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At OprahMag. When I first met my now-husband in AprilI made a point of telling him about my history of dating both men and women—and how I came out as bisexual at 16 years old to my friends and family, who offered mixed reactions. My friends were supportive; my family didn't quite understand.
But that confusion I first encountered with my parents is a common reaction for anyone who identifies as a bisexual person. For me, this means that I am attracted to both cisgender men and women, though I am also attracted to others like trans women and men on the gender spectrum. I knew I was bisexual long before I had sex or even dated. I knew this because, from a young age, I recognized that I was attracted to all kinds of different people. Today, a lot of misunderstanding and stereotypes about bisexuality and bisexuals continue to perpetuate our culture. Here's a short but nowhere near complete list of some of the things that bisexuals tend to hear on a regular basis:.
For the record: None of these are true. But that doesn't stop people from constantly making assumptions about my bisexuality. When I was single and dating, I received countless messages from straight couples looking for a "fun third" to them in the bedroom. These messages continued to happen regularly despite me explicitly stating in my dating profiles that I was only interested in monogamous relationships. Then there were the men who only chose to ask me out on a date because they hoped that, as a bisexual woman, I would have a girlfriend or female friend, even who would be interested in a threesome with them.
Basically, there are a lot of threesome requests for bisexuals. And while I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with a threesome if that is what someone wants to do, it was frustrating to me that I received these requests over and over again, when all I wanted was to find my one true love emphasis on "one".
Sometimes, I even encountered negativity from within my own queer community. Often, when I messaged gay women on dating apps, I received responses that they did not date bisexual women because they had been burned in the past by one who had left them for a man.
While I understand why they're hurt, I was similarly hurt by their rejections simply because I was bi and not "totally" gay, as one woman put it. Additionally, some queer women thought it was unfair that I was able to take advantage of straight-passing privilege when I dated men.
It was all very frustrating and painful as I spent my 20s trying to date while also keeping true to my bisexual identity. But all of that turned around when I met Adam, a cisgender heterosexual male, and fell for him hard. It's like my bisexuality was erased now that I was in a committed relationship with someone. Now that I am married to a man, some people assume that I have finally "figured out" which gender I "prefer. I felt this sudden pressure from the straight community to conform because, all of a sudden, I appeared straight. But I also faced pressure from the queer community, who seemed to reject me because of my new straight appearance.
It's like my bisexuality was erased now that I was in a committed relationship with someone, because I finally "chose" a gender—but that's not what happened. I married a man because my husband happened to be the person I fell in love with and, for the first time in my life, saw a future with. Not because he was male, mind you, but because he was the kindest and most generous human I have ever met in my entire life—and because the support and care I received from him made me into a better version of myself.
When we first met, I had been in recovery from alcohol misuse disorder for nine months and had recently had a relapse. Shortly after our first date, when I told him about my bisexual dating history and about my alcohol issues, he gave up alcohol in order to support me. Today, I am proud to say I haven't had a drink since my relapse before our meeting. At the time, I was trying to rebuild my life after hitting rock bottom—and he tirelessly supported my efforts to build a freelance writing career.
In fact, he still re all of my pieces and tells me how great my writing is though, I admit, he's pretty biased. Our love story progressed pretty quickly: We moved in together after a month and a half, got engaged a year later, and eloped nine months after that. To me, it felt and still feels like a "when you know, you know" moment. I loved going to the parade or walking around Greenwich Village and seeing rainbow flags everywhere.
When I met Adam, I had just relocated to Florida and, after we got together, wanted to continue to show up as a bisexual person in my community—which is why I've found it crucial to celebrate Pride Month as loudly and proudly as I can. As a woman in the queer community who is in a heterosexual relationship, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what the appropriate outlet for your queerness is.
This can be especially problematic for those who come out as bisexual or pansexual after already being in a heterosexual relationship, as it happened to Diane Glazman, 53, from the San Francisco Bay Area. She was in her mids and already married to a "cis-het guy," as she puts it, before she realized she was bi. Still, it took many years before her queer identity grew enough for her to come out—and it wasn't until she realized that she was alternating her language when talking to straight friends versus queer friends a practice known as "code-switching" that she knew she had to finally be honest about who she is.
Not doing that has been very freeing. My husband knew from the very beginning that I identified as bisexual and knew about my history of dating both women and men. For me, just as Glazman says, not hiding this part of myself is freeing. I accomplish this "not hiding" by attending Pride events in my small community in southwest Florida—and by having my husband me every year. Shortly after we started dating, we had our first-ever Naples Pride his first Pride! This year, he even insisted we go despite a rainy morning and the fact that the event was outside.
As Dr. Liz PowellPsyD, a d psychologist, author, and speaker based in Portland, OR, put it, after she encouraged me to wear Pride colors or gear that represents my identity, "Put your money where your mouth is and buy things from queer companies.
And I'm not the only queer woman in a relationship with a man who finds it important to celebrate Pride Month—even if they're newbies. Meanwhile, others prefer to do a little more than just go to Pride events. They organize them!
Despite our Pride Month celebrations and my continued openness about my bisexuality, being in a heterosexual relationship has occasionally made me feel like a "bad" queer person. After the rejection I faced from gay women who wouldn't date me, I now feel added pressure to assert that I am still a member of the queer community even though I appear to be straight to the outside world.
I'm afraid that, eventually, being straight-passing will make the LGBTQ community turn its back on me. Turns out, I was suffering from internalized bi-phobia. This erasure of my bisexuality and the guilt that comes with that is unfortunately common.
This erasure of my bisexuality and the guilt that comes with that is an unfortunately common problem faced by other bi people, says Dr. A lot of bi folks struggle to stay connected to queer community. Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who not only tolerates my bisexuality but celebrates it as an integral part of my identity. It makes it easier to stay connected to the queer community when I have a partner who helps me celebrate all those parts of me—whether that means attending Pride events together or planning to teach our future kids about the wonderful world of LGBTQ people.
Thankfully, I have a few examples to turn to before we even get there. For some bisexual women in straight relationships, celebrating Pride involves not only their husbands who tend to be supportive but also their children. Priscilla Blossom, 34, of Denver, CO, agrees. Although I find it most meaningful to go to my local Pride events with my husband, and to continue to be outspoken about my bisexuality online and in real life, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Pride for those who are queer but in heterosexual relationships.
Some folks want to share it loud and proud while some are a little more reserved or hesitant due to the fact that Pride has become very commercial. Your Best Life.
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