What is it about binary based understandings of sex, sexuality and gender that makes them so difficult to shake off? The pervasive idea of 'if this then that' is a relatively new problem for mainstream representations of non-normative sexualities and genders, as the other half of the 'either/or' (the gay, the queer, the non cis) wasn't given any validity. You were straight, you were cis, or you were shut up (in every sense of the phrase). That 'or' is now slowly becoming an established, viable option, at least within the realms of sexuality: same sex marriage may not always be socially accepted but at least it is legal in many parts of the world. With this comes the exposure of new frontiers, and the problems of the binary itself. Both gay and straight spaces often treat bisexuality with incredulity as though it's between choosing one or another gender; this idea of choice then reinforces the idea that there are only two accepted manifestations of gender. What then happens if you don't feel you fit into that either/or categories we are given of man/woman, straight/gay, cis/trans?
Dr Meg John Barker is a writer, campaigner, UKCP accredited therapist, activist and senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University. They are the author of Rewriting the Rules, an integrative guide to love, sex and relationships, which was released in August 2012. As the chair of our panel on Sex: Myth-making and Taboo, we asked Meg to take us beyond the binary.