I was a sophomore in high school when I realized that my “sexual confusion” had a name; bisexual. When I came to this realization, it felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because it meant that I had a group I belonged to and didn’t have to be confused anymore. That weight quickly returned. I was no longer confused, however, I still wasn’t out to anyone.
Initially I thought telling my parents was going to be the worst of it, but I was one of the fortunate ones and was met with open arms. Surprisingly, the animosity primarily came from my friends and others in the LGBTQ+ community.
I attended high school in California, so being queer was not a new concept. I assumed this would make me coming out an easily accepted identity, and in a way it was. In fact, being bisexual was so widely spread across my high school that people began to assume it was nothing more than a popular trend. Even some of my closest friends would say things along the lines of “yeah sure, you and every other girl here,” or “you let me know when you are done with that little phase.” Having a boyfriend in high school only made matters worse, making it clear being bisexual would only be seen as valid if I had a female partner. For a while I dismissed these comments as nothing more than naïve high school behavior. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was right or if people in college were just more subtle with their methods of discrimination.
When I started college I was eager to move far away from high school nonsense and move in with one of my best friends, who is also part of the LGBTQ+ community. I had broken up with my high school boyfriend and was excited to see what else was out there for me in the world. I even eventually found myself a girl I wanted my friends to meet. This, however, came with a whole new set of problems. I remember sitting with her at a restaurant and noticing stares and whispers coming from multiple directions. It’s sad to say that I honestly couldn’t tell if the stares were because we were two women on a date or because it was an interracial relationship (you know it’s bad when you can’t even tell what type of discrimination is being thrown your way). It came time to introduce her to my friends, who were all jumping with excitement. Though their excitement felt nice, it also felt as though that was the first time they truly saw me as part of the LGBTQ+ community, as though stating my identity wasn’t good enough and they needed proof. Nonetheless though, the excitement and welcoming feeling was validating.
The main source of discomfort and discrimination is sadly from the men I’ve been in relationships with, the men I thought I could trust. Over time I had come to the realization that many straight men fetishize bisexual women. Several men in my past have automatically assumed that I would be eager to have a threesome with them simply because of my sexual identity. When I would refuse them, they assumed that I’m just a straight girl that wanted some attention.
The feeling of having to prove my status in the LGBTQ+ community had eventually gotten to me. I’d catch myself trying to look “more gay” so that people at the gay bars wouldn’t think I was the just the straight girl who likes to kiss girls when she’s drunk. After a while I realized that the whole point of coming out was so I didn’t have to hide who I was anymore. Changing how I dress and express myself was taking a step back instead of forward.
These experiences are not unique to me and from the horror stories of discrimination I’ve heard from my peers, I’ve had it pretty easy. The idea that when a bisexual woman is faking because she is dating a man is a massive problem within the community, especially when the discrimination comes from other who identify as LGBTQ+. People need start hearing the word bisexual and truly understanding that it is valid regardless of what gender that person is with at the time. Love is love, and until people can come to accept that , discrimination will continue.