Biphobia: When your community doesn’t want you

Not queer enough. Not straight enough. Not normal enough. Not as part of the community as you could be if you had just chosen right.

I had dated mostly women in my young adult and adult life. I cultivated a fiercely queer community of friends, chosen family, lovers, and folks around the way. We grew together, partied together, explored together, shared intimate parts of who we were with one another. We were friends in the ultimate sense of the word. That is, before I moved away and met a man.

He was average height, brown hair, big bushy beard, glasses. He wore suits, corduroys, ties. He was an academic. I was happy, just like I’d be in any other relationship. This was a beautiful blossoming romance that I wanted to share on social media, with friends, out in public—you know, normal in-love shout-it-from-the-rooftops type of stuff. It wasn’t long until my friends, who I’d previously shared everything with, began falling away.

You don’t choose who you fall in love with, but being bisexual means having the option to pass for straight, or to force yourself to date only same sex partners. When my friends became distant, I couldn’t understand what was wrong. They knew I was bisexual, although they didn’t know me to have any male partners that they’d ever met. Now that I was in love with a cis man, and it was out in the world, in their face, I was an outsider. I had betrayed them. I was suddenly not queer enough.

Meeting queer folks in my new city became a challenge as well. I’d go to queer events, and even put on my own, but as soon as folks found out I had a male partner, the conversation dulled, their eyes downcast, and they found some excuse to, oh wait, I see one of my friends over there. Talk to you later. I was heartbroken. My community, the only thing that keeps me going, keeps me being a full, whole, healthy person, had shunned me. Why couldn’t I have just chosen right?

I stuck out like a sore thumb, not able to belong in the only community I’ve ever felt like a true part of. I questioned my relationship and my love for my partner. I wondered if this love was worth losing my people, my community. It hurt, and every time I experience bi-phobia, the sting does not get any easier to bear.

I recently went back to my old city, to see some of my old friends. We were at a dinner and board game party at my friend’s house, whom I’ve known for years. One of the girls I used to be crazy about was there. I felt my breath quiver, remembering. I was wearing a Queers Against Mike Pence patch on my jacket, and turned around to show it to a friend of mine. She laughed. “I don’t get it though”, she said. “You’re not queer”. My heart sank to my stomach as I softly muttered “What do you mean? Yes I am”. “I mean, how?”, she said. I wanted to sink. We’d known each other through several relationships, yet, now, today, I was no longer queer. I was a traitor.

I refuse to turn away from my community because I’m dating a cis man at the moment. I refuse to keep quiet about bi-phobia in my very own community. I am not less of a member of this tribe that hold us all together than the L and G in LGBT (trans folks suffer with erasure as well!). Every day, we fight for one another’s rights, liberties, and quality of life. We resist with one another, we nurture one another, we grow with one another. I will not be visible only when it is convenient.

Queer folks turn to their LGBTQ+ family in times of joy and in times of struggle. We are there for each other in our toughest moments. Thankfully, I am strong, happy, and in good mental health right now, but for other bi folks who suddenly lose their community they worked so hard for just because of who they’ve fallen in love with, I reach out to you. Find your community who will love you unconditionally.

We’re not confused, looking for attention, want it all, or any other hurtful stereotype that is put on us. We’re queer, we’re full of love, and we struggle with the same issues that others in our community face. I love my LGBTQ+ family. I hope that you love me too—at all stages of my existence.