Bisexuality is something I have seen many people struggle with due to the myths and assumptions around this particular sexual orientation. As some of you may know, Bi-Visibility Day was on Sept. 23. This past week, I took the time to talk to several people who are bisexual about the misconceptions and struggles that come with their orientation. With this article I hope to spread awareness of bisexuality as well as clear up these misunderstandings.

The first person I talked to would like to remain anonymous, but she spoke about her experience of coming out as bisexual. When she first came out, many of her friends asked her if she was ever into them like that. Another question she was asked was how she knew. She told me how she works with a gay male who lightly touches other coworkers to get by them, and when he does, it was noted the only gay person allowed to touch them was her. Which she laughed off, but thinking about it she sees how unfair it is for him.

This person's experience is similar to mine as a lesbian. Female friends of females who come out as bisexual often get asked by their friends if they are into them. One of two things happens when the person into girls responds with “no”: the friend is either relieved or offended. What they don’t understand is we don’t view our friends as objects—they are our friends and nothing more. We may find them attractive, but not in a romantic way. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them, it just means we value the friendship. As for the “how do you know?” Well, you just do. There’s no point or reason behind how you know, you just do. It’s a part of you, something that makes you who you are. We could easily respond with “how do YOU know you’re straight?” You just do, right? Well so do they!

The second person I spoke with is a student here at MCLA who has a negative experience with being bisexual. She began with “being bisexual is hell.” Particularly because bisexuality isn’t well-known where she is from. Even though her town hosts a gay pride parade every year, it’s usually non-locals who attend the parade. Krystal came out at a relatively young age, in Oct. 2015. She was fortunate enough to have the support of her parents, but lacked that support in other places. Krystal has never had a girlfriend, only boyfriends, so people assume she is lying,  and urge her to break up with her boyfriend and date a girl to prove she is bisexual.

Nobody should have to “prove” their sexual orientation. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals and anyone else for that matter, don’t ask straight people to prove they are straight. As Krystal said, “For anyone who thinks being bi isn’t okay, it is. You can like both men and women, but only ever be with one or the other. It doesn’t make you any less bi. Its ok to like both but only date one. That’s what I do and I’m okay with it. Being bisexual is a big problem in today’s society, since people think you need to either be gay or straight. You never have to “pick a side.” Be both and be proud of that!”

The final person I talked to was a student from Merrimack College, Samantha Frey. Her perspective on bisexuality is unique because she is educated in all aspects of sexual orientation. Samantha says “sexuality is fluid, not binary. It’s not one thing or the other. You can be sexually attracted to one gender and romantically attracted to another.” She also has a strong belief that labels shouldn’t exist, but can be helpful for people to feel like they belong. Especially those whose coming out stories aren’t so pleasant, falling into a certain community helps people remember they are not alone in this world, and they will be okay. The most compelling part of my conversation with Samantha was when she said “every real relationship isn’t about gender. It’s about personality, interests, and soul, not about gender regardless of someone's sexual orientation.” Which I do firmly agree with, which is why people don’t fall in love with or develop a crush on every person they look at—you fall in love with what makes the person who they are.

The point I and everyone else I have talked to would like to get across is bisexuality is okay. Being bisexual is just as valid and real as being gay, lesbian, straight and all other sexual orientations. Bisexuality isn’t something anyone needs to prove to someone and they certainly don’t need to “choose a side,” they love who they love and nobody should be put down for that. A bisexual person, a gay man, a lesbian female, a pansexual, a straight person, nobody has to defend their sexual orientation to anyone. Nobody has to prove they are what they are, they just simply are. If you don’t like it, keep it to yourself. If you are uncomfortable with it, educate yourself. Turn your ignorance into knowledge and watch your life transform.