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Believe Me: I'm Bisexual
Since today is #NationalComingOutDay, I wanted to discuss something I've experienced as a bisexual person. I’ve noticed people often assume I’m straight because I’m in a relationship with a cisgender and heterosexual man. I’m still bisexual, no matter who I’m in a relationship with.
People make bold assumptions about me based on my bisexuality. People who don’t know me assume I’m straight. The truth is I’m attracted to women, man, and non-binary people as well. Still, people are constantly thinking of me as heterosexual because of who I’m dating.
I’ve heard people say things about bisexual people like, “Jane was dating a man, but then she turned into a lesbian because she’s dating a woman now.”
Meanwhile, Jane is a bisexual, not a woman who “turned into a lesbian.” This is bi erasure, the act of erasing bisexuality.
The truth is bisexual people like me stay bisexual when we are in relationships. My sexual orientation doesn’t magically change because I’m dating someone of a certain gender. Sure, I’m in an open relationship with a man, but I’m still attracted to women and non-binary people. I’m still open to relationships with people of all genders because I’m polyamorous.
I noticed I was attracted to women at a very young age. I always knew I wasn’t heterosexual like everyone else appeared to be.
People have the audacity to think I’m in denial about either being straight or lesbian. I’m neither of those things. I’m bisexual. I’ve never been confused about being bisexual, but other people sure can’t accept it. That’s why they read my relationship with my boyfriend as heterosexual. People would rather insist that I’m lying or being deceptive than believe me when I say I’m bisexual.
News flash! There’s a queer person in the relationship: me. I am the common denominator in all of my relationships. Being with a cis het guy doesn’t define my sexuality. My sexuality has a landscape of its own. Acknowledging that I’m bisexual means respecting my individuality. It also means giving me autonomy over how I define myself as an individual, not as someone’s partner in a relationship.
As a bisexual person, I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sure, I’m dating a cis het man, but I’m still part of this community. I don’t magically become heterosexual because I’m with a man. My sexuality is fluid, but my sexual orientation is a fixed trait. I came out as bisexual when I was 12 years old. Ever since I learned what bisexuality was, I’ve identified with it as a descriptor for my sexuality.
On the other hand, if I date a woman, I’m not suddenly a lesbian. That’s not how sexuality works. I’m still attracted to men and non-binary people whereas lesbians are attracted to women. No matter who my partners are, I’m still bisexual.
There are a lot of other bisexuals who are in relationships that people read as straight. This is a form of bi erasure. If there’s a bisexual person in a relationship with someone, that person remains bisexual. People don’t stop experiencing attraction just because they’re in a relationship.
By the way: If you won’t date someone specifically because they’re bisexual, that makes you biphobic.
Here's a shout-out to all of the bisexual people out there. I see you. You’re valid, regardless of whether you're in the closet or not. Nobody can take that away from you.