Happy bi visibility day!
In the past year I have discovered that two people I care deeply about are bisexual, and it’s opened my eyes to just how much still needs to be done for bisexual/biromantic visibility. It blows my mind that in this day and age, so many people still cling the idea that there are only two options for sexual orientation: heterosexual or homosexual.
I can recall distinctly recall one such incidence from highschool. I was in a youth group bible study and, as usual, the conversation topic had drifted from the Bible to school drama. The topic of the night was Connor Dean, an overfriendly boy who I knew from drama and who my church friend, Rachel, knew from biology. I don’t remember how the conversation about him began, but Rachel brought up at some point that she was sure he was gay because he was constantly exchanging flirty pictures with guys via snapchat in class. I shared, a tad confused, that he had smacked my butt at the beginning of the year, so I was pretty sure he was attracted to girls (true story, and in the moment I was too shocked to do anything). Rachel commented that it sounded like he was confused, and several girls muttered in agreement.
I shared a class with him the next semester and witnessed him attempted to work his charms on some boys in class and at one point heard him describe himself as being gay, but “really hot girls made him straight.” Looking back at the whole situation, I am facepalming. There’s a word for that, Connor. It’s called being bisexual; no, one does not need to experience perfect fifty fifty attraction between the traditional binary genders in order to be bi. I am all for choosing the label that best resonates with you. For me personally, I go with homoromantic despite the fact that I have experienced weak romantic attraction for a handful of men. Only you can label yourself, but when your label puts people down or makes a community look bad, perhaps it is time to reconsider. To shed some clarity on the previous comment, I’ve come across YouTube rants from lesbians complaining about self labeled lesbians who seek out relationships with men as well as women, claiming that it makes the community look bad and sends the message to certain men that a women saying she’s gay still means he has a shot with her; perhaps in this situations “bisexual” really would be the best label.
I had told my mother about the butt smacking situation shortly after it happened, and her first response had been to tell me to go to my teacher and tell him what happend. Her second response was to say, “Well, if I was a teenage boy, I probably would do the same thing”, and her third response was “aww, your first time being touched that way” (can you smell the rape culture poisoning wafting off of her?) Anyway, back to the topic of biphobia. I told her about Connor’s flirting with boys in class, and how I supposed he was gay after all and had been using me as some kind of disgusting way to explore -this was far before I knew I was queer and I knew next to nothing about the LGBTQIA community. I threw in that I was a bit confused because of the straight for a select number of girls comment, and my mother’s input was, “Some people just want attention.”
I am in no way trying to demonize bisexual/romantic people with story above. Yes, I realize Connor is a rather unsympathetic character, but I couldn’t think of any better story to illustrate the widespread and at times internal nature of biphobia. Bisexual people make up roughly fifty percent of the LGBTQIA community (yes, 50 percent) and yet there is still such silence around bisexuality. In the media, there are a plethora of characters displaying attraction for men and for women, but I’ve noticed the word bisexual is seldom used.
I recently found myself getting roped into the show “Roswell, New Mexico”, and was pleased to discover that one of the alien characters was gay, and that there was absolutely no tip toeing around his relationship with a man – their love scene was represented with as much intensity as any of the straight characters’. Near the end of the season, aforementioned “gay” alien has a fling with a woman. His brother of sorts finds out and is rather confused and initially responses with something along the lines of, “Wait, I thought you were gay.” Michael smirks and answers, “We’re aliens, and you’re trying to impose an outdated sexual binary on me? I’m bisexual.” Not gonna lie, this scene made me sequel with joy. Damn right, the binary views of sexuality and gender are outdated. Words are powerful, as is representation, and I hope small steps like this will lead to big acceptance of all parts of the LGBTQIA community, and that someday everyone will be able to see their identity reflected back to them. To all the bi people out there (including biromantics, of course!) you are valid, you are beautiful as you are, and those who are too ignorant and small minded to understand you will one day catch up – or we’ll one day be able to successfully time travel and send them back to the Stone Age – I’m joking. Sort of.
Until next time,
Keep on aceing it!