The B Word
Coming out as bisexual felt like a scam. It was supposed to be this liberating act of breaking down the door and announcing to the world that im here, im bi, get used to it… but, nothing changed.
I tried the aesthetics to walk it how I talk it, but it wasn’t easy. Camo jackets are expensive. My ex boyfriend stole all my plaid shirts. My jeans are baggy but that’s more of a broke lifestyle thing rather than a bi thing – my poor eating habits make it difficult to keep the weight on and I am unable [unwilling] to buy new clothes. I am always in sneakers because I can’t walk 300 metres in sandals without looking like The Dusty Foot Philosopher. I don’t own black lipstick and have almost blinded myself multiple times trying to apply eyeliner. There is not much to say that I am not heterosexual. I have the dreadlocks and piercings and eventually will add the tattoos but that’s unfair to all the straight girls who have ombre locs and multiple tattoos. Basically my queer looks really straight.
I wonder if it is an insult to the other members of the LGBTQIA community to think that a couple of store bought accessories will buy my way into acceptance when for some of them their mere existence in their natural state is cause for scrutiny, surveillance and oppression. It’s very likely that I won’t be insulted to my face based on my sexuality because I pass and to some this is a privilege…but as Zachary Kane puts it; “Passing” is not a privilege.’
I wondered so often whether I even deserved to use the term queer. Did it really roll off my tongue better than bisexual? Was this me erasing my own bisexuality, as society does so often to us? Was I trying to make myself more palatable to everyone else’s tastes, whether it was the heteros or the other members of the LGBT community, yet I couldn’t even bare the taste of my identity long enough to say it out loud. Was this acceptance that I so desperately craved really worth it if I had to appropriate a term that didn’t feel like mine to use? There was already one right there in the acronym!
‘ Feeling confused regarding which community you belong, is not a privilege.’
I still have a debilitating fear of queer events, and am still not sure how to make friends or even how to find said queer folk [maybe at the events, but you see my conundrum here.] Even if i always promise to attend said events, and even get ready to go, i do not leave the house. The anxiety and fear of attending the event and not feeling queer enough to belong makes me stay home. I have seen the repetitive [and valid] arguments online about how bi people make queer spaces unsafe because of their heterosexual partners. I knew i could never go with my partner even if he’s not queerphobic. Even if he would be there just to make me feel safe and not want to hide in the lobby pretending to be on the phone, I don’t want ‘hakuwangi hivyo aki’ to be my defense if someone ever was to accuse one or both of us of causing discomfort.
I didn’t have the words to talk about what I was going through,so i just listened. I followed queer folks on Twitter and amplified them whenever I could. I played the part of “ally” rather than member of the community. There are many reasons I didn’t feel I was a part of the whole community; because i have a heterosexual male partner, because I pass therefore can hop in and out of the ‘daily struggle’. This is the privilege I can acknowledge – it is something that is not optional for many. It could be because we exist within the society that claims we aren’t real and refuses to see past the stereotypes. It is no surprise that we as bisexuals would downplay and even dismiss our own struggles in favour of ‘more pressing and real’ issues [even despite bi people having appallingly high rates of mental health issues and suicides.]
How many bi people have been erased from those already high statistics, be it by their own choice or someone else’s, and their deaths chalked up to something else.
I wonder if its a bisexual rite of passage to lose straight friends because you not only propositioned them, but was way too forward in doing so to the point they get creeped the fuck out. To be filled with so much humiliation that has very little to do with their rejection and at the same time everything to do it. Humiliation turning into fear once you realise that you’ve done not only a disservice to yourself by violating boundaries of a friendship, but to the entire LGBQTIA community. The next time you hear the shitty argument of ’You know I don’t have anything against gay people, I just don’t want them hitting on me. Why are they always bothering straight people.’ You know there’s probably someone saying the exact same thing about you. Maybe it’s not a thing that happens, and i’m just the asshole. Yikes.
If you are hetero, nobody ever asks you if you are sure you are, whether you’ve ever dated another hetero, whether you’ve even had sex with one. You are aware of your attraction even before you lose your virginity. It doesn’t feel the same when you’re bi. It should not be different, but society is cruel like that, so you have to sort of prove that you are. You DON’T HAVE TO yet the world demands it so that they can accept you. More often than not they still don’t accept it, instead labelling you as hetero or homo depending on whoever was around your genitals last.
Despite knowing better, the bombardment of these notions against your psyche can lead you to act out on them. This need to prove yourself can lead to you gaslight yourself. You might tell yourself that maybe it’s attraction and not orientation. ‘You just want to treat women like sexual objects.’ The anxiety and shame come rushing back and you retreat back into the world of assumed heterosexuality because shit even if passing is not a privilege it really does come in handy.
‘Feeling the need to hide your identity is not a privilege.’
Either way, it’s so much easier to take your chances with cock, which is probably why over 80 percent of bisexuals are in straight relationships. But sometimes in the middle of a super enthusiastic blowjob you stop and think ‘what heterosexual nonsense is this…’. This imposter syndrome can lead to extremely poor decisions, like playing into the fetishization of your kind just to feel validated for a little while. ‘You’re bi..wow… you know i’ve never kissed a girl before’ only to be pushed away when the men leave the room, because to her, this was just a spectator sport.
Bi people suffer from depression and anxiety because our attraction, our behavior and our identity are not always in alignment. We seek connectedness, but there are so many barriers stopping us from doing so, some that were there even before we were born and others of our own construction.
Coming out is a process that happens every day. To me it’s not only about speaking your truth to yourself and the world, it is also about shaking off the lies you were told about yourself and learning to exist honestly despite all societal expectations. I have yet to find the peace and liberation that comes with congruence of attraction, behaviour and identity, but I’m in the process of renegotiating with my sexuality and my own sense of self. Who i am, how I move through the world, how I relate to and express desire. I’m here, i’m bi and I’m slowly getting used to it.