Bi the Way

by Hunter Richards

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m the most indecisive person. Where should we eat? I don’t know. What should we watch? I don’t know. What should I wear? I don’t know.

But with that said, my inability to make up my mind doesn’t reach my sexuality. Unlike the common misconception, which I’ve heard time and time again, it’s not that I can’t make up my mind whether I like girls or boys. It’s a lot like when people would ask whether I was a cat-person or a dog-person and I, confused, would answer that I just loved animals.

I saw college as my fresh start, where I could finally be honest about myself. But no more than a month into freshman year, I had already heard ignorant thoughts from those around me and started to think maybe I would never be free. After someone in my entryway told me she would never be comfortable living with a queer girl, I made use of my bed risers to shove all my baggage further out of sight but, unfortunately, not out of mind.

However, the longer I hid my sexuality, the more microaggressions I witnessed. At the end of freshman year, I met an MIT girl I really liked. Except, I could never have her come visit me and the questions about where I was headed to soon became too stressful. I sabotaged the potential-relationship because I wasn’t able to tell anyone the truth. But sophomore fall, when the boy I was seeing told me about his awful bisexual ex who left him for a girl, I cracked. National Coming Out Day fell during midterms and I’m always looking for a good reason to procrastinate, so I took to Facebook and let the world know that the only thing straight about me is my eyeliner. It was nerve-wracking and I immediately hid from all social interactions.

Except, I didn’t have to.

I started receiving messages from many of my friends telling me they supported me and were happy I could be happy. I sent my mom a screenshot of Google’s National Coming Out Day banner but was met with her reassuring me that, yet again, there wasn’t really much I could ever hide from her but also that I never needed to.

In the almost-year that I’ve been openly bisexual, I’ve had over a dozen people confide in me that they were questioning and many of them soon felt comfortable coming out themselves. While I’ve had to receive many messages from friends and family letting me know that they couldn’t ever support my “lifestyle,” being able to help others find comfort in their own identities as well as being able to openly love whomever I chose makes it worth it.

Plus, I could never kiss good-bi all the potential puns.

Bisexual Awareness Week

Bisexuality is a lot of things. In the simplest form, it’s the B in LGBTQ+. But for many bi-identified people, definitions become more complicated. The accusation sometimes leveled at bisexuality is that it is inherently binaristic, meaning attraction only to men and women. But there are potentially as many definitions of bisexuality as there are people who identify as bi. Some of these definitions include: attraction to one’s own gender and others, attraction to two or more genders, attraction to similar and different genders, or attraction to some but not all genders.

Although an explicitly stated part of the LGBTQ+ community, bisexual identity can be erased by both gay and straight people alike. Bisexual people are commonly assumed to “confused” or “on a path to being gay.” Some stereotypes associated with bisexuality include greediness, higher rates of cheating, and promiscuity. Although none of these stereotypes can be materially proven, the impact of them (and the biphobia that forms their foundation) do have an impact. In fact, bisexual people have been proven to have worse mental health problems than their gay and straight peers.

In the face of this adversity, three bisexual activists—Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur—founded Celebrate Bisexuality Day, September 23, in 1999. The day was intended to be a day of affirmation and community building for bisexual individuals as well as those holding other multisexual identities including pansexuality, polysexuality, and omnisexuality. The month of September was chosen to honor the openly bisexual Freddie Mercury, and the 23rd was chosen because it coincided with Wilbur’s birthday.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day, also known as Bi Visibility Day, was originally concentrated in areas with large bisexual populations, but in the seventeen years since its inception, it has become a nationally observed celebration. In 2012, Berkeley, California became the first US city to officially recognize September 23rd as Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day. In 2014, BiNet declared the week surrounding Bi Visibility Day to be Bi Awareness Week.

This year, celebrate Bi Week, September 19-26, with us. We invite you, Harvard College students, faculty, and/or staff to share a few words about about your experiences identifying as bi (or pan, or poly, or omni) or being part of the bi community. Send us an email at with your story, how you’d like to be identified, and a photo (if you feel comfortable) or related image to be featured on our social media by Monday, September 26 at 5pm. We ask that you do not identify other individuals by name in your post. Thank you in advance for your submissions!

Adapting Bisexuality: A Brief Thought Essay by Patric Verrone

“Tell it to a guy, and he thinks “closet gay.”  Tell it to a girl, and she thinks… closet gay.’”

I fell in love with Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” on sight.  It was the kind of selfish artist love that begins with obsession and ends with “I want to make this mine.”  It’s characters were so vivid, its conflicts and its dialogue so familiar, that in no time I had moulded a 21st century update of Hemingway’s early-20th century story.  A one act play “The Son Also Rises” was the original result.

The most difficult aspect of conceptually adapting the novel was the love story.  In the original, Hemingway present an impossible romance between a classic ‘20s flapper– fashionably androgynous and sexually liberated– and a man left impotent by an injuring in World War I, leaving him unable to consummate their emotional relationship in fashion in which she feel obligated to.  One side was easily adapted (women today are still reacting against society’s definition of what “womanhood” is meant to look like), but millennial impotence?  What did that look like?

I began by figuring out how Jake was affected by impotence: he was isolated, an invisible other, whose suffering is inflicted upon him. The more I ruminated, the more I began to draw connections to my experience as an openly bisexual person.

I’ve found that I am not the only openly bi man who suffers from the two-pronged prejudice referenced in the introductory quote.  Gay men condescend and expect you to renounce your female attraction once you express attraction to the same sex.  Boyfriends and quasi-strangers alike have clucked their tongues and cooed, “I was bi once too,” upon learning my identity.  Straight women, on the other hand, tend to assume bisexuality is code for “experimenting” (best case scenario) or simply a raging sex-a-holic (not so great scenario).  On top of that, any general attraction to men raises a red flag for a lot of straight women.  Many of my female friends have confided to me that it is their worst nightmare to date a guy only to realize all along that he was in the closet and their relationship a sham!

This leaves the bisexual men in a strangely isolated in-between: heteronormative society doesn’t understand us, but neither does the mainstream gay community.  Bi pride is so fractured by the myriad of other multisexual identities (including unlabeled identities) out there, so buried beneath gay pride, that at times it seems difficult to (and I admit this is cheap) get it up. And thus, bisexuals become an “other” operating in a gray in-between– just as Jake Barnes, a traditionalist yet an expatriate, could not find solidarity in either party alone.

After watching the show, a friend of mine told me they hoped I didn’t think sexuality was as debilitating as a gunshot wound.  Yet, when I– someone who prides himself in his level of commitment in any context– have lost so many people for fear of an irresolute heart because of my sexuality, I can’t help but sympathize with Jake’s dilemma.  I don’t pretend to have updated the character perfectly.  However, when our society sees one’s identity as being so closely associated with “the closet” that it scares people away and keeps one isolated from any sort of legitimate sense of community, perhaps we still have some adapting to do.

Gender Pride Flags

Hello Harvard (and beyond)!

Here is the promised collection of gender identities and their corresponding flags! There are an infinite amount of genders, and only a few flags on this list. This collection is by no means exhaustive, and again the definitions I’ve posted surely do not fully represent the diversity of individuals who identify with these terms and experiences therein.

Agender: having no gender, being genderless


Bigender: having two simultaneous or fluid genders


Demiboy: being partly a boy and partly another a/gender(s)


Demigirl: being partly a girl and partly another a/gender(s)


Genderfluid: moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity


Genderqueer: having a nonbinary gender identity (sometimes used as an umbrella term)


Intersex: an umbrella term describing people whose sexual anatomy does not neatly fit into binary sex categories of male and female


Intersex (Alternative)


Neutrois: having a neutral or null gender


Non-Binary: identifying as neither a man nor a woman (i.e. outside the gender binary)


Pangender: having a wide variety of genders (the language of ‘all’ genders is often avoided in order to prevent appropriation of genders specific to certain cultures)


Trigender: having three simultaneous or fluid gender identities


Transgender/Trans: identifying with a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth


Again, there are an infinite amount of genders. Please be respectful of the ways people identify and the language they use to refer to themselves, including asking what pronouns to use! Know of gender identities and flags I didn’t include? Comment! And feel free to stop by the QuOffice (basement of Boylston, 9:30-5:30 M-F) any time to see our print out of pride flags and definitions, grab a pride pin from our newly expanded collection, or chat with a staff member 🙂

‘Til next time,


Pride Flags

Today we are going to do our first installment of pride flags! This post will be filled with flags and definitions for sexual and romantic orientations, while a later post will cover the same for gender identities.

There are so many labels and identities that exist within the broader LGBTQIA community. How one defines their experiences and feelings in regards to their a/sexuality and a/romanticism is so important and valid, so we wanted to celebrate some of the ways in which people have done so. At the same time, language is limiting and this list is by no means an exhaustive one of experiences, identities, or flags. Further, while I strived for accuracy, these definitions are certainly not representative of all who identify with these terms and symbols. I wanted to compile this list as a reminder of the multiplicity of identities within the LGBTQIA community and as a reference for those who want to learn more about the diversity of sexual and romantic identities and experiences.

A/Sexual and A/Romantic Orientation Flags:

Abroromantic/sexual: To experience a fluid and/or rapidly changing orientation


Aromatic: Experiencing little or no romantic attraction


Apothiromantic/sexual: A form of aromanticism involving romance repulsion


Aroflux: Romantic attraction that fluctuates in intensity


Akoiromantic/sexual: To experience sexual/romantic attraction but then have those feelings fade once the feelings are reciprocated


Asexual: Experiencing little or no sexual attraction


Autoromantic/sexual: Attraction to the self


Aegosexual: To enjoy the idea of sex as an action (performed by other people, not connected to the self) but not the idea of participating (an ace-initiated alternative to autochorisexual)


Bisexual/romantic: Attraction to individuals of the same gender as your own and other a/genders


Bialterous: Attraction that is neither platonic nor romantic (i.e. alterous) to the same gender as your own and other a/genders


Ceteroromantic/sexual: Attraction to nonbinary people (used specifically by nonbinary individuals as a non-problematic response to skoliosexuality)


Cupioromantic/sexual: A form of asexuality or aromanticism in which one desires a sexual or romantic relationship


Demisexual: Experiencing sexual attraction after a strong emotional bond has been formed


Demialterous: Experiencing attraction that is neither romantic nor platonic after a strong emotional bond has formed


Demiromantic: Experiencing romantic attraction after a strong emotional bond has been formed


Frayromantic/sexual: To experience attraction to people you are not familiar with but have it fade when you get to know them


Gay or Homosexual/romantic*: Attraction to someone of the same gender as your own (*homosexual/romantic are loaded terms to many people due to their histories of pathologization)

LGBTQIA: an acronym representing the broader community of sexual and gender minorities


Gray-asexual: Sexual attraction that is rare, circumstantial, or low in intensity (often used to describe a spectrum between allosexual and asexual or a constellation of ace identities)


Gray-aromantic: Romantic attraction that is rare, circumstantial, or low in intensity (often used to describe a spectrum between alloromantic and aromatic or a constellation of aro identities)


Heteroflexible: Attraction primarily to individuals of a different gender than your own but occasionally to the same a/gender


Homoflexible: Attraction primarily to indidivuals of the same gender as your own but occasionally to another a/gender


Homoalterous: Attraction that is neither platonic nor romantic to the same a/gender as your own


Lesbian: A woman who is attracted to other women


Manalterous: Attraction that is neither platonic or romantic to men and/or masculinity


Panromantic/sexual: Attraction to all a/genders


Panalterous: Attraction that is neither platonic nor romantic to all a/genders


Platoniromantic: Attraction that cannot be differentiated between romantic and platonic


Polyromantic/sexual: Attraction to multiple a/genders


Polyalterous: Attraction that is neither platonic nor romantic to multiple a/genders


Quoiromantic/sexual: Attraction that is somewhere between romantic and platonic


Recipromantic/sexual: To experience attraction only after the other person feels attraction towards yourself first


Womalterous: Attraction that is neither platonic nor romantic to women and/or femininity


Polyamory: Being romantically involved with more than one person or a romantic relationship that is comprised of more than two people; According to the Polyamory Society, it is “the nonpossessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously”


Know of identities or flags that we didn’t include? Comment! And remember that identities are very personal things that should be respected and self-determined. If you are unsure what language someone would like to have used to refer to them, ask! (Without outing- please be respectful of others’ privacy and boundaries.)

‘Til next time,


QuOffice Blog Launch!

Hi Harvard! (And beyond!)

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to this blog (and our inaugural post!) This blog is run by interns at the Harvard College of BGLTQ student life and will be updated bi-weekly, discussing events, ideas, and issues relating to gender and sexuality on Harvard’s campus and in broader communities. If you have questions/concerns, any ideas for posts, or would like to potentially be featured, please contact Shana Sandborn at We are greatly looking forward to building this space and exploring a new medium with collaboration from the college’s BGLTQ+ community 🙂

Now that we’ve established ourselves, happy beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year! Welcome back to returning students, and welcome to the Harvard community Class of 2019. Best of luck to all with shopping and study cards! As we adjust to returning to or beginning House/Dorm life, a new course load, and any extra-curricular pursuits, we would like to remind you of some of the resources available on campus.

First, us: the QuOffice! We are the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, located in the basement of Boylston Hall. We are a confidential space that offers support to the college’s BGLTQ students. We provide trainings, arrange events, and promote campus inclusion. The Office is available as a social or work space from 9:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, along with having safer sex supplies, Pride pins, coffee, a small library, and pamphlets plus other educational materials regarding BGLTQ identity, experience, and health.

Here is our list of resources that the Office, Harvard, and Boston offer that includes but is not limited to resources regarding gender and sexuality:

Our staff is available to assist as well, including our Director, Administrative Fellow, and eight Undergraduate Interns. Read more about us and find our contact information here:

And of course, we are far from the only resource available on campus! Here is a list of Student Organizations that are dedicated to BGLTQ+ students and issues:

In addition, the QRC, or Queer Resource Center, is a hangout spot where students can relax, socialize, and enjoy the center’s large selection of queer media (DVDs/books) and snacks. It is located in the basement of Thayer and is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 5pm.

BGLTQ Specialty Tutors and Proctors are members of House and Dorm communities who serve as resources for students in regards to gender and sexuality. They provide programming, mentorship, information, and guidance to the members of their residential community. Follow the link for a complete list of tutors/proctors and their contact information.

 Contact is a peer counseling group on campus for all genders, all sexualities, and all relationships. They offer non-judgmental, non-directive, and confidential counseling from trained peers. Contact is located in the basement of Thayer, Wednesday through Sunday from 8pm to 1am. Drop ins are welcome, as well as calls to (617) 495-8111.

Information regarding other peer counseling groups (ECHO, SHARC, Room 13, and Response) can be found here:

OSAPR, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, is located in suite 731 of the Smith Campus Center. OSAPR is a confidential space committed to the just and compassionate treatment of survivors and their friends, peers, significant others, and allies. They can assist with academic accommodations, medical advocacy, support in engaging with the civil or criminal justice system, and more. They are available in office or by phone Monday though Friday from 9-5 at (617) 496-5636 and have a 24-hour hotline at (617) 495-9100.

CAMHS, Harvard’s Counseling and Mental Health Services, is located on the fourth floor of the Smith Campus Center. They provide individual counseling, group counseling, and medication evaluation and management for a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, stress, crisis management, transitional issues, grief, and eating, sexual, or relationship concerns. CAMHS can be reached at (617) 495-2042 between these hours: Monday 8am-6pm, Tuesday-Thursday 8am-7pm, and Friday 8am-5:30pm. UHS has a 24-hour urgent care hotline as well, available at (617) 495-5711.

There are also two other diversity offices on campus, the Women’s Center and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. The Women’s Center is located in the basement of Canaday B, and is open 9:30am to 5:30pm on weekdays, plus evening hours 6pm- to 10pm Monday through Wednesday nights. The Foundation is in the basement of Thayer. Both offices have student interns along with full-time staff as well.

Here is another list of university resources, including those for undocumented and disabled students. And if you are interested in pursuing diversity studies academically, in any capacity from a causal interest to a concentration, there is also a list of undergraduate diversity-related courses:

Stay safe and have a wonderful semester. As always, feel free to stop by the Office or be in contact with our staff.