As part of Pride Month I wanted to share some thoughts about bisexuality, and more specifically statements and questions that I’ve heard or that have been said to me. You might recognise yourself in some of these sayings, because you’ve thought or asked them. It is not an attack on you, or some hate letter because you might’ve said them; this is simply to educate and hopefully make you understand that sometimes your statements or curiosities can be hurtful/invalidating.
This is entirely personal and how I feel about them, I am in no way talking for the community as a whole. I just want to spread some light on some things that you could avoid saying:
- “Are you more straight or gay?” - Well there is an easy answer to this one: we are neither of those things. What people really want to know, is if we prefer men or women. Whilst some have a clear preference, others don’t, and that’s totally fine. What matters most in the end is the person itself, rather than their gender. So, if you ever ask that question, be prepared to not have a definite or clear answer, as the person you’re asking this to might not know or feel comfortable discussing it with you, and you need to respect that.
- “Who will you end up with?” - I don’t know if I’ll end up with a man or a woman; do you already know who you’re going to spend your life with? No? Well, there you go, me neither. This also suggests that I will live my life in a long-term monogamous relationship, which is something many people don’t want, no matter their sexual orientation.
- “You’re probably just confused” - Maybe some people are confused, and again, that’s totally fine: not everyone has their sexuality figured out early on in life. But just because you might know or heard of someone who actually is confused, you can’t assume that every bisexual is. By implying that, you are invalidating our sexuality and assuming that it isn’t real, that it’s only temporary, when that’s not the case. I guess everyone is a little or very confused at one point about it, but let them figure it out on their own and in their own time. Don’t tell them what you think they are, because there’s a big chance that you could be wrong and upset them.
There is also this common belief that if a man comes out as bisexual, it’s only a ruse or a ‘transition phase’ before coming out as gay. Again, don’t assume others’ sexuality: listen to what they have to say.
- “I think everybody is a little bisexual” - I’ve heard this from many people, whether they identify as straight, gay or bisexual. I don’t think people mean this in a harmful way, as it seems inclusive and that sexuality isn’t black or white, which it isn’t. However, there are people who are ‘very’ straight, and others ‘very’ gay, who are not and do not identify as bisexual, and that is totally fine. Also, assuming that everyone is a little bisexual creates erasure of our sexuality, and our individual stories. It makes it seem as if it’s no big deal, since everyone else is too. It is indeed “no big deal”, but once again it seems like they’re assuming others’ sexualities for them instead of listening to how we feel.
- “You’re bisexual but… you’ve never had a girlfriend/boyfriend?” - This is one I’ve gotten a lot, people being confused because I did not tick the girlfriend box. Let’s put it this way: if a straight girl has never had a boyfriend, it doesn’t make her any less straight. It may mean that she hasn’t found the right guy yet, that she doesn’t feel ready, or that she doesn’t want a relationship? Judging someone’s sexuality on the amount of people they’ve dated/been with is absurd, as if we need to prove ourselves by having been with enough people to convince others that we are indeed what we say we are. We don’t need to prove how we feel: if I say I am bisexual, believe me regardless of my dating life.
One last important point to mention, is that not everyone wants to use labels to describe their sexuality. Some people might find labels to restricting or simply don’t feel comfortable with them, and that is okay. If you are curious, be sure to ask politely about it and I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to explain it to you.
Happy Pride, share the love!