Bi “Visibility” Is Good, however Bi Group Is Higher
After waking up bare and hungover within the beds of numerous males in faculty, I started to surprise if possibly I…wasn’t straight. (Cheap!) I knew I liked girls—courting them, having intercourse with them, connecting with them emotionally—so being homosexual didn’t appear proper. So 12 years in the past, whereas sitting in my sophomore dorm, I turned to the holder of all information: Google. I looked for “bisexual man,” which didn’t reveal a lot past research about homosexual/bisexual males and HIV, and an off-hand listicle arguing that male bisexuality was, the truth is, actual. (No kidding.) There wasn’t a lot else.
When you Google “bisexual man” right this moment, you’ll discover tons of of articles pertaining to bisexuality. In actual fact, in case you broaden your search to only “bisexuality,” you’ll discover hundreds extra. These articles aren’t simply trying to justify our existence; they focus on the nuances of bi identity—easy methods to date as a bi particular person, easy methods to come out as bi, how to know if you’re bi, and the place to discover a bi group.
There are additionally numerous celebrities now proudly claiming bi or pansexual labels—Stephanie Beatriz, Willow Smith, Janelle Monae, and Aubrey Plaza, to call a number of. For the love of God, Susan Sarandon simply got here out as bi. (Would I prefer to see extra male celebrities popping out as bi? Sure, so I’m going to need to get well-known myself.)
Media illustration has additionally gotten stronger and extra critical. We’re now not depicted as morally dubious weirdos or the punch-lines of jokes. As a substitute, we’re given complicated bi characters in reveals like Large Mouth, the brand new Gossip Woman, The Sandman, Sense8, Harley Quinn, and so many extra. There was even a present referred to as The Bisexual on Hulu in 2018.
In some arenas, we’re within the heyday of bisexual visibility, and I, for one, am dwelling. For the primary time ever, girls aren’t refusing to this point me as a result of I’m bisexual—they need to this point me as a result of I’m bisexual! However to be trustworthy, I am nonetheless not happy (despite the fact that I now get laid considerably extra typically—bless). <<MADE THIS CHANGE TO AVOID THE “we now have extra work to do” rep
[[THESE QUOTES DIRECTLY CONTRAST/UNDERMINE WHAT ZACH SAYS IN THE PREVIOUS GRAF, SO I REARRANGED THE QUOTE SO IT READS MORE NUANCED IMO. WDYT?
“While we have made great strides, we are not yet visible enough,” Robyn Ochs, activist for bisexual visibility and editor of Bi Women Quarterly, says. “Sadly, many people still believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist or that bisexuality is a character flaw—a wishy-washy failure to commit to one gender—rather than a commitment to embrace our whole selves. We still have very basic educational work to do.”
“Sadly, many people still believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist or that bisexuality is a character flaw—a wishy-washy failure to commit to one gender—rather than a commitment to embrace our whole selves,” says Robyn Ochs, activist for bisexual visibility and editor of Bi Women Quarterly. “While we have made great strides, we are not yet visible enough. We still have very basic educational work to do.”
Of course, Ochs is right. We haven’t solved biphobia, and bi people still have the worst mental health outcomes of any sexuality by nearly every single metric, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts than both gay and straight folks, according to Current Sexual Health Reports. This is largely due to the double discrimination bi people face by not feeling welcomed or like part of either straight or gay communities, causing us to feel alone and isolated.
However, That aside, it’s important to recognize that we are in (forgive me) unprecedented territory— for the first time ever, I think we’re in a place where we can promote bi visibility while simultaneously moving beyond it, and where we can work to more directly address some of the issues plaguing our community. because Visibility isn’t a cure-all. I’d argue It’s just the first step in any movement, and yes, bi people are having a goddamn movement!
Visibility essentially says: Look, we’re real! You need to treat us with some damn respect. It also helps people realize they’re not alone, that they have a community. Given the aforementioned higher rates of mental health issues for bi people, community is essential. But seeing yourself on screen or reading about someone else’s experience doesn’t automatically transport you to a room full of bi people trying to make friends and find romantic partners. There is a large gap between bisexual visibility and bisexual community. Since I don’t think scientists are on the brink of discovering the key to human teleportation, we’re going to have to create and attend bi spaces ourselves in order to feel less alone. We, the bi people of the world, are going to have build bi communities.
“After visibility comes bi life,” Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, executive director of the American Institute of Bisexuality, says. “We’re not so easy to erase anymore, as much as some will try, there are just too many of us out in the open.”
Right now, bi communities are predominantly online. We have bisexual Reddit, bi Twitter, and my favorite, bisexual TikTok (or BiTok). Using hashtags, we can find and connect with other bi folks around the world, which is wonderful and how I’ve met many of my own bi friends. But it’s time for bi people to move away from the internet (and digital spaces) and actually exist in the real world. We need physical bi spaces.
We need bisexual bars! I want a queer place where I can bring my queer girlfriend and feel comfortable making out with her without gay men judging me for erroneously believing we’re a straight couple co-opting their space. (For what it’s worth, I get why gay men are protective of their spaces, but like, shit, where am I supposed to go? A straight bar? I’d rather die.)
We need bisexual sex clubs! At every queer sex party I’ve been to, I’ve only ever seen women hooking up with women, and men…also hooking up with women. Which, fine! But men should feel empowered to hook up with all genders—in raunchy positions, no less! I want a safe place where my boyfriend, girlfriend, theyfriend, and I can all go to town on each other. As it is now, it feels like sex clubs either cater to gay men exclusively or to a very straight clientele (e.g., men aren’t allowed down in the play section unless accompanied by a woman)—they are fundamentally not inclusive of bisexual folks.
Of course, we also need sober, non-sexual places for bi people. Hello, bisexual rock climbing meet-ups! Bisexual people are obsessed with rock climbing. Why? Unclear. Personally, I’m a grown-ass man who has better things to do than climb rocks, but I’m in the minority of bi folks. I’ve accepted that. So let’s give the bi people what they want!
Maybe you’re not a rock climbing bisexual, but instead, you’re a Dungeons and Dragons bisexual. (Don’t you dare make a “Why not both?” joke!) Why not D&D meet-ups where bi folks can bring everyone in their polycule and nerd the fuck out?
“LGBTQIA+ spaces are often dominated by gay people, in particular gay men,” Vaneet Mehta, author of the forthcoming book Bisexual Men Exist, says. “And while you’d hope that they would be more accepting of bisexuality, they often do not understand or support others in the [bi] group.”
So let’s make our personal rattling areas. Any bi particular person can work to create a protected bi house, even those that work conventional nine-to-five jobs. I do know this, as I really threw a large intercourse get together (over 170 attendees) in Brooklyn, New York referred to as BISLUT. Since I hadn’t been to a intercourse membership that felt genuinely bisexual for all genders, I threw a celebration for bi males and their admirers. On the danger of tooting my very own horn, everybody has been and continues to be completely obsessive about it—not simply due to the intercourse, although the intercourse was superior, however as a result of bi folks had been in a protected house surrounded by different bi people the place they may express their sexuality fully and be their most genuine selves.
“Like folks of any sexuality, most bis wish to have enjoyable, meet one another, and have associates who ‘get’ them,” says Lawrence-Tourinho. “And let’s be trustworthy, we wish to have thrilling, fulfilling intercourse and love lives.”
A loving, supportive, and enjoyable bisexual group is what comes after bi visibility. Not solely can one of these group enhance psychological well being outcomes, however it could actually additionally encourage extra bi people to return out and embrace who they’re. Countless studies have indicated how a lot better life can get when you embrace your sexuality, however there’s a caveat: Queer people have to have associates, group, and assist in popping out. When you lose your folks, your loved ones and your own home consequently, your psychological well being solely deteriorates. Secure, bodily areas to foster group may be game-changers in serving to bi folks come out safely.
These areas might even assist lower charges of homelessness in the bisexual community. For bi youth who get displaced or kicked out after popping out, protected areas are important for locating assist.
Am I dreaming large right here? Perhaps. However why the hell not? By giving folks the chance to be themselves, we’d unknowingly increase the following President of the US, or the following Woman Gaga, or the following bisexual icon.
Signal me up. My fellow bis: Let’s get to work.