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Why do I still struggle telling them I’m not gay?

© Chris Jepson

It’s Bi Visibility Day, a chance to celebrate bisexuality as well as discuss the issues facing us.

If you’ve heard of me before this article you’ll know I love my sexuality. Being a bisexual man is empowering, and I’ve been pictured all over the media wearing nothing but those words on my chest.

You might then find it surprising that I still struggle to tell new people I’m bisexual. Correction – I don’t struggle to tell people I’m bisexual, I struggle to tell gay men that I’m not gay.

It’s a sad truth that gay men are some of the hardest people to come out too and last week I was faced with such a scenario.

“Does Lewis have a boyfriend?” the guy asked

“Erm … no. But I do have a GIRLFRIEND – I’m bisexual.”

It should have been simple enough but as soon as the question was asked my heart stopped and a wave of heat took over my body.

I’m not embarrassed of my sexuality and I have no fear of handing someone’s self-respect to them if they insult me, but I can’t deny the anxiety.

© Chris Jepson

The truth is, this is learnt fear. In all my years of coming out to new people, gay men have always been the worst. “Ow honey I was bi once too,” “Babe who are you kidding?” “You’re gayer than me”, “How do women take you seriously?”

I’ve heard it all, and I really don’t care to hear it again.

I’ve long thought it strange gay men are the worst, but maybe it’s learned behaviour. They pass on the abuse they’ve experienced. I’ve lost friends over my sexuality and some gay men have really taken a disliking to me once finding out.

As with everything, I’m not talking about ALL gay men. I’m just talking about a significant percentage. In fact, a report by the Equality Network found that the highest amounts of biphobia experienced are within LGBT+ and NHS services.

Similarly, The Journal of Bisexuality suggested that bisexual people face just as much discrimination within the LGBT+community as they do from straight people.

At the time of writing, a shocking 66% of bisexuals only feel “a little” or “not at all” part of a LGBT+ community. Many said that biphobia and bi erasure within their LGBT+ communities limited their full inclusion.

So, if you’re a gay man reading this and you’ve said some pretty basic things to a bisexual person, maybe it’s time to take a good long look at yourself. It is Bi Visibility Day after all…

Ask yourselves why bisexual men struggle to be themselves around you and be aware that it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Related: Pro wrestler Anthony Bowens left surprised by stigma around bisexuality

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