Bisexual Visibility Is Just the Beginning
After waking up naked and starving in the beds of countless college men, I began to wonder if that was even possible. I wasn’t straight. (Reasonable!) I knew I like women — dating them, having sex with them, connecting with them emotionally — so being gay just doesn’t feel right. 12 years ago, while sitting in my sophomore dorm, I turned to my all-knowing owner: Google. I searched for “bisexual man,” which did not reveal much beyond studies on gay/bisexual men and HIV, and an unfamiliar list arguing that male bisexuality was, in fact, real. (No kidding.) There wasn’t much.
If you Google the term “bisexual man” today, you’ll find hundreds of articles related to bisexuality. In fact, if you broaden the search to be limited to “duality“You’ll find thousands more. These articles don’t just try to justify our existence. They discuss the The nuances of binary identity—how to date as a binary, how to appear as a binary, How do you know if you are a coupleand where to find a binary society.
There are also countless celebrities now proudly claiming bi or gender labels – Stephanie Beatriz, Willow Smith, Janelle Money, and Aubrey Plaza, For example, but not limited. for the love of God, Susan Sarandon It just came out as a bi. (Would I like to see more male celebrities come out as a duo? Yes, so I’m going to have to get famous myself.)
Media representation has also become stronger and more serious. We are no longer portrayed as morally eccentric Or the lines of jokes. Instead, we’ve got complex binary characters in shows like big mouththe new gossip girlAnd the hypnotic, feeling 8And the harley quinn, And many more. There was even a show called bisexual On Hulu in 2018.
in some squares, We’re at the height of seeing bisexuals, and I’m for example living. For the first time ever, women don’t turn me down because I’m bisexual – hmm Wants Even now I’m bisexual! But To be honest, I’m still not satisfied (Although I now placed Often –bless). <Enter this change to avoid the ‘We have more work to do’ rep
[[THESE QUOTES DIRECTLY CONTRAST/UNDERMINE WHAT ZACH SAYS IN THE PREVIOUS GRAF, SO I REARRANGED THE QUOTE SO IT READS MORE NUANCED IMO. WDYT?
“While we have made great strides, we are not yet visible enough,” Robyn Ochs, activist for bisexual visibility and editor of Bi Women Quarterly, says. “Sadly, many people still believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist or that bisexuality is a character flaw—a wishy-washy failure to commit to one gender—rather than a commitment to embrace our whole selves. We still have very basic educational work to do.”
“Sadly, many people still believe that bisexuality doesn’t exist or that bisexuality is a character flaw—a wishy-washy failure to commit to one gender—rather than a commitment to embrace our whole selves,” says Robyn Ochs, activist for bisexual visibility and editor of Bi Women Quarterly. “While we have made great strides, we are not yet visible enough. We still have very basic educational work to do.”
Of course, Ochs is right. We haven’t solved biphobia, and bi people still have the worst mental health outcomes of any sexuality by nearly every single metric, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts than both gay and straight folks, according to Current Sexual Health Reports. This is largely due to the double discrimination bi people face by not feeling welcomed or like part of either straight or gay communities, causing us to feel alone and isolated.
However, That aside, it’s important to recognize that we are in (forgive me) unprecedented territory— for the first time ever, I think we’re in a place where we can promote bi visibility while simultaneously moving beyond it, and where we can work to more directly address some of the issues plaguing our community. because Visibility isn’t a cure-all. I’d argue It’s just the first step in any movement, and yes, bi people are having a goddamn movement!
Visibility essentially says: Look, we’re real! You need to treat us with some damn respect. It also helps people realize they’re not alone, that they have a community. Given the aforementioned higher rates of mental health issues for bi people, community is essential. But seeing yourself on screen or reading about someone else’s experience doesn’t automatically transport you to a room full of bi people trying to make friends and find romantic partners. There is a large gap between bisexual visibility and bisexual community. Since I don’t think scientists are on the brink of discovering the key to human teleportation, we’re going to have to create and attend bi spaces ourselves in order to feel less alone. We, the bi people of the world, are going to have build bi communities.
“After visibility comes bi life,” Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, executive director of the American Institute of Bisexuality, says. “We’re not so easy to erase anymore, as much as some will try, there are just too many of us out in the open.”
Right now, bi communities are predominantly online. We have bisexual Reddit, bi Twitter, and my favorite, bisexual TikTok (or BiTok). Using hashtags, we can find and connect with other bi folks around the world, which is wonderful and how I’ve met many of my own bi friends. But it’s time for bi people to move away from the internet (and digital spaces) and actually exist in the real world. We need physical bi spaces.
We need bisexual bars! I want a queer place where I can bring my queer girlfriend and feel comfortable making out with her without gay men judging me for erroneously believing we’re a straight couple co-opting their space. (For what it’s worth, I get why gay men are protective of their spaces, but like, shit, where am I supposed to go? A straight bar? I’d rather die.)
We need bisexual sex clubs! At every queer sex party I’ve been to, I’ve only ever seen women hooking up with women, and men…also hooking up with women. Which, fine! But men should feel empowered to hook up with all genders—in raunchy positions, no less! I want a safe place where my boyfriend, girlfriend, theyfriend, and I can all go to town on each other. As it is now, it feels like sex clubs either cater to gay men exclusively or to a very straight clientele (e.g., men aren’t allowed down in the play section unless accompanied by a woman)—they are fundamentally not inclusive of bisexual folks.
Of course, we also need sober, non-sexual places for bi people. Hello, bisexual rock climbing meet-ups! Bisexual people are obsessed with rock climbing. Why? Unclear. Personally, I’m a grown-ass man who has better things to do than climb rocks, but I’m in the minority of bi folks. I’ve accepted that. So let’s give the bi people what they want!
Maybe you’re not a rock climbing bisexual, but instead, you’re a Dungeons and Dragons bisexual. (Don’t you dare make a “Why not both?” joke!) Why not D&D meet-ups where bi folks can bring everyone in their polycule and nerd the fuck out?
“LGBTQIA+ spaces are often dominated by gay people, in particular gay men,” Vaneet Mehta, author of the forthcoming book Bisexual Men Exist, says. “And while you’d hope that they would be more accepting of bisexuality, they often do not understand or support others in the [bi] social communication.”
So let’s make our own damned spaces. Anyone working in binary can work to create a secure binary space, even those who work from nine to five traditional jobs. I know this, because I actually had a huge sex party (over 170 people) in Brooklyn, NY called BISLUT. Since I didn’t go to a sex club that felt really bisexual for all genders, I threw a party for bisexual men and their fans. At the risk of waving my tube, everyone was and still is completely obsessed with it – not just because of the sex, though sex was great, but because the bisexuals were in a safe place surrounded by other people where they could fully express their sexuality And to be their most authentic selves.
“Like people of any sexual activity, most people want to have fun, meet each other, and have ‘get it’ friends,” says Lawrence Torino. “And let’s be honest, we want to have an exciting and fulfilling sex and love life.”
Loving and supportive and cheerful The bisexual community is what comes after bisexuality. Not only can this type of community improve mental health outcomes, but it can also encourage more intersex people to come out and embrace who they are. Infinite studies It showed how much better you can have by just embracing your sexuality, but There is a warning: LGBT people need friends, community, and support in getting out. If you lose your friends, family, and home as a result, your mental health will only deteriorate. Physical and safe spaces for community strengthening can be a game-changer in helping intersex people out safely.
These spaces may even help reduce rates Homelessness in the bisexual community. For intersex youth who have been displaced or expelled after discharge, safe spaces are essential to obtain support.
Am I dreaming big here? Can. But why the hell not? By giving people the opportunity to be themselves, we may inadvertently elevate the next president of the United States, the next Lady Gaga, or the next bisexual icon.
Involve me. My colleagues repeat: Let’s get down to business.