Jovana Ivetic explores if it’s easier to come out as gay than bi
BY JOVANA IVETIC
Bisexuality is the romantic or sexual attraction towards both males and females, or to more than one sex or gender. The modern definition of it started to take form in the 19th century. Two centuries later, bisexuals still have trouble in their fight to be recognised. In a world ruled by black and white, it is difficult to paint yourself in rainbow colours, but how hard is it exactly when you don’t just love the same sex as yours, but both of them?
Violence, homophobia, sexism, racism- in the 21st century these words still overrule peace, love and acceptance. The LGBTQI community is still denied the right of marriage and adopting children or sharing custody of them, or even the right to hold the hand of their partner in public in some parts of the world. In addition to that homophobia, bisexuals have to deal with biphobia alongside it.
The general opinion is that it is easier for bisexuals than for gays and lesbians. What is forgotten is that bi people are facing unacceptance, not just from heterosexuals, but from their own community too. Simply put, they are assumed to be straight or gay based on the gender of the person they are currently dating or their last partner. The acknowledgment of their bisexuality and the fact that they know that they are attracted romantically and/or sexually to people of more than one sex and/or gender is neglected.
We spoke with one person from the United Kingdom and one from Austria and gave them space to say out loud: “Yes, I am bisexual!”
Maria Rossi is a 31-year-old Italian. 13 years ago, she declared to her family and friends that she is bisexual.
“I was 18 years old when I came out to my family and friends. I doubted, even when I was a little kid, that I was attracted to girls, not just boys. I always shut it down because I grew up in a small town where that wasn’t accepted at all. After I moved to a bigger city, I felt freer to be who I am and I finally went on my first date with a girl. I realised: yes, I am attracted to girls. Still, that didn’t erase the fact that I am attracted to boys as well. I knew then that I was bisexual for sure. I had no doubts anymore and I felt the need to come out to my family. The problem was that I knew that they would push me towards going out with boys if they knew that I am interested in them too. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want them to hope that I will either eventually end up dating or marrying a man. I wanted to be completely free to decide who am I going to love. I lied and told them that I am a lesbian.”
“What people often have mistaken is that bisexuals have to be equally attracted to boys and girls. Some of them are, but some aren’t. It is important that people finally accept that bisexuality and it doesn’t mean that the person has to be necessarily attracted to the same sex or gender on the same degree.”
“I have never been in a relationship with a guy. I’ve actually only kissed two guys. On the other side, I have had many girlfriends. I want to date a guy, I want to see what it is like to have a boyfriend. But that wouldn’t change who I am. I’m aware that most of the lesbians start with thinking that they are bisexuals only to realise that they are truly lesbians. But that just isn’t my case. My attraction to women is more powerful, but my attraction to men is still here, in me.”
Today, Maria is speaking openly about her sexuality with her friends. They all know she is bisexual, but has kept the truth from her family.
“I believe that I will never tell them I am bisexual because I don’t want to lose the freedom to choose who I love. I am not saying that they will make me date a guy, but it is easier for them to understand this way. If I never date a guy, it is okay to them because they believe that I am a lesbian. If I do date one, they will be surprised, but happy. I mean, they accepted me for who I am and they want me to be happy in my own skin. But they would prefer if I have a traditional family, with a husband and a kid. The problem is that in Italy, two same-sex people can’t adopt or share custody over a child. That hurts them and it hurts me too, but I can’t go against my feelings.”
The story of Benjamin Huber, a 25-year-old man from Austria.
”I was seeing all these shirtless guys in the media and I was thinking to myself , “Oh god, I wish I looked like that”, but after my denial I realised, I don’t want to look like that, I mean of course I do, but I realised I want to be with them too. On the other hand, I desired and dated girls. I was 20 years old when I stopped running away from my truth. The first time I came out was to my best friend, and I came out as bisexual. She was shocked but really accepting of the situation.”
What he later faced was a struggle in his relationships. “I decided it is just easier for me if I lie. Depending on the situation, for example, If I meet a guy who’s gay, I say I’m gay, but if I meet a girl I like I don’t mention that I’m bisexual. When it comes to that, as open-minded as people are in these situations, a small number of girls would sleep with a dude that slept with other dudes. But a gay guy can’t handle being in a relationship with a bisexual guy because they are afraid that he will switch back when it comes to marriage and kids, because of family pressure and judgments, but that’s really not the case. We don’t choose who we love, it can be both a guy or a girl.”
The whole LGBTQI community is being deprived of rights and often faces physical violence in the streets. Whilst it can sound easier and even modern to be bisexual, bi people are the most threatened by people who do not even believe they are aware of their own sexuality.
“It is just really hard being bisexual. If I can choose, I would prefer being either straight or gay. But I can’t choose. I am born with my sexuality,” says Benjamin.
Communication and empathy is the key. When speaking about biphobia, what are the changes we can all make? We can believe them. We can speak about them, educate ourselves and others and give them our support. Maria and Benjamin, you are bisexual and you are valid.