I want to start off by saying that I’m only one person who uses both of these labels – so obviously I can’t speak on behalf on anyone else’s experiences. Secondly, this post isn’t meant to invalidate pansexual peoples experiences. Anyway, as you are aware – I’m a nonbinary bisexual person. This may seem contradictory seeing as bisexuality is typically seen as a sexual attraction to men and women – but continues to be — defined as an “attraction to all genders,” “attraction beyond gender,” and “attraction regardless of gender” in addition to “attraction to men and women.”
The two identities also have more in common than one may think – for example, people who claim that attraction, for example, to men and women is impossible (which isn’t true – because as any great bisexual person will tell you – “why not both?”) reveals a lot about how we view & understand ones sexual orientation – as something that is binary (i.e. you’re either straight or gay with no wriggle room). But it can also reveal something about gender – we see it as binary (which it isn’t. So why are they then similar? Well, because, they both challenge our view on gender & sexuality.
I’d like to show you this quote from the American Institute of Bisexuality:
Please also note that attraction to both same and different means attraction to all. Bisexuality is inherently inclusive of everyone, regardless of sex or gender.Bi.org
Before you retort, “but ‘bi’ means ‘two,’” click here). We’ve been describing our sexuality in terms of attraction to all genders for decades – some Bisexuals are already drawn towards all the genders for which society teaches the framework, which remains two – which isn’t true because gender exist on a spectrum.
If you don’t already know what the term nonbinary means, it’s both an umbrella term & identifier that refers to anyone who isn’t strictly male or female – it’s all the identities in between male and female. So if we accept that nonbinary identities are an element in sexuality, then bisexuality essentially includes all gender identities. It isn’t merely a simplistic model of half attraction to men, half attraction to women — it’s a complete identity in its own right, where no particular identity is a dealbreaker.
Furthermore, unlike straightness and gayness, however, bisexuality resists this gender link. In her article, “Playing with Butler and Foucault: Bisexuality and Queer Theory,” April S. Callis explains: “Bisexuality, on the other hand, cannot be so easily matched, because it does not allow gender to be wholly tied with sex object choice“. So, in my opinion, being both nonbinary & bisexual is something I take great pride in because my identities destabilizes the categorization of sexuality & gender itself.