A recent encounter with an old friend got me thinking. They hadn’t seen me since I came out as bisexual, and I didn’t know if or when to tell them. Normally, I just wait it out and hope they find out by proxy of me accidentally slipping it into conversation, but sometimes people get upset you didn’t tell them and it’s awkward. What got me thinking however, was not the actual telling, it was the sea of responses I was expecting them to choose from. When you have to repeatedly come out (because you never come out just once), you end up mentally compiling a list of all the things that people usually say and why they are desperately annoying. So I figured I’d share my pain, for the bi-people — solidarity forever! — and for the straight people to know what not to say. Here we go!
- Can’t you just pick one?
A lot of people seem to think that bisexuality is having one foot in each door: you get to be straight when it benefits you and you get to have the cool coming out story. But as far as I’m concerned, that assumption demonstrates such a huge misunderstanding of what sexuality is. It is not something someone can choose; attempting to force desire to conform to political principle is about as easy as trying to bath a cat. So no, I can’t just pick one, sorry not sorry!
- Do you just want to have sex with everyone?
A common misinterpretation of bisexuality is promiscuity, but here’s the thing: they are not the same thing! A bisexual person doesn’t have to be promiscuous, a promiscuous person doesn’t have to be bisexual. They’re not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have one without the other. A person’s sex drive is not the same as their orientation, they’re literally completely different things.
- Do you want a threesome?
Firstly, this is just a boring question to hear and normally people say it when they’ve just met you and found out you’re not straight. Please do not ask someone this unless they have heavily hinted that they do in fact want a threesome, e.g. person 1: today’s a great day to have a threesome! Person 2: do you want a threesome? That’s it. That’s the only time you should ask someone if they want a threesome. Hey, I don’t make the rules.
- Okay, we’ll just wait for you to come out as gay.
So this one’s annoying. Again, there’s a misconception that bisexual people haven’t made their minds up, or they’re just experimenting, or they’re just gays in denial who want their foot in the straight door just in case. Like coming out as bisexual is testing the water for coming out as gay. For some people, I understand that this is the case, and I understand that coming out as bisexual can feel like a halfway point, and it makes it a little easier. Softens the blow. But we all need to collectively understand that bisexuality is as valid a sexuality as gayness is. For everyone who knows they’re bisexual and has accepted it, their coming out was not a halfway point, a foot in each door. It was a declaration of self-acceptance, with as much fullness as a lesbian or gay person’s coming out was or is.
- But the Bible says…
Whatever your sexuality, everyone’s heard the Bible be quoted in context with sexuality. Now, I was raised a Christian so I know a fair bit about this Bible thing, and in the entire book, homosexuality is mentioned 6 times. Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality being sinful, and let’s be honest I do not think Jesus would’ve concerned himself with what two consenting adults are doing in their spare time. He seemed to care more about what you did with your money, how you treated those who could do nothing for you, and about making sure everyone knew they were loved. But for the other 6 times it’s mentioned, all of them can be furiously debunked and interpreted differently, and have been several times. Yet alas, homophobes are gonna be homophobes and seem to want an excuse that’s hard to contest and religion provides the perfect excuse.