As an out Bi person I have been subjected to many personal questions over the decades. For reasons which remain a mystery to me people seem to think that my Bi-visibility is an invitation to ask me the kind of questions they would never consider asking their straight or gay friends or acquaintances. They cannot seem to help themselves from asking very personal questions or expressing amazement that I can be Bi and in a long-term relationship.
Let me give you an example of the kind of scenario I have found myself in many times.
I am at a barbeque hosted by some close friends. There is a fairly large crowd of family members and friends at this event some of whom I have not met before. I happen to be wearing one of my Bi Pride t-shirts. I don’t always carry a megaphone with me so I can make an announcement regarding my bisexuality when I arrive at social events . ; ) There are times I let my Bi bling do the talking.
I happen to be attending this event with my husband. A woman sidles up to me and mentions that she ‘noticed’ my t-shirt and what did it mean. I sort of thought that a t-shirt that says Rainbows, Unicorns, Bi-Pride and Love speaks for itself, but I take the bait. My response… it means I am bisexual and proud, delivered with a smile. The woman hesitates and then says sotto voce, oh so that means you have to do it with men and women. LOL. My response, well, we don’t have to we just want to. (Emphasis: mine) I always deliver that one with a wink.
Of course, I go on to explain that Bisexuals are attracted to their own and other genders and can be monogamous just as any straight or gay/lesbian couple. Or, they can be polyamorous and have ethical concurrent relationships with folks of their own or other genders. In other words, Bi folks inhabit a spectrum of sexual identity, are not defined by their partners and can have a variety of relationship situations. I continue on with my usual professorial tutorial about all things Bi. I mean you asked so you WILL be informed.
At this point, I realize I have not satisfied her curiosity with my facts and figures. She goes on. So, you’re married and you have relationships with other people including women. I mean, what does your husband think of that. OK. Here is where i draw the line. First of all, lady, my husband is not the boss of me, and why would anyone assume he is. Ha!
The truth is I am genuinely willing and happy to expound upon the infinite variety, joy, magic and transcendence that is Bisexuality. I am happy to be an out and proud Bisexual. I am happy to get pretty specific about the spectrum and fluidity of Bisexuality, the statistics indicating the toll Bi-phobia takes on the Bisexual community, and how often Bisexuals are erased by having their sexuality defined by their current partners or relationships.
However, my personal life is off limits. If you don’t know me well enough to know if I am involved with someone other than my husband or have been in the past or may be in the future this is clearly not information you will be privy to. It is not as though I conduct my life under a shroud of secrecy but it is invasive to ask questions you would not feel comfortable having someone ask you. I would not ask a married person, straight or gay, if they were swingers or lifestylers or maintained relationships outside of their marriage. I would think it rude and an invasion of their privacy. However, folks seem to think it is perfectly fine to ask Bi folks intrusive questions simply because they are Bisexuals. It isn’t and if we don’t feel comfortable answering the questions asked we can politely, but firmly, say ‘that is none of your damn business’.
5 thoughts on “Bi Privacy.”
Out of curiosity, do you not think it’s normal for people to respond to things from a standpoint of traditionally infused societal expectations? Granted, the question is rude, but sometimes people feel the need to understand on a personal level and anything at a personal level might mean offering oneself as authentically as they can – maybe this woman is expressing her point of view, simply from her lack of understanding.
Just a thought I had, but if society is going to change, doesn’t it need to change at a very basic and personal level for each individual?
Just curious and playing a little bit of a devil’s advocate.
Well, she may have been coming from her authentic level but so was I. As I expressed, I am quite content to respond to most questions, even some personal ones, but, like most other humans, have a line and I do not allow people to cross it just because I am an out and proud bisexual. I do not respond to bigotry and purposeful ignorance with respect, nor should I. My point is that, far too often, these questions are prurient in nature, and as such should not be justified with a response. It is up to each person where that line stands…..given that I am pretty open about who I am my line may be further than someone elses. I mean, if the woman in question was interested in ‘getting with’ me she could have simply asked and I could have simply responded. Enough of this beating around the bush…. ; ) In addition, some people can’t or won’t change and ain’t nobody got time for that.
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I’m only asking, because I am considering my own move to step outside of the closet. It’s easy online, not so much in real life. I’m unsure how I would respond to situations…
Easy online? I dunno….there are plenty of biphobes on the internet. As far as how you would respond, I would suggest in whatever way feels comfortable to you….even if it as simple as I would prefer not to talk about that here/now….or, if you don’t feel as though you have the intel they are looking for just direct them to BiNet USA or some other online source to do their own research if they are so keen…. : )
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I didn’t mean to discredit any discriminatory behavior other bisexuals have experienced online, I just meant my personal experience it felt easy online compared to the apprehension I feel about coming out in real life…