Today marks the one-year anniversary of Good Bi Love here at bi.org. Hopefully, you feel as if I've delivered on my initial promise: to help you not only find but sustain, meaningful relationships as bi+ identifying individuals.
Over the past year, we've covered a number of personal topics pertaining to the bi identity, ranging from why bi+ people are drawn to polyamory, the unspoken rivalry between pansexual and bi individuals, and why it's necessary to cut biphobic people out of your life.
In the column we've also explored how bisexuality is represented in the mainstream media and among celebrities. We questioned whether it's right to call a celebrity bi when they don't use the labels themselves, discussed if Rita Ora's newest hit "Girls" is doing harm for the bi community, and tackled what the hell is going on with Aaron Carter.
This year, I will continue delivering on my initial promise, but would like to offer some additional insight, too.
How we understand and discuss bisexuality is rapidly changing. It doesn't come as a huge surprise that a dozen years ago, my psychiatrist told me point-blank that bisexuality doesn't exist in men. Now, if that were to happen, I honestly think a doctor could be sued for malpractice.
To say that bisexuality is having its heyday would be a little bit of an overstatement, but it's not uncommon to see pieces about bisexuality in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, and so on. Pieces that aren't simply lumping gay and bi men together when discussing HIV or are titled, "10 annoying things bisexuals are tired of hearing." Bisexuality is gaining real visibility. This is great news.
When I was a teenager, there were less than a handful of out celebrities who claimed the bi label. In the past year alone I can name a dozen celebrities who have come out, including Abbi Jacobson, Janelle Monáe, Reece King, Alyson Stoner, Alia Shawkat, Rita Ora, and Aaron Carter. And those are just off of the top of my head.
For the first time — at least since I've been alive — a number of people are proudly claiming bi+ labels openly. In addition to growing in visibility, bisexuality isn't an afterthought in the LGBTI community. (I'm aware there's plenty more work to be done, but this is undoubtedly a good start!)
With visibility, however, comes unique challenges. A prime example comes from the recent controversy over Rita Ora's newest single. After the various backlash from bi+ individuals and activists, Rita Ora apologized for her song, "Girls".
She wrote, "'Girls' was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life."
At its simplest form here's what happened: the bi community compelled Rita Ora to apologize for expressing her truth as a bi person.
I, too, have had to apologize for expressing my truth as a bi person because it doesn't fit into the perfect narrative of what bisexuality "should" be.
I understand why the bi community is so quick to condemn what they consider "non-ideal" depictions of bisexuality. When a minority group has so little visibility in the mainstream media, it can feel imperative that all depictions be positive. And given rampant bi erasure, the stakes are even higher. (I know I've mentioned how we are becoming more visible, but comparatively, our visibility pales in comparison to gay and lesbian visibility.)
But I've realized that like both me and Rita Ora, most bi people don't have a perfect cookie-cutter experience of being bi. Like Rita Ora, some bi folks need to be drunk in order to have sexual relationships with the same-sex. Like me, many bi folks are slutty, want threesomes, and aren't satisfied with dating one single person.
As we become more visible, I will make sure to continue representing the diversity within the bi community. I think when it comes to visibility, there's room for all of us: the good and the bad, the slutty and monogamous.
While the LGBTI community is often quick to anger and judgement, I want to allow space for all of us to grow however we see fit.
So while I will continue to help you find and embrace Good Bi Love, just as I have done, I would now like to encourage you to not feel restricted by the bi+ or larger LGBTI community. As someone who identifies as bi, I want you to feel comfortable growing into and expressing your most authentic self.
And as always, if there's something you'd like to see discussed, please email me at [email protected]. This column is as much for me as it is for you.