I am a bisexual male. I feel attraction to both genders, and have the capacity to form romantic relationships with both. One of the frustrations I have that I feel is unique to bisexuality is that as a bisexual you have a tendency to be “invisible”. What I mean by this is that people generally assume that you are either straight or gay, never in between. If I’m talking about a boy I like, I’m gay. If I’m talking about a girl I like, I’m straight. I will tell you, these misconceptions are very annoying. The same problem applies to the spaces I occupy.
Back at home, I was straight. There was no question about that. Granted, I was single for most of high school, but that didn’t matter. Though I only started to discover myself in my senior year of high school, by the end of the school year this was bothering me. It didn’t really help matters that I had a girlfriend. Even after I told my parents that I was bisexual, I was still straight. My dad actually told me once, “You aren’t really bisexual. I mean, you have a girlfriend and you haven’t dated or slept with a boy. So really, you’re bicurious, not biactual.” Now spellcheck is telling me that the words “bicurious” and “biactual” are not real words. Well, that’s because they’re complete loads of (words I can’t say on this blog). The fact that I haven’t actually slept with a boy has no bearing on the attraction I feel. But I am on the edge of a tangent, and that is a post for another day.
Here at Duke I seem to have the opposite problem. Since the atmosphere here is much more accepting and queer friendly, I’ve found the strength to come out and not hide who I am. The problem is, people don’t seem to understand who I am. Though I still do have to deal with the expectation of heterosexuality, at Duke I have been mistaken for gay several times as well. I do understand how I could be a bit misleading as I have a rainbow bracelet I wear daily, I fly a rainbow flag from my window, and I spend my free time on West Campus in the LGBT Center. This doesn’t change the fact that it bothers me to be constantly misread. I mean, how does one show that they are bisexual? Short of walking up to a boy and planting a kiss on him, then turning to a girl and doing the same, how can I avoid being misinterpreted? I do wear a bisexual pride necklace, but most don’t know what it is. (For the record, it’s pink, purple and blue. Ask me about it and I’ll show you, or use the magic of the internet.)
Though these misconceptions bother me a bit, I’m generally loath to speak up about it. Though I cringe when I get lumped into the “gay” category, I don’t like to speak up for fear of being annoying. I’m generally better about speaking up when lumped into the “straight” category, but that doesn’t happen to me as much anymore. (It’s a wonder what a rainbow or two can do) Contrary to some beliefs that I’ve heard, being bi is not “half-gay”. We are a completely distinct orientation, nuanced and varied like any other. It is time that we are seen.
(I understand that I haven’t really given an idea to avoid bisexual invisibility, because I’m honestly not sure. Any ideas would make awesome comments *hint hint*.)