On bisexual visibility

I have a lot of fun on bisexual visibility day. This is the one time of year when bisexual people are visible: so monosexual people, be sure to use special sunglasses or a piece of white paper to observe them, so as not to damage your eyes.

The idea of bisexual invisibility is full of potential for surrealist humour. Gradually, over time, I lost touch with why visibility is so important to me, hiding the bad memories behind a few layers of irony.

Coming out as trans made me more visibly queer. I’m very vocal about my trans-ness, and this results in people not really being sure who I have sex with and how, so no matter what gender of partner I refer to people seem equally accepting. This is new, however, and seems only to have come about as a result of the ways that I stand out.

Before coming out as trans and early on in my transition, when I wasn’t even read as butch let alone possibly male, whatever gender of person I was with at the time seemed to be a disappointment to one group of people or another. Straight, cis people thought I should be with a guy and only attracted to guys, and mentioning otherwise would elicit this strange, startled expression. Meanwhile, I didn’t fit in with any of the LGBT groups I tried to integrate with, because I seemed to be “choosing” to present as straight while still wanting the support of the LGBT community because of my attraction to women. And then after coming out as trans, there was the question of why I would transition to being a man who has sex with men. Wouldn’t it make more sense to either not transition, or choose to be a straight man?

There is something about bisexuality that is incredibly isolating. It seems like such a small, insignificant thing from the outside, but when you’re experiencing this lack of fit it really does feel like being invisible. Like who you are and how you experience your connections with other people is simply impossible, or not worthy of love.

Nowadays I hear more and more from people who are monosexual that it feels in certain circles like everybody is bi or pan, and they feel like they are not radical enough. I believe them, and my biggest question coming out of those conversations is how big these emerging pansexual circles are. Where does the pansexual world end and the gay world begin? And why does it feel like the frontier of the heteronormative world is found in the gay world, not the purportedly “in-between” space of bisexuality?

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