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2020 Bi Visibility

Today I’m celebrating Bi Visibility Day. With the year being 2020, I thought I’d discuss my vision of being bisexual.

I don’t get out a great deal. Thank COVID for that. However, I am always bisexual.

I have acknowledged since I was in my early 20s that my attractions are and can be to persons presenting the same as myself and persons presenting as other than myself (thanks to Robyn Ochs for this definition). Generally this has happened at different times in my life. I had dated women and men separately through high school and college. Caught in a binary outlook by the predominant culture at the time, I thought I was simply “phasing” between heterosexuality and homosexuality. I dated a girl in middle school, but then also a guy a few months after her. Then in high school, I dated a guy and had an unrequited attraction to a girl after he and I parted ways. In college, again, I dated a man and then a woman. I had just broken it off with the woman and sworn off dating entirely in favor of finishing my degree when I met someone else.

The fact is, though, I should not need to explain to everyone who learns of my orientation that my dating history has included multiple genders to be “validated” as a bisexual person. I should not have felt the need to get a stamp of approval to enter an LGBTQ space. But so often I found that to be necessary. Here’s why: assumptions.

I have spent the last 28 years married to a cisgender, heterosexual male. Yes, my life partner is a person who has male genitalia. But he also has the mind to match my own and a perspective on finances, family, and work to match my own. He is also someone who unconditionally gives me the love, care, and support I need to be and grow as a happy, healthy person.

In fact, my spouse was the person to encourage me to “come out” 17 years ago and explore and own my identity. Doing so has made me a happier person, he has said to me many times, and he wants me to be happy. He stood by me when I came out to my family and his family. He even argued with his own father who made the assumption that I was going to leave the marriage for a woman “at the first chance.” He has joined me in some Pride events and meetings, but he’s also encouraged me to go alone — which is about my introversion not some sort of permission — so that I could form connections and relationships, which I cherish.

He’s supportive of the writing I have done even, and perhaps, especially as it contains women-loving women content. He’s managed the house when I was working and was also caught in the grip of a “must write” story, to make time for me to finish. Then he’s read my drafts, encouraged me to publish, and then recommended my books to others.

Conversely, I have faced challenge to “prove” my attraction to women in order to be granted access to women-held spaces. When I was first looking to join the community it was so clearly just the L & G, and they weren’t particularly getting along either. Bisexuality was acknowledged, but to claim the identity was suspect, meant you were “hiding” in one direction or the other, and my marriage made them assume it was I was afraid to come out as lesbian, I was using “het privilege” and “passing” to avoid the discriminations they faced.

When Bisexual Visibility Day started in 1999, it was just a nascent start, but by the time I had fully come out over four years, the looks from others in the community stopped feeling so distrustful. People started to actually understand and ACT encouraging and accepting toward others like me “you are who you say you are.”

To me, education has been the power granted by Bisexual Visibility Day. I am now, in the LGBTQIA+ community — just as I am at home — accepted and encouraged to be exactly who I say I am.

I am bisexual.

And that makes me happy.

~ Lara

More reading:

Study by Stonybrook University.