Bisexual Visibility Week: Excerpt from 'Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out!' on the 25th Anniversary of Its Publication

"Out"line of one man's polymorphic liberation -- excerpt
By ben e factory (AKA Binyamin Biber)

Becoming conscious of my sexuality and finally coming out began with my involvement in religious youth activities: Summer camp, retreats and then conferences turned out to be hotbeds of hetero- and homo-eroticism with all of the multi-bunk rooms, open showers, hand-holding partner-switching folk dancing and those quiet wandering paths.

Topeka, Kansas, 1974, is, believe it or not, where and when I first touched another naked male and felt that sexual "thang." A religious youth conference brought us to Topeka, where several of us somehow ended up in a gym or health club. There in a steamy steam room, I discovered myself leisurely lounging about with a few chums, all of us naked. We filled this little room with our contacts -- visual, verbal and physical (shoulder to shoulder, rubbing elbows and knocking knees). This was the first time I was conscious of wanting to touch another boy in a sexual way.

At 14 I found myself signed up for Compulsory Heterosexual Monogamy 101: dating, kissing girls, then caressing and massaging their backs, breasts, legs and buttocks. I noticed compulsory heterosexuality caused me to become stiff. I began to develop my male character armor. Checking out Mom's Playgirl magazines, I oozed desire for real emotional and sexual relations with other boys, something unavailable in this course.

Sweeeeet 16... mm-hmm. Right after graduating from high school, I smoked pot for the first time with my best friend, Andy, then felt relaxed enough to finally tell him that I loved him and would like to physically express my affection with him. He said he loved me too, but wasn't into sex with guys. Frustrated in my unrequited love, but not feeling rejected, I went off to the University of Iowa. There I met Karen, who accepted my love and my "bisexuality" (I finally knew that Elton John and I were not alone in the world). Karen and I joined the Socialist Party USA and several other campus and community activist groups, learning more about heterosexism and liberation as we grew together.

The summer of 1978, I roomed with Bill, a friend from high school. He was the first male to accept my offer to share forbidden fruits. We continued off and on for a couple of years till he moved back to Kansas City. "Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll," we took a walk on the wild side and began to free ourselves from the domestication and colonization which caged and collared us. Being with him, I experienced a marvelous insight: We could really listen to each other, feel each other to be intimate equals and we began to see through our male conditioning. When Karen returned at the end of the summer, I heard her in a new way, as an equal with whom I struggled toward mutual liberation.