Bi-negativity of LGBT

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Switch hitters, fence post sitters, AC/DC, confused, and straggot are just a few terms that are thrown out by people when the term bisexual comes up. Even more sad is that a lot of these terms are still being said by our own community. It seems that when it comes to judging others, we are often harder on our fellow brothers and sisters. Why do we have such strong emotions against bisexuals when we are so adamant for fighting for our own rights and acceptance? What is it that we feel is an attack to us or an insult?

When I was a young gay, I remember hearing many of the terms listed above. I remember hearing that bisexual men were merely confused and just hiding that they were gay. There would be anger towards bisexuals, saying they were holding our struggle back by being able to easily go back into the closet for safety. Many felt anger that bisexuals were decreasing dating options we had under an illusion of being something they were not. The truth is, any of us could, and even sometimes do, hide our very natures out of reasons of protection. So why does this create a feeling of animosity to those that identify as bisexual? There was even a time in which I thought and said similar things. Here I was going through this deep struggle of trying to accept that I was different and the fear of being physically hurt for what I was on the inside and they could easily hide by dating members of the opposite sex. It angered me that someone would be able to flip who they slept with, at what seemed a whim, and not have to worry about anyone judging them. What I failed to realize is that their struggle was the same and, in many cases, worse than my own. Not only do you have to rationalize being attracted to members of the same sex but that is doubled by also still being attracted to the opposite sex. Leaving you with a feeling of what are you doing wrong to have these feelings that so many say is wrong and sinful.

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The fact is binary concepts of sexuality still pervade into our own LGBT mindset. For many gays and lesbians, we see sexuality as an either-or condition, either you are heterosexual, or you are homosexual. We still believe that at some point they will have to decide to be one or the other, if they ever hope to truly have a relationship. Beyond that we still view them as a group that may be incapable of carrying on a relationship or are solely driven by sexual impulses, seeing them as sleeping with everyone because they don’t have to fall into one category or another. Perhaps this is rooted in some form of jealousy for a freedom we do not, ourselves, seem to have. Even heterosexuals have weird grasps of bisexuality. Many think that once a bisexual marries someone that they are no longer bisexual, like when Larry King interviewed Anna Paquin. That somehow you can only be bisexual if you are single and sleeping around.

Gay and lesbians know all too well the struggles we go through trying to accept we are, just imagine the added issues of being bisexual. Also imagine the pain we go through from constantly coming out in new situations, now think of how much harder that is for bisexuals. They are often told they are lying about their true natures or simply confused. They are often judged harshly for sleeping with members of their own gender and can be rejected by both potential partners because of their past romantic involvements. Gay and Lesbian Alliances have turned away bisexuals because they do not fit the molds of how they feel their services are designed to help. They need the same support systems we do, when we are facing dark times. Here we are claiming we are safe zones when, in fact, they are only safe places for a narrow view of what we think our community should be.

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According to Bustle.com  they reported a 2013 survey done by Pew Research Center that states, “While 71 percent of lesbians and 77 percent of gay men are out to the people close to them, only 28 percent of bi people can say the same. The numbers were even lower for bisexual men, only 12 percent of whom are out.” Numerous other surveys report that 45 – 50% of the LGBT population identify as bisexual, that is half of our community, but only about 28% of those numbers openly identify as bisexual. Often many prominent figures that have identified as bisexual throughout their lives are often remembered as gay icons after their passing. Take for instance Freddie Mercury, front man for the iconic band Queen. Throughout his life he had male and female partners, but history instead portrays him as gay.  Our own LGBTQ history forgets many bisexual leaders that were there throughout the movement. We see the focus on Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, Audre Lorde, and Barbara Gittings, all of which identify as lesbian or gay. Less is known and even shown of bisexual leaders like James Baldwin and Brenda Howard, who were instrumental in the early rights movements and key in bringing spotlight to bisexuals. Even bisexual organizations are less talked about, take for instance the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network founded in 1983. They still publish their quarterly newsletter called BiWomen and is the oldest bisexual publication in the world.

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Eliel Cruz, historian of AIDS and HIV activism was quoted as saying: “Not only was the bi community suffering because of the HIV/AIDS, they were fighting it. While the media was busy scapegoating bi men for spreading the disease to women, bi activists like Dr. David Lourea and Cynthia Slater were out raising awareness and offering sex education in the same sex spaces of San Francisco. In fact, throughout the history of ‘gay rights’ bi activists and allies have been consistently erased…” Even today, healthcare workers are more apt to judge bisexuals more harshly in STI situations than they would lesbians and gay men. Biphobia hasn’t diminished as LGBT rights have expanded, in fact many times they are left as the invisible minority. According to thinkprogress.org (https://thinkprogress.org/media-ignoring-bisexual-community-3a46e7081bb1/) “Compared to peers who identify as gay or lesbian, bi+ youth and adults report higher levels of mental illness and suicidality, and lower levels of social support; bisexual youth report higher rates of bullying and harassment; and bisexual people face disproportionately high rates of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”

What we, as a community, need to fully realize is that their sexuality is as valid as ours. Who they are as people and choose to love is as fundamental as it is to deal with being transgender. We need to embrace each of us as equals. Reshape our mindset to remove the stigmatism we have about our bisexual brothers and sisters. The gaps we have in inclusion in our community is what keeps us from organizing to erase the hatred and violence towards us. We must be strong together for each other, after all no one else, but ourselves, will look out for us. If you see bisexuals being judged or mistreated, be sure to stand up just as you would for any gay, lesbian, or transgender. Let us validate their choices as genuine as our own, realize that their sexuality does not change, regardless of their relationship status. They are not pretending to be straight if they are dating members of the opposite sex or short-term gay if they are dating members of the same sex. Their contributions to our history are as important as anyone else’s for getting us to where we are now.

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Cleveland Dating Woes.

In the short time I have lived in Cleveland, I have found the dating scene to be interesting. Being a southern born and raised guy, I am used to functioning a certain way when it comes to dating and courtship. Courtship, there is a word that you don’t see used in this modern age. Mostly, we whip out our smart devices, scroll to the app of choice, wade through the many headless profile pictures, find what appears to be a suitable mate (for the interim), DM them, meet, and go from there. This leads to the quick and burn process, as I like to think of it. Once you have that first meeting you rarely get back with them.

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I grew up learning that it took time to woo someone into the more intimate ventures, so courtship was important. So wanting to actually “talk”to guys seems like an alien concept. It has in fact not led to memorable meetings for me. I started talking with someone shortly after I moved here and was a guy who said he like taking things slow, as well. We shared items of ourselves, music taste and what not. We seemed to have things in common and similar thoughts on issues. So after a couple of weeks I decided to ask him to meet. He agreed but when it came time to meet up, he ghosted. Feeling a bit put out; I was upset for a little bit but quickly moved on. Three months later he contacts me again and apologized for being flaky, said work was taking up a lot of time and made it hard to meet. I gave him the leeway and we started talking a bit more. He said he wanted to meet up and I agree. We talked about what and where we would do. Came time for us to get together and he bailed again.

Five months passed and he came back again. This time I wasn’t having it. I talked with him about things that were going on. Didn’t show much interest in wanting to pursue anything. He would bring up topics about sex or dating and I would just talk around it. Finally after a couple months of talking he decides to say that he can’t meet me since he has been dating someone who lived in Canada. Apparently, he had been seeing him for almost a year. Also he couldn’t do anything soon because he was there visiting him. All of this and I wasn’t even thinking about meeting him. It was purely out of left field. Men are weird and it see that men in Cleveland are especially so.

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Another guy that I met from one of the many dating apps, also seemed pretty cool, at first. We talked a while, had similar interests and found he grew up not far from where I lived. All of which seemed like a good combination. He was photography and I consider myself an amateur photographer, so I knew we would have things that we would be able to talk about. This time, I decide that I would be a little more forward when it came to meting. As he didn’t live far from me, it would be an easier plan. We set a date and where to meet all was good. Date arrives and we meet at the restaurant he picked, Mexican with good drinks, and had our dinner. Conversation was good, no lulls or awkward parts. Talked about growing up and our  love of photography. Discussed why we each came to Cleveland. Were we a perfect match? No, but it’s a first date how does anyone know what it may be. He was tall and skinny, I am tall and thick. Dinner ends, we drank through a strong picture of margaritas. We decide it’s time to go, We walk each other out, give each other a hug, and that was it. Ghosted. I would see him online and nothing. Not even a “you seem cool but not my type. “Just POOF!!!

Too many times have I reached out to meet people and it seems that because I take things a little slow I get ghosted. I am not one to quickly jump into bed with someone. Sex is good and I am very pro sex. But I like a little intimacy when it comes to getting down to sharing that experience. Maybe it’s just me and my old fashioned mentality. At this point in my life, changing it isn’t much of an option.