Karla Chubb has tried for years to understand why there is such great distaste in the gay community for bisexuals, but after a recent episode in a bar, she decided she’d had enough.
“I wouldn’t have kissed you if I knew you were bisexual,” were words I never thought I’d hear, but this is exactly what a young lesbian said to me in a city centre bar recently.
I feel it’s necessary to mention that she was young (in her early 20s), because our generation is one that’s supposed to be opening our minds, and the minds of those around us, to learn to accept everyone, regardless of skin colour, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or any characteristics that make us different.
I was shocked not only because she expressed such a great distaste for my sexual orientation, but because her lesbian friends also all grimaced, winced and looked at her with pity when they found out I wasn’t ‘fully gay’.
My initial reaction to this deeply offensive comment was, strangely enough, to laugh out loud. As a bisexual woman who dresses in quite a feminine way, wears make up and has had several boyfriends in the past, I have become used to brushing off such statements.
However, when my laughter passed, anger and confusion quickly took over.
Trips to gay clubs and bars or conversations with lesbians often lead to comments such as, ‘Yeah, you don’t look like a lesbian’, ‘How can you even be attracted to men?’, ‘You’re just confused’, and my personal favourite, ‘Bisexual’s don’t exist, that’s not a real thing.’
But after a few flings with girls and a long-term, loving and committed relationship with a woman under my belt, I thought maybe I’d be taken seriously. Maybe I wouldn’t just be seen as another girl on a stepping stone towards coming out as a lesbian, or someone experimenting with her sexuality.
I was very wrong.
The comments continued – the crude looks, the requests for threesomes, the nasty, backhanded jabs, the accusations that I will cheat on all my partners rolled in with criticisms of my ‘straight’ appearance.
I have tried for years to understand why there is such great distaste in the gay community for bisexuals. Some say it’s privilege, that because I can ‘choose’ to lead a heterosexual lifestyle I have a privilege over gay or lesbian people. Some say it’s because I’m greedy, that I can apparently pick and choose from the men and women I’d like to date. Some say bisexuality is a myth, and others say it is not a sexual orientation but merely an excuse – a one foot out the door before admitting you are gay, or a justification to experiment before discovering you’re actually straight.
These are all deeply untrue and deeply offensive opinions and if you found yourself agreeing with any of the above statements, I encourage you to reconsider your thought process.
Bisexuals are people who can be attracted to either males or females. They are also fully able to be in committed and monogamous relationships. We are not a myth, we do actually exist.
This notion that bisexuals are greedy, sex-hungry, cheaters is laughable. Being bisexual means I can be attracted to males or females; it does not mean they are attracted to me. I can’t walk into a room full of people and have my pick of the lot. No one can, because attraction works both ways. They have to like you and you have to like them.
So does being bisexual technically mean there is more probability for me to find a suitable partner? Because I can be attracted to both sexes, yes. But does that mean I jump from bed to bed collecting sexual partners like I used to collect Pokemon cards? Of course not.
Does that mean I can’t find one person who I can have a strong connection with and have a happy, healthy and monogamous, lifelong relationship with? Of course not.
I cannot help my attraction to men, no more so than I can help my attraction to women, and while the stereotypical, chauvinistic, heterosexual male response to my bisexuality is, ‘Can we have a threesome?’, the one I get from gay women is often more hurtful.
They look at me with utter disgust, as if to say, “You have been touched by the opposite sex, you are tainted, you are damaged goods, you are not good enough to be my partner and you will, for some reason, eventually leave me for a man.”
I once confronted one woman about it and straight out asked, “Why does it bother you that I have slept with or am attracted to men?” Her response was, “Because I can never give you what a man can.”
This response is laced with deep-rooted insecurity that I feel is often projected onto the bisexual person.
If you are with someone who is bisexual, then they are with you because they want to be. If the girl you are dating would rather be sleeping with a guy, then she would be. If the bisexual boy you are with really wanted to date a girl, then he would be. We, everyone and not just bisexuals, choose to be with people who we are attracted to, happy with and want to be around.
If a partner has left you or cheated on you with a man or woman before, then that probably had nothing to do with the fact that they were bisexual, but more to with the fact that they were unhappy or just an asshole.
While I once made it a point to hide my bisexuality when out in gay bars, because I actually found the stigma worse than with straight people, now I make it a point to specifically mention it.
Being bisexual can be a stepping stone for those who are not yet ready to fully come out of the closet, and if you need that stepping stone, by all means I fully encourage you to use it. Coming out is hard enough as it is and some of us need all the help we can get.
And when we are ready and brave enough to truly embrace our sexuality and ‘fully come out’, people tend to then use a label they feel is more fitting for them anyway. But please don’t discredit those who don’t take that ‘final step’ to being gay, because for some of bisexuality is not a stepping stone, but the destination.
I have not ‘gone straight’ if I am dating a man, and I have not ‘gone gay’ if I am dating a woman.
I am in a loving, caring and committed relationship, so why should it be okay for you to discredit that on account of which genitals my partner has. I would never dare do the same to you.
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