Growing up and living loudly and proudly as a member of the LGBTI community comes with many challenges. While each one of our communitys' obstacles undoubtedly influences its members in different ways, there is no denying these hurdles exist and have a significant impact on how those within this group view themselves in the broader scope of the world.
As I continue my own journey of self-discovery to understand myself as a bi man, one of the hardest concepts for me to accept is knowing that countless bi individuals — along with many other members of the LGBTI community — have been erased from history or, in more modern times, are ridiculed, trivialized, or forced to portray unflattering and often inaccurate stereotypes in the public space.
Of course, there are notable exceptions to this within the LGBTI community; individuals like Ellen DeGeneres and RuPaul blazed a bold trail that has undoubtedly led to success for many LGBTI names. However, as a bi man, I have never felt fully represented by these examples and others like it. While they were great milestone events for the LGBTI community overall, they did little to make me feel connected to the bi community or further my understanding of bi culture.
It is something I still struggle to identify and articulate to this day. There are many things that, from my perspective, are important elements of bi culture. Unfortunately, it often feels like I am the only one connecting the dots to recognize, celebrate, and elevate these instances. It can make being the lone bi man in a sea of straight and gay friends and family feel incredibly lonely. However, it should come as no surprise; it is hard to get people to understand the culture of your community when so many are unwilling to acknowledge and accept its validity in the first place.
That being said, I think it is high time to start compiling and broadcasting what I think to be the fun, important, and even sobering elements of the bi community, regardless of what the naysayers believe. If I truly want to grow within the bi community, I need to put my ideas out there and connect with those who can help me develop them further. Therefore, I have put together a non-exhaustive list of a few things that are important components of bi culture, or at least some of the elements that have been important for me on my ongoing journey.
- The Mummy series is a bisexual dream and added an insane amount of fuel to my bisexual awakening, though I think we could have all done without that third installment.
“My type” is the entire cast of The Mummy (1999) pic.twitter.com/MC2TI8QKd1— Matt Graham (@CharsTreehouse) May 10, 2020
- Recognizing Margaret Cho as the iconic and fierce bisexual queen that she is!
- Knowing that “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga (another bi-con) is a killer bisexual anthem, while also knowing that very few people are aware of the inspiration behind that song.
- Tearing up a bit when David delivered the memorable, "I prefer the wine and not the label", line in Schitt’s Creek and being thrilled by mainstream society’s positive reaction to that concept.
- Understanding that it is very unlikely that you will see someone on television like yourself, and if you do, they will likely fulfill a dated stereotype and lack the depth gifted to other characters.
- Mentally preparing yourself for an onslaught of invasive personal questions when meeting new people about your “preferences”, sexual history, and life-long goals in order to “validate” your sexual orientation.
- Often feeling caught between two worlds, each of which has different expectations of who you are supposed to be, yet neither feels like it captures or fully accepts the real you.
- Knowing deep down there will always be critics, skeptics, and aggressors who will not accept you or your bisexuality as valid and choosing to dedicate your time to helping others like you instead of fighting a fruitless battle.
- Not receiving the support you need from other members of the LGBTI community, who often trivialize and mock your experiences as an irrelevant and transient phase.
As I said, this is just a shortlist of experiences, elements, and realizations that have been important to me as a bi man and which I consider to be a part of bi culture. Of course, this is just one bi man’s opinion; I am here to learn, grow and connect with other members of my community to further my understanding of what our culture is and what it can be.
Whatever bi culture means to you, just know that it is valid. Our experiences within the bi community are so unique and personal that we can build whatever culture we want. We should never be ashamed to celebrate the instances that help us feel whole and connected to our bi community. As I look to the future, I cannot wait to uncover the countless new elements of bi culture that are surely eagerly awaiting discovery.