My sexuality, at this point, has become my personality trait. I mean, it should come off as me being proud of who I am. But it translates into – I am a bisexual woman, and everything I do is a B(i)y-product of it.
But despite all this, I am an incredibly insecure woman in her mid-twenties. Not only is my whole existence anxiety-driven, but it is hard to be a bisexual woman in a community that is oddly homophobic towards their sexuality. While what I identify as shouldn’t matter, it somehow does. And this in itself can have an exhaustingly long list of pros and cons.
And this isn’t just an issue for me. Many individuals have to deal with the judgement and misinformation that comes with this territory. But unfortunately, apart from having to go through the pain of explaining it to everyone, the thoughts still linger.
A few people have had a taste of me constantly shaming straight men over the garbage they so effortlessly spew. Some may say it is harsh, and I shouldn’t generalize. But here’s the thing, I don’t generalize. It’s just that easy to rile up a toxic hetero male – you should try it.
But the only reason I bring this up is because it’s this category that usually questions our sexuality and everything that comes with it. Let me make it simpler – there is being respectfully curious, and then there’s being a homophobe. You can honestly pick what side you’re on – the choice doesn’t seem to be that hard.
And it’s not just the toxic male. Many heteros can’t seem to grasp the concept of how bisexuality works. It’s always black and white with them. You can either be straight or queer. And not only is that very evidently bi-erasure, but it is also hurtful to go through this. No. It isn’t a choice. Why would the gender of my partner define my sexuality? And how does this affect anyone’s life, other than my own?
I’m Coming Out
“Coming Out” has always been a privilege and an option for me. Why? Because I had little to no information about my sexuality, and instead of educating myself, I tried pushing it in a corner until I was ready to face it. I don’t think I was afraid to accept that I was attracted to more than just straight males. I didn’t think it was important for anyone to know about it.
And when I did come out, it wasn’t all that grand or exciting. However, my parents’ reaction was on the positive side. And that made a big difference for me.
In Truly Biconic, I mention that I was 8 when I realised that I’m attracted to women. And while it’s good to have that clarity, it isn’t fun to acknowledge it over and over again. Sure, coming out, for many, is exhilarating. But sometimes, queer individuals have to come out more than once. And yes, it is a choice they make – but they make it so that people around them acknowledge and accept it. It helps free their mind of fear and self-doubt to some extent, and by doing this, they also find themselves becoming a part of a community. Isn’t that a good thing?
It’s good to feel empowered and free. But coming out isn’t always a walk in the park. Despite having the privilege of supportive family and friends, there’s always that one person who would say the following:
“If you’re bisexual – there’s always a chance for you to end up with the opposite sex.”
“So you’re half gay and half straight? How does that work?”
“If you’re with the same sex, then you’re gay/lesbian, right?”
We would also come across the odd:
“If you’re bisexual, then there are only two genders. How do you explain that?”
Not only do all of these sound ridiculous, but it also forces us to have uncomfortable conversations. It can be painful and often nerve-wracking to feel like we NEED to come out and force people to acknowledge something as simple as our sexuality. It’s traumatizing to constantly put ourselves out there at the risk of losing what we find comfort in.
One of the many things my friend and I have in common is painful experiences regarding our sexuality.
A Little Respect
I often have many acquaintances and friends talk about how in your face the community is. It’s always about how we want equal rights and for people to treat us like they would treat a heterosexual individual, yet we often destroy that notion by shoving our agenda in everyone’s face.
But what many don’t understand is that the only reason they see so much of our agenda is because they are the ones bringing it out. We don’t walk around telling everyone what we identify as. It’s not a necessity for us. But what happens when someone misgenders us or assumes what we identify as? That’s when we have no choice but to educate them.
And this is something my friend and I have gone through more times than we’d like. I’ve rarely found myself in a same-sex relationship, but most of them happen to be with the opposite sex. And this simple fact somehow determines my sexuality for a large majority. If I’m with a woman, I’m lesbian. But because I have mostly dated men, the community and a few other heteros labelled me straight.
Similarly, a friend of mine is going through an equally hurtful situation. He identifies as a bisexual man who happens to be in a relationship with an individual who identifies as a gay man. But despite being bisexual, he’s had to go through the same ordeal of having people assume his sexuality and decide for him. It came to the point where he eventually started coming out as gay. And while it may not seem like much to most, it is incredibly hurtful to keep coming out while still feeling trapped.
Thorn In Your Side
We talk about homophobia and how most of the world mistreats anyone from the community. But while that is true, it’s a lot more complicated than living in a black and white world. Along with homophobia, there’s this uphill battle of dealing with the invalidation of your sexuality.
And this isn’t just the case with heterosexuals. The community we happen to be a part of isn’t onboard with bisexuality either. And despite the B in LGBTQIA+ stands for Bisexual, it all depends on how convenient it is for everyone involved.
When I first came out, many bisexual folx happened to tell me I couldn’t call myself Bi because I hadn’t slept with enough women. And this was back in 2018, which isn’t that long ago. But nothing has changed since then. The term bisexual doesn’t hold any value for many in and outside the community. And while it is an issue for everyone that identifies as a bi individual, it’s the men that seem to have the short end of the stick.
For a bisexual male – they either have to be straight or gay. There’s no in-between, and there never will be. Why? Because being bisexual entails being selfish, more prone to cheat, or someone who simply can’t pick. But this notion of completely eradicating someone’s bisexuality is wrong and has a name. It’s called Bi-erasure.
If we have to constantly come out, explain ourselves, or point out that our sexuality matters – that’s bi-erasure. When someone from the community tells you that “You’re not bisexual, you’re straight.” – that’s bi-erasure. If you have to come out to someone as gay or lesbian under the fear of straight passing – that’s bi-erasure. If someone fails to acknowledge your sexuality and invalidates it and you – that’s bi-erasure.
Due to being a difficult concept for both heterosexuals and homosexuals to grasp, they shun the entire idea of bisexuality. Many often believe that anyone who identifies as bisexual is either trying to look cool or is hiding their true sexuality – which could be either heterosexual or homosexual.
Unfortunately, all of this has many feeling like an imposter, me included. And sure, this isn’t the only reason for it, but it has, in some way, helped bring it on. I’m not saying we want special treatment, or people should put us on a pedestal. What I am saying is that normal for us is a distant dream. And this applies to everyone in the community. But having to relive this constantly while being around animosity in what we consider a safe space isn’t fair to anyone.
I know it’s a reach to hope for a safer space within and outside the community, but it shouldn’t be. It’s bizarre how we tend to forget what normal is like. Why? Because despite being straight passing, gay, or lesbian, in some way, bisexuality is our normal. Not whatever we get handed every single time. And every time someone initiates a conversation regarding our sexuality, it is heavily influenced by ignorance, superiority, or something they believe they can hurt us with.
It’s not like we don’t have issues or situations that make us feel that way, but who would want to go through all of that if given a choice?
If you want to read my work on similar topics or more, you can find all of that here.