PHOTOS: Honest portraits of the bisexual community in The New York Times

In a piece called "The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists," The New York Times Magazine explores prevalent stigma against the bisexual community as they work to defend their existence. Included is a portrait series of people who are bisexual, accompanied by stories of their own experiences. Here's a sample:

"Let me tell you a story,” he said, recalling the time he represented a heterosexual woman in a case against gay neighbors who were trying to have her dog put down. “People would say, ‘You’re gay — why aren’t you helping the gay couple?’ I’d say, ‘Because I always side with the underdog.’ The poor dog was in animal prison at animal control, with nobody to advocate for it. The dog needed help, needed a voice.” He paused and caught my eye in the rearview mirror. “You’re probably wondering where this is going and whether I’ll shut up anytime soon.”

“I know I am,” said Ian Lawrence, a slender and youthful 40-year-old A.I.B. board member in the passenger seat.

“Well, bisexual people are kind of like that dog,” Kane said. “They’re misunderstood. They’re ignored. They’re mocked. Even within the gay community, I can’t tell you how many people have told me, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t date a bisexual.’ Or, ‘Bisexuals aren’t real.’ There’s this idea, especially among gay men, that guys who say they’re bisexual are lying, on their way to being gay, or just kind of unserious and unfocused.”

Zelma Mae Bullock, Age: 29

“I find that people think I don’t have boundaries. That’s kind of unfair. I have boundaries just like any other person. I have character just like any other person. I know what my sexuality is. I know that I’m attracted to both sexes. But that doesn’t inhibit me from building rapport with my partner or building intimacy.”

 

John Sylla and Mike Szymanski, bisexual activists, have been together 17 years.

John Sylla, Age: 55

“If I’d met a woman instead of Mike, I’m pretty sure I’d be flying under the radar, like so many other men do.’’

Mike Szymanski, Age: 53

“Rodney Dangerfield is credited with saying it doubles your chances of having a date. I always thought that it halved your chances, because whether you told straight or gay people that you were bi, they both ran.”

 

Regina Reinhardt, Age: 70

“I was born in Germany. In Europe you lived your life, and whoever you were attracted to, that was O.K. I came to America in 1970. I remember that the lesbian community was very, very — how shall I call it — negative toward me. And if I would be attracted to a woman, and she was mostly a lesbian woman, immediately the community of friends would warn her to stay away from me. That was the hurtful part of coming out as bisexual.”

 

Nathaniel Allenby, Age: 30

“I think people have elements of bisexuality within themselves. And when they come across a person who has embraced that part of themselves, then that poses a question or a threat to them, depending on how they perceive the world.”

 

Stigma, identity erasure, and topics like these are addressed throughout March during Bisexual Resource Center (BRC)'s Bisexual Health Awareness Month. Each week, different themes regarding bi folks' health are explored, starting with "Mental Health & Biphobia," followed by "Safer Sex & Sexual Health," "Nutrition & Physical Activity," and, finally, "Intimate Partner Violence & Sexual Violence."

You can read the full New York Times Magazine story and see more profiles here.

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