On Nobody’s Side

Jul 8, 2021 | 2015 Fall - Pick a Side

By S. H. G.

The frustrating thing about growing up bisexual is that both the heteropatriarchy and LGBTQ+ communities play by the same rule: namely, that you must “pick a side.” So, while I grew up in a fairly liberal household, with early exposure to non-straightness, I internalized that rule.

For a long time, I thought it was one way or the other. You liked boys, or you liked girls. When “bisexual” entered my vocabulary, it was usually as a punch line. People identified as “bi” when they were gay and not ready to come all the way out yet or, if you were a girl, you just wanted attention.

That’s why I ignored my attraction to girls for as long as I did. That’s why I still identified as straight even after I started writing love poems to women, and fiction stories about girls kissing girls. Because I liked men. I kissed guys and enjoyed it. I had crushes on guys, I fantasized about them, I wrote about them. They were the dominant discourse in my life for a long time. Regardless of any strange feelings I harbored towards certain women, I was not a lesbian. I just wasn’t. I knew, instinctively, that “lesbian” was not a label I could ever identify with. And yet… I liked girls.

I can’t pinpoint the “aha” moment when the clouds parted and I could finally see that I am bisexual. What I do know is that my self-identity and my acceptance of the community at large happened separately. On one level, I came to know and accept that I held desires for more than one gender. On another, I educated myself on the queer community and came to understand that the B in LGBTQ+ wasn’t there for show. At some point, these two ideas intersected, and I came to identify myself and my own feelings with this community.

I’m still fairly fluid on my own identity label, other than knowing I’m definitely not monosexual. I usually roll with “queer” but bisexual is a slightly more digestible term for the less educated/less liberally inclined. I do wonder sometimes if my hesitation to use “bisexual” comes from internalized biphobia, but I’m still young and I am okay with a fluid self-understanding.

 S. H. G. is a recent college graduate who spends most of her free time on the Internet or chasing drag queens around the Providence area. She hopes to make a career in the performing arts.

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