I wanted to reach out as I’m getting really tired of people feeling that my sexuality means that I need to be part of their movement or their community and that I have to perform certain actions or think a certain way. I’m bi, that's it. It doesn’t mean that I have to be waving flags and it also doesn’t mean that I should have the weight of a community on my shoulders.
Am I wrong?
Thanks so much for the question.
Your sexuality does not mean that you have to feel part of a community. If you’re a lone wolf, that’s fine. Many people do find comfort and strength in banding together, particularly as a minority — but you should never feel forced.
Existing as part of a collective can be tough. You may not love the bi flag, you may feel that the issues LGBT groups are talking about just don’t resonate with you personally. This is particularly true for bi people. In my experience, because many bi people have felt isolated for years with few other bi people to talk to, many have grown to not need this kind of support.
I’ve seen bi people on the extreme end of this, where they actively reject other bi people because they see them as a threat. They have decided for themselves what bisexuality means and how it manifests, and another bi person coming along with a different take can feel both challenging and fighting.
One thing I would say is, that flag waving or not, part of a community or not, you are still bi and that means you will be part of a collective experience. You are going to run into stigma along the way, it’s much nicer to have other bi people to turn to at those moments so that you don’t feel isolated.
It may be that you personally are fine, it's water off a duck's back and the stigma doesn’t affect you. If that is the case then it might be worth considering what you have to offer other bi people. If you have the strength to spare, could you not use some of it to protect other bi people who don’t feel so confident?
Ultimately it is your decision and you have to do what is right for you. It's going to take all of us and our allies to turn the tide for bi people. There is so much work to do. If you don’t like the flag or certain issues that are being discussed in the bi community then throw your hat in the ring. There are possibly other people that feel the same. Change the flag, change the narrative, all suggestions are welcome. It’s much better to be in the community fighting for your way of doing things than pretending the movement doesn’t exist.
I have every confidence you'll make the decision that is right for you.
What advice would you give to this reader? Give us your take in the comments below.
Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.
Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.
Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.
If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, email at [email protected]