Experiencing biphobia firsthand

Growing up in southern Louisiana, a mention of anything but the standard Bible definition of love and marriage was strictly prohibited, mostly by the sure social isolation that would result.

A year ago, I finally decided to speak out against my traditional upbringing and had the confidence to come out as bisexual. What I was not prepared for was the teeter-totter I would be kept in from both the straight and LGBT communities.

Before college, my knowledge of sexuality was limited to liking the opposite sex or liking the same sex. I always dated boys in high school and was perfectly happy doing so, but when I started noticing one of my female friends in a different way, I fell back on my knowledge. If I enjoyed dating boys and wasn’t a lesbian, what was I?

During my freshman year of college, I met a person who identified as bisexual for the first time. She suddenly opened my eyes to the world of sexual possibilities. It was the first time someone told me that you could even like both sexes. I felt so stupid not knowing this.

For the next two years, I spent a lot of time talking to that friend and finding answers where any college student does: Google. How do you know you are bisexual? Do you have to tell everyone you meet? How do you even come out to people?

The answers that I found were scarier than I could have ever imagined. As I read through countless forums and watched numerous YouTube videos on bisexuality and coming out, I found that even though bisexuals are clearly included in the LGBT acronym everyone knows, they are treated as second-class in both the heterosexual and LGBT worlds.

One subject I came across was biphobia. According to the Bisexual Index, biphobia is defined as “dislike of bisexuality and of bisexual people as a social group or as individuals.”

There are various false, biphobic comments that bisexuals must constantly face from society.

Bisexuals are seen as too gay for the straight community and too straight for the gay community. We are greedy by wanting both sexes. We are unable to stay in committed relationships because we will obviously cheat with the other sex. We are just too scared to fully come out as gay. We want the easy life because we are able to be ‘straight-passing’ half the time.

As someone who was looking to come out, the thought of having to hear any of these comments from friends and family was just too much. I stayed in the closet until my junior year when I finally decided the comments didn’t matter.

Since coming out, most of the response has been positive, but I have still experienced my fair share of biphobia. People just do not understand it enough.

When I decided to get a tattoo of a rainbow, a close family member’s actual comment was “Why do something so permanently for something that is temporary?”

My sexuality is not temporary. I am, and always will be, bisexual.

I have had to explain to friends that while I do identify as bisexual, I am still mostly attracted to males. No matter who I date, I will still be bisexual. I will make it a point to tell my partner my sexuality, even if they are male and we are in a “straight relationship.”

I attended my first Pride last summer in San Francisco, California, and it took me the full two days to find a single bisexual flag among the sea of homosexual and transexual flags. As I walked around with one, even fellow Pride-goers took it upon themselves to tell me what they thought of my inability to make a choice of a gender to date.

While I have experienced biphobia, the last year of being out and being true to who I am has been amazing. After sitting my close friends and family down to officially come out, I made it a point to never make coming out such a big deal again. I am bisexual, and I am fine with who I am.

Don’t believe everything you hear about bisexuals. We just love who we love.

Christina Arrechavala

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  1. You go, girl! I identify as pansexual (attraction to all genders) and coming out to family was difficult-I got lots of questions like “Are you sure you’re not just a lesbian?” My girlfriend is MtF trans, and her mom’s reaction to finding out I wasn’t “totally straight” was to blame me for her being transgender and calling me a lesbian. Honestly, the only thing we can do is educate people-the hard part is the people who don’t want to listen to us.

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