Why I Come Out as Bisexual No Matter Whom I Date

I’ve dated across the gender spectrum, and I took years of waffling to come out as bisexual to my parents. Yet, I still face a lot of questions about why I need to be out, especially because I’m in a long-term relationship with a man.

In honor of Celebrate Bisexuality Day on Sept. 23, here’s my answer. Please keep in mind this is my experience, and I am not speaking for all bisexuals.

1. Being bi is a significant part of my identity. 

My sexual orientation is so much more than whom I date; it informs my worldview. I live, breathe and sleep queerness. I write about queer people; I have queer friends; I consume queer media; I defend queer rights.

When telling stories about my life, I can’t talk about certain experiences if I don’t mention the person I was dating at the time. From the jokes that people make (ooo, you like him!) to the conversation starter “Are you seeing anybody?”, my bisexuality remains relevant. When people act like bigots toward me or other LGBT folks, my bisexuality shows in how I jump to defend them.

While being bi is only a part of my identity, whom I date or am attracted to shapes who I am. I refuse to go back in the closet for other people’s comfort.

2. I come out to show bisexuals exist.

Bisexual people like me make up half the LGBT community, yet bi invisibility in media and society is a big problem. We do have a depressing presence in porn, but in general, bisexual people are overwhelmingly ignored.

Even look at so-called LGBT organizations: Less than 1 percent of grants in the U.S. explicitly address bisexual issues.

Coming out is my rebellion against this culture – a culture where bisexual people go to Pride, gay bars and other LGBT spaces and receive hostility for not being queer enough, and where as late as 2014, The New York Times ran an article talking about proving if bisexual men exist.

I am proud to be bi. I join a long line of bi women elders including Emily Dickinson, Billie Holliday, Sylvia Rivera and Eleanor Roosevelt.

We have existed for centuries. Don’t deny us our stories.

3. I want to stand up for bisexual folks who are more oppressed.

I am lucky that the oppression that I’ve faced (so far) has been limited to a painful coming-out experience, feeling unwelcome in some circles and a lot of petty comments.

I’m not dating someone hostile to my identity, who assumes that I automatically consent to certain sexual acts or fetishizes me as the “hot bisexual” we see so frequently in porn. I haven’t been fired from any of my jobs for dating a person who’s female or nonbinary. I haven’t been harassed for being read as queer.

I haven’t been raped or abused, unlike 61 percent of bi women in the U.S. I haven’t suffered from mental health conditions bi folks face at rates higher than all other sexual orientations, though I have considered suicide. Because I came out in my twenties, I haven’t been bullied specifically for my sexual orientation.

Being white, cisgender, middle-class and able-bodied means that I don’t suffer further discrimination because of my race, gender identity and disability. Being born in the U.S. means I’m not denied the right to refugee status as a victim of LGBT discrimination because I’ve been with men.

And on a lighter note, I am lucky to have even found people interested in dating me. According to a recent survey, half of Americans say they wouldn’t date a bisexual.

4. I’m in a unique position to confront homophobia.

Because I present femme and have a male partner now, many people assume I’m straight. While this infuriates me, I’ve found that passing puts me in a unique position: People will say or do things they wouldn’t in front of someone who was more visibly queer.

I’ve confronted people about off-color jokes they’ve made about LGBT teen suicide and destructive comments like, “I don’t care if he’s gay; he just better not hit on me” or “She’s a lesbian? That’s so hot.” Then, if the situation feels safe, I come out to them, which puts a face on the group of people they’re mocking.

Acknowledging that bisexuals exist makes being homophobic more complicated. Our existence invalidates the so-called effectiveness of “ex-gay” conversion therapy, “corrective” rape and other atrocities by putting heternormativity on its head.

Ignorant men who stare at lesbians thinking, “She hasn’t met the right man yet,” are proved wrong by female bisexuals who have dated great men in the past, but date women anyway.

5. I come out because I am a feminist and a trans ally. 

Even if I wasn’t bisexual, I’d stand for them as a feminist. Three-quarters of those who identify as bisexual are women, and a lot of the discrimination they face is grounded in misogyny to degrade and hypersexualize them.

I’d stand for them as a trans ally because 25 percent of transgender people identify as bi as well.

But since I am bi, I will stand with them in solidarity, as one of them.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

74 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven9 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Tania N.
Tania N11 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Philippa Powers
Philippa P11 months ago

Thanks.

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Elizabeth McGowan
.12 months ago

many thanks.

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Colin Clauscen
Colin Cabout a year ago

Good on you for writing this.

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Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

David F. How many STRAIGHT MARRIED people lie about not being married? Get my point?

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