Awkward thumbs up (✓), not sitting on chairs (✓), bob haircuts (✓), puns (✓) and our lord and saviour Freddie Mercury (✓✓). Maybe you’re wondering right now why this is so relatable. If so, I proudly welcome you with open arms into our bi community. I’m joking of course, these signs are not applicable to all bisexuals by far. Yet, these aren’t always the funny features associated with our bi culture, most stereotypes are actually the opposite. Not fun, friendly or fair. Like most stereotypes they sting and sometimes even leave a mark. Which is why I am writing about something near and dear to my heart: how to avoid bisexual stereotypes. This is a guide, if you will, for the non-bisexuals to stop questioning our sexuality, but more importantly I hope it’s a guide for bisexuals to feel empowered and proud of who we are. In light of #20biteen I’m going to highlight a couple of offensive phrases. I hope this will help you to understand your bi friends and neighbours better and show you what to do instead.
Disclaimer: If you’re bi and reading this, be aware, all phrases will make your eyes roll.
- Please, don’t tell us: “you’re not gay enough” or to “pick a side”; instead, tell us: “your sexuality is valid”.
This is probably the most hurtful, because it’s a direct attack from both straight and gay people. Imagine someone telling you that you’re not straight enough… Hard to imagine, right? It’s because being straight is easy because it’s the “standard”. Hell, these days even being gay is slowly becoming another “standard”. It’s either be gay or be straight. Well, I’m here to tell you the good news. There’s a middle road and it’s paved with rainbows and glitter and more importantly, it’s a road that goes both ways. Bisexuals fully belong to the LGBTQ+ community, what else would the “B” stand for? (no it’s not badass, although we are) So, don’t make us choose between Zendaya or Tom Holland, because we can’t. What I can choose is to ignore all ignorant and uncultured people. I’ve come a long way to accept this part of me, even the part that has a gender preference. Which is also OKAY.
2. Do bisexuals even exist? I’d say a ghost wrote this, but unfortunately an actual person did.
Bisexuality dates back to ancient Greece, it’s not a new concept. And as much as I like to be a ghost, I’m pretty sure I’m still a boring human not capable of flying through walls (although I am convinced that I was almost floating the other day, it could’ve also been severe dehydration). Most people think bisexuality is a myth because we’re just trying to be cool or quirky and “fit in”, whatever that means. We’re all aware of the consequences and judgements from within our community and outside of it. In my experience, this means to think twice before coming out of the closet. If bisexuality isn’t real, it’s because we’re all still huddled up in that closet together. What would even be the point of declaring being bisexual if we could just as easily claim we’re gay? Because then we’d be lying about our identity.
3. “I’m sure it’s just a phase” or the lovely “you’ll end up with -insert opposite sex here- anyways”.
This is often uttered by somewhat bi-phobic parents, supporting their child but still hoping they’re not gay. No mom, it’s not a phase! And yes, part of me hopes I’ll end up with the opposite sex just to avoid all these hurtful comments from people I love. But we shouldn’t have to feel like this. It’s so easy for people to make these off-hand comments, but what they’re forgetting is that it’s not easy to ignore them. The journey of finding out your sexuality is a long road but accepting it will always be an ongoing process.
You can basically compare this process to the 5 stages of grief. But instead of grief we’re going through the 5 stages of “why is this happening to me?”. First, we have denial. This is probably the longest stage. It’s the classic don’t-you-dare-look-at-that-lingerie-collection-in-the-store-or-you’ll-end-up-liking-breasts denial phase. Or for men it’s the am-I-staring-too-long-at-his-crotch- denial phase. Then comes the anger. We’re not ready to accept our bisexuality yet and get an-gay-ry at everything; also known as the emo phase. Then we have bargaining. In this phase we were basically trying to convince ourselves, and let’s be honest we can’t even choose a side let alone convince ourselves we’re straight. We all know where the next phase will land us. Depression (aren’t we all familiar with this stage? *cries in a corner*) and last but not least: acceptance. This last phase is an ongoing part, because, frankly, I still need validation every day. But when you finally get there it’s a beautiful place. The sun shines brighter and the grass is definitely greener on both sides.
I’m not writing this to attack the people who may have uttered the abovementioned phrases. In fact, I strongly believe we are all trying out hardest to change for the better and I hope this article will raise awareness around this topic. After all, when we get rid of ignorance by raising awareness, it’s harder for bi-phobic people to hide.
The title “let(’s) go bi’s” refers to all the bisexuals who are so brave and strong having weathered all these stereotypes, I call us to own our identity by letting our insecurities and doubts go. The main reason all these phrases hurt is because it makes us doubt our self. No one should ever make you doubt, except yourself. We may not be great at picking sides, but I know one side we absolutely choose and that is our bisexuality. Choose to stand behind who you are, choose to ignore the haters, choose to love and embrace those who have your back. But never choose to let people’s ignorance make you falter or halt. March forward, let’s go, and say buh-bi to bi-phobia.
*I realise some of you may still have questions, so below I took the courtesy to answer them.
Are you prone to cheating? No, that’s not how cheating works. Have you been with all genders then? No, I don’t have to in order to know I’m bi. Aren’t you straight if you date a man? No, I’m still bi. Aren’t you just being greedy? No, just because I can’t choose between a red velvet cake or chocolate cake doesn’t mean I need them both. Why are you excluding trans people? I am not, bi means being attracted to your own gender and other genders. Are you into threesomes now? No.
** My lovely fellow board member, Julia, pointed me to this amazing video summarizing bi-culture, take a look and laugh!