I am a bisexual. This is, probably, the most invisible of the “LGBT” (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) identities. With the others, you generally “come out” once and that’s it. For a bisexual it seems like you are coming out with each new partner. If you date someone of the same sex, or of a different gender to your last partner, you come out all over again. Every time you meet someone new, you’re accused of switching sides, and bombarded with comments like, “you’re confused”, “pick a team” or “it’s a phase!” If you then get into a heterosexual relationship your identity is completely ignored. “Thank goodness you decided to be normal!”
Worse than this though is the prejudice that comes with admitting to being bisexual. You are immediately thought of as promiscuous. If you’re a woman, straight men think it’s a ticket to a threesome and/or accuse you of cheating with your female friends, and lesbians don’t want to date you because they think you’ll go off with a man. If you’re male, there’s a lot of pressure to choose a side. Even so-called allies of the LGBT community are sceptical of you. As a result, many of us are made to feel ashamed and embarrassed of our sexuality.
The thing is bisexuality is likely the least understood, so it is treated as an invalid identity. But let me tell you we are not confused, it is not a phase, and we do know what monogamy is (no, it’s not a type of wood!). Being bi is just as valid as being any other sexual identity. Typically, it is the person – their personality traits, appearance, sense of humour – we are attracted to. What that person identifies as is inconsequential.
In fact, if we are honest lots of people to a degree are bisexual. Even those who identify as straight or gay may have tried it, and some like to dabble more than they openly admit. The problem is that we are such a heteronormative society in Jersey, that if you aren’t openly gay you are assumed to be straight. And the prejudice that comes with being “other”, followed by the name calling and the shaming, makes it harder for us to stand up and speak out. Bisexuality is denied an existence and that needs to change. The first step is acknowledgement and acceptance, from yourself and by others.