No, My Partner Isn’t ‘Bothered’ By My Bisexuality
One of the first things I learned when I came out as bisexual is that, for some folks, my identity is always going to be connected to, or even defined, by my bisexuality.
Additionally, when these folks think of me – “The Bi One” – they’ll more than likely attribute to me whatever characteristics they think come with being bi (no matter how stereotypical, inaccurate, or offensive they may be). I met one such individual late last year.
We were coworkers, and when they learned of my bisexuality, I could tell it was going to be a topic of conversation. Often.
At the time, I lived in a small, conservative town in suburban Colorado. There, queer folks in general are still too rare, and out and proud bisexual folks are even rarer. I was the first bi person my coworker ever met (that they know of), and as such they had a lot of questions for me. Most of the time, I didn’t mind answering them; I wouldn’t be writing for LGBT publications if I was not willing to be an open book when it comes to my sexual identity.
I was asked if I’d ever had trouble being monogamous in a relationship, or if I always craved intimacy with someone of a different gender than my current partner. I was asked if I’d had sex with people of multiple genders and, if so, was it a lot of sex? I was asked when I knew I was bi, and how I knew I wasn’t “just a lesbian.”
I answered the questions as they flew at me to the best of my ability, and over the course of our months-long friendship, I hoped to myself that I was normalizing bisexuality for this person and helping to break down some of the stereotypes that seemed to have been ingrained into them – the ones of the cheating, sex-addicted, selfish bisexual person.
Then, just a couple months ago, after having moved to Los Angeles and finding myself in a new relationship, I flew home to Colorado with my new partner to introduce him to my friends and family. It was during this trip that the same coworker asked my partner a very unfortunate question, one that made me feel like all of the work I’d done to try to normalize bisexuality had fallen on deaf ears.
“You know she’s bi, right?” My partner nodded. “And that doesn’t bother you?”
To my partner’s credit, he replied with a simple and confused “Why would it?” I, however, did not have to ask why my coworker could think that my bisexuality would be a bother because I was certain the answer could be found in the same old, omnipresent stereotypes and stigma.
The moment the question was asked, I thought about all of the reasons my bisexuality would be a bother if I adhered to the characteristics society has set up for me. These being the stereotypes and too-common beliefs that bi people are incapable of monogamy, are more likely to cheat, are selfish, deviant, and indecisive.
To someone who believes these stereotypes, it would most certainly be a bother to date someone who is bi. If the stereotypes were to be believed and everyone in the bi community was, in fact, a cheating, greedy, over-sexed narcissist, then that would be quite bothersome.
However, here’s something we know to be true about stereotypes – they’re crap. They are ideas that have been created out of stigma, ignorance, and misunderstanding. They are in no way an accurate depiction of the community they claim to represent. We cannot rely on them. We cannot give them merit.
Because of course not all bi individuals are the bisexual stereotype. I’d argue that the vast majority of them are not; and the ones that do adhere to the stereotype do not adhere to it because they’re bi, but because that’s simply how their brain is wired.
My bisexuality, your bisexuality, bisexuality in general, is not a character defect. It is not something those who love us get to be bothered by. It is not something they should have to deal with because they’re with us. They should not love us in spite of our bisexuality, but rather they should love us, and the identities that come with us, wholly.
Our sexual identity is just that – a part of our identity. And it is valid, and it is sound, and it is okay. Know that. And make sure the people who care about you know that too.
As for my coworker or anyone else who has confidence in the stereotypes, I’ll keep answering questions as long as they keep being asked. Because I have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to be bothered by.