Coming out as bisexual back in January 2013 is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Although I was acutely aware of the stigma surrounded bisexuality at the time, fortunately I was surrounded by a group of friends who helped and supported me, and accepted who I was without question.
That said, however, there were some who simply assumed I was gay, but in denial. I was often told, even by friends who identified as gay, ‘bisexuality doesn’t exist’, ‘pick a side’ and that by being attracted to both genders, I was somehow ‘being greedy’. This is not to mention the homophobia that I faced from others, with slurs like ‘fag’ taking a real knock to my self-confidence. They say that words can never hurt you, and that is true in the physical sense, but mentally they can be destroying.
And when similar sentiment is expressed in the press and the entertainment industry, is it any surprise that biphobia still exists? You know that there is still a significant problem when Glee, a programme often praised for how it approaches social issues, has a character who says: ‘Bisexual is a term gay guys use in high school when they want to hold hands with girls and feel normal for a change’.
I choose to define myself as bisexual for the same reasons Robyn Ochs, a notable bisexual speaker and activist: ‘I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one sex, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.’
This is why #BiVisibilityDay is so important. People need to realise being bisexual doesn’t mean having to be attracted to both men and women equally, nor does it mean we are more likely to be unfaithful. I am in no way ‘confused’ or ‘attention-seeking’ when it comes to my sexuality, and to label me as gay would be to ignore a fundamental part of who I am.
We don’t live in a world of polar opposites, and not everyone fits into neat labelled boxes. When it comes to sexuality, things are more complex than just heterosexual and homosexual. My brain and my hormones may work differently to yours, but I can’t help or change that, just like none of us can choose the colour of our skin. People should not be judged by their sexual orientation, on their gender, or their skin colour, but by ‘the content of their character’.