Yes, that’s right, Bisexuals just need to exist. To be real. To prove we are here, we are queer and we are not going anywhere. That is easier said than done. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you….
Let’s start with my experience as a Bi+ woman (To be clear, I am a non-binary woman but I am certain that to many I look like a cis female).
Many attempts have been made to coopt my sexuality. I have far too often been ‘seen’ as a straight male fantasy….as a woman interested in sex with another woman so a straight male may gaze on appreciatively. That attitude makes it difficult to own your own sexuality. Trust me, it can be done, but it is just one way in which bisexuality is fetishized and diminished.
I have been accused of lying about my sexuality because I am married to a man. Cue my usual lecture about how my relationship does not define my sexual orientation but also cue someone telling me I am just saying I am bisexual because it is ‘on trend’ or because I want to be different or because I want attention. Given that a large portion of the attention I have received as an out bisexual has been negative that argument seems questionable, at best.
Studies generally show that fewer older folks identify as Bisexual. This is grasped by those who would pronounce that bisexuality does not exist to prove their point. I am 61, still joyfully bisexual, and I know that many folks in my age group will just keep a part of themselves in the closet than admit to being bisexual. I have had people tell me it is easier than getting into heated conversations about whether or not they are ‘still’ bisexual. I understand where they are coming from and have had folks tell me I ‘protest too much’ when I continue to be vocal about my bisexuality. The truth is bisexuality does not go away as you get older and is not just youthful experimentation. However, the diminishing numbers of those identifying as bisexual as they age is often used to underline the false assumption that bisexuality is not a lifelong gift.
The point of my rant is to support and encourage bisexual folks of every age to say who they are. The more of us who say loudly and proudly that we are Bi+ the less likely it will fall to future generations to continually have to prove who they are.
I have said this before, and it bears repeating, when we tell you who we are, believe us! It matters for our physical and psychological health to be acknowledged as who we say we are. To those who have questioned our existence use BiVisibility month to change your ways. To those who are Bi who have let others define who you are make a concerted effort to tell those you feel safe telling that you are Bi+. It really really matters!