cleaner down the street.

Nobody’s child,  I became a daughter of the revolution.
Nobody’s sibling, I became sister to many.
Bonding against an onslaught of hateful words,
finally focussing our anger where it belonged.

After the death of Bill 167, we sang out our rage…
clear and powerful
We heard later a supreme court justice was listening 

The tide began to turn.

We danced to our victories, defiantly challenged defeats, no longer believing those decisions would be final.

Just as the victories began to mount, just as it seemed the battle would be won…

I turned my head
And fell into a pair of eyes
that caused liquid amber to pool in my belly

the eyes of a man

All that I knew
into a sea of uncertainty
floundering, drowning
then floating

Years drifted by. I would look down the length of my arm at a hand that still held the hand of a woman. It still felt right and natural and yet…

New eyes locked into mine
breath caught at a forearm exposed
the bend of a head
the cool, crisp shirted expanse of back
how I longed to settle into the cove of that chest
flushing, I would turn
breath held against the betraying glance

Then one day, she and I were over. For other reasons, I always add quickly, so people will not think I left her for “them.”

I heeded the siren call
watching men on the street
the way they moved
imagined how they smelled
drank in their voices

Still frightened at the thought of them touching me
The last time I was with a man, it hurt
In fact, it always hurt with men,
an instinctive reflex from a childhood betrayed

Longing and afraid, everyone around me still saw dyke. I took a phantom lover… he of the quick and seductive keyboard. A passion that scorched my mind but left my body safe.

We flamed, we sputtered, we died. Just a few months, but enough  to know the hunger was real.

So I took a man to my bed
gentle, soft, even timid at times
trust came instantly with this little bear
A chest to rest my head upon
an expanse of back to explore
forearms to trail my fingertips across
and surprisingly, a soul to touch

I ran at first, from the depth of feeling. But my feet found no purchase on the slippery slopes of my desire, my longing, my connection to this soul I had known for many lives. Giving in to myself, I revelled in us.

Then one day I woke up
back in the closet.

Evasive answers when friends asked, “Where were you this weekend?” Deathly afraid my second family would turn against me as my first had. Afraid to hold hands on the street, the irony was not lost on me. But oh, the guilt.

Coming out again.

I should be good at it by now, but it doesn’t get much easier. A different education of those you love, those you like, those you know, those you can barely tolerate.

Does this mean you’re straight?
I’m so excited for you!
But I don’t get it, you’re a lesbian!
We still love you.
What’s your friend’s name again?
Of course we want to meet him!
You’re dating other people too?
Well, you were married once.
As long as you’re happy…

Now two years later, the sands roll less under my feet. No one ran screaming into the night. Yet I can’t help but wonder, would there be more dinner invitations, if I had a woman to bring?

And who wants to date a woman
who lives with a man
but is still an Amazon at heart?