What It Means to Be Seen: Bi Visibility Day

[content note: biphobia, hate speech]

Last week, a guy I know from college was standing outside a bar in my city when he overheard a girl call him and his group of friends "f*ggots." He turned around and said something along the lines of, "Hey, that's not nice." Her boyfriend, in turn, sucker-punched him in the face.

This is my first Bi Visibility Day as an out bisexual person, and I am telling you that I struggle every day with the idea of being seen.

This is part of the mythos surrounding bisexuality – we are faking parts of our sexuality. If we end up with the opposite sex, we were really straight the whole time. If we end up with the same sex, we were really gay. Larry King famously asked Anna Paquin about her bisexuality, questioning if she “stopped” being bisexual when she married her husband.

This is my first Bi Visibility Day as an out bisexual person, and I am telling you that I struggle every day with the idea of being out.

Nearly 10 months after I came out publicly, nearly a year after I came out to my mother, I am fairly comfortable with saying, “I’m bisexual.” But so much of queer advocacy, so much what I see represented on the national scene is based out of the idea that our sexuality is fixed, liking one gender or the other, a project continually engaged in the erasure of my kind.

This is my first Bi Visibility Day as an out bisexual person, and I am telling you that I struggle every day with the idea of being myself.

Learning to be out as a bisexual in an area where queer culture barely exists feels like trying to learn a new language when you’re surrounded by everyone who insists you speak a different one. It’s trying to develop an understanding of yourself in a world where everyone is telling you what you already are. I don’t know the signals; I don’t know what how it reads, how I read. I don’t know how to say, “Hey, you’re cute, and I’m bi. You?” I spent most of my adult life struggling to interpret opposite sex flirtation – same sex flirtation just feels beyond me.

This is my first Bi Visibility Day as an out bisexual person, and I am telling you that I struggle every day with the idea of dating.

I finally came out to my neighbors about a month ago, slowly, one at a time. I discovered that a neighbor with similar proclivities – she dates the person, not the gender. I found nothing but acceptance and understanding – indeed, no one made it a big thing. “Oh, you are? Okay.”

This is my first Bi Visibility day as an out bisexual person and I am telling you that, every day, I am okay and I will be okay.