Bi Visibility Day

Sitting down to type this, I wonder about the consequences. For so many people saying ‘I exist’ can look like attention seeking and making a fuss, to those on the outside. I remember when I felt the same way about flagging up my Pagan-ness or talking about mental health issues, but I’ve had more practice on those fronts.

I have been told that being invisible is a privilege that will keep you safer than the visible folk. I don’t buy it. If safety lies in your invisibility, then what you get, from day to day, is the fear of being outed, and then punished, and really, that’s not so very different from the fear of being punished, and the same consequences are available. In the meantime, invisibility means that who you are does not have a reality in the eyes of people you deal with. Maybe even people you’re close to. All the time. Not a risk, but an every day thing. This is as true for invisible illness, for any invisible problem or difference that impacts on you but is not self announcing. Invisibility is lonely, alienating, isolating, and that certainly offsets any possible advantages in most circumstances.

To the casual gaze I look straight. I have a husband and a child. I have an overtly female body, which does not reflect the androgynous heart on the inside. Sometimes I think of myself as a non-gendered pansexual life form and sometimes I think of myself as bisexual female, and sometimes I don’t really think about it at all. Anything I did to ‘better express’ my inner self on the gender front would be about making more visual sense to observers, and I’m not really into that. In theory, the hair and the breasts could go and this would flag up my androgyny to anyone looking. I like breasts and long hair – mine and other people’s.

From my first tentative crushes it was obvious to me that I fall in love with certain kinds of people. I fall in love with passion, creativity, intensity, high cheek bones, expressive eyes, gentle hands, warm voices. Body shape and genital configurations don’t really make the list. If I fall in love with someone there is a fair chance I will, as a consequence, find them sexually attractive, but it’s definitely that way round.

In the early days of the internet I was pretty ‘out’ – I wrote erotica, including a lot of bisexual and lesbian erotica, and I still read in those genres. Back then people I knew in ‘real’ life weren’t online so much, and it was less complicated to be me.  I’m not currently doing anything that makes me visible, but because I look straight, if I don’t speak up, an important part of who I am disappears. At college, lesbian fiction expanded my world, but outside of erotica, bisexual characters are not numerous. For a long time as a kid I didn’t have a word to explain what I was, and I didn’t know it was ok to feel the way I felt. I had no idea what it meant, or that I wasn’t alone. Where there is visibility, there is affirmation, and the scope for being acceptable. There can be solidarity, support, and all manner of good things.

There are people who will offer me any kind of explanation that denies who and how I am in preference to accepting that this is who I am. I love people. Certain people. Fiercely. If the freedom to love is to be a meaningful idea, it has to include the freedom not to be defined by other people’s beliefs about what’s real, and what’s possible. I am possible, and to deny a person their reality is a cruel thing indeed.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Bi Visibility Day

  • verdant1

    As another happily married-to-a-man-with-children Bi woman, I so hear you! I love long hair and breasts, too (not just my own!)
    And yes passing as straight maybe be ‘easier’ and ‘safer’, but it’s not the same as honest and authentic… However much we protest, labels do matter in this society of ours, and it is a tiring thing to have to constantly defend our labels and ourselves.
    Thank you for writing this ❤

  • Liminal Luminous

    Ah yes, me too. I’m now married, in a heterosexual relationship and quite frankly I never saw that coming. I have an overly female body which I find deeply frustrating as I want to dress androgynous too.

    Being bi is part of who I am, but I can easily pass as straight.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Being yourself is the secret to creating a happy life. Always having to pretend is stressful, as is worrying about being outed. That still leaves the problem of stereotypes. Once any label is put on you people will assume things that may not be you at all. We all still remain uniquely individual, and we have every right to remain so and not have to fit in with any group.

  • Kaylee

    As a bi trans woman, thank you for being brave enough to stand up. If we don’t stand up and make ourselves known, we’ll be discriminated against forever.

    • Christopher Blackwell

      All human rights have required taking the risk, protesting and fighting for them. Smiling, and being polite does not seem to work well on those trying to oppress you, hassle you. Note though that in in our Pagan groups, minorities complaining about bad treatment are told that they are being divisive. Strange how those doing the harassment, and oppression are only rarely called out on it. More proof that being Pagan is not by all that special as far as acting too much like the larger society and other religions. I have always said it we are going to complain about the faults of people in other religions, that we should make sure that we don’t incorporate those very faults in our own practice.

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