For gay people living in Britain there's never been a better time to be out and proud, with well-known faces such Tom Daley and Ellen Page pinning their ribbons to the rainbow flag. This weekend will see a huge step forward for equality in our society as same-sex couples will have the right to get married in England and Wales, with Scotland following suit soon after. But within the lesbian, gay and bisexual grouping, there continues to be one section, albeit a small one, that remains misunderstood, stereotyped and under-represented: bisexual people.
When I was coming to terms with my sexuality, trying to work out whether I was solely attracted to one gender over the other was an ongoing battle raging in my head. Much of the time I would reassure myself that such feelings towards males would simply pass and that opting to identify as heterosexual was the easy solution to this problem.
At my school, like many others across modern Britain, sexuality was a taboo subject with very few people identifying as LGBT. During usually lacklustre sex education lessons there was an emphasis of the 'two camps' idea; you're either heterosexual and like the opposite sex or you like the same sex and you are homosexual.
It was only when I went to university that I learned that sexuality was far more fluid. I may not have enjoyed sitting in Sociology lectures but I did learn one very important lesson: what may be weird and alien to one person, is completely normal to another. For me this was a wakeup call and made me realise that having feelings towards both men and women was actually completely fine.
But many bisexual people go through life being branded greedy or selfish, often being asked 'But one day you will decide whether you prefer men or women, won't you?' Well not really, that's the exact same as expecting a heterosexual male to decide what hair colour he likes in a woman and to stick with it, forever. Or I am asked by people from both the gay and heterosexual communities: 'But who do you prefer?' Again this is a ludicrous question, as the clue is in the name - BI-sexual. This again goes back to the two camps notion; people trying to pin you into a part of society that only features two options.
There is also the theory that bisexuality is merely a stepping stone for those who haven't quite accepted they are gay. It's true some people still believe that as long as they still claim to be attracted to the opposite sex, then any feelings towards the same-sex would be somehow more accepted. Though it is still sad that some people choose to hide behind a sexuality, whether that be bisexual or heterosexual, but for both groups those small number of individuals do not represent the majority.
The Guardian's resident agony-aunt Mariella Frostrup recently published a letter about a women dealing with her partner's bisexuality. Frostrup responded stating, "If your boyfriend hasn't yet decided what sex to go for, let alone an individual to direct his passion towards, he shouldn't be attempting a long-term union". This goes right to the heart of the problem society has with bisexuality; that an individual must 'decide' what gender they will settle for.
Bisexual people don't choose which gender to stick with, just like gay or heterosexual people don't choose which gender they will fall in love with.
According to estimates the number of bisexual people in the UK varies from 0.4-0.5% of the total population, so around 220,000. This is around half of the total number of gay people in the country. However where the gay cause has succeeded in showing that same-sex couples can have stable and loving families, the bisexual community still lags behind with many of us being branded as being promiscuous and not willing to settle down with one partner. I certainly like to think that any future partner of mine, be they male or female, would accept that when I say, "I love you" I mean that, and not that I will want to run off with someone from the opposite sex.
The weddings taking place this weekend are a celebration for not only gay people but for bisexual people too. I hope young people who are questioning their sexuality will take inspiration and courage from this important milestone and go on to have the confidence to be themselves; whether that be gay or bisexual.
Upon watching the Same-Sex Marriage Bill pass in the House of Commons last year, I recall one friend saying to me: "This now means you can now get rejected by both sexes". I certainly hope it doesn't come to that, but it's nice to have options.Suggest a correction