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woman holding up a bisexual pride flag
woman holding up a bisexual pride flag
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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

As A Bi Woman Dating A Man, Here’s How I Still Celebrate My LGBTQ+ Identity

Updated Published

Happy Pride to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community! Pride Month is a time for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to celebrate the history and community queer folks have built. I fall under the ‘B’ in LGBTQ+ and I’m celebrating this Pride with my supportive, heterosexual boyfriend. According to research, plenty of bisexual people find themselves in the same relationship dynamic as myself — committed to a partner of the opposite sex. 

Studies from the Williams Institute and the HRC Foundation suggest that about 50% of people who identify as either gay, lesbian or bisexual, identify as bisexual. This makes the bisexual population the single largest group within the LGBTQ+ community. And of that roughly 50%, the massive 2013 Pew Research LGBT Survey found 84% of self-identified bisexuals in committed relationships have a partner of the opposite sex, while only 9% are in same-sex relationships.

As a part of that larger percentage of bisexuals who find themselves in “straight” relationships, I’d like to delve into how I stay connected to my LGBTQ+ community while dating someone of the opposite sex.

I talk with my partner.

Just because you’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly become heterosexual. It might feel unnecessary to explain to an opposite-sex partner how you identify, but it’s important to know if they can support you and your community. An open conversation about your past benefits both of you, at least in my experience. And if your bisexuality is something that you’ve recently discovered while in a “straight” relationship, again, tell your partner.

Coming out can be frightening, especially when your relationship could be on the line, but you want a person who accepts and loves you in your entirety. You never know, it could turn out your partner wants to come to a Pride fest with you or binge the newest season of Drag Race.

I engage with queer culture.

Heteronormativity dominates mainstream media. Don’t let it dominate your life. Turn on The Ultimatum: Queer Love or Shera. Stream The Aces or Janelle Monáe. I find a lot of comfort in seeing characters who relate to my real life. Consuming media trending within the queer community allows you to feel more connected to that part of yourself and find some fantastic new content to enjoy.

I spend time with my LGBTQ+ friends.

This one is a no-brainer. Having friends who share your experiences and identity can create unique bonds that you may not be able to get out of other friendships. If you look around and notice there aren’t any queer folks in your inner circle, branch out. I was lucky enough to find my queer friend group in high school, but not everyone is. Go to your local gay bar or start frequenting drag shows. Go to Pride or search for an online, queer community. There are people out there who know what you’re going through; you aren’t alone.

I let go of guilt.

It may feel like you can never be “straight enough” for the straight people in your life or “queer enough” for the LGBTQ+ people in your life. Stop thinking that. Obviously, that’s easier said than done, but it’s something you have to tackle in order to fully embrace your bisexual identity. Just because you happen to fall in love with the opposite sex doesn’t mean you “faked it” and are now straight or that you need to let go of your ties to the LGBTQ+ community.

Since I’ve gotten into my healthy “heterosexual” relationship, I haven’t been made to feel like I need to pick sides, but I have felt that way in the past. I hope this helps you find the right headspace and right partner; I hope you find peace in your identity, too.

Don’t let outsiders question your identity and don’t let them police your relationship with your partner or queerness. Fly your rainbow (or pink, purple, and blue) flag; you are valid.

Emma Lingo is the senior editor at Her Campus’s University of Missouri chapter. She oversees the entertainment and culture verticals on the site, including television, movies, and book coverage. Beyond Her Campus, Emma works as a freelance writer. Her bylines have appeared in The List, The Missourian, Vox Magazine, Shifter Magazine and more. She will graduate with a major in journalism in Summer 2023 with an emphasis on reporting and writing. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, journaling, and hanging out with her cat Tuna. She’s a certified Swiftie who has a major bone to pick with John Mayer and is always down to go from a drive and blast music.