I like my men like I like my women. That’s it! That’s the joke!
Seeing how it is International Pride Month, I’m going to take inspiration from Lilly Singh by reminding you guys that I’m a strong, bisexual woman of colour!
I’m sure I haven’t mentioned this enough *eye roll* but despite being privileged, I do get called out by so many people, some from the community too. Yes, I’ve mentioned it before, but I never spoke about what exactly bothers me.
Along with not being able to deal with all of that, I was struggling with what my sexuality was and if I really should come out to people. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! Let’s start from the beginning.
While all of us celebrate the month of July and recognize how much the community has accomplished, most don’t even know how we got here. And it is important to know how this movement came about and where we come from. And yes, I haven’t immersed myself into the queer culture or the community, so I’m not going to talk about things that aren’t already out there. It just feels like I never made an effort before, and this could be the first step towards that. So here goes!
Despite being oppressed by the government and people around us, it truly is hard to remember a time without pride. The Stonewall Riots have played a pivotal role in the modern fight for LGBT rights in the state and have also led to the gay liberation movement. But it wasn’t an easy battle to win. But what went down?
The Stonewall Inn was an extremely popular establishment in the community back then. However, it used to be exclusively for gays. But things seemed to change, and lesbians, drag queens, male prostitutes, homeless youth and more could make their way to Stonewall. Since very few establishments allowed gay people in the 50s and 60s, Stonewall Inn was one of the few places people could really be themselves. But with how regressive people were back then, police raids were pretty much routine back then. They could be bought off by the owners, but on the fateful morning of June 28th, 1969, things just went awry.
But it didn’t just end there. With how high tensions were between the New York City Police Department and the gay residents of Greenwich Village, protests just erupted night after night after night, for 6 nights. But these riots truly helped make a change, because, within weeks, residents made efforts for making comfortable spaces for gay men and lesbians. They formed activist groups that concentrated on establishing places for gay men and lesbians to enjoy and express their sexual orientation without the fear of being arrested.
While this was what kickstarted things for the community in the states, India had its own first in 1999. India has been a very regressive country when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community up until September 6, 2018. So when 15 gay men in Kolkata decided to host a pride march on July 2, 1999, you can tell it was huge. Being the first-ever Pride walk in India, it was called The Friendship Walk. The walk is to make a political statement for Love, Tolerance, Solidarity, and Equality. However, the Friendship Walk was the first and the last in Kolkata for a while. The second walk was in 2003.
We can always pretend that I have always been a part of India’s LGBT culture, but that’s not the case. I did, however, know about The Friendship Walk because I looked it up for the pride episode in the podcast I co-host with my friend. Does that make me feel like an outsider? Possibly. But there are so many other things that didn’t quite make me feel too good about myself.
I always assumed that I’ve been out and proud for years now, but it amazes me how some acquaintances or “friends” are still clueless. I recently had a college friend ask me about pride, acknowledge my sexuality, and say the words ‘proud’ and ‘you’ in the same sentence. Now, did I need that validation? No. Did it feel good? Of course. Is that why I’m open about my sexuality? No.
Since I’ve been out, I’ve had a few people ask me a whole bunch of questions. “When did you realise you liked women?” “Have you ever had a girlfriend?” “Which gender do you prefer most?” and so much more. Now I honestly don’t mind answering questions, especially if they are respectful and genuinely curious. But, people have just been downright rude or extremely crass, thinking it’s fine because my sexuality doesn’t exist on the spectrum. While that may not be good etiquette, I can only clear out a couple of things I know.
I was 8 when I realised I was attracted to women, and that hasn’t changed since. So definitely not a phase, we clear on that? Great, moving on. I’ve never had a girlfriend, but I wish I did. Does that mean I’m not bisexual? No, I still am. Very much so. However, they always say “If you’ve never slept with a woman, how do you know you’re bi?”. I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that I had to sleep with the same gender to understand and explore mine. Is it fair to assume that most men that asked me that have slept with men to figure out that they’re not gay? No. Will I assume anyway? You know the answer to that, don’t you?
I’ve mentioned this in ‘Feminists Vs Feminazis’, but let’s relive this moment again. I came across a woman on a dating site, and we happened to swipe right on each other. What started as a pleasant conversation turned into a learning moment for me. She wanted me to pick a side, seeing that I like both. And having had experience with just one of them, I stated the obvious. However, being a lesbian, she didn’t quite agree with my answer. And I didn’t mind that. That was until her disagreement brought on a ‘much needed’ lesson regarding my sexuality. While she lectured me on how she wanted someone who appreciated women as much as she did, which is fair, she stated that she didn’t see herself dating someone who didn’t worship women like the goddesses they are. After which, she proceeded to call me out on my sexuality and say that I could be straight. And that honestly didn’t surprise me, because I’ve heard that one before. From within the community nonetheless, but let us call it what it is, toxic.
On A Biatus
“You are more likely to be a throuple.” Um sure, I haven’t been able to have one partner, you’re expecting me to have two. Because being bi suddenly makes me a player who has incredible game. There have been a few who’ve even said that my sexuality could determine how loyal I would be in a relationship because I’m a cheater who can’t think straight (pun intended).
Apart from my sexuality not existing, or it just being a phase, it also happens to just be a topic of interest for most people. Let’s clear some things up, I am on the spectrum, it isn’t a phase, and it is the same as every other relationship. However, there are so many things it isn’t. It isn’t your sexual fantasy. It isn’t a personality trait I ‘picked up’, or something I say to sound ‘cool’. I just happen to be a woman who is attracted to both men and women. And despite ‘popular belief’, I do not hit on every single woman I come across, because honestly, I have a type and most of you ain’t it, honey!
All Bi Myself!
Just like most of my relationships, the relationship I have with the community has been a very rocky one! And that is totally on me. Not only did I take an active interest in knowing more about my sexuality and the community, but I also want to say, it wasn’t my main concern for a while.
See, back when I first noticed I liked girls as well, I didn’t know the term for it. And I didn’t remember any characters in pop culture growing up that I could really relate to. The only characters I remember hearing about happened to be from Brokeback Mountain. And I haven’t even watched the movie. But in recent times I remember Callie Torres from Grey’s Anatomy, Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Mazikeen, Lucifer, and Eve from Lucifer and so much more, just being proud bi characters. Not only are these characters treated well, but their bisexuality also isn’t a personality trait of theirs, it doesn’t interfere with their day to day life, it’s exactly what it is, a part of themselves.
And despite having the biggest crush on Rosa Diaz, the most iconic bisexual character for me has to be *spoiler alert* Chuck Shurley/God from Supernatural. Not only did this man spend his biatus watching cat videos, or have an alcoholic father, he was a strong bisexual man who wasn’t afraid to talk about his relationships with Metatron. Another absolute favourite has to be Harley Quinn’s infamous relationship with fellow babe and villainess, Poison Ivy.
I’d heard so much about Harley’s unhealthy, borderline toxic relationship with the Joker. And while at some point I wanted that, I shipped her with Poison Ivy so much more. Not only because they have a loving relationship, but also because they both saved each other, and did have intense feelings for each other, something the Clown Prince of Gotham couldn’t portray without abuse.
So, a colleague of mine back in 2018 would educate me about the community. This was also the same year Section 377 was decriminalized, for good. I started asking questions, started dealing with insecurities I had regarding my bisexuality, and also started leaning towards the idea of attending events organised by the committee. This also happened to be around the same time I decided to come out to my mum, and she was pretty cool with it.
However, it was during this time that I learned about a new phenomenon, Biphobia. I didn’t know how to react towards people from the community being aversive to my sexuality. They would always suggest how I’ve never been with a woman before, therefore, I’m confused about my sexuality, and I might not be bisexual. And honestly, this made me feel so much more alienated to the community than I already was by this point.
I’m not saying that biphobia cannot exist in the community, it very much can, and does. All I’m saying is, I never really expected it up until that point.
Things didn’t change, and I didn’t hide who I was just because it existed. What I did instead, what that I carefully chose who to tell. Because college was an experience I never want to relive, and this particular experience isn’t that pleasant either. This may sound so dramatic and silly, but I avoided going to pride because I assumed I would be exposed to it some more, and bitch wasn’t ready.
But I finally got to go to Pride this year, and I can say that the community is very accepting, despite seeing a different side earlier. And even though this is the only Pride I’ve attended, I did have a blast. I’ve talked about my experience with my co-host and friend Pronoy on Life’s Lineup. I may be bi-ased, but it’s a cool podcast, you should go check it out.
So does that mean that biphobia has completely disappeared? No. It is still pretty prevalent. How do I tackle it?
Honestly? I don’t. I’ve come to realize that spending too much time on educating and correcting people is not something I want to do. Even when I’m the one they’re calling out. Not only is it a waste of my time and energy, but the person has made up their mind. And they wouldn’t want to listen or believe anything I say to them. So no matter what I say or the numbers of facts I state, they simply wouldn’t care.
I’ve come out to most of my family, and while the response has been extremely supportive so far, I’ve seen so many people say “Bisexual individuals don’t always have to come out.” And while I’d have agreed a couple of years ago, there is so much wrong with that particular statement. Not only is it extremely discouraging to any individual considering it, but it also prevents you from living your best bi life.
Just because I have a potential chance of being a heterosexual relationship for life, doesn’t mean my parents shouldn’t know what my sexuality is. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to make jokes around family, post my ridiculous puns, and just be an extremely genuine version of myself. Like I said, being bisexual isn’t a personality trait. However, coming out and living a substantially care-free isn’t too bad!
Despite most of what I’ve addressed in this post, I feel like I will always miss out on saying a lot of things. What I do want to say is that I’m extremely queer, here, and have nothing to fear. So let me know if you’ve had experience with something similar, and if that made you second guess yourself, or have you just shut down completely. And if you enjoyed this content, you can find more of my work here!