This week is #BiWeek2016, a week all about celebrating bisexuality!
I believe it’s so important to raise awareness of, and talk about, bisexuality, not only because of the instances of bisexual erasure and invisibility that occurs in the LGBTQIA+ Community, but because of my own experiences too.
I identify as gay. That is my chosen label, because it’s the one that feels most right for me. But I wasn’t always this way. When I first came out at the age of 17, I said I was bi. I wasn’t lying, something I was often accused of. Back then, bisexual felt like the right term for me. I was my last year of high school, and I was dating a girl and had been for a few months, though we’d been close for a while and I knew my feelings for her were real. So bi felt right to me, then.
After we broke up, the next person I dated was a boy. This confirmed what I’d felt, debated, and tried to deny, since I was 12: that I am very much attracted to the same-sex. But again, I still said I was bi, because I believed I still felt that way about girls too.
From my late teens into my early twenties, I kept bi as my chosen label. Yet, looking back, things never felt the same with girls. Not since the girl I was with when I first came out. This lead to me doing a lot of thinking, and I eventually came out again as gay. Gay is the label I choose now, because it’s the one that feels most right.
I would never with 100% certainty tell you that I will never fall for a woman again. I believe that all sexuality is fluid to some extent. I also believe that it’s the person we fall for that matters most, not their parts. So who knows? But as I said, gay is the label I choose.
Yet, when I first came out, when bi was my chosen label, countless people tried to tell me I was wrong. I was told that I wasn’t bi, I was just too scared to come out as gay. I was told I was greedy because I wouldn’t choose boys or girls.
This is what the community calls bisexual erasure, which Wikipedia defines as, “the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists.”
In short, these are all things I experienced when I chose to call myself bisexual. I don’t regret that choice. Like I said, at the time it’s the label that made the most sense to me, just as gay makes the most sense to me now. My labels are my choice, and no one else gets to tell me who or what I am.
I feel very strongly about the fact that people who try to erase bisexuality. While I no longer identify as bi, that’s just me. Bisexuality is very real. People who identify as bisexual are very real. That’s why BiWeek is so important. We need to keep on raising awareness and talking about bisexuality until bi erasure is no longer a thing.
I don’t want any other teens to experience what I did: being told that their chosen identity isn’t real, that they’re lying or that they’re greedy. You are not. You are human. You are beautiful. You are perfect as you are. And no one has the right to label you besides yourself. You get to decide who you are, not anyone else.