Bi Visibility Day Midnight Musing

“Love is love and that’s all there is to it…”

Today is incredibly important to me. Even though my sexuality isn’t necessarily a key point of my identity personally, I know it is to others and how important it is that people recognise bisexuality.

Artwork of woman hugging a red heart sat on cushions coloured in the Bisexual flag — pink, purple, blue.
Credit VT Art

I was very lucky growing up. I have an incredibly inclusive and accepting family, and yet I still managed to repress and fight myself over my feelings, purely because the media had taught me that bisexuality didn’t exist. Even when one of my friends came out as bicurious, a number of people in our group didn’t believe that existed either. Despite believing and accepting homosexuality, we couldn’t comprehend that a person could love both sexes — it was one or the other. Bisexuality didn’t even exist as an option in my mind.

At the time I already knew I was attracted to men but didn’t believe I was attracted to women. I told myself it was a phase. I wasn’t greedy like people online made bisexuals out to be. In forums, there were countless people saying that bisexuality didn’t exist, that it was just an excuse to cheat or someone being greedy. Even in TV shows in the 2000s like Sex and the City, a character said “I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to Gaytown.” In a Bi Inclusion guide made by the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, they wrote about their School Report in 2017, explaining that 36% of 11 to 19-year-olds frequently or often hear negative comments about bisexual people (this is known as biphobia). There are quotes from kids across the UK with biphobic remarks they’ve heard, but one really stood out to me: “bisexuals are more likely to cheat, I’d never date a bi woman or man.” That’s the part that always stuck in my head whenever I felt an attraction to a woman.

I only started to accept my feelings when I got to University. I met so many different people with different ideas and views that I finally started to wonder if I was bisexual. I sat and talked with my partner for a while, trying to articulate my feelings. I told him I thought I might be bisexual, and he immediately accepted it — just like that. To him, it didn’t matter what I was; I was his girlfriend and he loved me. I felt like I needed to explain myself, explain why I felt uncomfortable beforehand and why I’d just come out to him but in reality, I didn’t need to at all. The next morning, I felt a strange sense of bliss knowing that it was a new day in the life of me. I’d accepted a part of myself that I had always known was there, only repressed. It feels cheesy to say it, but that’s just how I felt.

I told my family members bit by bit and they all accepted it just like my partner. It was wonderful to be myself but at the same time, I somehow felt guilty knowing that so many people would have (and still do) go through this process entirely differently and with very different outcomes. It made me think — if I wasn’t actually bisexual, would I have gone on with my life believing in these biphobic stereotypes? Stereotypes which transpired from popular media and online chatter infected my viewpoints in a way and may have done so to others as well. I started to wonder about representation in popular media, and while I’d seen a good few positive homosexual relationships on TV shows, I didn’t see many bisexual ones. It wasn’t until 2018 that I found bisexual representation in a TV show called Brooklyn 99, and the way it was handled really resonated with me. Brooklyn 99, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a comedy show about cops that often addresses important points such as racism, minority representation, and LGBTQ+.

Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99
Brooklyn 99

The character Rosa Diaz is very secretive, tough, and sometimes can be quite sensitive — she doesn’t tell you much about herself but you learn a lot through body language and quips about her mysterious past. In episode 99, she comes out as bisexual when she’s caught talking on the phone to her girlfriend by another character, Charles. He promises to keep it secret, then next episode she comes out to all of her co-workers anyway. While they all handle it well, the point of the episode is for her to come out to her parents, with whom she’s recently reconnected with. At their family game night, she hints at it during charades, but when she openly says it to her parents, there’s no immediate acceptance. There’s confusion at first, then denial followed by an upset Rosa leaving her parents home quietly after they tell her “it’s just a phase”.

Later, Rosa’s Dad comes to her and apologises, and accepts her for who she is. He even admits while he doesn’t understand, he’ll try to because he loves her. That’s the point where I start doing that quiet cry I do when I get all emotional and I don’t want my partner to know but he clearly knows because I’m literally blubbering. At first, I didn’t know why I was crying and just said it was because of the scene, but after thinking about it, they were happy tears. I was crying because I saw a bisexual person on screen, being accepted for who they were.

Since then, a lot of things have impacted my life, and I’ve gone through a lot of growth. A lot of my friends have come out identifying as different genders and sexualities, and I’ve accepted all of them, just as easily as I was accepted. As a creative person myself I want to make sure people never have to question who they are or repress feelings they aren’t sure about. I’ve wondered in the past when I’m writing something or trying to create characters whether I should make them a different race or sexuality, or leave it up to the reader’s interpretation. The issue I had was wondering if I would be adding to the problem by creating token characters, but now it’s my belief that characters created should be rounded, and not just there for the sake of including a minority. Rosa Diaz isn’t defined by her bisexuality, it’s just another aspect of her, and that’s how I should create. I also want to create characters that are proud of their identities, because in fiction, I believe we want to see ourselves in it. I thought to myself, it’s all well and good leaving a character up to interpretation, but when someone from a minority background sees themselves in my work, I want them to be proud of their identity as well.

Everyone should have the opportunity to explore their identity, no one should have to wake up in the middle of the night and panic about acceptance. Your feelings are valid. Your identity is valid. Love isn’t a binary system — it’s a spectrum that we all exist in, and having that representation of different sexualities is incredibly important to everyone. There might be loads of people who thought I was straight and really, unless I tell them otherwise, they might continue to think that. Instead, I think what we need to do is to simply avoid making assumptions. Love is love and that’s all there is to it, right?

Happy Bi Visibility Day everyone!

Heart with Bi Flag — Pink, Purple, Blue

Guest written by Erin (erin@uplanit.co.uk).

See you next week.

Facebook: UPlanIt / Twitter: @uplanit_online / Instagram: @uplanit_online

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