I just transferred to a new college and have experienced a huge amount of discrimination by both the straight and the gay communities. As a musical theatre major, I am used to a lot of tolerance. Here, however, I have been told that I must be overly promiscuous, flaky, illegitimate, and a burden to the gay community. I’ve never felt so hurt and alienated.
I am very comfortable with my sexuality and I just want to be able to focus on my career without worrying about labels. I am proud and I want other bisexuals at my university to feel like it is okay to be who they are. Do you have any suggestions for spreading awareness throughout my campus without offending the gay community and becoming a social pariah to the people I support fully? I thought we were all in this together.
Ask yourself: “Why would dispelling hurtful myths about my community offend gays?” Here’s another thing to ponder: why would you fully support those whom you think are offended by your very existence?
Nell, ask yourself: “Why would dispelling hurtful myths about my community offend gays?” Here’s another thing to ponder: why would you fully support those whom you think are offended by your very existence?
I’m making two points here. The first is that we need to be ever-vigilant about battling internalized biphobia. By the way you’ve worded your letter, I sense some of that sour thinking is starting to seep into your brain. Stay aware of it and be sure to raze that mess before it hits your heart. We need your spirit to be strong for the challenges ahead!
My second point is something I learned at a (nonphysical) self-defense seminar that I took at the Harvey Milk School in San Francisco many years ago: perpetrators are cowards. They seek out victims who will be easy to overpower. Therefore, since everything about my presentation as I walked down the street said, “I’m just trying to get to my destination. I don’t want any trouble,” I was unwittingly making myself the perfect victim to potential aggressors.
I learned that this lesson holds true for any antagonizer. Sending the message “I don’t mean to provoke your ire with who I am” leaves you quite vulnerable to people who have made it clear that they don’t respect you. In a nutshell, you have to know deep down that being bisexual is super cool and let that radiate from your soul. (You can fake it ’til you make it, though.) Only then will you feel no need to apologize for it.
With that attitude mastered, I’d say it’s time for you to organize. I see that your school doesn’t have an LGBT activity group as one of its intercultural programs. What a fantastic opportunity for you to start one! It can be a conversation group that sometimes does educational projects, too. You’ll get the support you need, give other bisexuals support, and meet lots of lesbians, gays, and trans* folks who are terrific allies to the bi community. You’re going to feel so much better when you find some LGTs who really get you. Trust me, there’s a whole lot of them out there.
Fighting biphobia is tough work and you don’t want to go it alone. We are all in this together – so get together with the other queer peeps at your school and start building that community you envisioned.