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?

Friday, 26 June 2015

LGBT Asia: Thoughts About Bisexuality

I promised a follow up post to the short talk I gave at the Southbank Centre a few weeks ago, so here it is. With anything we write or say beyond cathartic self-expression, I believe the reactions people have to our work are very important to note. Given the short amount of time we had for discussion, I wouldn't say any of us had the chance to fully articulate our positions. As such, I don't want to single anyone out or criticise anyone, and will rather be speaking generally. The below is an amalgamation of themes that arose from discussions after the event had come to a close, and I wanted to expand on certain impressions people seem to have of bisexuality that keep cropping up in my life.

One of the most honest things I've heard in a while was around jealousy, and how gay men and lesbians may be jealous of bisexuals given we are capable of having heterosexual relationships. As perceived by them, this allows us to gain access to heterosexual privileges and shields us from homophobic discrimination. And yet, our realities are often a little more complicated. It's true that heterosexual relationships are still more socially accepted - whether in Bangladesh or the UK. And in Bangladesh, some very significant legal barriers fall away as soon as you are involved with the opposite sex. And so to a certain extent, I can understand the jealousy. It's rooted in how our world is currently structured and not something to be dismissed - although it's important to note it's not this way because of something bisexuals have done. But there is more to it than that. If you're openly bisexual, the homophobia, and indeed the biphobia, don't suddenly go away. We merely face a different set of prejudices and stereotypes when we enter an opposite-sex relationship - the questions about when we're going to cheat, when we're going to “switch” sexualities again, and of course the "everlasting taint" of any same-sex partners from our past. So yes, while we may be able to get married, and get that couple's honeymoon deal no-awkward-questions-asked, acceptance itself can remain an elusive goal.