Melissa Vital ('23)


For those who consider themselves to be bisexual, it means that they have a sexual attraction to more than one gender. “Bi-” is a Latin-derived prefix meaning two, which is how the word came about. The word first appeared in 1892 when Richard von Krafft-Ebing wrote it into his book, Psychopathia Sexualis. So for many bi people, there’s no question that “bisexual” is an inclusive term spanning across the gender spectrum.

Like others, the bisexual community has also faced discrimination and prejudice. In order to counter acts of hate and bias, the community engaged in acts of activism. The first bisexual political organization was formed in 1983 in San Francisco, known as BiPOL. This organization played a major role in protests and rallies, even sponsoring the first Bisexual Rights Rally that occurred right outside of the Democratic National Convention in 1984.

You might meet a bisexual person who says they’re only attracted to cisgender men and cisgender women, though that’s certainly not the case for all bisexual people. This definition can be based on some misconceptions about gender, as you can’t always tell by looking at someone whether they’re a man, a woman, or cisgender.

In addition, the term bisexual is also an umbrella term to include other words including pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, multisexual, and fluid. Simply put, there are multiple terms that can have similar definitions, but it is ultimately up to each individual in how they want to describe their sexuality and be perceived.

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