“Many bisexual respondents described bisexuality as a potential or as an essential quality that many people possess, but that only some people express through actual feelings of attraction or sexual behavior.
“According to this definition, people can be – and are – bisexual without ever experiencing an attraction to one sex or the other and without ever having sexual relations with one sex or the other.
“In contrast to lesbian respondents, most of whom define a bisexual as a person who feels attracted to or has sexual relations with both sexes, very few bisexual women define bisexuals as people who necessarily have these actual emotional and physical experiences.”
– Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics, by Paula Rust, in 1995
[Note that yes, she and her respondents are using cissexist mid-90s wording that isn’t inclusive of nonbinary/genderqueer people. We spent much less time educating cis people about gender-inclusive language in the mid-90s. In modern terms, they are saying “to any gender” and “with any gender”.]
“[A]s a bi trans woman who was there and actually saw aroaces being part of the bi community and putting in the work and dealing with the oppression… The bi community was actively rejecting definitions beyond ‘not gay, not straight’ into the mid-90s, because every definition offered excluded some of its members.”
- @wetwareproblem, from this post
“"[In a 1992 issue of The Advocate], Nona Hendryx’s interviewer used the word ‘bisexual,’ and Hendryx did not reject the word but said, ‘I try to think of myself as asexual.’“
– Bisexuality and the Challenge to Lesbian Politics, by Paula Rust, again
“When I grew up, heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual were explicitly not specifically sexual. “It’s not about sex!” was a battlecry. This was emphasized frequently as people would sit there trying to come up with some gotcha that meant that you couldn’t be gay and a virgin at the same time. Or — and this is important: that you couldn’t be queer if you weren’t interested in sex. While it’s not necessarily the same as explicitly affirming asexuality, this was a way in which the asexual experience was made intelligible under the mainstream organization of sexuality.
“There was a lot of rhetoric that emphasized this point. In particular, that the fixation on the sexual part of homo/bi-sexuality was actually a form of heterocentrism in which hets would try to strip queers of the capability for romantic attraction.
“Yes, there are problems there. Yes, there’s the privileging of romantic attraction as better and more pure than sexual. And it’s worth talking about.
“But that’s not what I’m getting at right now.What I am getting at, is that in the models I grew up with, among the queers I grew up around, both aro and ace people could qualify as not just bi, but bisexual….
“During a time in which being aro or ace (or aroace) was even less intelligible to the mainstream — or even the mainstream queer community — than it is now, where were the ace and aro bi people? Where did they organize under when trying to deal with monosexism? Where did they vent their frustrations over LG exclusion? Where did they openly talk about their attractions? Who were they fighting alongside?
“They were with the bisexuals.
“They were bisexuals.”
– @atomicbubblegum, from this post
“Lord amighty. Some of us did just live through this. Not every Tumblr person is a teenager. Some of us were there.
One of the oldest queer people I personally know is ace, and hung out in the ‘not gay or straight’ section for ages, but she’s been with us forever….
“I’m pretty much done with sga people who are too young to have been there talking over bi people who were there.
“Aces were bi only 20 years ago. ’Bi’ was the umbrella diagnosis if you weren’t a gold star gay.
“You kids get off my lawn.“
– @vaspider, both here and right over here
“Was there; can confirm.”– @persephonesidekick here
bonus links:in which a 1917 essayist explains how aces and other non-heteronormative women are going to destroy feminism, and ultimately, all of human society
in which people have been targeted as queer for asexual behavior for like 150 years
if you like all this, you might like the asexual history interest group