Hi, I’m your bisexual friend!
You know the one. The person you think of when you say, “I have nothing against bisexual people, I have a bisexual friend!” By the way, if you feel the need to bring up our friendship to convince your audience that you are super-duper tolerant, I just want you to know, I don’t endorse your message.
To me it doesn’t seem like that big a facet of my personality. It’s just as important as the fact I like to sleep with the window open, but can only really do so one or two days out of a year before the mosquitoes get a whiff of me. Or as important as the fact that mosquitoes suck my blood like 17 year olds trying to get drunk off boxed wine. All of those things are relevant if you want to share a bed with me in clothing optional situations, but they shouldn’t be otherwise. I’ve learned that just because they shouldn’t be doesn’t mean they aren’t. Like, I could mention my sexuality less, sure, but let’s not pretend, my friend, that that’s not all you see when you look at me anyways. So why not just milk it, if it all amounts to the same thing?
(That’s not the intent actually…I’m just pretty sure you think it is, so maybe I just need a change of perception.)
Last year, I joined an internet group for homosexual and bisexual women living in Madrid. Mainly because I wanted more gay friends. Mainly so I could stop being the gay friend (bisexual friend isn’t much better as it turns out, there weren’t that many openly bi girls in the group, but it was time for a change). We usually just went to a lot of art expositions. It was all very classy. The raciest thing we went to was the exposition on Toni Catany and even then there was an awful lot of focus on the dead flowers. There was only one small section on his nude photographs, which weren’t especially erotic and even then, male bodies garnered little interest. I met a Californian girl at that exposition who was in an open relationship with a Brazilian girl she hadn’t known was seventeen. One time when I was drunk I asked her what the age of consent was in Brazil and she threw a napkin at my head while playfully calling me a bitch. Another time she got annoyed when the bartender called me “cariño” while serving me a gin tonic and I gave her a flirty smile back. During a bolder and meaner moment I told her it was interesting that she didn’t date bisexual women considering she had fucked more men than I had.
It’s a thin line between virgin and whore when you’re a woman. As an openly bisexual woman it’s nonexistent. People assume you’re doing different things when you’re watching teen shows on Netflix. And I get it, watching Gilmore Girls is so decadent that I’d feel a daily responsibility to go to confessions if I wasn’t sure I’d be struck down by lightning the moment I stepped foot in a church. Admittedly I used to have a crush Alexis Bledel although I think that was partly because she also didn’t learn English until she started school. Nowadays, I find John Oliver’s heat detector quite accurate when it comes to Lorelai Gilmore. The real depraved moments are when I’m watching a movie or show with an LGBT+ character and screaming at my computer screen with unrealistic requests like, “DON’T YOU FUCKING KILL THE GAY CHARACTER.”
That’s another thing about being bisexual. Nobody actually cared how I felt about the shooting in Orlando even though I was being genuine when I said I started crying the moment it processed that I was seeing real headlines. Nobody saw me going on twitter and scrolling through the comments congratulating the shooter. Pressing on the wound by overwhelming myself with the amount of people that would have congratulated him if I’d been in that club too because they wanted me dead just as much as other LGBT+ people. Not knowing what to do with that awareness now that it was there. And I don’t know why it was surprising. Except it wasn’t, not really, not actually. That’s the worst part, how easy it was for me to accept that there were people who would rather light fireworks instead of candles if I were murdered. I don’t have a joke to tell here, it’s the only absurd consequence to being bisexual that I can’t force myself to laugh at just so I don’t have to feel angry.
But I am angry. At you. You don’t want me dead, probably, but you’ve categorised me in your head as part of the “other.” You wouldn’t care as much if I were sexually abused, because I’m already twice as likely as straight women to be a victim and hey, in your mind I probably want it anyways, don’t I? And you wouldn’t care if I were diagnosed with depression, because I’m in a high risk demographic for it and you already believe there’s something wrong with my brain. Let’s be honest, if you cared you wouldn’t ask me about my sex life. You wouldn’t ask me if I’ve had a threesome or if I would ever have one. You wouldn’t ask me if I’m sure I’m not hetero/homosexual. You wouldn’t ask me why I don’t just try to be straight. You wouldn’t ask me why I think Pride is important. Pride is important because people die due to hate. And you might not hate me, but you hate my sexuality, and for some people that’s enough. I talk and write about it so much, so that I can normalise it for you. So that instead of asking me whether the top and bottom dynamic exists in between women as well, you ask society why no one cares about my safety.
If I can’t even go on a date with a girl in public without people smiling at me like they support me – and expecting a gold star for that support – then how can I pretend it’s not relevant in my life? I care because others care. I’m not impervious to society I just don’t understand it. And I don’t want to be the bisexual writer as much I don’t want to be your bisexual friend, but that’s an identity as much as writer is even in 2018. People care more about the adjective than the noun, and that’s just the way it is. Maybe one day people will remember my name before my sexuality. The only way I could try to ensure that now is by pretending I’m straight, like the majority of the other bisexual people you’re friends with, and don’t even know that you are.
But if there’s the possibility I can help one person by being out, then I’m going to do it. That’s why I talk about it, because I wish more people had talked about it when I was younger and so uncomfortable in my skin.
So if you’re going to say that you have a bisexual friend it better be in the context of helping someone come to terms with their sexuality and make them feel like they’re not alone. Not to tell someone that your bigoted opinion doesn’t make you an asshole because you have a bisexual friend. Because let me clear things up for you; if you’re dragging me in as an excuse to spread hate toward my community then we’re not friends. Stop pretending otherwise. Because real friends actually care about each other. Real friends accept each other.