By Dani Banani
My name is Dani, I’m 33 years old, and never have I ever been to a Pride Parade or any pro-LGBTQ+ event. Now that the hardest part is out of the way, I need to know if I’m a “bad bi+” for not having been to such an important event for our community yet. Does attending Pride validate my status as a bisexual woman, or does it place shame on me for my absence? Lastly, I often wonder to myself if the possibility of backlash from the entire LGBTQ+ community has been a contributing factor to my absence.
To answer myself on the first question: no, I do not think I’m necessarily a “bad bi+.” I don’t think that my attendance at Pride events or parades has any impact on my presence within our small, yet mighty community. I have seen the photos friends have taken, watched the videos with so much greed in my soul I felt like I was turning into an actual monstrous troll, and I know that I belong there. Most of the time, I’ve simply had to work, or had no ability to arrive at the event. Those hurdles have certainly kept me from going, but they’re not the only ones, if we’re being honest. A big obstacle to my attending a Pride event is the fear I’ve grown within myself based on other experiences I’ve had.
Quite frankly, the majority of my experience as a bisexual woman has been people saying I’m “mostly just straight but like girls too.” When I came out to my own mother, she thought about it before responding with, “That’s fine, just don’t date women.” As if my own sexuality were acceptable as long as it remained mostly repressed. We all know how abusive language like this can be to those of us who just want to be validated and recognized as part of the community. It’s even worse when it comes from heterosexual people who claim to be allies while debating people on her own sexuality. Perhaps this has contributed to my absence: fear that I haven’t shown enough of my “bi side.” My natural instinct has always been to hide anything that hinted at my interest in women because of the reactions to who I am. Eventually, I grew to be more open, but it has never stopped the unusual and hurtful comments people don’t realize they’re saying (or maybe they do). Anyway, the fact that I’ve met with so much negativity doesn’t give me additional excitement about going. Hearing comments from my own community like, “You don’t have it as bad, everyone loves a bisexual woman,” worry me because I feel I’ll never be entirely accepted anywhere. Is Pride where that is different? Would it be a safe haven for me there? I’ve never asked anyone, I guess. I tend to be paranoid, and my paranoia has led to my giving less of an effort about ensuring a visit because I’m not sure how I’ll be perceived, especially if I were to find a female I enjoyed interacting with. I’ve actually upset women when they’ve discovered I’m bisexual because they prefer women who have never had men. I suppose I’ve worried that my treatment or acceptance there won’t be as good as I’d hoped it would be. I might be afraid to even mingle or interact and send the right or wrong signals at the wrong or right times. For me, there is just too much to over-think.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my assumptions are all based in paranoia. In any case, I look forward to the first time I finally try and prove myself wrong, because I bet I will. I just like to create the worst-case scenarios in the most dramatic ways up until I get there. That’s not a bi thing, that’s just a “me” thing.
Dani Banani (Danielle) is a Hoosier-raised woman living in Colorful, Colorado with her partner and their four children. She has a passion for the Scarlet Witch and Skyrim and spends most of her time writing.