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Most people are clueless about bisexuality, and even within the LGBTQ+ community in India, bisexual people are often stigmatised as ‘greedy’. Here’s setting y’all straight.
September 23rd is International Bisexuality Visibility day. What does that mean? It means that bisexuals’ powers of invisibility don’t work today. What a shame.
But seriously, we bi people need this day for a reason. We’re often invisible in both straight spaces and queer spaces and the media seems to think we don’t exist at all. They’re more likely to show unicorns (also known as horses that don’t like labels) than bisexuals. And as much as I love unicorns I don’t really think they need that representation.
So who are bisexuals? A bisexual person is someone who is attracted to two or more genders. Sometimes it’s also defined as attraction to two gender groups: your gender and other genders. And here are some myths about us bi people.
Sure, there are people who do that. I know a person who does. But by assuming that every person who says they’re bisexual is just pretending, you’re invalidating the identities of so many people. It’s best to take people’s identities at face value.
This is when people think that once a bi person gets into a committed relationship, they’ve picked a side. If their partner is of the opposite gender, they’ve picked straight. If their partner is of the same gender, they’ve picked gay. Not true. Think about an ambidextrous person, someone who can use both hands equally well for writing, eating, or anything else. Just because they’re using their right hand today doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly right-handed, does it?
This follows from the previous myth. ‘If you haven’t really picked a side, how can you claim you’ve committed to one person?’ Well, a straight woman who gets married to a man is still attracted to men in general (which is why she is still straight) but has picked a person, not a side. Her sexual orientation remains even though she has committed to a partner. Why should bisexuals be any different?
Nope. Bisexual people are from all backgrounds and all ages. And they aren’t just white either, so it isn’t a concept we’ve brought in from the West. Bisexuals are everywhere.
I once had someone tell me that she was okay with lesbians but didn’t “get” bisexuals. When I asked her why, she said, “they just hit on everyone”. No, we don’t. If someone is straight, do they hit on every person they see who is from the opposite gender? Of course not. We, like anyone else, have standards and self-respect. Sure, we might hit on a person from any gender, but we’re hitting on that one person, not everyone in the room.
That means that it’s possible to pass as straight, or to have people think you’re straight. Yes, we can have opposite gender partners and pretend to be straight. But here’s the thing: we’re still not being fully ourselves if we’re trying to pass as straight. And within the LGBT+ community, we need to stop behaving as though people are only part of the community if they’ve suffered for their orientation or gender. The point is to show solidarity to each other and benefit from talking about our shared experiences, not to create divisions within the community. That helps nothing.
If you’re talking about cake, then yes, we are. Who isn’t? But we’re not greedy when it comes to partners. Most bi people don’t want more than one partner at a time. (Although if you do, that’s great! Maybe you’re polyamorous?) Bisexuals are just like anyone else. We just have the capacity to be attracted to people of different genders rather than people from only one gender.
Bisexuals are just normal people. We exist. We’re here, we’re queer, and we won’t disappear. We’re celebrating the removal of Section 377 too, just like other members of the LGBT+ community. We aren’t gay and we aren’t straight. We’re an identity of our own. And we like cake.
Author’s note: I am a bisexual woman preferring to remain anonymous, who hopes that the reader is interested in her message instead of her identity, and looks at us bisexuals just as people like everyone else.
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