It seems like a silly question doesn’t it? Of course, just like any marginalized identity Bisexuals (aka non/monosexuals) need the support of Allies. We face oppression, marginalization, biphobia and need informed and active support. We would welcome this support from both the gay and the straight communities.
In fact, we are often mistaken/mis-labeled as Allies ourselves and that is wholly inaccurate. Many Bisexuals, myself included, have been outspoken supporters of the Queer community. We do this not because we are allies but because we are members of the Queer community.
So, how can we help you help us. How can monosexuals be better Allies for the Bi-community? I have a few ideas.
- Recognize Us/See Us. One of major problems for the Bi community is that we are often mistakenly labeled as gay or straight. This misconception derives from defining us by our current (or past) partners/relationships. This does not work for Bis as we have a fluid sexuality and may be concurrently or sequentially attracted to folks of more than one gender identity. This ‘invisibility’ is often misconstrued as privilege when it is anything but….it is never a privilege to be thought of/seen as anything but your true identity. When we tell you we are Bi don’t respond by saying, ‘but you’re married to a man’ or ‘you were dating a male/female before so how can you not be straight/gay’. Take us at our word. We are the ones who know who/what we are. You have no idea what a relief it will be for someone to simply respond with support/understanding when we come out as Bisexual. The best response I have ever received when I came out to a friend was, ‘I am honored that you trusted me enough to tell me who you are’. Sigh. Smile. Exhale.
- Correct people who mis-label us. Trust me, this happens all the time. If someone has come out as Bi and is married or in a relationship feel free to correct anyone who says, ‘She/he/they can’t be Bi. They’re in a relationship/married’. Here is the response you want: ‘The relationship they are in right now does not define them’ It’s as simple as that.
- Speak out against Biphobia. The slurs and ‘jokes’ about our sexuality are not funny at all. It is not as though Bis don’t love to laugh or don’t have a sense of humor but it is not even remotely funny to say ‘how lucky to be Bi; never at a loss for a date’ when so many Bis are lonely and isolated or ‘Bis – they are just so sexy’ when many Bis are aces or aros and or have a sex drive just like any gay/straight person you know. I still remember the ‘switch hitter’ jokes of my youth when I am not even remotely ambidextrous….get it, it was not funny then and it is not funny now…. These kind of microagressions hurt and since Bis have such a high rate of suicide they are to be avoided. Biphobia harms and, if you are an ally you will be swift in calling it out when you see/hear it.
- Language matters. Make it inclusive. I am queer but I am not gay. I am married to a man but I am not straight. Some Bis don’t like the term queer. Ask your friend/family member what language they would like you to use when describing them/referring to them. It is just good manners and using the right language keeps us in the conversation and makes us actively represented.
- Support Bi organizations/Organize against Biphobic organizations. It would be great if the LGBT community were always one big happy family but, unfortunately many LGBT organizations are not supportive of their Bi siblings. In fact, many LGBT groups do not use any of the funds donated to support Bis and issues related to Bis. Do your research. If an organization does not recognize/support the Bi community give them a pass and tell them why you are doing so.
- Don’t buy into the Bi myths. You know the ones: Bis are sexually greedy, Bis are going through a phase, Bis cheat, Bis will jump on anything that moves, Bis are only attracted to binary genders, Bis are all into threesomes, Bis are a tiny percentage of the Queer community. All wrong. When you hear these things challenge the speaker. They are woefully misinformed and need to be disabused of their erroneous notions. Suggest they check out BiNetUSA or the Bisexual Resource Center for accurate information.
- Spread the Good Word. Frankly, if you want to consider yourself a Bi Ally educate others – we could use your able assistance and we will deeply appreciate it.