Bipartisan [cover feature]

Finding common ground with the most commonly misunderstood letter in LGBT. Labels, misconceptions and why Handy Dan “sometimes feels like a faggot in a straight man’s sexuality.”

BY MARK ARIEL  |  PHOTO BY DUSTI CUNNINGHAM

Last month, on September 23, “Bi Visibility Day,” was celebrated—a worldwide holiday to “accelerate acceptance of the bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc.) community,” according to GLAAD. 

“For bisexuals specifically, media representation has a long history of portraying us negatively,” Dr. Nora Madison, a media professor at Chestnut Hill College, told CBS News

“The most common stereotype is that bisexuals cannot be fully satisfied with only one partner because half of their desires must then obviously be denied. This is problematic on so many levels, but it begins with the definition of bisexuals as being attracted to both men and women, but with assumptions that bisexuals are only attracted to men and women, and are always equally attracted to men and women at the same time.” 

“Both of these assumptions are incorrect. The far more accepted definition is one made popular by Robyn Ochs, a prominent bisexual educator and author, who said that bisexuality is the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

While bisexual individuals make up almost 50% of people who identify as part of the LGBT community, according to research from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the common misconception is that bisexuality is simply a stop on the way to gay town. This may be true in some instances, however according to our current cover model Daniel Sugden—better known in SoCal as Handy Dan—labeling one’s sexuality in a definitive way can be problematic.

In an interview with THE FIGHT Dan, 28, reveals that growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, labeling his preferences wasn’t his top priority.

“I went to Catholic school—I didn’t even know what the word gay meant. My first sexual experience was with a boy—but I never thought of defining myself sexually.”

As time went by Dan says that while he has “always been super open to everything” he leans more “towards females than males but I’m comfortable with everybody.”

“I never thought I should fight my feelings about sexuality. I wouldn’t want to reach old age, on my deathbed, and be pissed because I never sucked that dick in the bathroom.”

“When people used to ask me how I identify at first I thought was bisexual—but I’ve dated trans women—so I today would define myself as pansexual.”

“While this type of open sexuality is more accepted today,” says Dan, “it’s still kind of a blessing and a curse.” 

To illustrate that point—Dan brings up an incident that occurred while working as a go-go dancer at a gay establishment in Madison.

“Once while I was dancing at a club I met this woman and we kind of got to know each other. We eventually slept together—and—while having sex—when I was inside of her—she said to me ‘it’s such a shame you’re gay.’”

“I guess,” says Dan, “it’s easier to look at life in a binary way.”

After moving to Los Angeles three years ago Dan worked as an assistant to an interior designer, however eventually branched out to working on his own, becoming a “handyman to the stars,” with many drag queens utilizing his services, including Willam Belli, Katya, Trixie and many others.

“I’ve always been mechanically inclined, I enjoy working on different kinds of projects, being Handy Dan (IG: theehandydan) suits me for now.” 

His Instagram says, simply: “DM me if you need anything fixed.”

“I have lots of friends in the queer community, and, for the most part, they have accepted me for who I am—and never questioned my pansexuality,” says Dan.

“I will admit—that being around gay men most of the time—I sometimes feel like a faggot in a straight man’s sexuality,” he laughs.      

In the end, he says, people should just be honest with themselves.

“I never thought I should fight my feelings about sexuality. I wouldn’t want to reach old age, on my deathbed, and be pissed because I never sucked that dick in the bathroom.” 

Contact Handy Dan (IG: theehandydan) if you need anything fixed.