Coming out in inverted commas because I'm unsure as to how I feel about the term. No one should feel obligated to declare their sexuality - it is a very personal thing. However, we live in a world where people are assumed heterosexual until they assert otherwise, and as such coming out is often a practical thing you have to do. How can we expect to obtain our rights, without first asserting that we exist?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Making Progress or Losing Ground: LGBT Asia

Being Bisexual: Navigating Invisibility & Practicality

Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

Last weekend I spoke at this Alchemy Festival event in the Southbank Centre. Organised by Bobby Tiwana, it was a brief look at South Asian LGBT communities in the home countries and the diaspora through the perspectives of various speakers. It was an intimate affair attended by around 40 to 50 people, with short talks followed up with café-style discussions among the audience and facilitators. I am posting the text of my speech below, which touched upon both bisexuality and the wider environment faced by LGBTQ people in Bangladesh. 

"I didn’t know the Bengali word for bisexual until I Googled it while I was at university. I didn’t actually even know the English word 'bisexual' until I was thirteen or so. Before then, I’d thought I was the weird gay kid who liked girls on the side.

I thought it would be good to start with some humour, but honestly I’m telling you this because it sets the tone for the rest of what I’m going to say, about how bisexuality is often not discussed or mentioned, or misunderstood.

I think bisexuals make many heterosexual and homosexual people uncomfortable - often because they’re confused by us. Maybe to an external monosexual observer, it can look like I’m pursuing men one day, and then the next day I flick a switch, become straight, and am pursuing women. And I guess this can be quite disconcerting, especially for a group of people who’ve built their activism around the slogan that sexual minorities do not choose to be attracted to who they’re attracted to.