On Queer Suffering, and Another LGBTQ Generation
I hope it’s easier for the next lot.
I’m now in my late twenties, having been out of the proverbial bisexual closet for about a decade now, and the thundering and relentless passage of time has rendered me, horrifyingly, no longer at the cutting edge of the latest up-and-coming generation of people. But thanks to the internet, I am able to see, hear from, and get a feel for what that generation are up to, peering out of my dusty Victorian ballgown through a grimy window on to the shining utopia of what’s coming next (I still don’t get TikTok. I’m trying, alright? I like the pet videos).
And what a lot of them are doing today is celebrating. Today is Bi Visibility Day (happy that to any of my fellow bisexuals out there!), and I’ve been sitting in my little bubble of positivity for bisexual people all morning. On the social medias, reading the articles, liking the posts, the whole deal. It’s been lovely. It really has. Seeing so many people, proudly owning their identity, celebrating others who do the same, uplifting people and openly showing their love for them – that’s the good stuff, you know?
Now, before I get into this, I would like to make one thing clear: I had about as easy a time as I could have hoped for when it came to outing myself as bisexual. Family were neutral or supportive, friends are all mad queers themselves, partners never seemed to get too hung up on it. Still, though, every time I said those words to someone, every time I say them now – I’m bisexual – I feel like I have to shove myself over a cliff to get them out. I spent years hiding the truth of who I am from myself, because I was terrified, as so many people are, that I would have to choose between that and the people I loved, the people who loved me. I would never have dreamed of celebrating it, out loud, in public, taking actual joy in that part of me and the community that I’m a part of.
Queerness, for so, so, so long, and even still in so many places now, tied in with suffering. Oppression, discrimination, internalized self-loathing, every dark and horrible and miserable thing you can imagine. At a certain point, no matter how accepting or progressive a circumstance they find themselves in, queer people have to make the choice between coming out and keeping friends, family, jobs, opportunities, respect.
Which is why something like Bi Visibility Day – and all the other days dedicated to celebrating members of the queer community – make me so happy. Especially when it comes to the generations that followed mine; I know that we are far from done when it comes to solidifying genuine equality for LGBTQ people, but the happiness in seeing younger queer people openly celebrating their identities, taking real joy in the people that they are and the community that they’re a part of, that’s a genuinely fucking wonderful thing. Even if this is the only place that some people feel like they can share that celebration, having somewhere – having a forum to be honest about your identity and to be happy about it – is spectacularly brilliant.
I hope that the next generations of bisexual and queer people in general have it better. I hope that we can extricate suffering as part of the queer identity for good – not to forget about the people who have suffered, the fights we’ve taken on for equality and respect and fairness, but to make it so that celebrating is an in-built part of our lives. I hope that the next lot have it better – I hope that the lot after that have it better than them, too. Long live another generation of fantastic queer people, and keep going out there and celebrating your own damn selves.
If you liked this article and want to show your appreciation, please consider donating a few bucks to MindOut, a UK charity dedicated to improving the mental health of LGBTQ people.
If you’d like to read more of my writing on sexuality, take a gander at the links below!
Greey, Lying, or Slutty: Straight-Passing and Bi-Erasure
(header image via OUTinPerth)