By Jeanne Bjorn
After living most of my adult life, bouncing back and forth between lesbian and heteronormative—at great internal and emotional cost—I came out as bisexual. It was during the isolationist period of COVID. Most of my lesbian friends accepted me—but only if I never, ever discussed it. (I’m still not sure how that works.)
I found myself becoming more and more isolated during this time. I also started educating myself about bi erasure and biphobia and I realized that as a lesbian I had participated in this practice.
I ordered the book, Bi Any Other Name, from my local women’s bookstore because they did not stock it. In fact, they didn’t have one book in the LGBT+ section that was dedicated to bisexuality. When I went to pick up the book, there was an employee (a young woman) reading it. She whispered to me that she had been secretly reading it.
The more I read, the angrier I became. I finally went online and searched “Bisexual Support Groups.” I found there was a whole world of support out there that began for me with Robyn Ochs and the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network’s monthly digital brunch. I found many other groups across the country, in San Francisco, Portland, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Some were exclusively for women, where we can discuss those specific issues, and some were mixed, where I am fortunate to hear from men and how they experience being bi, as well as how they are impacted by erasure and phobia.
The growth of online meetings and support spaces—something rarely available before the COVID years—has made it possible for me to easily find like-minded folks who require no explanation or justification for my bi-ness. I can finally “breathe out.”
I so love bi+ folks! We are an eclectic collection of people who don’t tend to fall into conventional boxes. We don’t fit into heteronormative culture. We don’t fit into lesbian culture. We don’t fit into gay male culture. Yet, we tend to seize this as an opportunity for growth. Instead of having an “either/or” mentality, we try to see all points of view.
It’s been three years since I came out to myself as bisexual, and I still attend many bi+ support groups online and make new friends all over the world. These folks have been and continue to be my lifeline. They help me to be able to stand on my own, solidly, as a content bi person.
Jeanne Bjorn is an artisan/instructor, natural health practitioner, and author.