During one of the more unpleasant experiences I’ve had telling someone about my sexuality, a woman once physically reared away from me and said “ew”.

It was back when I was a bisexual woman (hey, I’m complex), and she had been chatting me up in a gay bar. She didn’t want to talk to me after I mentioned being—ew—bi.

For an inclusive and diverse community, we can be… kind of bitchy. And for a group that’s often portrayed and thought of as more sexually liberated, we do an awful lot of slut shaming.

You’ve probably heard the term before. It’s what it sounds like: shaming somebody for being too slutty, whatever that’s supposed to be.

It takes many forms, and even in 2018 it’s rife, including from within the LGBTI community.

Anyone can end up the target of some dickhead’s ill-informed nasty comments, but certain groups tend to be stereotyped and shamed more often.

Bisexual people cop it from both sides, if you’ll excuse the phrasing.

I’ve heard lesbians talk about bi women as though they were nothing but vectors of disease.

Men sometimes think their bi partner might run off with a woman, and vice versa, as though bisexual equals insatiable, loose, untrustworthy.

There’s an idea that the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender means you can’t be monogamous, which seems as absurd to me as thinking someone with no preference on hair colour can’t settle down with a blonde.

And speaking of monogamy, while folks who do have casual or multiple partners seem to be accepted more often in the queer community, there can still be plenty of side-eyeing from some people if you mention your two boyfriends.

It’s greedy, uncommitted, slutty—the same stuff bisexuals are accused of.

Around Mardi Gras time, you don’t have to look too far for someone criticising the lads on the parade floats or in the streets for showing off their bodies, sounding no better than a sexist conservative calling a woman’s skirt too short.

Imagine being mad about someone dancing and celebrating community and wearing what they want.

Queer folks have even invented a whole new kind of slut shaming around PrEP.

People on PrEP are taking responsibility and participating in a revolutionary step to prevent HIV, but all some of us can focus on is how dirty they must be for maybe not always wanting to use condoms.

Maybe they’re into chemsex, people whisper. Maybe they’re fucking lots of guys. Maybe they’re contracting other infections.

Maybe it’s not so new at all—it sure sounds a hell of a lot like the shaming women used to (and sometimes still do) endure about birth control.

It’s not just slut shaming that we perpetuate. Related are whorephobia, bottom shaming, and femme shaming—all of which are friends with misogyny, which is worth unpacking if you find yourself having uncharitable thoughts about, say, flamboyant guys.

As a group that still has to put up with enough shaming and bullying from the rest of the world, some of us in the LGBTI community could stand to settle down with the slut shaming.

We’re a diverse lot. We are monogamous and polyamorous, gay and lesbian and bi, asexual, sex workers, cruisers and sauna-goers, picket-fence families, everything in between and more.

Let’s try to embrace our differences and just let people live, love, and fuck how they’d like to.

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