Hi! I love your content! I hope you can help me I'm into girls and I do think men are attractive/hot. I've kissed both, but only with girls I've felt the thing™ During quarantine I sometimes saw hetero affection/sex and felt attracted to it. Even more with lesbian but none to gay. I don't know if I am bisexual or if I'm just attracted to sex/affection itself and I'm a lone lesbian I know its lame to give this too much attention, but this is really important to self understanding and coming out
its a spectrum from gay to straight, with many variations. labels like bisexual help us understand more about ourselves and where we sit on the spectrum but don’t restrict or define us. you sound bisexual with a lean to girls. just go with that for now. but your true mission remains: you must find “the one” that your heart adores. that “one” can be anyone, literally. love is love is love <3
First of all, let’s clear up a common misconception. Queer does not just mean gay. It’s an umbrella term for an identity which deviates from society’s perceived norm: heterosexual, or straight. Queer can refer to sexualities — gay, bisexual, pansexual, — or it can refer to being gender-queer; i.e, any label that deviates from the perceived gender norm: the binaries, male and female.
“Queer” is a reclaimed slur.
If you do not fall under the umbrella of queerness, it is safe to assume that you cannot use it. At all.
I am bisexual.
This means I experience attraction to plural genders. Pansexual also works fine. For the difference between bisexual and pansexual — see here:
Being bisexual isn’t easy. I went through similar hardships to gay women: I experienced attraction to women and was scared of what this meant for me, in such an oppressively homophobic society.
I am not saying being bisexual is harder than being gay, nor the inverse. But my experiences are distinctly bisexual, not gay.
Without further ado, here are the 3 things I’ve found to be the hardest about being queer, but not gay (enough).
#1: Finding My Place
Or, not being queer enough
I always knew I wasn’t straight, but I didn’t know what I was. Up until recently, I was still questioning. This didn’t feel enough to join groups or conversations with LGBT+ folk, let alone go to pride. Was I even LGBT if I was never L, G, B, or T?
I am still yet to attend a pride, even though I identify (fairly confidently) as bisexual. I am in a relationship with a man. This is (problematically) known as a “straight-passing relationship” and makes me feel even more undeserving of a place at pride.
This has been upsetting to me at times. But for others, it can be outright devastating. Growing up and needing support, but feeling like you’re ‘not gay enough’ to ask for it? So many young people are being left alone and afraid. Finding others like you is vital to figuring out who you are. Likewise, finding spaces which are safe and inclusive is vital for anyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. A friend of mine happens to be a transgender man, and he summed up the issue perfectly:
“One thing that I keep noticing is how all hangout spots are “gay bars”, or (far less common) “lesbian bars”. I’m a straight man, so I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be there, but hanging out at regular bars is still too much of a gamble, so I don’t really have anywhere to go.”
It goes without saying that gay folk aren’t always safe in these spaces, as seen by the homophobic attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, in 2016. Bigotry hurts the entire LGBT+ community. Bigotry doesn’t stop to ask whether you identify as gay or otherwise queer before it pulls the trigger.
But the LGBT+ community itself is much more welcoming to those who “pick a side” and just come out as gay, already. The infighting is inexplicable when one looks to attacks such as that in Orlando: bigots don’t care which letter you are in the acronym. So why does gatekeeping exist when we need to be strong in the face of intolerance when fragmentation only makes us weaker? Who are we helping by continuing to exclude identities from the discussion?
#2: Myths and Misconceptions
Well, it stands to reason that if bisexuals are what they seem in TV and movies, why would anyone want to make them feel included? They’re “greedy” and inauthentic. They’re attention-seeking, not to mention their propensity for threesomes. Now, I haven’t been in a wild orgy yet, but it seems like it will only be a matter of time before I follow my natural path.
Straight men, in particular, need to own up to their assumption that bisexual women are down for a threesome. The thing is, we are. But not with you, you big ASSUMER.
All jokes aside, the stereotyping of bisexuals is not only hurtful, but leads to difficulties finding and maintaining relationships.
As I came to terms with my bisexuality, I also had to accept that I might never be fully trusted by my partner, regardless of their gender or sexuality. I was shocked when my partner reacted to my coming out with the equivalent of a shrug — so much so, that I burst into tears of gratitude that my soul-bearing moment hadn’t been met with slut-shaming or assumptions of disloyalty. Nothing has changed. If anything, our bond is even stronger for me having been more authentic after coming out.
But cruelty came from elsewhere: when I came out, I was told that my partner was to be pitied, either because I’m gay and in denial, or bound to cheat on him. The main consequence of such attitudes has been the crippling fear of coming out to my partner. It saddens me that I felt so relieved when he accepted me for being who I am, and loving him just the same as I always have.
This outcome is not the case for many couples, with straight folk worried that their bisexual partner will realise they’re gay and just leave them. This fear of abandonment comes from a place of ignorance. When the media presents bisexuality as a steppingstone on the way to “picking a team”, it’s no wonder that people struggle to trust their queer partners.
Other Queer Myths
The myth that all trans folk medically transition invalidates those who choose not to do so, and let’s not forget the ignorant jeers that it's all just a mental illness. Asexual folk battle the stereotype that they can never have a relationship and shall forever remain a virgin (because what an awful thing that would be, right?) And pansexuals… well, at the lighter end, they’re asked if they have sex with cooking utensils. But often, they’re erased as irrelevant because “we already have the label bisexual”.
This brings us onto the third and final difficulty that comes with queer folk who aren’t easily categorizable as gay: erasure.
Erasure refers to the denial of an identity’s existence or its validity as a label.
Non-binary folk face ongoing and loud claims that they simply do not exist. This is despite the historical and scientific evidence to the contrary. Plus, the most important evidence — them, existing. Asexual folk are told they simply have not found the right person yet, or that they are just afraid of sex. Demi-sexual folk are told “everyone feels like that, unless they’re just sleeping around!”. And bisexuals are dismissed as simply being in denial that they’re gay.
Monosexuality & The Gender Binary
Our culture is so built on monosexuality (being solely attracted to one gender — for instance, gay or straight). Monosexuality is reinforced through everything from marriage to dating apps, the media to what we teach in schools. People cannot fathom that someone might want to experience more than one gender in their lifetime.
The binary models of sex and gender are also deeply ingrained. These rigid belief systems combined are to blame for our inability to accept that bisexuals do not need to “pick a side”. I was paralysed by fear for 17 years because I found girls attractive and that might mean I’m gay, because bisexuals are just gays who haven’t realised they’re gay yet.
Bierasure is dangerous, firstly because it leads a child to have to internalise both biphobia and homophobia. For instance, I had to work through being taught to hate gayness, whilst being taught that any attraction to non-male genders made me gay.
Women were cute, and so I was gay, and this meant I was disgusting.
My own mother told me this. She also told me that something has “gone wrong in the womb” for a child to be gay. (Well, Mum, I’ve got some bad news about your womb!)And she, like any bigot, extended this theory to anyone who experiences same-sex attractions — anyone queer. This is another reason why bi-erasure is perilous. Whether you’re a gay, cis-male or a demi-bisexual, trans woman… if your parents will kick you out for being gay, they will likely kick you out for being any sort of queer.
If we deny the bigotry that bisexuals undergo, we will continue to suffer. It won’t just go away. It will fester, with bisexuals having no one they can go to who believes them. And thus:
Bullying and suicide rates of queer-but-not-gay people continue to sky-rocket. We must direct funding, support and compassion to every queer individual, as they are all vulnerable to discrimination and bullying. The problem is being left to fester. This is in part because bigots treat all queer labels as just ‘gay’, deeming them equally unworthy. This is how far erasure can go.
Earlier on, I stated that my experiences are distinctly bisexual. The same applies to any queer identity.
Emphasising our differing paths and struggles is important to avoid the aforementioned erasure of already less visible groups. But this does not mean that the LGBT+ community should be fragmented by these differences.
If we can unite in our hope to live authentically and love freely, we will be stronger against bigotry. We are fighting enough intolerance from without: there is no need to create more from within.
So out of everything, what’s the hardest part about being bisexual?
It’s the fact that nobody knows it’s this hard.