Bi, Pan, Omni, Poly, Fluid, NoLabel, etc. = #oneofus

By Laurel Å McDonald

October 08, 2015



Photo credit: Unsplash/Luca Martini

I consider myself a demi/gray-romantic bi person. This means that I don't often get crushes on people, and usually don't really have a strong desire to be in a romantic relationship with anyone. But that doesn't mean that I'm not attracted to people. In fact, I'm attracted to a lot of people, regardless of gender. I always have been, but I didn't identify myself as bisexual until I was 27.

Laurel A McDonald #oneofus

This is due in part to the fact that I have only had exactly one serious long-term relationship, which was with a man. People just assume everyone is monosexual, and that you're either gay/lesbian or straight depending on the gender of the person you're dating, and I was guilty of doing just that. It took a lot of self-reflection and inner debating (and some Tumblr browsing) to realize that I could still be bisexual, even if I had never dated a woman.

Once I had the proper words to describe myself, I started looking more into the LGBTI community (in which I had previously considered myself an ally) and ways I could get involved, but then I started to realize that the B doesn't seem to be included most of the time. People think bisexuality is just a pit stop on the way to being gay or lesbian, or it's just an experimental phase in college for straight people.

The worst part is that bi people face discrimination from both sides. Straight people don't accept us (unless we're willing to participate in their threesome), and the queer "community" rejects us citing our "privilege" in "passing" as straight. It's not viewed as a valid orientation, and we're told that we're a bunch of greedy cheaters, or that we're confused and just need to pick a side.

Maybe that's why so many celebrities say they don't want to use the B-word, because of the stigma attached to it. But that's unfortunate because kids need role models to realize that there's nothing wrong with them and it's okay to identify however they feel suits them best.

James Dean #oneofus

It's nice to have a word you can attach to what you're feeling, and honestly, I think saying that you don't want to apply labels to yourself because sexuality is a fluid thing and that it's all a gray area is detrimental to the cause. I mean, I get it, sometimes you just don't fit in any of the boxes, or you don't want to, and that's fine. But for the sake of solidarity with everyone else who doesn't fit in a box either, you sort of have to just throw a big ol' bisexual blanket over everyone who falls into the category. That was my intention with the #oneofus project; to give bi people something or someone to relate to.

I definitely don't intend to misidentify anyone, since that happens to bi people on a regular basis. The list is obviously not inclusive of all bi people, and there may be some people who don't necessarily label themselves as bi, but from their own descriptions of their sexuality, it seems to fit under that umbrella. I definitely did try my best to verify this stuff before posting.

Frank Ocean, #oneofus

There has been some debate as to whether or not all the people I included on the list are/were actually bisexual. Especially with some of those who are no longer living to go on record one way or the other. Obviously, times were different back then, and people didn't have all the different ways to classify sexuality and identity like we do now. Not to mention the fact that it was much less acceptable to be homosexual, let alone bi, so some may be more of an assumption based on what people who knew them have said. But the whole point of this project was to bring awareness to bisexuality, and getting people at least talking seems like a baby step in the right direction.

There are so few good role models for bi youth, both portrayed in mainstream media and in real life. I attribute the lack of representation as another reason it took me so damn long to determine and embrace my sexuality. So I wanted to do something for Bi Week and Bi Visibility Day, highlighting bi celebrities to show that we do exist.

Unsplash/Unsplash/Betzy Arosemena

I had the idea of the tabloid-style black bars as a symbol of bi-erasure. Even as I was researching this, I found quite a few people that I hadn't previously known were bi. And got a bunch more suggestions after it went up and started making its way around! When I started this, I was just hoping that a few people might get a kick out of it and maybe share it with their friends, but then I started seeing black-barred profile photos and so many people were sharing the images and album I made on various social media outlets.

I'm really glad so many people have taken notice, but I really didn't expect it to be such a big deal! I actually even had someone that I have known for pretty much my entire life come out to me, which was very emotional for me. They told me that they hoped to someday have the courage to come out to their family as well.

I don't really consider myself brave; in fact, this has actually kind of been my own coming out party. I wasn't trying to hide it before or anything, but I also wasn't very vocal about it or specifically trying to bring more attention to it.  There were still a lot of people in my family that I hadn't told. My mom and a lot of my friends knew, but I never really felt like I needed to have that conversation with, like, my dad or grandma unless I started dating a woman. But I guess they probably know now...

For more information about the #oneofus project, click here.

Have fun!  Be creative!  Spread the word!


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