As a bisexual woman who has experienced and still encounters a lot of biphobic resentments and bi-erasure, it felt quite impossible for me to think of what I consider to be my “Bi Joy.” But sometimes one finds joy in the most unexpected places and situations. I’m out at work because I never liked to tell white lies about my sexuality, and I don’t want to walk on eggshells and be super cautious when I talk about former or recent partners. I consider myself lucky that I get to work in a very open-minded and tolerant environment.
On July 10th I went to work pretty early, and I wondered about a Pride flag in front of our building. I couldn’t pinpoint if it was new or if I had suffered from tunnel vision as an early bird at work. I like to complain about corporate Pride as much as the next queer person, but in this particular moment I felt a bit safer than I usually did. I wanted to express my feelings and the next logical decision was to take a photo and post it on our company’s own social network—explaining what visibility of diversity, and acceptance of queer sexualities and identities means to me. I also wrote about the history of Pride, its flag, and the influence of the bi community, ending with a thank you note to our boss for creating a workspace where people, regardless of their gender, gender identity, sexuality, skin color, religious affiliation, etc., can feel safe.
What I didn’t expect was the reaction, which was overwhelmingly positive. Likes and comments, which I appreciated, but what moved me the most were the people who popped up in my office and asked questions about what certain terms mean, the history of Pride, and my personal experiences. My answers were met with curiosity, interest, and respect. As someone who considers herself an activist, it’s quite rare that our words and points of view find such open ears, especially when these ears belong to a generation we didn’t originally expect to be so open-minded. Bi discourse among our queer circles can be rather daunting and frustrating, as we often feel that we constantly have to repeat ourselves and tear down the same walls over and over again.
So, my “Bi Joy” is the unexpected affirmation of my bisexuality and others’ willingness to learn about our community. In hindsight, I have to admit that I had experienced this a few times in my life but as we all know, the human brain tends to remember the negative things more prominently. Another moment of that “Bi Joy” will have its fifth anniversary this year. I had been asked to speak at a local Pride event, and of course I wrote about the specific issues and prejudices the bi community faces. I think it’s only fair to thank Robyn Ochs, who gave me good advice about how I could engage the audience without unleashing my anger and frustration upon them. I remember my anxiety the moment I realized that the audience in front of that stage was mostly gay and lesbian. For a second, I imagined rotten tomatoes being thrown at me as if I were a lousy performer. But everything that happened was quite the diametrical opposite: cheering, intermittent applause, standing ovations, and words of affirmation afterwards for shining a light on the so often invisible struggles of my fellow bi+ community.
Being an out and proud bisexual, it’s important to find joy in these moments, regardless of how small they might seem in the grand scheme of things. As much as the negative events and comments we encounter on social media and in person push us forward to keep up the fight to highlight our right to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s also every word and action that affirm and accept us that should motivate not only me but every single one of us. It’s not only our partners or queer peers or adored bi+/bi+-supportive celebrities who keep us going; it can also be a neighbor or colleague who all of a sudden sports a bi pride symbol or who speaks up in support of us.
As with so many other things in life, joy is often found in the little things and moments and “Bi Joy” is no exception. And all those small acts of joy will most likely pile up and push us through fear and times of despair.
VeronicaOfOsea is a bisexual woman, using she/her they/them pronouns, living in Northern Germany in a monogamous bi relationship, battling the cliches against m/f-presenting bi couples.