IN honour of my silent peers, I’ve decided to come out. Mum, dad, friends and readers: I am bisexual.

It’s been a long and winding road to get to this point. Many years ago I came out to you all as gay, and to be honest, that was much simpler than admitting to myself, and you, that I am in fact bisexual.

So why is it that someone who never struggled with the concept of being a lesbian, who was never ridiculed in school for being gay, who has been out to her family and friends since she was 16 and whom has held the “gayest” job in Melbourne still finds it difficult to associate with the word bisexual?

You. Yes, you.

The gay and lesbian community have made it near impossible for me to accept myself as bisexual. I have listened to underhand comments for years that, while I did not know it, were eroding my ability to accept myself for who I am. I’ve now woken up to it and I’m horrified. You should be, too.

To the lesbians who snigger that “I always knew she was straight” when their ex starts dating men, you should be ashamed.

To the men who associate bisexuals with group sex, you should be embarrassed.

To the so-called leaders of the LGBTI community, whom I have heard with my own ears throwing out clichés such as “bisexuals need to make up their mind”, and “they’re just being greedy really”, you are to blame.

Every one of you has influenced me to believing that it’s okay to be straight or gay, but nothing else. I was shocked when at a pubic meeting last week, a member of the bisexual alliance said their best memory of pride march was the first year that they were not booed. Bisexuals were being booed by the gay and lesbian community.

Let me break this down. At an LGBTI march for recognition and equality the same people — who wanted the mainstream world to appreciate and accept them — were booing others among their own family? Completely shameful.

It is currently Bisexual Awareness Week. Even if you think this issue does not touch your life, chances are that if you are reading this publication, it does. It has been a long time since we were the gay and lesbian community. We are the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans* and intersex family.

So before you make a joke about bisexuals, or accuse someone of lying about their sexuality because it does not fit your specifications, please think that what you are doing is the equivalent of your parents saying that you being gay is just a phase.

It’s just as offensive as having a straight male tell a lesbian that she just hasn’t found the right man yet. It makes you just as much of a bully as those who scream “dykes” or “fags” at us from passing cars.

Is this how you want your bisexual friends to view you?

Monique Thorpe is the former Festival Director of Midsumma, Victoria’s premiere LGBTI pride and cultural festival. She has just launched a passion project The Women Who. Connect via Twitter at @MoniqueThorpe or @TheWomenWhoDo. You can also visit the-women-who.tumblr.com

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