“Bi” by Living Colour (1993)

The first people I came out to were my friend Patrick, my former history teacher Elliott, and my high school buddy Jacob. I did it all via letter (because it was 1994 and also because face to face discussion was virtually impossible and plus I was a punk and wouldn’t have been able to come out face to face.) Patrick, who I met in 1992 when I was an intern at Newsday, was the only one to respond. He was the first person to mention the Kinsey scale and fluid sexuality to me.

It took me a while for that concept to sink in. I’ve identified as alternately gay and bi for most of my adult life (eventually settling on the term “queer” although I’m perfectly happy identifying as gay or situationally homoflexible), but I don’t know how aware I was of the fact that sexuality isn’t necessarily fixed in one place for eternity. For some, it is. There are folks that are 100% heterosexual, always have been and always will be. Some (less) folks are 100% homosexual and always have been and always will be. I think most folks are somewhere in between the two poles (heh). Whether they acknowledge this to themselves or others is a whole other story that I’ll leave for some other time. As this particular song states in an especially pointed line: “everybody’s fucked up with their sexuality.” Due to my own homo leanings, and the fact that while I have some “give” sexually I am 100% homoromantic (there’s a difference between sexuality and romantic orientation), I’ve occasionally been resentful of “truly” bi folk (to say nothing of folks who consider themselves heteroflexible), but as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to understand the scale and what it entails a lot more.

Anyway, Living Colour’s hard rock/funk/industrial combo “Bi” was one of the first, if not the first song I heard that discussed alternative sexuality with a sense of reality and humor without sounding like an after-school special. Corey Glover delivers the lyrics with a wink. The unforgettable tag line “everybody loves you when you’re bi” anchors the chorus, and really should be printed on T-shirts or something. Etsy, where you at?

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