Bisexuals still struggle to find acceptance within LGBTQ+ circles. The all pervasiveness of social media only seems to deepen the divide. Andrew Macdougall explores why.
As a Bisexual person in queer spaces the search for inclusion is never ending and can be a lifetime struggle.
When I came out in 2015 it was a great moment, freeing, liberating and finally being able to be me was the ultimate gift I had given myself. I would read coming out stories for years and never realised how much being out of the closet would brighten up one’s life.
Midsumma Festival in Australia was the first Pride celebration I attended since coming out. I did so with my wife in what was a terrific day. It was the honeymoon period where we were both just revelling in the atmosphere and even came across fellow bisexual people.
I had been to LGBTQ+ clubs and bars before we met and these bars were a safe haven for me when I was not publicly out. I knew that coming out there would be mixed reactions from people I knew, and even people I didn’t know, thanks to social media.
I was ready for the negatives that coming out would bring, I just wasn’t ready for it to come from within the LGBTQ+ community, a place where you are supposed to feel safe and supported.
I began to research and discuss bisexuality with other bisexuals and LGBTQ+ people. The more I delved into it, the more I realised the struggles bisexuals face. Pride events in Australia have seen bisexual groups being heckled and abused while marching. This isn’t just an Australian phenomenon, and it has toned down in recent times, but it’s still an issue in the community.
Whether in or out I have always been a proud bisexual, but often you don’t feel part of the heterosexual spectrum and feel isolated from the LGBTQI+ community too. If you are in what appears as a “straight looking” relationship then your “Queerness” is often questioned and your place in Pride circles judged.
I was ready for the negatives that coming out would bring, I just wasn’t ready for it to come from within the LGBTQI+ community, a place where you are supposed to feel safe and supported.
The Advocate one of the leading LGBTQ+ publications, has a current issue that sees Nico Tortorella an out bisexual, with partner Bethany Meyers as the cover story. Having bisexuals on the cover of a predominantly gay publication is terrific for our community. However the response to it while not surprising shows acceptance is still not there.
The perfect tool for this exclusion is social media, a platform that highlights the low parts of what it’s like to be bisexual. For all its positives and good doings, Facebook and Twitter have a pitfall where people can abuse and focus their bigotry on others as they hide behind a computer screen.
Often it’s the faceless, fictional accounts that direct their displeasure at others, where they wouldn’t do to someone’s face. Being bisexual you would think that cis het people would be the most brutal, yet it’s often the gay and lesbian community that alienates us.
Below The Advocates story were comments [now moderated] “It because Gay Pride is NOT FOR YOU!!, you don’t belong there or at gay bars and clubs” and “why are you people are part of the LGBT is beyond me.”
Then there was this tweet from @MalePocahontas
I find heterosexual couples at pride annoying y’all can hold hands in public any day without being stoned don’t @ me
— 最高 (@MalePocahontas) May 7, 2017
This highlights everything that is wrong with parts of the LGBTQ+community, a place where inclusion is promoted yet an ugly underbelly lies. The basic message – “want to be bisexual and part of my community, don’t show up with the opposite sex” – will only continue to create a divide within the community.
It’s telling someone not to be themselves, suppress your feelings for the other person you love and hide who you truly are. This viewpoint is exactly what the LGBTQI+ movement is fighting against, it flies in the face of everything that Pride stands for. You challenge that view and response is uncaring, no matter the hurt it causes they won’t change.
And isn’t it the whole point of Pride? Allowing people to be themselves, out, loud and proud?
Despite the recent statistics highlighting the struggles of bisexuals, a mentality of being ‘lesser’ continues to come from the gay and lesbian community. It’s not all gays and it’s not all lesbians, but a big majority deem bisexuals unworthy of being in their circle of Pride. Considering the active part bi and trans people played in social change, having an entitled opinion shows a complete lack of understanding of what the Pride movement was started for.
It’s telling someone not to be themselves, suppress your feelings for the other person you love and hide who you truly are.
On one hand I want to help evoke change and it’s why I raise awareness through my writing, on the other I wonder why I bother attending Pride events. I then think of Brenda Howard and the work she did for our community as an kout bisexual, the history of those before us cannot be diminished.
Hetero “looking” couples can be Bisexual, Transsexual, Pansexual or any member of the + that is at the end of the LGBTQ+ acronym. Bisexuals make up over 50% of the LGB population, yet we continue to be one of the biggest minorities within the community as we to struggle to fit in.
Given bisexuals are the majority within our rainbow, instead of pushing us out, maybe make some room for us, We all want one thing, to be accepted for who we are.
Follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewMacWrites)
8 thoughts on “Time for full bisexual acceptance into the LGBTQ+ community”
OMG No one is telling you to suppress who you are, Sure the The Bi+ Bi and Pan and Queers all are in heterosexual relationships but what does that have to do with gays and lesbians, we’re not queer.
You look like any other straight couple to us, we have gay bars for a reason, to get away from straight people so we can be ourselves . Your more like allies not family. You do You, and for Christ sake let us do us
Yes yes yeeeeeessssss! When will they understand that the gay community is for escape from the repression of heteronormativity? Not wanting them flaunting opposite sex relationships in our safe spaces is not an unreasonable request! Create your own spaces and stop being even more entitled as to believe the gay community owes you anything! It does hurt our community to have essentially a heteronormative couple on a GAY publications cover! Talk about erasure and phobia! Bisexuals are the main perpetrator yet want to blame everyone else without accountability for what damage they inflict on our community.
Amazing how members of a group who have been erased and oppressed for so long can so easily do the same to others in a similar boat. You’re so perfectly proving this article’s point with the bile you’re spouting here.
And it’s not just bisexuals you’re erasing. People who are gender non-binary may as well not exist to you. As someone who does not identify by my biological gender, if you saw my partner and I in a safe space or at pride or whatever you would immediately assume we were a hetero couple. Romantic asexuals – they don’t exist either.
As for your claim in the below comment that there is no proof that bisexuals are a majority of those who identify as LGBT, here are three sources demonstrating exactly that:
This second source is a good primer on the many health problems, both mental and physical, that bisexuals experience at higher rates even than gay and lesbian people. If you consider yourself a caring person, you might take these into account a bit more in future.
I realize you have to deal a bunch of shit you shouldn’t have to because you’re gay, but I hope you’ll come round to the idea that taking a more empathetic stance in solidarity with other members of the LGBTQ+ community will do more for you and others than your current approach.
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So many things to address first of all that “a group that’s been oppressed” argument is played out at what expense should we have to accept any and everything on the fringe of society? At what point is it ok with you that we can say whoa hold on that’s not what we want to represent or stand for? Just because two groups are marganilized doesn’t mean they must be automatic allies. As for you and your partner you are what you present good for you if you identify however you are comfortable but what you feel inside is not what you are representing on the outside and that is what matters when it comes to image, understanding and acceptance in the larger society.
Erasing huh? Well many of us believe that the image and behaviors this group present contribute to our erasure.
As for your sources the first one cited states that the number of bisexuals and G/Lin the US is even. Second one only had 513 useable surveys and it was specifically aimed at surveying bisexuals so that skews the data already. As I said there is NO definitive proof that bisexuals are the majority NONE. For bisexuals to continually spout that lie is harmful to us.
I am not apathetic to the plight of bisexuals I just don’t feel it the gay communities responsibility. I also do t think we should be continually shamed or forced to accept things we don’t agree or are comfortable with.
I’d stand and fight for any bi in a same sex long term relationship but I don’t feel we should have to be made to accept heteronormative images and actions forced on us in our publications or safe spaces. Gather in your own spaces flaunt your opposite sex loving self in your own circles that’s not unreasonable at all. I don’t appreciate picking up what is supposed to be a gay publication and seeing the presenting image of heteronormativity and being told this is what my community is now! No I don’t think so btw queer is not a term for str8 presenting people to reclaim. I think the first poster said it right “they are more allies not family” so I don’t feel a sense of solidarity at all.
Btw there is NO definitive proof that bisexuals are the majority NONE!
I am a woman married to a woman. I take any allies we can get. Thanks for sharing this viewpoint.
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Thank you for sharing your voice! I hear ya!
This is such an interesting perspective to share, I interview bisexuals on their struggles with relationships and dating in a monosexist society and I want you to know that these feelings of being unwelcome at Pride events when you are in an different sex relationship are common with so many bisexuals! If you want to learn more, check out some of my interviews!