BY CHRISTINA DOYLE
IMAGE BY KALEIDO SHOOTS
How good is your gaydar? How brilliant is your Bi-Fi? Do you ever meet someone and wonder whether they are gay or straight?
I never really wanted a label or felt the need to label anyone else, but I find bisexual best defines me. I never had the coming out experience that others talk of; I guess I was lucky enough to be born already out of the closet. Both friends and family have always been accepting. Benefiting from straight privilege and times of having heterosexual relationships, maybe meant it was probably a bit easier for them to deal with. I know how fortunate I am to have this experience.
From a young age, I’ve dealt with the stigma and discrimination that goes alongside my bisexuality and repeatedly been perceived as ‘confused’. The notion that I can never be happy, as I’ll always want to be with both sexes is completely untrue – and extremely hurtful.
Throughout my single life, I often felt like the straight girl at gay bar, or the gay girl in straight bar.
I am often referred to as a lesbian these days, as I’m settled in a same-sex relationship and fully intend on being with my partner forever. However, this is not my authentic self. As proud as I am to be with my female partner, I do not want my previous feelings, relationships or partners dismissed as meaningless. I’m also faced with judgement from the gay community, as I’m open about the fact I am still attracted to men. I’ve been hissed at, dismissed from conversations and insulted by people in both straight and gay communities because of my sexuality: biphobia is real. I’ve been asked, ‘Why be gay when you can be straight?’ and even been told that I don’t exist. Society has consistently maintained there’s something wrong with me for not ‘choosing a side’. I know for sure that I’ve never been ‘confused’, the problem lies with a society that won’t accept me for who I am.
Bisexuals have been discriminated against in the mainstream media for decades now. Just two years ago on Big Brother, Christopher Biggins declared that the following was the reason for the spread of the AIDS virus:
‘I think it was a bisexual disease…and what they didn’t realise is that a lot of bisexuals went to those countries and had sex with those people and then brought it back to their own families in America. And that’s how it became such a worldwide disease.’
This sort of hate speech is extremely damaging.
I appreciate that the biphobia battle is perhaps considered the least important in our LGBTQ+ community. After all, us bisexuals have usually benefitted from straight privileges for at least some of our lifetimes. The benefit we have is that we know what it’s like to be pigeonholed on either side of the sexuality spectrum. This puts us in a strong position to understand homophobia as both a victim and someone often assumed to be straight. Bi-visibility is important. Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t spent my life flitting between gay and straight, I’ve always been both. I’ve always been bi.
Someday, I like to think that we’ll live in a world where we don’t assume people’s sexualities or genders. If we want to know, ask the individual. My sexuality is part of me, but this is not the essence of who I am.
I could never choose to be gay or straight, but if I did get to choose who I was attracted to, why wouldn’t I pick the best of both worlds? I wouldn’t want to be anything other than who I am.
Please can we work towards allowing people to be who they are without this black and white notion of sexuality? We really need to start talking more about how to support all the letters in the LGBTQ+ community, ‘B’s included!
The worlds needs to accept me, alongside my lesbian, gay, trans and other friends.
Let’s all stop comparing ourselves to others and remember we are all people. We all want to be visible.