In and Out of the Closet: Bisexuality and Me
This is kind of a weird article for me to write, because a lot of people I know and have known for a long time read this blog, and my sexuality isn’t something I’ve really discussed at length. But I’ve identified as a bisexual since before I knew there was a word for it (and as soon as I realized that no, not all other women want to have sex with other women). There’s been a lot of talk recently about how bisexuals fit into the LGBT community, with bisexual vloggers, bloggers, and various other personalities talking about how they often don’t feel queer enough for the queer community, but are denying part of themselves by playing straight. And don’t get me wrong, I feel that the world could do with switching it’s whole attitude up regarding the way we look at and treat the LGBT+ community. But yeah, I get that “not-queer enough” feeling a lot.
I’ve been out for a long while now, and I’ve never necessarily felt proud about my sexuality. Comfortable in it, yes; grateful that my family and friends couldn’t care less, yes; but proud seems like the wrong word for something that’s inherently a part of me (personal opinion entirely, all power to those LGBT people who do take pride in their gender identity or sexuality). I’ve been in a long-term relationship with my marvellous boyfriend for over two years now, and, whenever the conversation about sexuality or past relationships comes up, I get the head-tilt of “so you’re in an open relationship?” or “haven’t you been dating *insert boyfriend’s name here* for while now?” or, the worst of the worst, “you hooked up with girls? That’s hot” (spectacularly, the first result that comes up if you type “bisexual” into google is “bisexuals don’t exist”, which is a myth I hope to bust by my continuing corporeal form). As an openly and comfortably out bisexual woman, I feel like I’m in and out of the closet, having to justify my sexuality to people by convincing them that my attraction to both genders is legitimate and ongoing because I don’t broadcast my dating history to everyone I meet. I don’t want to feel like I’m playing at being straight or gay depending on who I’m with; I want to be able to be open in my sexuality without justification or qualification.
Dating somebody of one gender doesn’t mean that I’m not still attracted to members of the other. I apologise if this is coming off as whiny or petulant, because these are just things that I’ve had to put up with for the last few years and I’m pretty bored of them and I want to talk about it to see if anyone else feels the same way. And I’m not claiming that these annoyances are in any way equal to the unbelievable discrimination that many members of the LGBT world face every day, but they are an irritation. Because yeah, I do think I’ve had it a lot easier than other non-bisexual members of the LGBT world. But there seems to be a dislike of the idea that, as a grown-ass woman with a flat and a job and a cat and an almost-degree, this might not be a phase, that I might actually, permanently like men and women.
And it’s not that I’ve felt actively pushed away from the LGBT community. It’s just that, until very recently, I didn’t feel like I had a place there, which could be entirely my perception, or my perception of the way I see the LGBT community represented, or something I’ve plucked straight out of the air. I would feel like I was cheating or lying or misrepresenting myself if I turned up to Pride while I was dating a man, even though I identify as that B. Part of me feels like I’m denying some part of my identity by being with my boyfriend, even though I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone else- man or woman- right now, because I’m in a straight relationship and, to most of the world, there’s nothing queer about me at all. I don’t want to make my sexuality the only thing that matters about me (I think wearing a friendly “Hey, I’m Bisexual, Ask Me About It!” badge is the best route to go down), or deal with that look of bewilderment and sometimes kind of intrusive questions about my dating history (for the last fucking time, you don’t have to have sex to know your sexuality, so, no, it’s none of your business if I’ve had sex with literally every man and woman who’s every walked the earth). But my sexuality is a big, sometimes confusing, ultimately vital part of who I am as a person, and I don’t like the feeling of having to justify it to people. I don’t like hearing that it was probably phase since I’m dating a guy, or that I was doing it for attention, or that I’m young and might change my mind. Yes, my sexuality is fluid and it might change in the years to come; why can’t you handle the label that I’m choosing to give myself right now? The reactions I get from a number of queer and straight people make me feel like I’m faking it, when I know that I’m not. And that doesn’t anger me or upset me, but it frustrates me.
Because I have amazingly liberal family and friends, I have had it much easier than many members of the LGBT world, and that sometimes makes me feel like I don’t have a right to speak up about the ways I’m treated, and the way I see other bisexual people treated (article will be up later this week about bisexual representation on TV). It’s not a coincidence that so many bisexual/pansexual/queer people are talking about how they don’t feel accepted into the LGBT community or the hetereosexual world, and just because we’re perceived to have it easier doesn’t mean everything is always hunky dory.
I don’t entirely know what point I’m trying to make with this blog post, I just know that these things have been niggling at me for a long while and I needed to word-vomit them out in some semblance of sense. I think what I’m trying to say is that, when you deal with a bisexual person in any circumstance, please don’t question it. This is just a thing that’s part of thousands upon thousands of people, who go about their lives every day comfortable in the knowledge that they like men and women. I’m one of them, maybe you are as well. Maybe you’re someone who straight up doesn’t give a fuck about what sexuality someone is and wouldn’t dream of questioning it and if you are, thank you, I love you a little bit more. But these are things that me and people like me have to deal with on a daily basis, online, in person, in pop culture. The world will be a happier place for bisexuals everywhere if we don’t feel the need to prove our queerness to anyone.
Peace, I’m out. In both senses of the phrase.
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Honestly, I have experienced so much prejudiced crap from the LGbT crowd that I no longer associate with it.
When they throw the “no such thing” crap in my face I turn it on them and accuse them of being a bisexual in denial or traumatized straight and that their orientation makes no evolutionary sense. I don’t mean it and I make that clear afterwards but it is the only thing I can think of to get them to see the world through the eyes of someone who feels unwelcome in their little club and among the straights. Heck, I have even gotten BS from female bisexuals though it isn’t as common as with straights, gays and well, lesbians usually much ignore me at best or presuming I am a straight guy (and thus the devil).
Until they deal with the bigotry festering in their own ranks, they will march without me and I will only date other bisexuals and the LGBT rainbow will never grace anything I own. I think our colors a nicer anyways.
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Good grief, I think I love you!!
Seriously, it’s sooo good to see I’m not the only one who feels this way – I’m in a relationship with a man (for 3+ years) and suffer the exact same “I’m not queer enough” paranoia. I wanted to join my university LGBTQ group but felt like I’d be hunted down as an impostor because I’m in a committed straight relationship. I’ve always felt like a square peg regardless of the demographics of people I hang around with; if I’m hanging out with straight women I feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing – that old chestnut of “oh, you’re bi, you must fancy, like, literally everyone you meet” – yet I can’t relax with gay women cos I always assume they’re probably silently judging me six ways to Sunday for not being a “real” lesbian.
I think the most astounding example I’ve experienced in some time was this gem from my gay male friend (who was himself married with kids before he came out) – apparently, he’d be horrified if I got ever got engaged to my (male) partner, as apparently “I don’t even know if I’m gay or not”…. clearly, in order to make a lifelong commitment to another human being, I must choose between bursting out the closet in a flurry of rainbow ticker tape proclaiming my permanent lesbianity and foreswearing all men, or crawling back inside, hiding in a corner and swearing on oath that I’ll never even LOOK at a woman ever again…..!
Thank you for your very honest words and for helping me not feel like it’s just me who feels frustrated by the things you’ve discussed 🙂
x Lu (Twitter: @VanillaVixen)