The concept of Bisexuality
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
Having explored the various facets of homosexuality and the biology associated with it, i choose to share some insights in to the concept of bisexuality in the forthcoming issues. The existence of two separate genders has been questioned by people with a spiritual bend of mind, with strong supports from the philosophies of ancient civilizations and religions. In recent times, biologists have also tried to give an insight into hermaphrodites. Bisexualism is easy to encounter in animal kingdom. Many invertebrates have the reproductive organs of both male and female in the same body, many plants have bisexual flowers; even animals can switch sexes during breeding seasons. Despite such a grand orchestration of sexual equality in Nature, man has always remained a cynic and ruled against nature in favour of his myths, his “values” and cited a few aberrations as “natural”. However, bisexuality or homosexualities are anything but mere ideas borrowed from western culture. And in my next few essays i wish to communicate to my readers why i think so.
“Man and Woman were once a single being. This entity was cut in two by an angry god, and ever since the halves have reached toward one another in love, out of a longing to restore their original state”: Plato (in his work “Banquet”).
The same views have been resounded in the Old Testament and The Hindu Upanishads thus lending credibility to Plato’s philosophy.
Why did nature choose to have two sexes instead of one? Wouldn’t it have made procreation easier? Thinkers came up with precisely the same conclusion like Plato. Man, they say is inherently bisexual and over the years develops certain characters that restrict him to the confines of a certain gender. Some of them even went on to describe pregnancy and childbirth as symbolic of the unity of two sexes. The violent childbirth followed by cutting off the umbilical cord along with a mother holding a child in her arms is figurative of two sexes united.
Religion before the advent of the Church was also filled with bisexual connotations. Many Egyptian Gods had bisexual essence in their descriptions; even the Greeks had bisexual Gods. Hermaphrodites for example is a celebrated subject for artists, He even carries relics of a female deity. But things took a downturn with the rise of the Christian Roman Empire. Catholicism abhorred any implication of bisexuality in religious figures.
However, the idea of bisexuality stood the test of the time. It has played a pivotal role in various cults, customs and traditions spanning cultures, say anthropologists. As latest as the 19th century scientists discovered that the separate urinogenital system of the two sexes develops from the same embryonic framework. This discovery boosted the “myth” of the hermaphroditism. Several theories were floated based on this historic finding and supported by the large stream of evidences of bisexuality in lower invertebrates. Towards the end of the Nineteenth century, psychiatry found its way in to research on bisexuality and several scientists relied on the study of the human brain to develop a better understanding of the sexuality of man.
The course of research in neuropsychology of bisexuality, the theories that came up during the research and various other aspects of biology of bisexuality will be dealt with in the forthcoming issues. Till then, happy reading.
This article was written for Gaylaxy Magazine. You can read Gaylaxy online here.
[With the raging debate about Mahatma Gandhi’s sexual identity, i could not help myself from sharing this. There are two more write ups sequel to this one. For a man of the stature of Gandhi, his sexual identity is inconsequential, for that matter sexual identity should hardly matter. Its a personal thing. And banning books/art in the name of “outrage” is highly undemocratic and fascist. The government of Gujarat (for being the first state to ban the book) deserves criticism for politicising the issue. Even the Indian National Congress shares the flak for getting immersed in this hooliganism of bans].