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)