Why I’m Done Accommodating Your Biphobia

4/24/2018

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There was a piece on Queerty, earlier this month, that caused quite a stir in the bi community. It was titled, “Why does bisexuality still make us so uncomfortable?”

I think the title of the article is complete garbage; it’s clearly biphobic. I don’t think I have to detail as to why, but just imagine if the editor put any other race, sexual orientation, or gender in place of bisexuality. Why do black people make us feel so uncomfortable? Why does homosexuality still make us so uncomfortable? Transgender people?

I don’t think Queerty would have ever posted an article with those titles, simply because they wouldn’t have gotten away with it. People would have torn into them, and rightfully so.

But because “bisexuality making us uncomfortable” is apparently a popular enough opinion, and people don’t view bi people as being marginalized, despite our numerous mental and physical health disparities, the editors felt they could get away with giving the piece that incendiary title. (Given the actual text of the piece, I’m 100% confident that was not the initial title of the author.)

Here’s the piece in a nutshell (and I’m not going to link to it because I don’t want Queerty to get the traffic): the author – a gay man –  learned this guy he just started dating is bi, and immediately felt insecure and nervous about their relationship. The author, however, recognizes his insecurity and biphobia, and is still attempting to date the bi man, agreeing to go on a third date.

To be frank, the piece itself didn’t rile me up as much as it did other bi activists.

I think the author was revealing his insecurity, which manifests in biphobia, but he is attempting to overcome it. There’s (arguably) something admirable about that.

Thus, the issue with the piece wasn’t the author’s honesty, it was that the piece didn’t need to exist. It didn’t add anything new. It seemed to justify, or humanize, a form of biphobia that I don’t think deserves pity.

A piece I would have preferred to see, is one the author wrote a year after dating this man, realizing how his biphobic beliefs were harmful and unwarranted and actually stemmed from deep insecurities. Not this nonsense of “I want accolade for attempting to overcome my insecurity. An insecurity which leads to biphobia (albeit unintentionally), which in turn leads to the various mental and physical health disparities that bi folks face.”

So to be honest (and I will be since the author was), my response when I finished reading the article wasn’t, “This man is terribly biphobic,” or “He’s trash!” I was like, “What? You want a cookie? A high-five? A gold star?”

I know that’s a little bit of an asshole-ish thing of me to think, but those were my thoughts. I don’t think one deserves praise for being “open-minded.” (I put this in quotes because let’s be real here, does it require someone to be that open-minded to date a bi person? I think the answer is, or at least should be, no.) So I was less angered by the author, and more so by Queerty. They should have known better than to publish that piece.

Recently, I was dating a gay man casually, and we broke up amiably, planning on having a platonic relationship as friends. When I returned from my work-trip to Amsterdam, I told him about this woman I started dating while in Holland. He was (understandably) upset that I was dating someone else, especially because I had made it seem that I wasn’t in a place to date. But he was (un-understandably) annoyed by the fact that it was a woman (A woman!). To be honest, that annoyed me. (And to clarify, he knew I was bi while dating me. Of course. How could he not?)

I firmly believe that it makes no difference that I’m now dating a woman or a man. It also has nothing to do with him. He made it seem like it somehow had everything to do with him.

Okay, so what’s my actual point here?

I’ve decided that I am not going to pity you for your insecurities that you then misplace and project onto my sexuality. I’m not making it my problem. It’s not my responsibility to show the person I’m dating, “Hey! You got nothing to worry about. I like you. I’m not going to leave you for a person of another gender.”

This is something I used to do. I felt this obligation to do it – especially for those people I liked and for the people whose insecurities I thought I could actually assuage.

Even now as I’m writing this, I feel incredibly guilty. I feel as if I shouldn’t judge or shame someone for having insecurities. I want to backpedal. I want to delete everything I’ve written, but I’m not going to.

Everyone has insecurities. Myself included. Yes, we’re all human. And I’m by no means saying that I will now only date people who have no doubts or anxiety whatsoever. I wouldn’t want that. However, I’m realizing there’s a difference between when a partner’s insecurities stem from false, negative stereotypes about my sexual orientation – ones I’ve been struggling to overcome my whole goddamn life – vs. my actual actions.

If someone I was dating was like, “Zach, you’re super flirty with your ex, and I sometimes get jealous. Can we talk about it?” I would respect the hell out of that! Because it’s true, I’m flirty with my ex. But those insecurities are based in my actions, not my sexuality. That’s why I’d be happy to then help my partner overcome those insecurities. (Maybe their past partner cheated on them with their ex? Who the hell knows? We’d figure it out together.)

I wouldn’t be like, “No! You need to get over this. You need to trust me. You’re insecure. Girl, bye!”

So I guess, what I’m trying to say is that you’re allowed to be insecure. You’re allowed to have things upset you. You’re allowed to question the actions of your partner. But I simply don’t have the mental capacity to deal with people who are insecure about my sexuality. I’m not going to hold your hand while you work on those issues; nor am I going to applaud you for attempting to have less biphobic thoughts.

I simply don’t have the time or energy.

Zachary Zane
Zachary Zane a Brooklyn-based freelance writer, speaker, YouTuber, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, identity politics, relationships, and culture. He's a contributing editor at The Advocate Magazine, a columnist at Bi.org, and currently writes for The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Out Magazine, and PRIDE.