Bisexual Privilege, Bisexual Erasure

Wow, what a magnificent couple of days! The Supreme Court has struck down state bans on gay marriage, effectively legalizing it throughout the entire country, a decision that will see far-sweeping repercussions and is a huge victory for civil rights advocates everywhere. What else happened? Well, the full trailer for Brian Helgeland’s Legend was released. Of course if I can find a way to jam too-precious-for-this-world cinnamon roll Tom Hardy into any conversation I will do it, and I spent a fair chunk of the last twenty-four hours shamelessly perving on the dapper be-suited Toms Hardy, but in light of the SCOTUS decision I found my thoughts stuck on one of the topics the film touches on in its marketing – that of Ronnie Kray’s alleged bisexuality.

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I was having a discussion on my private Facebook wall yesterday with two of my friends who are professed Kray aficionados. I expressed excitement at the idea of Hardy portraying a bisexual character, and that I was a little bit surprised that the trailer put Ronnie’s sexuality into some focus (“I prefer boys, actually”). One of these friends – also a bisexual woman – while happy that the film wasn’t omitting Ronnie’s alleged attraction to men altogether, was concerned that the film would erase his bisexuality. Another friend admitted that he had mistakenly considered Ronnie Kray for years to be homosexual, not bisexual, and that this is something that is sort of taken for granted for fans of true crime. Yep, Ronnie Kray, he were the gay one. Gay, gay, gay. No women here, move along.

In the media, and indeed in our culture as a whole, there tends to be an undercurrent of skepticism where bisexuality is concerned, as though it is somehow less real than being gay or straight. The agnosticism of sexual orientations, so to speak. Bisexuality tends to get erased when someone “picks side”; Alan Cumming married a man so he is “gay now”, Anne Heche is with a man so she is “straight now”, etc. I kind of shrugged off her concern, because I just really liked the idea of Tom Hardy making out with Taron Egerton regardless of the context (I thought the movie was going to be hacky mindless eye candy anyway- why care about bisexual erasure?). Twelve hours later I feel a little bad about that. Dead-eyed in a bar in the West Village while everybody celebrates, me staring at the cracked, dusty mirror on the other side of the bar behind the bottles of liquor like, “I am part of the problem.” “The Sound of Silence” starts playing. Hello darkness, my old friend…

Okay, it wasn’t actually as bad as all that, but I do feel a little bad.

I cannot speak for all bisexual women, but I’ve always felt divorced from “the struggle” as it pertains to bisexual people. I’ve always bristled a bit when people call me straight, or on occasion saying that Chez Apocalypse is run by “straight, cis women” when while, yes, we are cis women, none of us are straight (Nella and I are bisexual, Elisa is asexual). I suppose a part of my detachment from this feeling of struggle is my personal suspicion that “true Kinsey 0’s”, or completely and utterly straight people, are in fact much rarer than we’d like to admit. I’m not the weird one, you are, Mr. Straighty McLyingToSelf.

But the big reason I’ve never seen fit to turn my sexuality into a Thing as it pertains to public discourse is because I didn’t think it was anybody’s business but my own. Bisexual people are not respected – they are seen as being in a confused state of transition. Perhaps this is, in part, a result of bisexual erasure from our media dialogue. Bisexuality is not an orientation, it’s just the word you use until you figure your shit out. Is this the reality? No, it is not. But try telling that to the vast majority of people. It’s easier just not to deal with it altogether.

Liquor bottles between me and the mirror. The liquor bottles are a metaphor. The familiar acoustic guitar riff starts playing.Β Hello darkness, my old friend…

No, no, stop talking to me, liquor bottles of metaphor. I’m not that bad because I don’t give that much thought or discussion to this aspect of my identity, am I? It’s nobody’s business but mine, goddamnit. Stay out of this, Simon and Garfunkel!

The idea of bisexual erasure has never particularly burdened me. Perhaps I’ve spent so much time giving fucks about other forms of representation I had no fucks left to give about this one. Or perhaps it is because, despite the “B” in “LGBT”, I don’t think we “B”s quite know our place in the movement because we are in some ways the most privileged group – we can opt out, and many of us do. It’s the sexual orientation version of “passing.” I don’t think the reason most bisexual women tend to date men is because that’s always been their preference – that certainly was never the case for me, but just because it’s easier. The cultural machine is already designed this way; why rock the boat?

But most of all, I feel the lack of solidarity stems from a feeling that bisexual people reap the benefits from the LGBT movement while contributing the least. This isn’t necessarily true, but that undercurrent still exists. Of course they are assumed to contribute the least, because their struggle is less. They can “opt out” of their non-heternormativity should they so choose. I’ve been a vocal about Β  LGBT issues since before I had a platform, but in a distant sort of way, as though it didn’t really have anything to do with me. I played the part of “ally” rather than member of the community, because I didn’t feel I was a part of it, because maybe my partner at the time was male, or because I was in denial about that aspect of my identity, or whatever rationale I opted for that day. I suppose this might count as a form of bisexual erasure, the internalized kind. In a culture that abhors nuance and erases bisexuality, I suppose it is somewhat inevitable that some of us would do it to ourselves. Yes, there is a struggle, but it is not mine, because I can opt out of it. We bisexuals are only part-time members of the community–at least, that’s how it feels sometimes. And when you look at the abject hell the “T” part goes through in our meat grinder of a world, it seems a bit petty to abloobloobloo about bisexual erasure in a Tom Hardy movie, doesn’t it?

And then I remember how the gaslight crowd uses that exact argument against me when I talk about gender representation in the media – usually something along the lines of “how can you be mad at gendered slurs in a movie when female genital mutilation exists” or something like that. And in my own confusion surrounding bisexual privilege (which I do believe exists) I’ve fallen into a trap of my own making; one group doesn’t feel they have the right to point out an issue that affects them because another group has it worse in a very, very different way. Which is to say nothing of overlap – an awful, awful lot of “T”s are also “B”‘s – bisexual erasure affects them as well, does it not?

But these are not mutually exclusive discussions. Just because we still have so much further left to go and there are a wide variety of horrors befalling the LGBT community the world over does not mean bisexual erasure is not a thing, or that bisexual people are not an important part of the movement. We humans are complex animals, beings of light and multitudes. We have enough brainspace to talk about all angles, and right now I’m talking about this one.

Because the truth is – I don’t know what to do with it. I really, really don’t.

Bisexuality has always been a part of my identity. I was probably in my mid-twenties before I came to terms with the fact that you can be something other than absolutely gay or absolutely straight, which is sad in its own right, but there it is. And now that I’m in my 30’s, have been single for almost a year now (and to those of you who find this surprising, again, it was none of your business) and the LGBT movement in America has been handed its greatest victory yet, I’m coming to a point where I wonder – why don’t I allow this to be a part of my identity? Is it still out of a subconscious fear of being fetishized? Like, dude, I’m 30-years-old. I’m starting to look like your dumpy aunt who’s an adjunct at the local community college. I’d like to move past this thing where I let fears of how the worst of the worst will respond dictate my place in the public discourse.

I’ve guarded my bisexuality pretty closely, even denied it at times, and therefore I’ve never been discriminated against, or suffered for it. I’ve kept it from my older and male colleagues because I didn’t want to deal with being corrected and told that it was a phase, or, worse, being fetishized for it. I’ve been aware of my own silence, and excused it because I told myself that it wasn’t worth it to deal with. After all – there are far, far worse things in the world than being a bisexual person whom everyone assumes is default straight for lack of being corrected. Battles must be chosen, and moreover, it never really bothered me. Internalized bisexual erasure.

Hello darkness, my old friend…

This isn’t really a proclamation or a coming out post so much as a discussion with myself – as I said, it isn’t something I really know how to contextualize, in part because contextualizing bisexuality isn’t something we allow much room for in our culture or in the media. But now that I am older, I think perhaps it is time that I allow myself permission to actually wear the Pride flag as a member of the community, and not as an “ally,” when I join the march on Sunday. And I am really, really looking forward to the march on Sunday. Happy Pride, everyone!

And Hilary – I’m sorry I was dismissive about the issue of Ronnie Kray’s bisexuality and the potential for bisexual erasure because shh shh shh just enjoy the eye candy shhhh. I stand with you; bisexual erasure is still an issue, an issue that affects us both directly, and it needs to be a part of the discussion.

But context be damned I am still excited to see Tom Hardy do sex things with Taron Egerton.

  • Zach Krishef

    Wonderful blog post!

  • Knife Ink

    My jaw went to the floor when I read this. So much of this is familiar to me.

    I’ve known I am bisexual since about the 7th grade, when I kept developing crushes on both boys and girls. I told my parents my suspicions in 7th grade and was very nervous and uncomfortable about it. After that, I never mentioned it again, never brought it up again with myself or anyone else.

    I am fortunate enough to live in a community that is completely tolerant and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but I myself was afraid to “come out.” Or, I suppose, it wasn’t really that I was afraid – it was just that it had never been an important part of my life. So far, it has never really affected me in any serious way. I always told myself that I would never deny the truth, but I would never necessarily put it out there, either; if someone asked me I would answer truthfully but I would never come right out and say “I’m bi.” In the past year or so, however, it has been on my mind recently, and I keep asking myself the same question- what is preventing me from telling people? Is it that I’m shy? Or am I still secretly afraid of that part of myself? What if I’m not actually sure, if I’ve never really been in any sort of relationship before?

    Some of those things I’ve realized are silly, particularly the part about being “sure” (no one asks straight people if they’re sure about being straight, after all), but the silliest part was that I was putting a pressure on myself that didn’t exist. If I’m not ready, I’m not ready. I have reached a point where I feel comfortable with my own identity, while at the same time lacking the desire to announce it. But, that is the beautiful thing about living in a supportive community- you have the freedom to do it when you’re ready. I wish the same could be true for everyone, but it so often isn’t.

    I commend you (as usual), and I hope that you find a supportive community here.

    Thanks, Lindsay. πŸ™‚

  • Creature SH

    A very good read, and the candidness is much appreciated. Many of my own feelings are mirrored here, even though I consider myself heteroromantic (as far as one can be without being 100% etched in stone on gender, either). Well, I think. As far as I know. It’s hard to know for sure sometimes. And that’s another part of the point, isn’t it? So yes, thank you for this. It is appreciated and reflected upon.

  • Em

    I know it’s not a “coming out” post as you said, but this is still really brave and I have so much respect for you. (and as a bi fan of yours, I squee’d a bit, I’m sorry)

    • Lindsay

      This made me smile πŸ™‚

      • Felix O’Connor

        Rocking the rainbow, shweet

    • Neri

      Belated comment is belated, but I second this. High five from another bi fan!

  • theargel

    The bit about “playing the part of an ally” hit me in ways that writings about queer identities rarely do. Thank you so much for putting that into words.

  • Idrathernot

    “I’d like to move past this thing where I let fears of how the worst of the worst will respond dictate my place in the public discourse.”

    I’ve been bi for the last ten years, mostly in the closet. I… damn, I don’t know, thank you for writing this :_)

  • WhatsHisName

    First off, thank you for this post. We’re more in the same boat than you might imagine, I think. For years, I’ve been an LGBT ally, had friends and had family who were openly members of that community, yet it wasn’t until my mid-20s (four years ago, for me) when I came to the same realization as you did. And reading the thoughts of other bi people on the subject of their sexuality (hell, on their lives in general) has proven invaluable to me in ways that I struggle to put into words.

    So, with that said – cheers to you, from a longtime fan.

  • Kendall Murray

    Still in the closet, have to be living with my family. Weird to be closeted on a day like this. I feel this post though- thank you. Hope you have a great time Sunday πŸ™‚ wish I could be there.

  • Oh the internet

    I never thought someone felt the same way as I do about my sexuality! Thanks for the insights, Lindsay! Love the conclusion!

  • *Guest*

    I know this isn’t a coming post or anything like that, but, I feel a little less alone knowing that you and Nella are both bisexual. Thank you for this, Lindsay. <33

  • Hyenafan

    The awesome vampire lady is ace?! Yay!!!!!

    • The PwnUltimate

      I never even realised this was a possibility, due to the whole “married parent” thing. Curse you, cishet assumptions!

  • Miurne

    Yet another bi lady here, with very similar experiences – I’ve really only ever been involved with men, but feel pretty strong attraction to women too. But it’s just ‘easier’ to follow the flow, to date men, right? And -yes-, I know that feeling about not really feeling a ‘part’ of the struggle, of being an ally only – it seems somehow wrong to try to claim that mantle, when I haven’t fulfilled my Obligatory Quota of Bisexuality/Lesbian-ness… ANYWAY! Thanks for sharing, Lindsay. You’re right that it’s no one’s business but your own, but I appreciate your essay, and seeing that I am far from alone.

  • MrSchimpf

    All I can say to this is that you have a great way with words, and you express how muddled, some, including I, can still be about bisexuality. Being in the fandom world I’ve been pretty much raised to think of binaries when it comes to sexuality rather than all the analogues out there, and I cringe at my past words where I’m too declarative in that gay or straight are still the way to go. I’ve even held back a fanfic because in the past I made a bi declaration with a character I’m not sure I can stick with.

    I’m still trying to reconcile that not all people can be sorted into convenient boxes at all, even as I’ve grown into a social circle with people of all sexes and orientations online where I don’t even bat a thought at expressing things, but in real life Wisconsin, it’s all ‘everyone is straight that’s it!’, outside of a gay friend of my mother’s and another of a cousin. I’m not even telling co-workers that a trip to a friend’s wedding in Massachusetts on Columbus Day weekend is to see my BFF online marry her girlfriend because so many are from a town so conservative it makes the South look progressive.

    Thank you again; reading this, we made a good right step to equality, but there’s still a long way to go before the top of the staircase is seen.

  • Felix O’Connor

    This is so very accurate, thank you for writing it.

    As someone who falls under both the B and the T, I honestly think realising the latter helped alleviate a lot of the internalised biphobia I felt about the former and being able to “pass” as straight (though I did do just that for a good year and a half while dating a boy before coming out when we broke up). It frustrating and awful that a part of my brain is like “well, considering you’re simultaneously the most oppressed and the least initials, and you’ll probably never date someone entirely straight ever again, you don’t have to feel bad about “not being queer enough”. And people are much more likely to accept my bisexuality because I’m gender variant. Trans privilege..?
    I dunno. I guess in a world where so much of the conservative anti-gay argument is “being gay is a choice, and you’re going to hell for that choice” we feel bad that we do genuinely, in a lot of ways, have a choice. Because let’s face it, if you’re bi and move in hetero circles you’re more likely to be in hetero relationships and if you move in queer circles you’re more likely to be in queer ones. The attractions aren’t a choice but the company is.

  • HOLY SHIT I’m a bi chick who’s been a fan of yours for years, and I had no idea you and Nella were bi! That’s awesome! πŸ˜€

    Bi erasure has bothered me for ages, especially since a lot of it comes from *within* the gay community. I hear lesbians be all “Oh they’re not *really* queer, they’re just straight bitches who fake it to get men’s attention” (I have two lesbian housemates, and was very hesitant to come out to them for this exact reason), and on the flip side, you have gay men pretending to be bi because they’re too chicken to come out of the closet all the way, thus encouraging the idea that bi men don’t exist.

    I agree that bi people have a certain level of privilege, and that being ignored is way better than being hated, but it still sucks being told that you don’t exist, that your identity is fake, especially when you’re hearing that from your fellow queer people!

    This is just a round-about way of saying: You don’t ever have to think that you’re ~not oppressed enough~ to be part of the queer community. That rainbow flag is your flag. Wave it proudly. Paint your face purple. And enjoy the Pride parade! (And the Tom Hardy sex things, yayayay!)

    • Felix O’Connor

      Honestly when it comes to bi men, I’ve found the opposite. I have a bunch of bi male friends who are more comfortable in queer circles and so just let people assume they’re gay. I think it’s harder for bi cis men who are a little more on the camp side to pass as straight so they pass as gay instead and further add to the “bi men don’t exist” stereotype.

      • FearlessSon

        I think from the male side a lot of that has to do with pressure from fragile toxic masculinity. The kind of machismo that defines “manliness” as “not feminine”. It tends to drive a lot of insecure men to posturing and gender-policing, and it can make it hard to be accepted unless fitting a very narrow (and often both impossible and troubling) set of characteristics.

        A socialization climate like that tends to push away any gradiant in gender and orientation expression, which in turn sorts everything into binary categories.

        Anecdotally, of the people I have know the ratio of straight to non-strait is similar between the genders, but the ratio of bisexual to non-bisexual tends to favor women and be minimal regarding men, at least as far as self-identification is concerned.

  • Floris / Dutchtica

    This was a good read.
    Thanks.

  • Thomas Henebury

    Always interesting to hear someone actually mention Bi Erasure as its something i feel gets attacked from all sides when brought up. I consistently get strange looks when i tell people I’m Bi when they meet my boyfriend or when i correct them calling me gay. Like you said it may seem like a very minor issue when compared to the struggles of the Transgender community but if exposure had been more prevalent when I was younger my life would have been much simpler.

    Like with Transgenderism (real word?) I feel the more exposure groups like Bisexuals or Asexuals get the easier it will be on future generations. Speaking for myself i spent years in confusion since the world at large was very much a straight or gay one and i knew i wasn’t either of those. At the same time close friends of mine felt broken since in a world where sex is all encompassing they felt no physical attraction to anyone.

    • Felix O’Connor

      I kind of cringe whenever the term “transgenderism” is used tbh, makesit sound likeveganism or libertarianism, that is to say, a belief system or a practice. Trans people maybe?
      But I totally agree, I think (or hope) the next generation will be more informed on trans, bi, ace and non binary identities, not just gay and straight.

  • SpoonyViking

    Thank you for this, Miss Ellis. πŸ™‚

  • Mahan

    Wow… I genuinely hadn’t considered this before. I remember my first time out to a gay bar and after chatting with this guy, he told me “both holes is not a goal”. At the time, I just dismissed it ’cause, quite frankly, it wasn’t even the weirdest part about that night but now I have a better understanding of that kind of mindset. After reading this, I actually feel more comfortable in my own skin as a bisexual. I’ve always had a problem with the whole “You’re not doing so badly; here’s someone who’s even worse off than you” because, the further down the food chain you go, it means that eventually no-one will be allowed to talk about their issues, and as such find support without being shot down. First Sexuality Problems, I guess. The whole idea of ‘opting out’ is basically suppressing our own desires out of peer pressure, and I personally find it kind of ugly that people would consider us less deserving of support because of that. We need people talking about this kind of erasure ’cause, as you’ve just shown, even the ones who fall victim to it don’t even realize it.

    Anyway, tl;dr: I may not always agree with your sentiments Lindsay, but I most certainly agree here. Thank you. Thank you for feeling comfortable enough to talk a bit more openly about this, and thank you for helping add to the big conversation. I got into reviewing films myself because of people like you, and it’s seeing awesome like this that makes me proud of that.

  • Scott Sandler

    Your openness in writing this is commended, Lindsay πŸ™‚

  • BakerJS

    I don’t really have anything to add to this amazing post, but I do want to say that I appreciate how open you’ve been about addressing issues facing women and the LGBT+ community. I live in a very conservative home in a very conservative state and your videos were some of my first exposers to feminist ideas, so I can’t thank you enough for catalyzing my shift in views to where I am today. I’m very happy that you’re continuing to use your platform to address issues like these.

    Also, I have no actual basis for this, but I think you’re completely right about Kinsey 0s being rarer than people believe them to be. It just doesn’t make sense statistically.

    Anyway, best of luck in continuing to express yourself how you want and I hope you enjoy your march.

  • Mars MoonWater

    This article was beautiful to read and I have a lot of respect for the journey you’ve been on. Much hugs for having the courage to face this.

    I think the only thing I took issue with personally is the idea you mentioned that bisexuals have privilege. As a bisexual myself, I very much disagree with you that we have any “privilege” because of our bisexuality. The ability to “pass as straight” is not a privilege, it’s erasure. At least that’s how I and many other bisexuals I’ve heard from on the topic feel. I also don’t believe we can “opt-out” I may be in what the general populace views as a “straight” relationship but it in no way changes the fact that I am still bisexual. I still feel attraction towards women/female-bodied genderqueer. Me being in a relationship with a guy in no way alters or hinders my attraction to other genders.

    Indeed I discovered my bisexuality and became a part of the community while with him and because of his encouragement. And yet from all the stories I’ve heard there is a very good chance that if I go to pride or walk into a gay bar or LGBT community center with him, or mention that my partner is a man, then I will suddenly find I’m no longer welcome in that space. It hasn’t happened to me yet but I’ve heard accounts from other bisexuals who have been asked to leave such places or have had their presence questioned and been harassed in other ways because they are in an opposite sex relationship.

    I know for me personally my bisexuality is a major part of who I am and for someone to say I’m not that or to assume I’m straight because of who I’m with hurts me deeply because it ignores and erases a very vital part of my identity. I understand everyone has different experiences and that there are bisexuals in the community who are ok with “straight passing” or “gay passing” and that’s fine so long as it’s not coming from a place of fear or anything. But not all bisexuals view that as a privilege and I hope you understand that to call it such feels dismissive towards those who do chafe under such erasure. I know I can’t just “opt-out” of the community and I don’t want to pass as straight and people saying that I do and can doesn’t make things easy for me, it makes them harder and makes me feel less welcome.

    I hope I’m making sense here and understand that I have a great deal of respect for your experiences and opinions as well as the experiences and opinions of others. I think you have a great deal of courage for writing and posting such an article. I just also wanted to give my own thoughts on the matter.

    *hugs*

    • Stephanie Butler

      When bisexual people (like Lindsay and myself) discuss bisexual privilege what we tend to mean is that despite all the things that do not change, and all the risks that we (particularly as bisexual women) face in relationships with cis het men, society approves of our opposite sex relationships and we do have certain benefits that are common to our straight counterparts. I have noticed that a lot of the bisexual women who come to accept themselves while in relationships with men and who have never experienced same sex relationships get defensive about privilege and do not understand that straight passing privilege and bi erasures are opposite sides of the same coin. They are not mutually exclusive. I think of it in relation to my racial ambiguity. White people who know about my family refer to me as black (and get defensive if I correct them), but racist white people will tell me I am welcome in their country (I’m an immigrant) because I’m white. I have skin colour privilege in all cases even when white privilege is not available to me. I think of bisexuality like I think of colourism within the African American community. If we are in opposite sex relationships we can legally marry everywhere, we can travel without having to fear that our relationships will bar us access or lead us to being murdered. We can go out on dates without fear of bigots screaming at us, chasing us out of restaurants, chasing us down streets, or sexually harassing us (or trying to rape us). My relationships with men are not better on the inside (I strongly prefer women and only fall in love with women), but so many of the other aspects of my life in a relationship are easier and I refuse to let people without experience of both types of relationships tell me that I know less than them about straight passing privilege or bi erasure.

  • heidioftheopera

    As someone who came to terms with her own bisexuality over the past year or so, this post resonates with me so much. Thank you <3

  • QUINTIX256

    Forgive me if this is only tangentially relevant but: Relative Privation
    It’s is a phrase/informal fallacy of relevance I’ve only learned in the past year. Now that I know it I’d like to see it called out for what it is by name more often, because I’m sure in the coming weeks we are going to see a whole lot more of it… mixed in with no small amount of islamophobia.

  • Adam Sthename

    I love reading your stuff! Keeping doing that! Making stuff!

  • Miranda

    I know I already said this on FB, but: I admire you so much. You’ve inspired how I think critically of movies and taught me, through your videos, how to write good stories. And knowing that you’re bi – it’s just wonderful knowing that one of my idols is bi like I am!

  • Amy Trevaskis

    …wow….I uh….yeah….wow

    don’t know what to say other than…wow

    I think we all have our own shit to figure out and on some levels I can even understand the mentality of biphobia at times (not condone obviously) and while its certainly not my place to tell people how to define themselves I find it sad some people contribute to their own Bi erasure

    ultimately whatever our baggage it all comes from the same place, it seems we’ve only just [as a society] wrapped our heads around “teh gay” and anything other than simple black/white terms is still too confusing

  • ZClare

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this particular issue phrased so well. I’ve found myself in that same situation, while I have been open about my bisexuality I’ve always been surrounded by very accepting people and have never really felt like I’ve suffered enough by it to be part of the LGBT struggle.

    Thank you for writing this, it’s really helped.

  • De

    I read Nella’s blog post about this subject years ago but had no idea there were other bis on the Chez Apocalypse roster. It’s one of those strange things about internet fameishness. The ladies behind Chez Apocalypse feel like friends even though there’s obviously so much of their lives I don’t know about, and shouldn’t know about because I’m in no way entitled to know these things. I hope it in no way transgresses any boundaries to say that I am sad certain relationships didn’t work out and hope that all parties involved are in a good place. Being single is great, it’s the state in which I’ve lived my entire life and I have few regrets. I like to believe that the people who make the media that has been so important to me are happy, not manically or continuously so, but living content and enriching lives.

  • Tiggurix

    Interesting discussion. Bisexual erasure is definitely a thing, and something we should combat. As for me, I identify as agender, so I can’t exactly identify as either heterosexual or homosexual or anything, but I’m primarily attracted to ciswomen, though I think that all kinds of people can be attractive, so I guess I’m what people would call “pansexual”, which is an identity that many people haven’t even heard of, much less recognise.

    Though when I hadn’t recognised my identity as an agender person, I identified as a bisexual, exactly because I hadn’t completely rejected heteronormativity yet, and I can find, as mentioned, all kinds of people attractive. Thing is though, I’m a person that expresses themselves as quite masculine, and since I’m primarily attracted to feminine people, I can easily pass as a straight guy, so to say, so I experience a lot of privilege that doesn’t coincide with my identity, just like Lindsay here talks about “passing for straight”.

    In the end, I’m still not at the stage where I feel like a true member of the LGBTQA+ community, since I already seemingly fit in so nicely with what this twisted society that we live in expects of me, but maybe I will be more comfortable as part of this community in time, like Lindsay.

    I definitely completely agree on one thing, though, and that is that completely straight, completely cis people are a lot rarer than they realise. =P

  • Martin Leon

    Hey! Thanks so much for sharing this! It was a great read. I’m a gay person myself and I *hate* when people (gay or straight) dismiss bisexuality so casually. But I’ve also met bi people who prefer not correcting people who mislabel them for reasons like the ones you wrote about. I don’t really have a point here other than thank you for writing this (again). It’s important for people to see the whole spectrum, not just the ends.

  • SomeoneElse

    And then there’s people who complained about government stepping on the Bill of Rights when this happened…

  • Broadwaypuppet

    Awesome article, I’ve always loved how you write and how you talk. This is a really great article for me to read right now because my little brother just recently came out to me as bi and there’s no way I’m gonna let anyone erase the pride of that little almost-7th-grader before he has a chance to fully discover himself. Bisexual privelege and erasure are certainly two very complex sides of the same coin and I’m very glad to be a bit more educated on both before I’m ever called on to help that kid through middle school puberty, youth, teen years, and all that good stuff while he has to simultaneously deal with any flack he may be dealt for being a part of the LGBT+community

  • Constantine

    Well, at least Todd still has Kali (unless he’s been tweeting about her just out of habit).

    • Lindsay

      He still has both of us. πŸ™‚

  • lido giovacchini

    I’m a bisexual man and this is so true, it’s like with so many people, parents, bosses, even close friends I feel like I have to just BE a straight person because it’s easier to just lie about it and because, like you said here, it’s none of their business, I end up saying that to myself so much so often, and even with people that I can be more open with there’s always this undercurrent of dismissal, like bisexuality isn’t so much an orientation as it is a neat parlor trick, it’s so good to know this isn’t just a me thing, thank you for this, really

  • Sean

    Lindsay, I’ve always been a fan of yours ever since I first saw you as the Nostalgia Chick. I’ve always admired your critiques, feminism (especially the feminism) your wit and your charm. To read this leads me to having that much more respect for you, from someone who has always respected you since he saw you get onto the scene. And to discover that you are not just an ally but a part of the community is quite heartfelt.

    As a bisexual male I relate to this particular post. In the past wrestling with bisexuality has been a difficult experience for me. Especially because there is always this particular pressure to be one or the other. Even to the point that friends have a tough time when identifying me. I’ve sometimes accepted being called gay (regrettably, being referred to as gay or straight is usually easier) in part because I’ve dated many many more men than women. So sometimes it was just easier to fall into that. As I get older I decided that perhaps it was time to… stop that. I’m going to be 29 soon, I suppose I should take the reigns of my own life. Stop letting other people identify me based on who I was dating and just identify myself. I suppose in some regards I’m still a work in progress.

    Nevertheless. I hope you get support from the community. But more than that, I just wanted you to know that I support you and respect you.

  • Czarina Charters

    This was incredibly well stated. I am a bi woman who has been in a relationship with a man for the past 7 years. That has nothing to do with whether or not I’m attracted to women. I love who I love and if the person I love happens to be male, that means I get to go another year without confessing to my homophobic father why I love another woman. That sounded a lot more callous than I meant it too. I am not ashamed of who I am or my preferences, but I’m not shouting it from the rooftops either. And I’ve been “put in my place” by gay and straight friends about how I’m just confused or trying to get attention. So, I don’t bring it up.
    It hurts to be told that you can’t be the shade of grey in a black and white world.
    It hurts to know that while the people you care about like what you choose to show them, the fear of their reaction to seeing all of your heart means they will break it.
    Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone. Thank you for having courage I lack.

  • TheWynne

    As someone who’s been off-and-on wondering about their own sexuality for a while (on the cusp of the “mid-20s before you admitted it to yourself” stage right now), this was really comforting. A lot of it rang really familiar, just from the standpoint of someone who generally ~feels~ straight, doesn’t really feel comfortable claiming it, but is starting to realize that they’ve been rationalizing a lot to themselves. It’s comforting to know other people have been there.

    For me it just feels weird thinking about “bi pride” or “coming out,” partly because I do know people who have it worse, friends who are gay and had a really hard time with it. It just feels vaguely appropriation-ey to try to explore it when I’m not even 100% sure that it’s really a part of me, you know? But how else do you do that?

    • For me, the bi pride has come in part because I’ve learned more about the dangers bisexuals face, especially people of color and the very poor (I put a link in one of the comments above with some statistics). I think it’s easy to think of bisexuals as an easier to deal with version of queerness (and I’ve been lucky myself in not dealing with harassment specifically because of my sexuality), but violence against bi people isn’t rare, either. And the fact that so much of our culture sees being bi as being fake or being slutty … I dunno, I’m just not comfortable saying that bi people have it easier than gay men or lesbians … they’re just very different challenges.

      • TheWynne

        Oh yes, all of that’s certainly true! I agree with everything you’re saying.

        I probably should have clarified in the original comment that when I said “it feels weird thinking about ‘bi pride'” that I meant for me personally, not in general. Bi pride in and of itself is definitely a thing that should exist, and bi people are included in the LGBT acronym for a reason. It’s just difficult for me, the mostly-straight-still-questioning individual, to wrap my head around the idea of taking part in pride stuff as A Person It Directly Affects, as opposed to just as an ally who thinks biphobia is shitty and dismissive.

        • I totally understand that. I was worried writing it (and a few other responses to people here) because I know you’re talking about your own experiences and feelings about your own sexuality and I don’t want to talk over you, either.

          • TheWynne

            Hey, given that erasure is a thing, it’s better to say it and start the conversation.

          • πŸ™‚

  • Brenden

    First Time Commenter. Long Time Fan. Reading this as many of your projects has helped me gain more knowledge and form opinions on situations, movies and people. And As A Bi Male (One that actually admits) I do see the movie going in that direction of erasing any bisexuality with Tom Hardy #2. But I really want to see Taron Egerton do fun sexy time with Tom Hardy #2. Erasing/Changing History to make changes usually happens to make things interesting. But the way the movie is going with Tom Hardy #2 with “I Prefer Boys” is some Pocahontas Bull. If I got that Pratt or whatever art school in New York out of the garbage (Florida Prepaid College Program) I would of joined you in the March.
    Keep Doing You And Pride On-
    Brenden Tyler

  • Vanessa Kirby

    Yet another long time fan chiming in… long time listener, first time caller. Also a bisexual lady, so high five! I only just came to terms with my bi-ness at 25, several years into a straight relationship with my now-husband. Growing up, it was normal for straight women to call other women beautiful, so because I liked dudes, that meant I was obviously straight. A Christian upbringing probably didn’t help things either… Oddly enough, I first came out to my husband after watching a bunch of Rantasmo’s “Needs More Gay” videos on ChezApocalypse. Like some others, I don’t really feel like I belong in the local LGBT circles, as I feel I would be unwelcome if I mention I have a husband and have never more than hugged another girl before. I can’t really relate to all the people who have faced real prejudice. I will never go through what they go through because I pass as straight. I feel like an intruder.

    Erasure is a real problem though. My way of combatting it is mostly to just pipe up if someone refers to me as straight and say “hey, I’m actually bi!” and sometimes “no, I won’t leave my husband the moment a pretty girl comes along.” It may not be much, but it makes me more visible. It’s not like bi folks have a stereotypical “look” either. We can’t just all put on our bisexual pants or get a bisexual haircut to let the world know who we are.

    Aaaanywho, I want you to know that I appreciate your ramblings and it’s always cool to know about other bi ladies who are making cool things that I enjoy. All the bi women that I currently know are sex positive feminist comic artist types that enjoy drawing pretty ladies, myself included.

    • I’m in a similar position – been with the same man for many, many years and figured out I was bi in the middle of our relationship. I kind of always brace for people who find out I’m bi to start asking me how I could be bi if I’m with a man or start to assume things about my sex life because of that word. I can’t imagine how hard it is for single bi ladies who have to navigate dating and the assumptions other orientations have about bisexual people.

      • Vanessa Kirby

        I know! One reason I don’t want to let my father in law find out I’m bi is because I KNOW he’s going to throw some crude jokes my way and I’d rather avoid family drama. At least for now.

        After I came out to my closest friends, I started going through all these realizations of how I’ve always been this way. Female friendships were never fully satisfying (because I actually wanted a girlfriend), really digging pin up girl and Audrey Hepburn calendars, and having a very high tolerance for fishnets and cleavage in superhero comics (I NEED the sexy Black Canary variant cover!). Those little things all came together and when looking back at them as a whole, I became pretty confident that I was indeed into ladies and did not actually need to “try it out, just to make sure.” No one ever asks that of straight people. “Are you sure you’re straight? How can you know unless you’ve had sex with men AND women?”

        It is oddly comforting to know that there are other ladies like myself, who only came to their realizations in their mid-20’s in the midst of a straight relationship. Our culture has somehow made many of us blind to our own sexualities. It’s really quite fascinating.

        • It’s weird for me because I feel really comfortable tweeting about it and I write about media with queer characters regularly, so I’m okay to bring it up in those pieces, but I still haven’t told my parents about it and I’d be horrified if my boyfriend’s family knew because they’re pretty old fashioned. So there’s this safety I feel in writing about it online … except that those people in my life could find it if they googled long enough.

          As an aside, how AMAZING is the Black Canary book? I know you said you specifically wanted the variant cover but if you haven’t read the book yet definitely get on that!

  • Jake

    Thanks for sharing this, Lindsay. As someone who’s followed you and your work for a long time, I just gotta say that my view of you hasn’t changed a bit πŸ™‚

  • Rabdus

    I don’t know if I have anything to add to the discussion. I’ve followed your work for years, and never commented. I think you’re right, I think people like things that fit in neat boxes with obvious boundaries, and human sexuality, as the Kinsey scale suggests, doesn’t. But that won’t stop people, gay and straight, from trying to make it do so.

    Thank you again for saying honest things that you believe in. Thank you for saying, Thank you for continuing to DO.

  • Marie

    Recently coming out as bi after calling myself a lesbian for years (due to some of my own issues with the label for a long time among many other issues), it is strange to me. Even though it does feel more accurate to me, I don’t feel like I’m part of the community anymore, because I can “opt” out (and woah I will fully say dating guys, at least in terms of finding people to date and going out in public? waaaaaay easier).

    But likewise, I don’t really feel like I fit in with straight people. It’s like, with either community I feel like a weird outlier. The only time I’ve felt like I’ve fit in was when I was at a party and I was talking alone with a bisexual guy who I felt like was the only person who got it.

    I think that’s been my biggest struggle. Sure, when you’re a lesbian, you do have a lot more obvious struggle, but you have a community of people on your side at least. The same thing doesn’t really exist for bisexuals (and psh straight people don’t need it).

    Anyway, I don’t necessarily consider this a privilege. You’re going to face the same thing as a gay person if you actually fall in love with a same-sex person. It’s just more up-in-the-air if you will or not, depending on where you lie on the Kinsey scale or if you happen to find that the person who is worth it is a same-sex person. I think saying we can all “opt out” is slightly narrow, because even if we could date an opposite-sex person for convenience, maybe we do really fall in love with a same-sex person. As so many gay people say, love isn’t really a choice, and the same is true for bisexual people.

  • Wizard Basement

    As an autistic white guy so much of this sexuality stuff is beyond my understanding, the last time you heard from me was in that Charity Livestream where I called my government “Flaccid Members Of Parliament” because they banned Mortal Kombat, not to mention other self-fulfilling prophesies like attempts to dismantle Australian Medicare which made me Nostradamus of the Antipodes. A lot of the discrimination I’ve suffered over the years has been off the books, that is, not legislated by federal judges. I don’t (yet) have any problems signing up for health insurance or donating blood or all that jazz, so as a result a lot of my personal problems tend to be dismissed under the straight white guy umbrella. That doesn’t make LGBT or feminist issues invalid, it’s just an intersectional problem that’s way worse online than in its IRL, I’ve only encountered feminists dehumanising me in person that one time Germaine Greer humiliated me in public. Yes, that actually happened, but it does not invalidate feminism as a movement. Meanwhile, a lot of you guys from the Reviewerverse might not be aware my empathetic sympathy for your struggle comes from my being cyberstalked by a creep who said I was making up my ASD diagnosis to get attention. An MRI brain scan revealed my autism was very real (it’s all about the ventricles, baby) and I almost teared up when an actual doctor showed me the scans proving I wasn’t a liar like many trolls online insinuated. Likewise, a recent testicular cancer ultrasound revealed feminism hasn’t castrated me, even after Germaine Greer, can’t argue with stone cold science!

    I only made out with a guy once, and the unpleasant scraping sensation of my Greek BFF’s scratchy beard raking across my chin has a lot more to do with my inherent heterosexuality than me believing sodomy is icky. There’s a great autobiography by Jane Lynch called Happy Accidents where she talks about WHY kissing dudes never felt right for her, which did more for my understanding of lesbians in one paragraph than Chasing Amy could do in 90 minutes. The subsequent Yelp review from Happy Accidents of when she kisses a girl for the first time gives me confidence that my first lady-smooch is gonna be amazing. If that ever happens, it probably won’t at this rate. I’ve been working hard on my cybergothic horror novel trilogy called Trollslayer, as well as a blog-labyrinth about its creation called The Oxygen Destroyer which I’ve promised to drop soon. Once you read the excerpts from my novels, maybe you’ll finally understand why Awoken ground my gears after you stated Disney’s Hercules was a “heartless mess”. Speaking of which, Vanellope’s story arc from Wreck-It Ralph about trying to escape Turbo’s literal cyberstalking was so similar to my own life experiences, that I’m surprised Turbo hasn’t been reevaluated as an unappreciated Disney Villain who predicted GamerGate in his techno-dread. I don’t think less of you as a person for you not thinking those films were good, yet Awoken fundamentally challenged my trust of your opinions as somebody who ostensibly wants to make the world better.

    I’m probably rambling way too much at this point, but for many years you and the other Reviewerverse peeps kept me up to speed with critical theory throughout my Antarctic Expedition level isolation and stressful hellish Bachelor’s Degree. I’m nervous that once Blip.tv goes under, I’ll lose a bunch of awesome acquaintances who never really got to hear how important you were in my life, in whatever small way you contributed. I’ve been informed you don’t like paragraph long comments, so peace out.

    • rubi-kun

      Eh, Germaine Greer’s a TERF, I’d think it’s clear to most intersectional feminists she’s kind of troubling in many ways.

  • I’m a bi woman who has been in a relationship with the same man for nearly a decade and realized I was bi in the middle of those 10 years. Because I’m not single I don’t really go “into the community” but I’m also worried that if I did go out and tried to be social with my local LGBT people, I’d get called out for never being with a woman. As if the only way to prove that I’m queer is if I leave my partner or cheat on him with a woman. Even though I’ve found LGBT friends online, I still see the occasional video or blog from lesbians that say how they’d never want to be with a bi woman because bi women have been tainted by men (which is not only insulting to bi women but also to lesbians who have been with men before they accepted their sexuality).

    As far as the bi privilege … I mean, it’s only to a point. Sure there are some benefits to being with a person of a different gender because of our culture, but the statistics on violence against bi people is still REALLY bad: http://www.advocate.com/bisexuality/2014/09/22/report-high-rates-violence-discrimination-against-bisexual-people And the negativity from many gay men and lesbians doesn’t help. So we have privilege if we don’t talk about being bisexual. I’m not sure how much privilege we have if the privilege is depended on being quiet and keeping your head down in public about who you are. I think about my parents and how I still haven’t told them that I’m bi … sure, the fact that I’m with a man might soften the blow because they’re very conservative but the chance of them judging me for even being open to being with a woman hurts.

    • Grapefruits

      Thank you for all you’ve said. I am with a man and have been with men and have never even thought it possible to figure out you (i) were bi whilst being with a man. I figured it out after it caused a lot of confusion, confidence issues and general crap. And now after reading your post I feel so much better that someone else is in the same position! I don’t feel the need to tell my parents, friends because it’s part of me and not a part that is up for anyone else’s observation unless I say so. (Obv, my man knows)

      Once again, thank you for putting your post where I found it πŸ™‚

  • wnc

    It’s a bit off topic, but I want to express how relieved I am when I hear Elisa is asexual. I’m coming to terms with my own asexuality, and knowing that it’s possible to have a loving partner and friends is a real comfort. I get so scared when I think about having to come out to someone when so few people really understand asexuality. I can strongly relate to what you mean when you talk about “passing” because most of the time it feels like there is no reason to tell anyone about it, especially considering the privilege of being perceived as heterosexual. I can pass off who I am as just being shy, inexperienced, or prudish. And when I think of coming out to my friends or my parents, it feels like I’m needlessly bringing up my sex life, something that they probably don’t want to hear about. So when I hear of someone who is able to be herself with loving friends and a loving partner, it gives me a bit of hope, and makes me want to take more chances with trusting those around me.
    Anyways, I really enjoyed this post. I have seen a lot of bisexual erasure among my friends and I’m always surprised by how many of these comments come from other members of the LGBT community rather than from cis straight people. Many people are able to accept the binary of heterosexuality and homosexuality, as well as some of the more complicated ideas about gender identities and orientations like pansexuality, but for some reason struggle with bisexual individuals and decide that they simply don’t exist or only use that label for convenience, like a lack of commitment. It makes me think about heteronormativity and I wish there were a word to describe the inability to understand the worldview of bisexual people because you’re limited by your own experience as a homosexual/heterosexual individual.

    • lmy

      i identify as ace and am in a great relationship with a wonderful partner who loves me and has never pressured or tried to shame me into doing anything i’m not comfortable with, despite me being a mess of fears and anxieties over precisely that at the very beginning. don’t be discouraged! there are people out there who will understand and appreciate you without getting hung up on what you are (or aren’t) doing with your body.

    • Vismutti

      “It makes me think about heteronormativity and I wish there were a word to describe the inability to understand the worldview of bisexual people because you’re limited by your own experience as a homosexual/heterosexual individual.”

      “Mononormativity” maybe? Although I think that’s also used when referring to non-poly assumptions so maybe it’s not such a good term…

      Btw, I think the whole feeling like you’re needlessly bringing up your sex life thing can be relatable to a lot of members of other sexual minorities… it definitely sounds familiar to me. I mean, since I don’t have a partner, there’s like no “excuse” to mention it? It really feels just like what you said like I’m bringing up my sex life out of nowhere and it’s awkward and terrible and I’m so bad at it. But it’s probably even more common for asexual people of course….

      I hope you’ll find a nice, understanding and loving partner if that’s what you’re hoping for. πŸ™‚ And lots of understanding and loving friends either way. Luckily more and more people are starting to be better informed about these things and more understanding too.

  • Caitriona Doherty

    Lindsay!!! Thank you so much for writing this, it means a lot. I’m 19 years old and have pretty much felt attractions to boys and girls from the moment I realised, at 9 and a half years of age (so my diary tells me) that I wanted to be Rose Tyler’s ‘friend’ as much as I wanted to be The Doctor’s. In the literal decade between then and now, I have gone back and forth on the whole thing – am I really just straight but want to be a special snowflake? Did going to an all-girls school somehow make me bisexual, forming attractions to girls just because there were no boys around? (Silly, because there were about three boy band members I was spiritually married to at the time.) Then, on the flip side, when all the guys I’ve met so far at uni have tended to be either a) taken, b) gay or c) just not really anything to write home about, I started to wonder if I was really just completely gay (again: not likely).

    It’s been a long, arduous process in arriving at the term ‘bisexual’ for myself. I’m a lot happier with it now than I ever was, but there’s still an element of guilt there. Like I’m somehow behaving fraudulently, because I could pass for straight if I dated a guy. Or fraudulently because Ive never actually been in a real relationship with ANYONE (grrrrr), so naming my sexuality one way or the other is a pointless exercise, because I’ve got it into my head that I can’t be sure unless I try all the genders out, ya feel?

    All I know is this: when I hear the word ‘straight’, something inside of me actively and instinctively rejects that label. Straight people are ‘them’, not ‘us’. The few people I’ve told have said that, while they believed I wasn’t ‘confused’ or some such thing, I should remember that I’m still young, and have plenty of time to come to grips with myself. But the very point is that I’ve only told a few people, and certainly not my parents because, long story short, I can’t be 100% sure they won’t just laugh in my face and dismiss it as a phase. Maybe I’m worried that they’re right.

    Ugh, you see?!?! The turmoil! The anguish! Woe is me! Well, no, actually. Woe is not me, because I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with the ol’ b word at this precise point in time. And knowing that someone I’ve really looked up to since I was fifteen (and may or may not have written an angsty poem about when I was sixteen) has gone through a lot of the same struggles that I have is immeasurably comforting. So thank you very, very much, Ms Ellis. πŸ™‚

  • Maria

    Yeah bi erasure is definitely a thing even in the gay community. There’s all that dumb shit about “gold star lesbians”, and I have seriouslu heard gay people claim that bi people are just closeted homosexuals or experimenting straight people. Or that they wouldn’t date a bi person. We need to stick together people! (same goes for transphobic lgb people for that matter, but that’s a conversation for another day)

    • OMG the “gold star lesbians” thing! I only found out about that recently, and I was apalled. So many things wrong with that line of thinking, I can’t even!

  • JPC

    Bisexual man here. I can sympathize with the lack of identifying with the rest of the LGBT+ community. I’m personally not very camp when it comes to gender expression, so when I tell people my orientation I usually get a lot of skepticism. I had a bad experience, where a lot of people didn’t believe me, the first time I interacted with the local LGBT community that gave the movement a sour taste in my mouth for a while. Recently I moved and have found a much better group of people.

    I personally have interacted with people who have used bisexuality as a way to “ease” in accepting that their gay. At the end of the day, personally, if that makes them feel better, than I can live with it even if I’d rather they not do it. It’s eternally frustrating but I don’t think there should be a Bi-Mafia that gets to decide who is and who isn’t what they say they are.

  • Austin LaBonty

    This really spoke to me. I am a mostly straight dude, maybe like a 2 on the Kinsey scale, and I have only ever really fallen in love with one guy and everyone else I’ve ever liked that way has been women, so I’ve never felt comfortable identifying as Bi because even though I had one really powerful experience, I kind of felt dishonest hopping onto a bandwagon that seemed designed for people that had very different experiences than my own, and more importantly faced much harder discrimination for it too.

    But I’ve also had people say that I was just trying to be trendy with the one guy I liked, saying I was just trying to be hip and modern because everyone else I’ve dated has been a woman, and it is a weird experience having people tell you your feelings aren’t real, cause for a long time I was kind of afraid they might have been right.
    I really appreciate you writing this, if only to know that other people get that feeling

  • Bardcraft

    From me who’ve been questioning rather I am more BI or not for awhile now, thank you. πŸ™‚ I have similar experience except I am a cisgender male. I always thought I consider myself as straight(been told that by media, family, and other people), but there are moment where I have romantic attraction to men. From reading this, it reassure me. Now, I considered myself as Bi who’s preference is women. So, thanks you.

  • Tristin Fleming

    I honestly want to say thank you for this article. I have felt many of these sentiments exactly throughout the years. I’ve had an attraction to girls since I was a young age. I didn’t understand it at first when another girl kissed me and I got butterflies. I tried to ignore it. I found myself attracted to lesbian porn. I would erase the cookies off of my computer.

    For the longest time I considered myself bicurious. But after a couple of sexual encounters with women I slowly came to terms that I liked women. I feel like the author did. I didn’t really feel like I fit with the LGBT community. Straight people tended to be hostile. Gay people told me I wasn’t “gay for real” so I eventually felt stuck In a bi purgatory where nobody wanted me.

    I also feel like many of the commentors. I don’t hide the fact that I’m bisexual if you ask me but I don’t readily volunteer the information. It’s especially hard when my mom’s boyfriend is very homophobic.

    Also, I’ve always considered myself an ally instead of a apart of the community. I text my aunt who is a lesbian today sending her congratulations but after reading this article I realize that I too should be celebrating.

    It’s weird to me because I haven’t ever had an actual relationship with a woman, so sometimes I even doubted myself. But I know that deep down I’ve always had attraction to both men and women. And it’s not an equal attraction. I do have a preference for men. But I wonder if that’s because of societal pressures. In any event, I refuse to deny who I am any longer, even if it took me 20 (I’m 24 now) years to realize it.

    Finally, it was interesting to read about bisexual privilege and bi sexual erasure. I’ve experienced both. As a black woman, I understand how minority groups can be oppressed and others can have privilege without even wanting it. It’s just interesting to see it from a sexual orientation point of view.

    I’m so glad that this article was written and am happy to know that I am not the only person feeling like this. I’m not familiar with this author but I will be looking forward to reading more of her work. I didn’t even mean to write all of this but clearly it needed to be said.

  • When I think back to all the fear, disgust, and self-loathing I had for myself as a teenager – due in no small part to my sexual orientation – I can’t help but tear up just a little bit when I read something like this. I wish I had but an ounce of the eloquence required to articulate what you just have – defaulting to one position because it’s easier.

    My entire sense of self is complicated – I’m intersex, assigned male at birth, and for so long I tried everything I could to hide it from everyone around me (I still have the bandages I used to wind my pathetic little A-cups every morning). I acted the part of being ‘male’ because it was how everyone saw me, and trying to alter that perception? Well. I need the fingers of one hand to count the trans* people I’ve known in my life – those who are still alive, I require only a finger and thumb.

    I was too terrified to come out, and knowing the Kafkaesque hell that other trans* people have gone through trying to get treatment (estradiol/ethinylestradiol and modern T-blockers are safe drugs with WELL FUCKING KNOWN (and very minor risk profiles) which are manufactured en-masse – why is getting hold of them such a torturous path?) I thought it’d be the most prudent option to wait – and wait I did. I have mixed feelings about it. I still haven’t come out on Facebook to my closest friends and family. Twitter’s very much my safe place where I don’t have to wear that damn mask of “maleness” any more – not that I ever wore it well. I’d describe my current appearance as like a 14-year-old girl who had a taffy-puller accident. I’m 6’4″ and honestly I look ridiculous – but I can deal with that. Plus, yay, I can reach the top shelf in the supermarket! Small consolation….. =P

    The world is a cruel place to anyone who deviates from the norm – and in some environments that’s horribly exacerbated. I certainly hope you’re happier for coming out and embracing your identity – I know I am (bisexual genderqueer, wooooo) despite the trials it comes with – and, lastly, thank you so much for writing this. I related to so, so much of it, and it’s immeasurably uplifting to know I’m not the only one who deals with such things.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Lindsay! Best of luck for the future.

  • mattevansc3

    The ironic thing is that even though the gay pride movement is represented by a rainbow sexual orientation is still judged in black and white.

    I identify as straight. I’ve had a man crush but never been sexually attracted to men. Growing up, any form of deviation from the straight party line of “You must only think about the opposite gender” meant you were gay. It was that simple. Years later when I talked to gay people about it (I did amateur dramatics and dance) they said exactly the same. You either only thought about the opposite gender and were straight or you were gay.

    That level of reinforcement actually made me come out as Bi even though I was never sexually attracted to men and the sight of cock makes me uncomfortable. People were happy for me when I said I was Bi and they said they knew all along. I wasn’t Bi, everybody convinced me I was Bi and I believed them. It took me a while too realise I was never in the closet to begin with and that regardless of how other people thought I had to be true to myself and that I was straight.

    Going through this has given me a greater appreciation for those who identify as bisexual because there is so much pressure to not be, you can’t be straight and the LGBT crowd want you to plant the rainbow flag firmly in their territory.

    This disbelief, from both sides of the fence, that bisexuality is an orientation in its own right, prevents us from having that important conversation about gender preference. Its not black and white, you aren’t gay or straight, those are just extremes on q very wide grey scale.

    • “Growing up, any form of deviation from the straight party line of “You
      must only think about the opposite gender” meant you were gay. It was
      that simple.”

      In some cases, not thinking about the “right” people of the opposite sex was treated as gay too. It made no damn sense, but dudebros used to judge me hardcore over me crush on Meredith Vieira/not being attracted to Megan Fox. I was called gay for both of these things. A cishet male was called gay, because of the kind of ciswomen he wanted to have/not have sex with.

      Naturally when this study came out (http://feministing.com/2015/06/24/study-shows-how-men-overcompensate-when-their-masculinity-is-questioned/) I was not remotely shocked.

  • Stephen Jones

    I’ve been ambivalent about my bisexuality (pansexuality? Whatever) for as long as it’s been remotely a thing. I was with a boy before I’d so much as hugged a girl in a romantic context, have been with guys since, but if asked about it I don’t think I could even be assed to come up with any sort of answer. I really only date girls, I only have “interested in women” on Facebook, but I can’t really say I’m in the closet since apparently people know anyway (a close friend that I’ve never seriously told about anything other than girls surprisingly made reference to the nebulous nature of my orientation). This is far and away the most I’ve ever identified with a piece on orientation/preference. Partially because it’s the ONLY one I’ve ever identified with. Any time I’m around anything involving the pride movement I feel like “…yeah, I’m here, too. Kinda, I guess. I mean, I’ve got your guys’ back, it’s your deal.” Maybe that’s not quite how you feel, but all the same I read this and thought “okay, I actually get this.” So thanks for sharing that.

  • CanisSapien80

    I’ve been identifying as a bisexual man since 2000, and have been a fanof yours since Knights of Suburbia. I had no idea until today that you were bi, and it made me so happy. Like yes yes I’m not alone! I love hearing about celebrities coming out publicly. I totally cried tears of joy when Ellen Page came out, but it means so damn much to me when I find out about folks I love being bi or pan. Thank you for writing this.

  • Max

    It was great to read this, Lindsey. πŸ™‚ You’re a wonderful person and this was very thoughtful.

  • Aika

    I am a male who has exactly the same problem. Very very few people know I’m bi because I’ve never had the need to tell people. So why go through the drama? But I do feel like a bit of a traitor.

  • Ethan Wilson

    I don’t know, Lindsay, if you were going for a “drop the mic and walk away angry” reaction to this post. To me, your style with this topic is more of a “Imma gently set it down and walk normally” one because the vibe to me is that you were slowly(?) coming to terms with who you are and how you wish to present it to the world at large, if you even want to at all. You probably handled that “A Word” scenario in the same way.
    I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the way you’ve tackled this is pretty much what I (and a lot of your followers and fans) have come to expect. And we wouldn’t want it any other way – to paraphrase Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” (unintentionally, of course…). You just keep doing you.
    P.S. Not sure why, but this triggers how Kacey Musgraves is being accepted in the country music community for being “progressive” (for that genre, anyway) by just simply reflecting the reality surrounding her yet keeping a traditional vibe to her music. I don’t know if this is a valid correlation, but this may be something to explore in the future if it interests you.
    P.P.S. Have fun at PRIDE.
    Doubt you’ll see this, but I had to say it.

  • Gorgon Zola

    I’m just a fan of your twitter and movie/archetype reviews, I read this post and as a straight guy, I thought, in the interest of sharing perspectives, I’ll try to give my own experience. I can almost the collective “here we go…”. C’mon be open minded. πŸ™‚

    My upbringing is unlike most in the U.S. in that I was completely unaware of even the concept of homosexual, let alone bisexual. Not that there was an overt effort to shelter me; it just never came up at home, in school, or anywhere else. I remember briefly being told as a kid that some street singer who was dressed as a lady was in fact a man. Of course as a kid I just giggled and forgot, didn’t really think about it – but it remains an odd memory amongst an assortment of odd memories.

    When I came to the US around 13, like most teenagers I loved American movies and TV shows, but, believe me, unless you grow up in American culture you miss a LOT of the tropes and in jokes everyone takes for granted. Mr. Smithers from the Simpsons was just a funny awkward man to me. You didn’t want to be like him, but you liked him enough you that you wished him well. He was a decent guy, but not as fun as Homer. Apart from him, I don’t really remember any other supposedly gay characters I was exposed to. There were some of course in old TV shows like The Beverly Hillbillies apparently, but they flew under my radar, so to speak. I did hear about Tom Hanks winning an oscar for a movie, but to a kid it looked depressing and boring. So even until the age of 18 the concept of “gay” really didn’t exist for me. This was even knowing guys who “acted and talked like girls’ in my school, (effeminate, yes I know, I’m trying to give my exact thoughts). I didn’t think of them as gay – the concept didn’t exist. To me they had some unfortunate characteristic that sadly made them unappealing to women (in my mind). Boys to be pitied, and be nice to. I never was the bully type, having been bullied myself for ethnicity, etc.

    I truly became aware of the concept of gay really through the “big new” about Ellen “coming out” being “gay’ etc. When I finally understood what all those new-to-me definitions meant, I distinctly remember thinking “but ‘gay’ really means ‘happy'”. I also remember thinking “but that’s not really sex. that’s mutual heavy petting.” And frankly I still do, to me real sex is still penis entering vagina – the rest is just a form of fetishistic masturbation. You can call it sex, but it’s just another misappropriation of a word. Most won’t like me saying that, but understand that I just like precise definitions and word usage. It’s like how the word “funny” keep being used to mean something completely different, like a bad smell is described “smells funny”. Anyways, It’s only after I groked lesbianism that I became aware that men could be gay too. And that was a very strange thing to me. Forget rationalizing it, it was straight up impossible to me. You have to understand this was the 90’s. There was no internet for most people – it’s hard to fathom how life really revolved around tv and books.

    Here is where I need to mention how being a straight male kid in a ‘straight narrative’ world creates a nearly unshakeable assumption about the sexuality of men that is equivalent of telling medieval scientists that it’s the earth that goes around the sun. It’s. just. not. possible. And I think it’s because of being completely utterly 100% straight.

    This is something the LGBTAI crowd just can’t wrap their heads around about being straight: yes, there are completely straight people. I have never been sexually/emotionally attracted to any male. As in never entered my mind. Male relationships, for me, always were in terms of friends, mentors, brotherhood. And frankly the female form, the curves, the voice, movements, characteristics held my complete attention. When I looked at washboard abs on a magazine – I think, I need to get to figure out a way to look like that because apparently girls like that. Do I find washboard abs sexy or attractive? Not at all. Looks like a bunch of lumps on your belly. Doesn’t look attractive on women. But I do get the impression of strength. That dude would win in a fight. I’m trying to get to you understand that some of us never look at men sexually. Might as well ask us to look a children in that way. Which is where I think some of that incorrect comparison comes from. Without some basic vocabulary and concepts, you can’t expect straight people to even begin to understand how non-straight people look at attractiveness.

    Lindsay, when you hinted at the fact that nobody is completely straight I had to laugh because you were doing exactly what fully straight people do – projecting a personal sexual point of view on to others. You found both sexes attractive, so everyone else must to some degree also. Do a lot of LGBTAI people do this as well? I don;t know. I freely admit I’m not fully aware of their way of thinking. I’m kinda aware, but not fully.

    Also, It has now come to my attention that (some) LGBTAI think some straight people ERASE a lot of sexualities. A concept I admit I just learned about reading Lindsay’s post. I can see how that can happen. Still, I’d like the LGBT folk to consider that for a lot of us who are fully straight (yes, they really exist), that some of us (likely, most of us) don’t even have concept of sexual spectrum internalized well enough to erase it. We are too busy expressing our own straight version of sexuality (cause it’s sexy fun, you know) and it’s really silly to expect our brains to automatically be aware of something we have a hard time being aware of. Yes upon being made aware, we offer encouragement, support…celebrate victories (ahem, marriage equality) we only understand superficially. Why? because you’re our friends, people we admire, and we like you, we want you to be happy. But to most of us (well, to me) meeting a gay person is still very much like meeting people who are nudists. You literally think “okay, I’m not sure how to respond. Just smile and say ‘cool’. Don’t look like an ignorant fool who doesn’t know a thing about the nudist movement and it’s plights.” Actually, that’s pretty much how I respond to anything I don’t understand. From automobile engines to quantum mechanics. Don’t pretend you understand, don’t expect to fully understand, but try to learn something. I have to be fully honest here…I have yet to meet and know a person who is gay. I’m in Texas, I know there are many here, but I’ve not yet met or held conversation with one. I admit I do feel uncomfortable about. But I feel that way about any PDA, so I guess I’m a prude…

    Anyways, people erase certain sexualities, you say? Sure, if you say so, I can kinda see that. Do I care?….I can see how it can hurt a few people who need the validation of their own kind from those who are not. But I think it’s SOP just not to expect people to be fully aware and make allowances. Now if a bisexual filmmaker erases bisexuality…you know what, I don’t comprehend sexuality enough to judge the creative decisions of others. So I’ll just keep my mouth shut and try to learn something.

  • Gorgon Zola

    I’m just a fan of your twitter and movie/archetype reviews, I read this post and as a straight guy, I thought, in the interest of sharing perspectives, I’ll try to give my own experience. I can almost the collective “here we go…”. C’mon be open minded. πŸ™‚

    My upbringing is unlike most in the U.S. in that I was completely unaware of even the concept of homosexual, let alone bisexual. Not that there was an overt effort to shelter me; it just never came up at home, in school, or anywhere else. I remember briefly being told as a kid that some street singer who was dressed as a lady was in fact a man. Of course as a kid I just giggled and forgot, didn’t really think about it – but it remains an odd memory amongst an assortment of odd memories.

    When I came to the US around 13, like most teenagers I loved American movies and TV shows, but, believe me, unless you grow up in American culture you miss a LOT of the tropes and in jokes everyone takes for granted. Mr. Smithers from the Simpsons was just a funny awkward man to me. You didn’t want to be like him, but you liked him enough you that you wished him well. He was a decent guy, but not as fun as Homer. Apart from him, I don’t really remember any other supposedly gay characters I was exposed to. There were some of course in old TV shows like The Beverly Hillbillies apparently, but they flew under my radar, so to speak. I did hear about Tom Hanks winning an oscar for a movie, but to a kid it looked depressing and boring. So even until the age of 18 the concept of “gay” really didn’t exist for me. This was even knowing guys who “acted and talked like girls’ in my school, (effeminate, yes I know, I’m trying to give my exact thoughts). I didn’t think of them as gay – the concept didn’t exist. To me they had some unfortunate characteristic that sadly made them unappealing to women (in my mind). Boys to be pitied, and be nice to. I never was the bully type, having been bullied myself for ethnicity, etc.

    I truly became aware of the concept of gay really through the “big new” about Ellen “coming out” being “gay’ etc. When I finally understood what all those new-to-me definitions meant, I distinctly remember thinking “but ‘gay’ really means ‘happy'”. I also remember thinking “but that’s not really sex. that’s mutual heavy petting.” And frankly I still do, to me real sex is still penis entering vagina – the rest is just a form of fetishistic masturbation. You can call it sex, but it’s just another misappropriation of a word. Most won’t like me saying that, but understand that I just like precise definitions and word usage. It’s like how the word “funny” keep being used to mean something completely different, like a bad smell is described “smells funny”. Anyways, It’s only after I groked lesbianism that I became aware that men could be gay too. And that was a very strange thing to me. Forget rationalizing it, it was straight up impossible to me. You have to understand this was the 90’s. There was no internet for most people – it’s hard to fathom how life really revolved around tv and books.

    Here is where I need to mention how being a straight male kid in a ‘straight male-dominated narrative’ world creates a nearly unshakeable assumption about the sexuality of men that introducing the concept of homosexuality of men to such a kid is equivalent of telling medieval scientists that it’s the earth that really goes around the sun. It’s. just. not. possible. And I think it’s because of being completely utterly 100% straight. You just can’t see it any other way, and it takes a long time of collecting real world evidence to shake that view.

    This is something the LGBTAI crowd just can’t wrap their heads around about being straight: yes, there are completely straight people. I have never been sexually/emotionally attracted to any male. As in never entered my mind. Male relationships, for me, always were in terms of friends, mentors, brotherhood. And frankly the female form, the curves, the voice, movements, characteristics held my complete attention. When I looked at washboard abs on a magazine – I think, I need to get to figure out a way to look like that because apparently girls like that. Do I find washboard abs sexy or attractive? Not at all. Looks like a bunch of lumps on your belly. Doesn’t look attractive on women. But I do get the impression of strength. That dude would win in a fight. I’m trying to get to you understand that some of us never look at men sexually. Might as well ask us to look a children in that way. Which is where I think some of that incorrect comparison comes from. Without some basic vocabulary and concepts, you can’t expect straight people to even begin to understand how non-straight people look at attractiveness.

    Lindsay, when you hinted at the fact that nobody is completely straight I had to laugh because you were doing exactly what fully straight people do – projecting a personal sexual point of view on to others. You found both sexes attractive, so everyone else must to some degree also. Do a lot of LGBTAI people do this as well? I don;t know. I freely admit I’m not fully aware of their way of thinking. I’m kinda aware, but not fully.

    Also, It has now come to my attention that (some) LGBTAI think some straight people ERASE a lot of sexualities. A concept I admit I just learned about reading Lindsay’s post. I can see how that can happen. Still, I’d like the LGBT folk to consider that for a lot of us who are fully straight (yes, they really exist), that some of us (likely, most of us) don’t even have concept of sexual spectrum internalized well enough to erase it. We are too busy expressing our own straight version of sexuality (cause it’s sexy fun, you know) and it’s really silly to expect our brains to automatically be aware of something we have a hard time being aware of. Yes upon being made aware, we offer encouragement, support…celebrate victories (ahem, marriage equality) we only understand superficially. Why? because you’re our friends, people we admire, and we like you, we want you to be happy. But to most of us (well, to me) meeting a gay person is still very much like meeting people who are nudists. You literally think “okay, I’m not sure how to respond. Just smile and say ‘cool’. Don’t look like an ignorant fool who doesn’t know a thing about the nudist movement and it’s plights.” Actually, that’s pretty much how I respond to anything I don’t understand. From automobile engines to quantum mechanics. Don’t pretend you understand, don’t expect to fully understand, but try to learn something. I have to be fully honest here…I have yet to meet and know a person who is gay. I’m in Texas, I know there are many here, but I’ve not yet met or held conversation with one. I admit I do feel uncomfortable about. But I feel that way about any PDA, so I guess I’m a prude…

    Anyways, people erase certain sexualities, you say? Sure, if you say so, I can kinda see that. Do I care?….I can see how it can hurt a few people who need the validation of their own kind from those who are not. But I think it’s SOP just not to expect people to be fully aware and make allowances. Now if a bisexual filmmaker erases bisexuality…you know what, I don’t comprehend sexuality enough to judge the creative decisions of others. So I’ll just keep my mouth shut and try to learn something.

    • Lindsay

      I didn’t insinuate fully straight people don’t exist – I insinuated that they’re a smaller proportion of the greater population than we like to admit. I’m fully aware they exist and are probably a majority. I was in a relationship with a “true Kinsey 0” for nearly 3 years.

      • Gorgon Zola

        Fair enough. When I read “I suppose a part of my detachment from this feeling of struggle is my personal suspicion that β€œtrue Kinsey 0’s”, or completely and utterly straight people, are in fact much rarer than we’d like to admit.” I wrongly supposed that ‘much rarer’ was equivalent to ‘vanishingly small’ or ‘negligible number’. I guess I should have thought “much rarer” implied “less, but still a majority.” In retrospect, I’m not sure how I could have avoided this mistake. Well, in any case, apologies. Congratulations on finding someone who loved you for, well, at least 3 years. I’ve not been so lucky.

        One thought I’ve had since: I’ve always wondered if sexuality should not be defined so quickly or early. It might be that most people may think they are Kinsey 0 because that’s the evidence their sexual response have given them so far. But who knows if the next day they might meet the person that shifts them on the Kinsey scale? It’s a version of the ‘black swan theory’. That possibility exists for everyone, I think – and perhaps a small portion of bisexuals are those few who thought they were Kinsey 0 – until they met their black swan.

      • Bob Lee

        Me i`m heteral ,and our drummer is by,and i have a gay cousin,and i love them both so mutch,i never saw anything different than me in their hearts,we are all turned on by some gender or genders,that should never be an issue to anyone,and to any familly or friendships

  • Pernoda

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I’ve been trying to come to terms with being bi and I’ve always felt that I’d be letting myself down if I was purely het. The weird thing is realizing that I won’t be attracted to every woman I meet same as how I’m not attracted to every man I meet. I’m still intimidated by dating especially now that I have even less of a clue how to ask out a woman without inviting unwelcome comments.
    Unfortunately I grew up with TV shows that depicted bisexuality as being a phase to coming out as gay or lesbian and I believed it for a really long time. There’s also the gaslighting, as mentioned in the article, that I would face if someone at work found out.

    I know I’m rambling but thank you again for posting this. The more I learn, the more reassured I am that this isn’t just some weird thing I’m going through.

    • Em

      Oh I can relate to that second sentence. At school, not knowing that bisexuality existed but also knowing I liked girls, I thought if I didn’t feel attracted to *every* girl (and vice versa, shoved down any attraction to men) then I was fake.

  • S. I. Burgess

    You know, given that, a decade ago, I was receiving verbal and physical violence on a daily basis in my school once it got out that I was one of the Bs, that I had no-one to speak to on the matter and few people/points of reference to assuage my own mind about something I barely understood… well, it’s just rather heartbreakingly wonderful to look at the UK and the USA today and hope that, with steps like marriage equality and the ever greater-prominence of LGBT voices, we may slowly but surely be approaching a point where people really need not be frightened as I was then.

    Do pardon the incoherence of the above; here’s hoping ‘Legend’ is a great movie, and thank you for the marvellous article, Lindsay.

  • booknerd11

    As a bi-romantic, grey-a fan of yours for several years, I really, really appreciate this post. I totally understand the feeling of not needing to come out to everyone, because, really, your sexuality is no one’s business but your own, and coming out always turns into an extended vocabulary lesson and a justification for my identity and extremely probing questions, so I’ve half given up on coming out to my friends and family (family especially) who are less informed about these sort of issues, and that makes me feel horrifyingly guilty in a way that I know I don’t need to feel. I know it wasn’t a coming out post, as you said, but so much of it resonated with me and thank you so much for writing it. Telling anyone is always so brave. Thank you so much.

  • Alan Michael

    really great article πŸ™‚ Interesting read, as I fall somwhere on the spectrum that is atypical. Hope you are having fun at pride πŸ™‚

  • william

    I never expect it to affect me as much as it does but every time someone I really admire comes out as bisexual it’s just… an incredible feeling. So affirming in a way I didn’t even realise I needed it. I know your sexuality isn’t really any of our business, but thank you so much for sharing it.
    It really means a lot.

  • Erin Marie

    This was a welcome piece for me to read today. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Ryan Storey

    Hi, Lindsay. I’m a few days late into reading this, but I just wanted to respond. First of all, thank you for being so candid and honest about something that you’re still trying to figure out yourself. I’ve always been of the mindset that everyone is a “little bit” bisexual, even if they don’t know it or want to acknowledge it. Even the most masculine, straight of men, who have posters of muscular athletes on their walls. I don’t doubt for a second that those people don’t at least have an unconscious alarm that goes off in their head, saying: “Hm, he’s pretty attractive.”

    I think women are more comfortable with acknowledging those attractions with other women, and in some cases, it’s more socially acceptable for women to be bisexual or to have “bisexual tenancies”. As opposed to men, who are more apprehensive to even recognize those thoughts, because it’s not as socially acceptable to be bisexual. In some cases, when a man comes out as bisexual, he’s instantly regarded as gay, no matter what he says; where with female bisexuals, they’re more-or-less justified by other people as merely “going through a phase”.

    I can’t really speak for myself on the whole bisexual thing, but I can say that I’ve had similar experiences with struggling to acknowledge those thoughts. When I was younger, I was always mistaken for gay. In middle school, I was bullied tremendously because people thought that I was gay, even though I knew I wasn’t. I was always a rather feminine kid, with very feminine interests; and I even preferred befriending girls and stayed attached to the women in my life. Men have always made me feel uncomfortable, so I knew that I wasn’t gay, but I did know that there was something different about me that differentiated me from other boys, and it took years to realize this.

    My jaw dropped when I read that your friend Elisa was asexual. I started smiling because many years later, I realized that that was what I was. And asexuality isn’t really discussed a lot, and is often derided as something that doesn’t exist. Probably because, well, how do you explain a lack of something? And it’s a spectrum. Even though Elisa identifies as an asexual, it doesn’t mean that she is incapable of having romantic feelings or even having sex, as proven by the fact that she’s married and has a baby now. I don’t know much about her personal asexuality, and I won’t pry for answers on that front, but it made me feel hopeful to see that an asexual person can have a healthy relationship and a relatively normal life.

    Me, personally, I’ve always been a rather hopeless romantic, but it was more innocent, even as I grew into my teenage years. I never desired to have sex with anyone, and the thought of even doing so grossed me out. It’s not something that I feel comfortable doing (sorry for the TMI). It’s a difficult thing to deal with or discuss, because it transcends differently in peopleβ€” it’s a spectrum: Some people may be asexual and still have sex drives, but simply lack the attraction to other people. Others may be asexual and are completely repulsed at the idea of sex (like, myself).

    It’s both a blessing and a curse; a double-edged sword. On the one hand, being asexual is great because I can actually befriend women and have intellectual conversations with them, without having to worry about my “stupid guy hormones” wanting to do it with every woman I meet. And I think it makes me more trustworthy to my friends.

    As for bisexuality, which is what this article is about, I have never really addressed it. I don’t think I am bisexual, but I have been attracted to men before, which is completely normal. I definitely think that I am more likely to date women, but I do admit that if a guy has very feminine qualities, I will be very attracted to that person.

    Sorry for the personal essay, but I figured that since you were so candid, I figured I should be as well. I for one would love to hear more stories about men and bisexuality, because it may be more normal than one would think.

    This was a very insightful article. Bisexuality is confusing and daunting to face, so I’m happy to see someone like you exploring it and being honest about it. πŸ™‚

  • Original_Outcast

    What’s always bothered me is how Filmmakers & Writers never even say the word “Bisexual” out loud in movies & TV shows (Gay oriented or not) and pretend like the Concept doesn’t exist. Even Kevin Smith was guilty of this when the characters couldn’t even say the word “Bisexual” out loud in the film Chasing Amy and yet when we have Fictional Bi Characters that poorly represent you as Heartless Promiscuous Cheaters Thanx Terrible Bullshit TV shows like “Girls”, “Gotham”, “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila”, and “The L Word”.

  • Lisa Wight

    I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I was so happily surprised to hear that you’re bisexual too. I don’t know, I always just feel happy when I hear that people I admire are bi like me (such as Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, ect.) because I guess I just think it’s cool to have something in common with such cool people. Even if it’s not linked to their success, it’s just kind of cool to hear. I would say it’s like hearing about successful fellow Autistics, but it’s kind of different since bisexuality doesn’t really hinder abilities like sensory overload from Autism might become an inconvienience. But I don’t know, like I said, it’s just cool to have something in common. Sometimes I wish I was only attracted to girls though, since having a crush on a girl just makes me happier than having a crush on a guy. It’s not that I’m anti-guy, not at all, but for whatever reason I just feel like crying when I’m deeply attracted to guys, maybe because I see a relationship with one as less likely to work since I’m not feminine? When I have an attraction the girls though, it just makes me burst with joy. It’s really hard to figure out why. (As for attraction to nonbinary people, I don’t know, it makes me pretty happy I suppose.) Is this a relatable feeling? As in, is it common for bi people to have different emotions associated with different attractions? if this is too much of an invasive question feel free not to answer. I have trouble gauging these things. But yeah, bisexual erasure is a big problem. I’ve never really been passing, since I don’t look straight and I’ve been out as bi for a very long time and wouldn’t really want to pretend to be straight. (If someone were to call me straight I’d probably correct them. If they are against it, at least I would know that that’s the kind of person I wouldn’t want to associate with. But that’s probably easier said than done for many. Probably that would be different depending on where someone lives and other variables.) I don’t like the assumption that if I were to be in a relationship that suddenly that means I’m only attracted to the gender of the person I was with. It’s all pretty frustrating.

  • Lisa Wight

    And certainly it’s not fair to say that all bi people have passing privelage.Certainly I don’t at all. And it saddens me that you feel (or at least felt) hat bisexuality doesn’t really count as queer. I’ve always been very bi pride and quite a bit involved in the lgbt pride movement, but reading this makes me feel that I don’t even belong at all. I feel so hopeless if that’s true… I don’t even want to be alive if my whole identity is a sham and that I have it so easy because if I twisted and perverted the whole way I present myself that I might get a chance to “pass” as a groupI haven’t identified with since I was a toddler. Damn…Maybe if I wore my hair long, wore the feminine clothes that make me feel humiliated and like I’m lying to myself and if I pretended to only like guys I could “pass”. The only ones with real bi privelage if that even exists are the ones who feel completely comfortable dressing and acting in a way stereotypical to their gender and pretending that they only like the “opposite” gender. To even think they’res any bi privilege at all really hurts…

  • Angela Rajic

    I’m still kind of questioning personally. I know for sure I’m not default straight, but I’m not entirely asexual either. I’ve never really experienced sexual attraction, but I’m pretty standard every other way. The best descriptor I’ve found for myself is autoerotic, but I still haven’t figured out exactly what that says about my orientation yet, or whether I should just fuck the labels all together XD

  • Love is stronger,there are no genders

  • aNYagenda

    So you have become a fruit?
    Its a very progressive thing to do.

    Is it all that removed from your destiny all this time?

    • aNYagenda

      At least out of the closet,
      would be more honest.
      Among you people.

  • izzyisozaki

    The struggle is very real for bisexuals that are with the same sex, to say the least.

  • Jessica Murlock

    Wow. This totally hit me like a ton of bricks! A lot of what you touched on are things I’ve struggled with myself as a bisexual woman. I’ve known what I am since I was six, but for the longest time, I was uneasy about it. I questioned whether I really was bi, and not just a confused straight person, because I generally prefer men to women; only to figure out that yes, I am bi, because I find both equally sexually attractive, I just happen to have more a preference for men. But I’ve always kept my sexuality a close secret, because for the longest time, I didn’t think it was anyone’s business, and I still believe that to some degree. I always just jumped into the role of “straight ally” too, because it was the easy way out, and I wouldn’t have to deal with both straight and gay people informing me that I had to “pick a side” because I couldn’t be bi; only all straight or all gay. Which is something I have run into before either from acquaintances that didn’t know I was bi, and would just make these comments in an off-handed manner. Or when I would be open about my sexuality, only to get people telling me I was wrong, or yes, being fetishized by straight men, including an ex, when I’d say, “Yes. I am bisexual.” As you also mentioned, I’ve always felt guilty about the idea of bringing up bisexual erasure, when so many trans people have it a lot worse than I do, and I felt like I have no right to complain because someone else had it worse. It really wasn’t until this past National Coming Out day, that I really came to terms with letting my bisexuality be a part of my make-up as a human being, and I truly felt alone, because I unfortunately have to remain in the closet to a degree for personal reasons.

    But, thank you for this post. It’s makes me feel a little better knowing someone I look up to on the internet is going through the same things, thinking similar thoughts, that I’m dealing with. And most importantly, I don’t feel as alone because of it. πŸ™‚

  • DarkKnightCharming

    I identify with much of what your saying. I came out as trans lesbian when I was 26. The hostility was intense and devious. In many ways I feel like an outsider to the movement, and I go by Ally most of the time. Since I have more then a little tomboy in me, its difficult to put my gender in obvious terms. I don’t want to be viewed as unfairly co-opting the benefits of the community, so I often just reaffirm my support and move on. Thank you for a very well written post.

  • DarkKnightCharming

    As a polyamorous Ally, I can relate to much of what you are saying. I think its easy for certain identities to become the standard mode of thinking, with much skepticism being heaped upon anything that falls outside of that. If the comments I’ve just read are any indication, you are doing your part admirably miss Ellis.

  • Witney Seibold

    Very well put. I’m a bisexual man, and I’m pleased to see that the struggle is not just my own. I feel warmer inside, and I have only recently began speaking up about bisexuality. The “rounding up” and “rounding down” of bi people is insidiously casual, and those of us who are in the middle of the preference scale (the Kinsey scale only denotes experience, not preference) are real and should be having these internal discussions. Thank you so much.

  • Dani

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I really identified with it a lot, like literally everything you were saying I’ve debated with myself over and over. I especially identified with the internalised bi-erasure when I was dating a male and had ‘passing’ privilege for being assumed straight by default.

  • Maya Berger

    Coming to this post very late, but it struck a major chord with me too. I’m also a bi woman in her 30s who’s only recently felt comfortable being out. I too felt that it wasn’t anyone’s business or that I was somehow showing off or inviting fetishisation or “just doing it for the boys” if I mentioned liking women as well as men.

    Since I’ve come out fully I’ve felt relieved not to be hiding something so fundamental to myself anymore, and I’m also lucky enough to have supportive people around me.

    It’s a brave post to make, and I hope that you’re happier for it.

    M

  • Meikakuna

    I relate to this a lot. I feel both part of the LGBT community and outside of it, though the former is gaining more control as I befriend more LGBT people.

    I kind of have this worry that I’m a bisexual stereotype. I was attracted to the opposite gender way before I was attracted to the same gender, so I was scared of the possibility of me setting the bisexual movement back 50 years by going through a phase. The fact that I consume a lot of LGBT media has also added to this fear, with my mother believing it’s what made me ‘think’ I’m bisexual. And every time I do get attracted to the same gender, I feel a rush of joy not just because attraction can do that but also because I have ‘proof’ of my sexuality in case anyone asks if I am truly bisexual.

    I’ve loved your shows from Nostalgia Chick all the way up to Loose Canon, and I look forward to more entertaining and insightful videos from you. It’s great to find out that someone you’ve watched and enjoyed all these years is a bit like you, even if it’s something that should be insignificant like sexual orientation.

  • MindlessLogic

    I know this post is ancient in internet years, so I apologize in advance for resurrecting this article. Still, this assumption that bisexuals have privilege because they can “opt out” is simply not true — especially as it speaks over those with a preference towards same-sex attraction. Heck, this post even explicitly says that choosing to “opt out” is often largely based on societal pressure; undercutting the idea that hiding one’s bisexuality is a freely made choice/is any better than being forced in the closet.

    Not to mention, this idea that bisexuals have privilege is based on the assumption that all bisexuals are “half-straight/half-gay,” and therefore its ok for them to be labeled one or the other because its “partially true.” Gender and sex-based attraction is way, way more complicated then that.

  • Scott Parker

    I’m a 46 year old Bisexual male, I’d say I’m a Kinsey 1 or 2.. I mostly prefer being with women but the thought of Tom Hardy and Taron Egerton gets me a little hot too, lol. I’ve had relationships with men, mostly when I was younger.. I gravitate more towards women now, but I don’t think it’s because of so called “societal norms” or anything.. for the most part, I just see it as I like a person, for who that person is and whatever gender they happen to be doesn’t really matter if there’s a connection… I just haven’t had any connection with a man in a long while and women, well, they just seem squishy in all the right places, and I’ve always just felt more comfortable with women as close friends…

    but I’ve also always felt more on the “Ally” camp than actually in the LGBTQ community, tho I have worked closely with it over the years at times.. it’s just that I’m fairly “straight seeming”, not that I’m hiding anything as I’m not ashamed of it at all, it’s just a part of who I am.. it seems like I get a lot of people on “both” (three? four?) sides of such things just seeming to make assumptions about me and my preferences.. even to the point of assuming I was being discriminatory, rather than simply descriptive at one event (which I was working at as a sound engineer) when I used the term Lesbian… I got taken to task by a young woman who admonished me for using that term and telling my I should say “queer folk” instead, even tho it was basically an open mic for Lesbian poetry… I wanted to make a witty retort of some sort, proclaiming my experience with men, but thought better of it as it would come off as aggressive and that’s not the sort of feeling I would’ve liked to impart to this young woman to make my point…

    my point is that sometimes within the LGBTQ community, gender politics can still play a huge part of things and be divisive rather than inclusive… I have a transgender friend that I’ve known since my youth, who identifies and lives as a female but by her sexual orientation is attracted to women and wants to consider herself as a lesbian but is sometimes vehemently rebuffed by so called “real” lesbians as she was born male. it’s an almost mind bending situation as I can empathise the many different viewpoints to most extents but it’s issues like this that are seemingly unresolved within the community itself that causes me pause of where exactly I should plant my flag or if I should at all and just continue being myself, supporting the “cause” as I already do, as just who I am, and just react and deal with the world directly within arms reach rather than dive into the cacophony of the politics of it all .. sigh.

    none of it’s an easy question. I’ve always been a supporter, just not much of a joiner… happy to just be who I am and help where I can.. I do not “hide”, I join in discussions and try to bring rational, compassionate and understanding to even those that aren’t… in some instances, perhaps I’m “passing”, at least at first. so as to not have the issue simply “shut down” before an actual discussion can form…

    I dunno. I totally understand where you are coming from.. it’s tough when you also see marginalization, not wholly on just the outside of the community, but from within it as well…

    and you could NEVER look like anyone’s dumpy adjunct aunt! I instantly had a crush on you when I first saw you in your video… (I get fun little meaningless crushes on people from time to time, it’s not some weird stalkery type deal… unless you are INTO that? are you? lol.. **totally joking**). I honestly think you are more attractive in your latest videos, tho you are very cute in the earlier one’s as well, I’m just not as visually attracted as I am to the recent ones. I hope I am not making you uncomfortable, it is not my intention and it is meant platonically rather than my actually “hitting” on you or anything as I do not know you except from your onscreen persona.. tho aside from looks, I am mainly attracted to people’s minds, senses of humor, and personalities primarily, but you’ve got that and the looks. so I hope you take that as flattering, because it’s simple honesty without objectification or intent of any kind. I hope that’s how it’s taken. no, no, I said I meant it platonically and I meant it. I couldn’t be swayed to change that, nope, no sir-ree! I SAID GOOD DAY SIR!

    ok, that embarrassment of mine over… (I’m a sad, sad, old man.. sigh)..

    everyone wants to make the world so rigid.. so black and white.. it HAS to be one thing or the other…
    but real life is complex.. it is messy. Nature doesn’t make many right angles or straight lines.. Bisexuality is sometimes marginalized, erased.. I agree. if you have had feelings for a man, in the straight world, you MUST BE GAY! or if it’s in the LGBTQ community, YOU ARE JUST ON THE FENCE. and yes, sometimes even by one’s self.. IT’S EASIER!!

    that’s why we must always be true to ourselves and each other. do not let anyone paint you into a corner, force you to color within the lines. do not let anyone box and package you to better fit their own worldview.

    Plant your own flag, dance like no one’s watching *even if they are*, and always walk like you are marching in a parade of one!

    you can always march your parade alongside anyone else’s…

    also, especially in these coming days… with these new anti-trans bathroom laws.. it’s all going to hit the fan in the coming months leading up to the election.. it’s a really weird time, it seems all bets are off and shit is just going crazy… I’m 46, and I’ve NEVER seen it quite like it is right now in this country.. people seem to be losing their minds.. from cops to lawmakers to presidential candidates.. change is in the air, it could be for the good or the bad… it’s up to us.

  • Laura Susan Johnson

    Big ace fan who got to know you from tgwtg and league of super critics. Thank you for posting this.

  • Incurably Imbecilic

    Lindsay likes girls?? YESSS. I am vindicated for the crush I had on her for all my teen years!

    (Sorry for necrocommenting, but you were literally one of my first crushes that pushed me toward acknowledging my own bisexuality. This post warms my heart and makes me feel like a giddy 15-year-old all over again.)

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