From righteous new writer, Aoife
Sunday, the 23rd of September was bi visibility day. Did you know? I found out a couple of days beforehand, promptly forgot all about it. Anyway, I spent most of the day on the sofa in a self-indulgent mound of Lemsip and tissues, only getting up to change the Game of Thrones DVD and put the kettle on. Even writing a tweet was beyond my manflu-addled brain.
Bye bi perfection
Bi visibility is always an odd one. We’re constantly on about being erased, and we’re hyper-critical of anyone who is openly bi. We expect perfect behaviour from our role models. Can’t be too stereotypical. Can’t be seen to be sleeping around too much. If they dare be in a monogamous, long-term relationship, they lose either way. Either they’re taking the easy way out from within nice safe het boundaries, or they’re letting the gay side down.
Remember when Cynthia Nixon dared to say that she’d chosen a same-sex relationship although she was quite partial to men? You’d think she’d said that she was partial to a spot of puppy-torturing over a cup of tea. Which is nothing in comparison to when a bi person goes and marries someone of the opposite sex. Puppy-torturing isn’t the half of it. And god forbid an openly bi person be single and sleeping around, and doing so in a way that isn’t a hundred percent ethical and keeping everybody absolutely happy at all times. Wanton hussies, letting the side down. Who’d want to share a category with someone like that?
So when it comes to visibility, it’s always a bit in bits. I’ve even had partners – straight and gay alike – wonder why on earth it’s such a big deal to me, and isn’t it fine for everyone to think we’re just a regular straight/lesbian couple? Sure, what’s wrong with being straight or being gay?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with either of those things. Straight people and gay people are great. Sure aren’t my own parents straight, and some of my very best friends are gay. Even Herself is a bit of an unrepentant gaywad*, and sure amn’t I mad about her?
They’re just not me. And there’s something about people constantly assuming that you’re a perfectly lovely thing that isn’t you that grates a bit. Especially when the ideas of what you are can sometimes be a bit on the dodgy side.
I’ve always found coming out as bi to be a minefield. I’m as guilty as anyone else of letting people assume that I’m just one way or the other, depending on what pronouns I’m using for whoever I’m seeing at the time**. It’s just so much easier. You don’t have to explain things. And y’know, there really does come a time in a person’s life when she just wants to get on with it. When you’re just so damn over it, when you have better things to do than justify who you are yet again.
But visibility is important. Visibility is the only way to make us as ordinary as we are. So for bi visibility day, I sat on the couch with a friend as we both sniffled our way through a packet of Kleenex, kept Lemsip in business, wrapped our duvets around us and watched half a season of Game of Thrones. What could be more ordinary than that?
* and that is a glorious, glorious thing. Me, I’m just an unrepentant queermo.
** Don’t get me started on poly complications. I’m still a bit delicate from the man-flu and I’m almost out of Lemsip.