"Where do I fit?": An Exploration of Bisexuality as a Liminal Space
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Given that bisexuality rejects the monosexist heterosexual/homosexual binary and decentralises gender in sexual object choice, bisexuality is poised to deconstruct gender and sexuality binaries. Unfortunately, the majority of attempts by bisexuality and queer theorists to use bisexuality as an epistemological perspective have failed to acknowledge bisexuality as an identity/subject position. This study aims to provide an approach to bisexuality that simultaneously acknowledges the lived reality of bisexual-identifying individuals while recognising the potential of bisexuality as a hypothetical tool of analysis in queer theorising. Building on the argument that bisexuality is only truly useful to queer theory if both aspects of the orientation are acknowledged, this thesis asks: how does understanding bisexuality as a “liminal space”, encompassing both bisexuality as an identity/subject position and bisexuality as an epistemological perspective, enhance the contribution of bisexuality to queer theory? Typically used in anthropology, “liminal space” describes the gap that exists “betwixt and between” socially constructed categories. Based on the fact that bisexual identity/subjectivity has largely been overlooked within sexuality scholarship in favour of reducing bisexuality to a hypothetical, this thesis worked predominantly with semi-structured interviews in effort to maximise the voices of bisexual- identifying individuals. Using a combination of thematic analysis and discourse analysis, the research demonstrated how bisexuality and bisexual-identifying individuals are consistently positioned between and outside of the heterosexual/homosexual binary, skirting the border of both without fully belonging to either. For this reason, this research proposes that bisexuality be understood as a liminal space. Further research is needed to fully explore the potential of this conceptualisation, and to explore the influence of intersecting identity categories in shaping bisexual subjectivity. Largely still ignored in both sexuality scholarship and in LGBTQ+ communities and activism, sexuality scholars, particularly queer theorists, would greatly benefit from sustained engagement with bisexuality – and vice versa, as to do so would finally grant bisexuality and the bisexual community the attention it deserves.