In my About page, I call myself queer.
I’ve never actually done that before.
I might even change it.
I’ve always liked both guys and girls, and I am attracted to androgynous people as well.
When I was young and I was realizing this about myself I reached out and was told it was a phase. I was eleven, and I trusted the adults around me. So I pushed it out of my mind and moved on with my life, telling myself, “It’s okay, it’s normal, you’re still straight,” even though all through high school I still found myself attracted to women.
Now I look back and recognize my attractions were crushes. I had crushes on fewer girls than guys, but I still had them. It wasn’t until I was in university that I became more aware and more comfortable with myself. I never really “came out” about it, but it was more something I’d mention in passing. Not an outright “I’m bi,” but more like, “Wow, she is so attractive!” in a way that was clearly not just admiring her hairstyle.
When I did want to make it more known among my friends, I faced some resistance.
I heard terms thrown around, not directly at me, but around me, like “wannabe lesbians,” or phrases like “bi people are just so horny they’ll take anyone.”
Naturally, I didn’t really want to out myself around those people.
So I didn’t.
Up until that point, I had only dated men, and I had never talked to anyone about my attraction to women. I still come across very straight, apparently, but I’ve also been told by some that I’m not always readable. Most of the time in my interactions with people, I do find that people just assume I’m straight. In fact, sometimes I wrongly assume people are straight, and that is something I want to change about myself.
Correcting people about me feels unnecessary, but at the same time, it’s like keeping a weird secret that doesn’t need to be a secret. At the time, I felt not correcting people kept me safe.
I remember the first time I heard someone say that bi people are just horny.
I hadn’t yet identified myself with the term, but I was very personally hurt by it, and angered. How could people say something like that? It is no different from saying gay people are dirty and disgusting because they like it in the ass: it’s just plain rude, and seriously untrue.
But I couldn’t say anything, because I didn’t want people to know that they were discussing me. I was scared of judgment.
Now that I’ve grown a little and become much more comfortable with discussing controversial topics, I don’t shy away from it as much. The way I’ve been dealing with it is just if it comes up, I’ll talk about it, and I’m not afraid of discussing it… but it’s still just weird to be like, “I’M NOT STRAIGHT! Just by the way! Now let me break down your complete messed up view of bisexuality.” It feels weird to bare myself to people who don’t really need to know about it.
So I usually don’t — I’ll argue without really outing myself, unless it’s with people I’m comfortable with. This especially feels necessary because if I do out myself, does it invalidate my arguments because of bias, in a straight person’s mind, a straight person who holds that bi people are undecided, just horny, or whatever else? I’d rather argue and actually make a point, instead of having them say, “Well, she’s bi, so of course she doesn’t agree.” But back then, calling myself bi was scary, and I kept it to myself.
The first time I learned about the term “queer,” I understood it as a term for people who aren’t quite sure what their sexuality is, or people who don’t really identify with any of the other labels.
When I heard that, I silently identified with it, but never openly did.
It carries a connotation of being part of the queer “community,” which I don’t feel I’m part of.
I am very much an advocate for queer rights, but I don’t really participate in the community, as it were. So I slowly became more comfortable with identifying as “bi,” which is what I usually call myself, because it helps people understand me a little better than just “queer” does. Bi means I like guys and girls, and I do. It doesn’t really account for my attraction to androgynous people, but that’s getting into the details that don’t really need to be addressed, right?
And thus my struggle between the terms “queer” and “bi.” “Queer” at least accounts for many kinds of orientations, and shows that I might not fit into any given label, which I don’t. Even if there were a label for me, it would feel weird because I don’t feel I’m really part of the LGBTQ+ community. “Bi” is simpler, but there is still that lovely feeling that I don’t fit in, because bi people don’t truly feel part of the “gay community.”
There is a lot of silliness around it. For example, lots of gay people will say that bi people are just unsure, want the best of both, are really straight or just “bi-curious,” or, as I’ve mentioned before, just horny or “wannabe gays.” Lots of straight people say the same, but the sense that the LGBTQ+ community includes bisexuals is honestly not all true, at least not for all bi people.
I say this not just based on my own experience either: I’ve read about it, seen videos about it, and talked about it with other bisexual friends. It’s a real problem. There’s discrimination within the minority group of the LGBTQ+ community. So “queer” seems like a better fit, and “bi” makes sense too. Kind of.
Doesn’t it seem like a problem? I want to feel like I belong. I’ve been going a while just believing it doesn’t matter – labels don’t matter. I am whatever I am. There doesn’t seem like there is anything to fit me, and that’s okay.
And yet, I stuck “queer” on my About page, because perhaps that gives the best idea of who I am.
What do you think? Let me know in a comment below!
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