I often feel like an imposter. For the last two months I’ve adjusted to my new role at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland as the Director of Programs. Working in a space where I could show up, be most of my whole self, and do the work I’m passionate about, was quite the anomaly. I still struggled with why I felt like a square peg in a round hole until I was asked to write about Bisexuality visibility. In a world where folks believe that bisexuality is just a stop on the train to gay, the courage to stand in the gap is hard and isolating.
I always knew the stigma was real. For years I identified as queer because it was more in vogue, and ambiguous. I received less questions about my place in the community, until my spouse would arrive. I fell in love with and married a cisgender heterosexual Black man. Based on appearances alone people assume that we’re a cis-hetero couple, which makes me feel often times invisible.
Anyone who’s ever come out, knows that this is something that never stops. We come out to new people, and the same people, over and over and over again. When you are bisexual, your perpetual “coming out” is often complete with fact checking and interrogation:
- So how are you bisexual and married?
- Does your spouse know?
- Aren’t you outing them too?
- Why do you have to tell people? It’s your business.
I’d like to tackle the last question.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… If I don’t say it, you won’t believe I exist. And there’s more queer folks who identify as Bi than as Lesbian or gay.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… Bi-folk have higher rates of mental health problems. And our health and well-being is important.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… Every time I come out, there is someone gaining the courage to do the same.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… I’m not confused. I’m not greedy. I’ve expanded my capacity to engage romantically with those whose gender is similar to mine, or completely different and everything in between. Folks need to know there is nothing wrong with loving hearts more than body parts.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… in reality, very few folks are 100% straight or 100% heterosexual.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… you walk by us every day, we teach your children, care for your loved ones, serve our country, and so much more.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… my truth is just as important as yours.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… somewhere there’s a kid that thinks they have to choose. AND. YOU. DON’T.
I tell people I’m bisexual because… Bisexual folks are dope. And I’m dope. And I’m bisexual. So deal.
Eris Eady is the Director of Programs for the LGBT Community Center of Cleveland, in addition to being a writer, artist and intersectional advocate. She is currently pursing her masters in Positive Organizational Development & Change from Case Western Reserve University.