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.