Bisexual Diaries: Dating Boys While Bi

Content warning: use of a homophobic slur 

Being bisexual is like being the middle child of the LGBTQ+ community. We often go under the radar, in both queer-centered spaces, and in heteronormative spaces (aka every other space that exists). Most people minimize our experiences, and write them off as attention-seeking antics or “just a phase” (sorry to bring in that cliché, but you know I had to). Lesbians are hesitant to be with us because we might leave them for a man, and men capitalize on our same-sex experience for their own sexual consumption. And although the school of thought on sexuality is becoming more open and accepting of fluidity, we often deal with bi-erasure and doubts that our sexuality even exists. People have a difficult time understanding how a bisexual person can like multiple genders, and not just for attention. We’re often “not gay enough” to be in queer spaces, but we feel uncomfortable in straight spaces. We exist somewhere in the middle, floating between the world of gay and the world of not gay.

But one thing to me stands out as the most peculiar part of how people often view bisexual people — the belief that our sexual orientation is dictated by who we are currently dating or having sex with. Thanks to heteronormative culture, bi people with boyfriends are often assumed to be straight. Don’t get me wrong — in some spaces, it is this assumed straight privilege that makes me feel safer; my boyfriend and I never get the strange looks and stares that I used to get going out with girls. No one passing us on the street has catcalled us or called us “d*kes”. We’re your average "heterosexual” couple. But the catch is, we’re not. And who I fall in love with shouldn’t dictate whether or not I get harassed on the street, or how people view me.

Being bisexual is more than a label or a sexuality: it’s one of the pieces that makes me, me. Connecting with other bisexuals has allowed me to understand that there is a community of people out there who view the world through a similar lens as I do. We have unique experiences and go through similar phases of growth, understanding of ourselves, and understanding of the world around us. And when people assume that I am straight because of the fact that I have a boyfriend, it feels like that part of me is being erased. So what is there to do? Should I walk around with a big “queer” sign on my forehead for the rest of my life? Should I wear flannels and boots every day until I die? Make my boyfriend get a wig? Or maybe, just maybe, it would help if people stopped assuming that everyone they meet is straight until proven otherwise. That last one is just a thought, though.