There is a clear invisibility to the B in LGBTQ. The plight of the gay community has really come to the forefront in recent years and whilst the rights of the gay and lesbian community are thankfully finally being addressed, there is still a stigma attached to bisexuality.
What stings the most is not the run of the mill homophobia that the greater part of society is aware of – it is the comments and disdain from the community itself. And whilst I’ve come to expect it to a certain degree, there are times when it still cuts pretty deep.
As a bisexual woman who frequents both the gay and straight scenes of this city, it is not uncommon to hear from lesbians that they would never date a bisexual woman, that they don’t think bisexuality is a real thing, or that I am really one way or the other, just undecided at this moment. Straight men either don’t care or want you to jump into a threesome with them.
But what does this mean for the individual? If I am attracted to someone, do I need to change my sexuality accordingly? Do I need to devote myself completely to the queer community and swear off men forever to get a woman to look twice at me? Or should I discard any non-hetero feelings all together and find myself a husband? The fact of the matter is, I am not attracted to every man but I am attracted to some men. I am not attracted to every woman but I am attracted to some women. And that is not a feeling that is exclusive to bisexuality – hetero and homo alike can relate to not wanting to bang every single person in the human race.
With this stigma coming from certain monosexuals, this begs the question – at some point in time, will I have to choose whether I am gay or straight? According to the age old argument of “I was born this way” I shouldn’t have to. But gay and straight people alike have implied that I should.
It is important to note that if I marry a man, I am still bisexual – I will still find women attractive, I just won’t feel the compulsive need to cheat on my husband to get in a girl’s pants every now and then. And if I marry a woman, I will still be bisexual and I won’t be swanning off to remember what penis is like.
To discard bisexuality as an identity insults two notions. Firstly, the ability of humanity to establish complex feelings and attractions in more than one field. And secondly, to imply that I am a lesbian in denial insults me and any men who I have been with. And to say that I am a straight girl look for an interesting quirk to my personality is to insult me and any women I have been with.
An argument that is often brought up to me is that I have explored my heterosexual side far more extensively than my homosexual leanings so far in my life. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, I’m pretty shy – my first kiss wasn’t until the age of fifteen and I have only had two boyfriends in the last five years.
Secondly, I really tried to be straight and convince myself that any attractions I had towards women were frivolous, stupid and needed to be repressed. As a teenager, I fell in love – with a boy. So I convinced myself that I must must must be straight. It is only in the last six months that I found the confidence and support to be myself.
And thirdly, even since coming out I have been more with guys than girls. And you now why? The bi identity repels girls in a far bigger way. Guys really don’t care – except for the aforementioned suggestions of a threesome. And to me this just reiterates the discrimination that bisexuals feel. I have to ask myself: if my own community don’t understand, how can I ever expect my parents – yes, even my extremely liberal and open minded parents – to understand? Is there even a point to being myself? And this type of thinking is so dangerous – to anyone.
That B is in there for a reason. As a community we are learning to accept so many variations of sexuality – asexuality, pansexuality, identities outside the gender binary – all of which are valid and unique to the individual. Can’t we bring this acceptance to the bisexual part of the community? In the end, we are all just looking for contentment, love, maybe one day to set up a life with someone else. And should a person be denied this opportunity simply because they aren’t making the right “choice”?
There’s a reason why cliches and Lady Gaga latched on the phrase “Born This Way.”