What's this about?

I registered this domain, bimajority.org, back in 2002, when I had an idea of a polemic I wanted to write, which (it seemed fairly obvious) did not properly belong on my other domain, about how the modern social construction of “sexual preference” and its concomitant connection with destructive “identity politics” resulted in woolly thinking, bad public policy, and bad science. I never got around to writing that essay, and so the site remained dormant for a number of years. At some point, maybe I'll get around to it. In the mean time, I'd like to associate myself with the rant by geek-activist Tom Limoncelli.

Where am I coming from?

Or, the story of how I got to be this way, in about a thousand words.

I come in at about a 2 on the Limoncelli scale, but I don't have a current partner nor am I actively looking for any. I'm not an activist, I don't pursue a “bisexual lifestyle” (whatever that might mean), and I don't belong to any bi pressure groups or contribute to any queer charities. In short, I'm queer, but not “lifestyle queer” or “identity queer”, and that's the way I like it. I view the whole business as something rather on the same level as the fact that my hair started turning grey last year—i.e., something that might have an impact on potential mating choices but of no great import to anything else I do. (Well, not entirely: I do vote, and when I vote, I try to vote for Right-Thinking People, but since most of them are just as blinkered as the people Limoncelli attacks in his rant, I don't expect much.)

I suppose this all started for me when I was in high school, or perhaps it was middle school—I no longer remember. I had something of a fascination with textbook descriptions of hermaphroditism. I didn't understand then that the sort of fantasy hermaphrodites described in mythology and bad erotic stories passed around on dial-up computer bulletin boards actually couldn't exist (for very good biological reasons having to do with the evolution of development and the reuse of shared genetic mechanisms to build both male and female biology). Other than that I had a fairly normal teenage experience (and looked with approval at the pictures of naked women in the nudie magazines stashed in one particular now-ex-uncle's wardrobe).

I had had the run of the library from a fairly young age, as we lived out of town and it was a free place I could go every day after school until my father got out of work. The library had a great “young adult” section, with classic juvenile science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries from the 1950s through the 1970s, including The Mad Scientists' Club, The Three Investigators, the Danny Dunn and Alvin Fernald light adventure stories, and many others. Among the collection was a near-complete run of early Andre Norton, which for some reason had been shelved in the YA department despite many of the titles being marketed in the adult SF category. As a result, my foundational reading included '50s and '60s Norton and the obligatory '60s through '80s Madeleine L'Engle, in addition to a great deal of Asimov (once I got permission to borrow books from the adult fiction section of the library). One of the series I read, and I can't recall which one, had me near the “D” range of authors' last names, and I happened upon a newish book by Diane Duane called So You Want to Be a Wizard. I greatly enjoyed that book, and its perhaps-more-profound sequel Deep Wizardry, but the library didn't have any other Duane books, so I didn't get my world turned upside-down then.

By the fall of 1992, I was attending the University of Vermont, and living alone in a tiny, unpleasant but cheap apartment in downtown Burlington, above the Greyhound station and Burlington Bagel Bakery on St. Paul Street, across from the back side of City Hall. My jobs didn't pay well (at the time I was working helpdesk in my division of the university and in the warehouse at Service Merchandise), so I started looking around for used bookstores. The closest one to me was Codex Books—no idea if they're still around. The first time I went in, they had just bought the collection of a local SF specialist bookstore which had folded. On the shelves, in addition to the usual Asimov and Heinlein book-club editions that were so numerous at the time, I stumbled across a book by Diane Duane that I had never heard of. (There was probably more than one, come to think of it—Duane had already written a number of books in the Star Trek universe that would not have remotely interested me.) I paid $1.50 for the book and took it home. (I later acquired the paperback third edition at a cover price of $2.95, and later still the trade-paper second edition, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The mystery novel, as you can probably figure out if you've been paying attention, was The Door into Fire. I started reading, and it completely blew me away—and that was before I cottoned on to the nature of the relationships among the leading characters. On later reading, I could actually notice and appreciate the clever way Duane had embedded the non-monosexual ideal deeply into her fictional society, in a way that many readers probably didn't notice until they (we!) were completely immersed in the setting. But that's all a posteriori analysis; at the time, I didn't think very deeply about it, but the experience clearly had an effect. Not long after I finished reading The Door into Fire, on a warm spring or summer day, I was walking across the UVM green on my way back down College Street and back home to my squalid little den of an apartment. I suddenly noticed this hot guy coming the other way up the path. No, I should rephrase that. There was this guy coming the other way up the path, who I had probably seen dozens of times before, and I suddenly noticed, to my great suprise, how attractive he was. I kept on walking, and so did he. If our paths crossed after that, I have no recollection, but from that point on, I actually noticed that there was a substantial subset of guys (tall, tan, and muscular, with long hair) I found at least as attractive as the girls (petite and athletic, with long hair).

This had been percolating in my head for nearly a decade when I finally got around to registering bimajority.org. It's taken me nearly another seven years since then to actually write something (and mostly that's a result of stumbling across Tom Limoncelli saying it much better, and from a position of much greater experience, than I).