When I was asked to write this piece about Bi Visibility Day by the Editor, I had to think long and hard about it.
To be honest, I would rather not talk about it, because every time I do it always ends the same way.
This Sunday 23 September is Bi Visibility Day – a day encouraging the broader community to recognise and celebrate bisexual history, community, and culture – because bisexual people are still fighting for visibility and recognition.
Their experiences are constantly invalidated, and the harm done to them might not be obvious to an outsider.
I grew up in the closet, came out as gay in my mid-teens, and earlier this year settled into some form of bisexuality.
We could go on about labels and binaries, but the best way to translate the fact I’m attracted to both men and women is to simply say I’m bisexual.
However, I am culturally gay (see: flaming).
I spend my time among gay men, I go to gay bars, and I engage in all the usual activities and rituals that a gay man does, so this puts me in an odd place when I try and reconcile my attraction to women.
A common experience for gay men that later come out as bisexual is how we approach intimacy with all genders after being raised by a gay community that is way too comfortable with sexual assault and rape.
This is an enormous issue that needs to be tackled, but instead we have to spend our time defending the legitimacy of being bisexual.
I can understand why it’s confronting, but I can’t understand why people are unwilling to learn.
It’s fine that we’re bi, but, can’t we just keep it behind closed doors and not be so ‘loud’ about it? Sound familiar gay boys?
Since speaking up about my sexuality this year, I’ve had incredibly heartening feedback from other men and women in similar positions, role models that I can now seek advice from.
But what was troubling were the messages from guys, almost always my age or younger, who have faced brutal opposition to their bisexuality from within the LGBTI community.
The bi guys that feel forced to spend half their week’s pay to go see female sex workers so that their gay mates don’t know.
The bi guys that pull themselves out of the gay community because the jokes, the gaslighting, and the bullying became too much.
The bi guys that have had the expectations on them become so heavy that their only escape is through drug and alcohol addiction.
I’m calling time on this crap – no-one should have to hide or feel like they’re lesser than for being who they are.
It’s happening today, and like other gay men I didn’t believe it, until it started happening to me.
Now, I wish I had believed them before, I wish I knew the impacts of bisexual erasure, and I wish I knew how much those jokes hurt.
You don’t need to celebrate Bi Visibility Day this Sunday by waving a flag or attending a protest for us, and you don’t even really need to kick up a fuss, just don’t be a dickhead this Bi Visibility Day and be the mate to your queer peers you really should be.
Related reading: Why is bisexual acceptance in the LGBTI community so hard to find?