Bisexual adventures with stavvers

Today is Bi Visibility Day, the day of the year wherein we bisexuals stop pretending to be humans and reveal our true forms as soul-eating beings of shadow and vapour.

I’ll be honest. It irks me no end that awareness days have to exist on any issue. It pisses me off that a single day of the year is allocated to groups of humans to go “Hi, we exist, please don’t treat us like shit.” It bothers me that one day of the year is considered somehow adequate to cram in pointing out “hey, this is an enormous problem, let’s maybe do something to make this not a problem any more”. And yet this is a thing, and today is all about us bisexuals being visible.

From my first stirring of a weird little feeling in the pit of my tummy while watching The X-Files and wishing I could marry both Mulder and Scully right up to my first drunk snog with a girl at the first cool party I went to, I’d kind of assumed I was straight. Why wouldn’t I be? That was the thing most people were, right? I had not experienced some sort of weird magic lesbian transformation like Willow, ergo, I must have been straight.

Well, obviously I wasn’t, and I never had been, but the fact I fancied boys kind of complicated matters in a world where bisexuals–if they exist at all–are apparently all lascivious sex tanks, evil axe murderers, or a combination of both.

Yes. I had managed to grow up in a world where I was bombarded by media produced in a society which isn’t particularly keen on bisexuals.

I was the queerest person I knew very well, until I was quite far into my twenties. I’d met a few gay and lesbian people, maybe a bi person here or there, but for the most part I was the only one I really knew. I was presumed straight, of course. The times I mentioned I was actually bi, I saw eyebrows go up. I received demands for a complete inventory of all the sex I had had in my life, ever. I heard mutters that bi people were just doing it for the attention. I often stayed quiet about my sexual orientation unless I was drunk, because people were often dicks.

In an attempt to connect more with my lesbian side, I read The Well of Loneliness. As a bi femme, it did not make me feel particularly good about myself.

As I got more involved with feminism and the queer community, I discovered how worryingly prevalent biphobia is among gay and lesbian people. We’re in the closet, apparently. We’re ruining feminism forever by sometimes having sex with men. Basically, we’re all gross and icky and we should just make up our feeble little minds and become properly gay.

And because of this, once again, I wanted to shut the hell up about my sexual orientation; people were being dicks.

Sadly, the monosexuals still dominate discourse. Whether straight or gay, they’re there, yapping away. Most of the time, bi people are just ignored like a beige carpet. This is the best option in a society which operates under some rigidly oppressive power structures. And at worst, it’s utterly horrid. We get homophobic abuse from the straights. We get biphobic abuse from lesbians and gay people. It is a pincer manoeuvre, the discrimination we face.

I’ve internalised a lot of it, from both sides, and it’s been a long process unlearning all of it, believing that there’s nothing wrong with me or anyone else like me. I think I’m getting there.

And I’m fucking sick of it all.

Make up my mind? I’ve made up my mind, and I’m proud of who I am.

Pick a side? I’ve picked my side, and that side is a stand against biphobia.

Just come out? I am out against bigotry.

Doing it for the attention? You’re damn right that I’m going to keep screaming and shouting that I exist and maybe I pose a problem for your blinkered and tedious worldview.

I exist, and I will not be quiet.


9 responses to “Bisexual adventures with stavvers

  • Jen

    It’s interesting how – according to that often loud “bis are closeted” line in LG circles – the closet is a privilege for bis but a torment for gays

  • davidgerard

    “lascivious sex tanks”

    +1

  • Alice Leiper

    It wasn’t until quite recently that I examined my sexuality and admitted to myself that yes, I get crushes on women as well as men – and have done since I was 13 and had a crush on one of the girls in the school play I was a stage hand for. It doesn’t come up often because I’m in a long-term heterosexual relationship, but it is cool when my fiance and I both agree on a woman’s hotness. So yeah, just because I’m in a monogamous hetereosexual relationship doesn’t mean I’m not bi.

    • stavvers

      Absofuckinglutely. Really hate the metric for somehow “measuring” whether or not someone is “really” bi. DOES. NOT. WORK. THAT. WAY.

  • bjerkley

    Good post. I’m gay (with a side order of it’s complicated) and increasingly aware of how we wipe out bis from most of out conversation, or in fact many gays for that matter too.

    I’m ashamed to say that when I was younger I was pretty ambivalent about bisexuals. I think in part this was internalised homophobia – while I was happy to be gay there was the assumption that bisexuals would just end up straight, because ultimately who wouldn’t if they had the choice? Its nonsense thinking of course, but I don’t think I was the only one to think like that

    It’s one of the most disheartening things about the gay “community” though that we fight against homophobia but so many don’t make the connection between that and bigotry towards others who are not just like us. It’s unacceptable.

  • noiseswemake

    i gotta say, reading “the well of loneliness” doesn’t make ANYONE feel good…

  • Byghan

    I was 16 when I first heard of bisexual – I was so unutterably relieved that this was a thing and I wasn’t doing ‘it’ wrong by not ‘making my fucking mind up’ about what kind of genitalia people I fancied ought to have that the backlash from other people telling me I was greedy, selfish and intrinsically untrustworthy was a real shock to the system.
    [Sidenote: this experience did at least prepare me for some of the reactions to becoming more openly Poly when I found out that that too is a thing other people do].
    Sad truth is I still have to push myself to actively discuss the fact that neither gender nor sex are determinant features of attractiveness to me because its just easier to let people make assumptions based on who I’m snogging. Must try harder

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