Owning and being proud of my bisexuality has been an important part of my personal growth because it’s helped me feel more comfortable and confident in being my authentic self. Even though I identify as queer, I’ve always struggled with feeling like I “belong” in the LGBTQ community as a bisexual woman, especially as a femme bisexual woman. I feel this so much more strongly now that I’m in a straight relationship.
My sexuality is so much more than how my relationship looks to the outside world. Sexuality is an amazing, fluid, complex thing. My sexuality, what I like or don’t like and who I like to do it with, is ever-evolving. The straight relationship you see now is only one facet of my sexuality, and how my relationship appears to others is not a marker for how I self-define.
Bisexuality isn’t a “phase” I’ve grown out of. I hear this one from straight and queer folks alike: bisexuality is just something I’m trying on for size, a fun experiment reserved for my college years. The reality is that bisexuality has actually been a defining element of my sexual and romantic life, and understanding and owning my bisexuality was a major part of my journey to self-acceptance and self-love. I’ve had phases before (and I have the photos of my crimped hair and matching Paul Frank tracksuit to prove it) and my sexuality is definitely not a phase.
I’m the only person who can define my sexuality. Some people need you to define who you are for them to make them feel more comfortable, but the truth is that I’m the only person who determines that for myself. Honestly, I find other people’s need to have a say in how I define my sexuality to be creepy and controlling. I’m the only one who is in my body and experiencing my sexuality, therefore I’m the only one who can and should define it.
I’m not “confused” or “experimenting.” Similarly to the whole “bisexuality is a phase” thing, I hear this one a lot too. It’s BS. I have a very solid understanding of who I am, and I chose to be in this relationship because I love my partner for who he is. I’m attracted to men just as much as I am attracted to women. What’s confusing is why anyone feels the need to have some level of control over my sex life and how I self-define! I’m living my life and am very much in love—and that’s all that should matter, especially to my loved ones.
Straightness is not the most powerful, important identity. If a lesbian woman happened to fall in love with a man, she’d likely still identify as a lesbian. Similarly, as a bisexual woman who’s in love with a man, I still identify as bisexual. Straightness is not some all-powerful magic that washes over you as soon as you’re in a heterosexual partnership, consuming your identity and turning you into a straight person. Let’s stop giving straight people that much power.
My relationships don’t define my sexuality, my sexuality defines my relationships. Similarly to how I don’t identify as a lesbian when I date women, I don’t identify as straight because I’m in a straight relationship. I’m bisexual and have chosen to have relationships with both men and women. My bisexuality has defined the way that I’ve gone about living my sexual and romantic life; the gender of the person I’m dating at the time doesn’t automatically define my sexual identity.
One sexuality isn’t more “legitimate” than another. Why is it that being gay, lesbian, or straight is seen as being more “legit” than being bisexual? If we’re going to claim that being loving and accepting of all forms of sexual and gender identity is a hallmark of the LGBTQ community and its allies, then we need to legitimize bisexuality and other forms of sexuality.
Bisexuality isn’t the penultimate stop on the way to being fully straight or fully gay. People tend to think that being bisexual is a stepping stone to full straightness or full gayness. This isn’t the case, and it’s still not the case despite my straight relationship! I haven’t “arrived” at straightness after a quick detour through bisexuality; bisexuality is my identity and will continue to be my identity even if my straight relationship ends.
I’ve worked hard to own my identity—I’m not going to give it up because someone else is struggling with how I self-define. Above everything, I don’t need to prove to anyone that I’m bisexual and that bisexuality is a legitimate identity. I’ve done so much personal growth work to get to a point where I feel comfortable and confident in who I am, and that’s all that matters.
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