Bi Visibility Day: TC's Story
Publish Date: 13/09/2013
TC, aged 45, from The Midlands shares her experiences...
When did you first realise you might be bisexual?
I prefer not to use the word 'bisexual' to describe myself as it has acquired lots of connotations which I don't feel adequately sum me up.
However, I am a person who is attracted to male and female gender presentations as well as non-gendered presentations. Labelling myself as 'Human' is probably least complicated (though I use 'queer' as well.)
I first became aware that I was attracted to male & female people when I was about 9. Prior to this I don't recall any kind of attraction other than an assumption that I would always live with a man and a woman for the rest of my life but wishing that I also had a pony. I actively labelled myself bisexual from about age 14 to 19 from which point I identified as lesbian until I met my husband at which point I pretty much gave up on labels.
How did you come out? What was people's reactions to you being bisexual?
In my (all-girls) high school in the early 80s, my friendship group was obsessed with David Bowie and his ex-wife Angie. Her autobiography had been published not long before and she described herself as a 'glittering bisexual butterfly'. We liked this and she became something of an icon to us.
Coming out as bisexual was kind of fashionable and we flaunted it, deliberately snogging in school. I don't remember anyone being particularly fazed. They thought we were all trying to shock and so didn't really react.
As I had a like-minded group of friends and we didn't even consider that the world wouldn't accept us however we identified, none of us thought to tell our parents. It was none of their business. It was an age of men in make up and Annie Lennox styles for girls and we never thought we would face any kind of discrimination.
What's the best thing about being bisexual?
Messing with people's preconceptions.
Have you dated both opposite and same sex people? If so, what have you found to be the main similarities and differences?
Yes, I've dated male and female people. I can't really answer the one about similarities and differences as I have found myself to be attracted to people who present as strong, intelligent, confident and who spark something physical in me. Therefore, all the people I've dated are probably quite similar. Except for physically, obviously! I guess because I tend to like somewhat androgynous people, their actual gender or gender identity is pretty much irrelevant to me.
Have you experienced biphobia? If so, could you provide an example?
Were you able to do anything about it?
Yes, I suppose I'm guilty of it in the sense that I loathe the word and the identity. I've never really experienced any kind of discrimination for my preference or identity but then I'm a bit intimidating and appear confident. That sometimes helps. Sometimes.
Why do you think people seem to struggle to understand bisexuality?
People in the gay community can see it as a cop-out, which was why I identified as lesbian for a long time. It's the classic 'stepping stone' for young gay/lesbian people to take on their way to accepting their sexuality, so there's a perception that bisexual people are 'really gay'.
It's also perceived that bisexual people are either fence-sitters or ravenous sexual omnivores or trendy (See above! I'm not proud of being trendily bi in high school. But hey, if Katy Perry can do it...) It's the new gay. The universally hated identity. (Gay people can play, too!)
People like to put humans in boxes, they like a world of two choices: gay/straight, male/female, black/white, Tory/Labour, up/down, yes/no. The messy middle ground is hard to manage, it's like writhing sexual spaghetti, with marinara sauce, on the carpet. No-one wants that shit.
For the same reason, trans people are 'difficult to understand', queer people are 'difficult to understand', my identity as a cross-dressing woman who sometimes identifies as a man who has had relationships with women but who is currently married to a man is 'difficult to understand'!
Do you have any bisexual role-models?
Not anymore. Angie Bowie when I was younger. Most of my role models are gay. Apart from Judi Dench, but everyone loves a dame.
What advice would you give your sixteen-year old self?
Carry on, you're doing it absolutely right.
For more information on Bi Visibility Day visit http://september23.bi.org/
If you would like to share your story about being bisexual, hate crime, healthcare experiences or anything else - get in touch! Email firstname.lastname@example.org