#bihealthmonth–Our mental health is very dependent on acceptance and support from those around us. For many in the bisexual community the fact they will be shunned and discounted by their existing gay or lesbian community is very real. And incredibly damaging. Most are not aware there is a bisexual community to turn too. And chose to remain closeted. As we know this impacts us negatively. Pretending to be something you are not to keep the status quo contributes to poor self-esteem, internal biphobia, guilt and so much more.
Some thoughts from Thomas Van Less Leavitt:
“This is a story I’ve heard, so often, from my #bisexual female friends – instant, total, ostracization after coming out as bi: “you are dead to me, and everyone else around you”… the raw pain in their voices and words, even for events that happened decades ago, is just so evident when they speak of their experiences.
Now, that said, here in Santa Cruz, that battle was fought in 1990 or so, when the local community center adopted an inclusive name. One segment of the lesbian community (according to what I was told) fought that tooth and nail, and then boycotted the center afterwards (meaning sudden lack of volunteers), but lesbian identified women played a key part in keeping the center running afterwards, and our Pride events have always been inclusive. Trans and bi identified folk have been key participants in the local movement since forever.
As I think of it, this may be one of the reasons (along with the fact that so many bi men died in the 1980s) why the leadership of the bi movement is so heavily female (well, that, and the fact that they’re like, 80% of the out bi community): biphobia simply hits them harder, and more directly, so they feel a greater sense of urgency about it, and motivation to do something in response. Bi men may feel alienated, and may be disrespected by elements of the gay male community, but that doesn’t keep them from forming relationships with men, or getting laid, or being able to show their face at events, etc.
There’s a long and sorry history here, dating back to the 1970s and 80s. It’s a complicated situation, intertwined with the massive and systemic oppression that lesbian identified women face (and that causes some women to basically return to the closet, even if they aren’t bisexual, and engage in relationships with men for reasons of emotional and economic survival).
Here’s a Google Books excerpt from “Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions By John Dececco, Phd, Naomi S Tucker” that discusses this (and also echoes my comments re: the relative intensity of rejection experienced by bi men vs. bi men, generally speaking).”
BiNetUSA has a vibrant Facebook group. We chat, discuss issues, post local, national and international bisexual events and generally support each other. You are not as alone as you feel.