This Year’s Pride Reminded Me to Never Stop Being Visible

By Zachary Zane

July 02, 2018



Photo credit: Unsplash/DESIGNECOLOGIST

Pride was different this year. It could be because I've changed or because times are changing — probably, both.

Leading up to Pride, I wrote about how apprehensive I was about attending Pride with the bi woman I'm dating. I recalled a particularly painful Pride festival a few years back, when my then partner — who prefers female pronouns but presents as gender non-conforming — left Pride in tears, after some gay men ridiculed her and teased her about dating me, a seemingly "very gay" man. (They thought she was in denial about my sexuality, and that there was no way I could be attracted to her.)


This year, however, the streets of NYC Pride were filled with bi flags. For the first time ever, the vendors were selling our pink, lavender, and blue flags alongside the rainbow and transgender pride flags. Men were holding hands with women in the street. There were women kissing other women with the bi colors painted all over their faces. Bisexuality seemed to be far more visible. Perhaps this was partly because I was on the lookout for it — but I think it was mainly because it simply was.

My female partner and I attended Pride Island. It advertises itself as being open to everyone (and I think that’s true), but I estimate that less than 10% of the folks there were women, trans women, or gender-nonconforming people. But nevertheless, we were welcomed with open arms, even though we stood out among the sea of shirtless men with toned abs and cut-off booty shorts. We stand out in general, in fact, since I'm 6’4” and she's 6 feet tall and wears heels that bring her up to roughly my height. When we kissed, gay men were cheering us on. They loved it. Not once did we get side-eyed.

We also met another queer couple (a man and a woman) who were engaged. Both identified as bi. Of course, we hit it off immediately.


Times are changing. People are changing. The queer community is changing. As a writer, activist, and “professional bisexual” (I hate that term, but it lets you know what type of work I do), I often feel as if I'm fighting an uphill battle. This is in large part due to social media. The most vocal people in the comments are often nasty, biphobic trolls.

About a year and a half ago, I performed a spoken word poem at an open mic night put on by the BRC (Bisexual Resource Center). People loved my poem, "Questions for Monosexuals" and encouraged me to publish it. So I added it to the video channel I had recently created. Immediately, multiple trolls picked up on the video and I received death threats and hate mail. One of the trolls produced a terrifying video making fun of me that has had more than 100,000 views. Then the commenters went through all my other videos, downvoting every single one. Now all my videos have far more downvotes than upvotes. The trolls then proceeded to leave nasty comments on them. I had to disable comments on many of my videos.

I was new to video content creation. This was one of the first personal videos I had produced, and the experience discouraged me from making any more video content. I know this is sad. I know it means that the trolls and haters won. But the whole experience put me in a really dark place. I needed to engage in self-care. Now that I’ve been an activist for a while and have been in the public eye for longer, I’ve got better at brushing these things off.

But it can still be tough sometimes.

There were even some bi folks who came for me because of my video. And that isn't the first time that folks from within the community have come for me.

I used to be part of a bi writers/activists group on Facebook. When I started my first official writing gig contributing to, folks in the group would post my articles and invite their friends to attack them and me. I don’t think they realized that I was a member of the Facebook group. Instead of talking to me — a new writer who was clearly simply trying to do good work — they preferred to make nasty comments in a private Facebook group. I was so angry and hurt at this behavior from people in my community that I almost stopped writing altogether.

I now realize that the people attacking me were bi activists who wanted a sanitized depiction of bisexuals as monogamous and non-slutty and as people who never had to lie about their sexuality. They didn't want to acknowledge that some bi folks do later identify as gay, some love threesomes, and some are ethically non-monogamous. I believe in acknowledging those truths.

Pexels/Gabby K

This experience taught me something important: don't let others get you down. Don't let them dissuade you from being your best bi self. As I realized when I attended this year's Pride, it’s worth the fight. All those times that you put yourself out there only to be shut down are worth it because in the end you can help to change people's minds. You are helping in the fight for visibility. And you are making it easier for future generations of bi individuals to embrace being attracted to more than one gender. So while it may be difficult to be vocally and openly bi (trust me, I know), just know that by doing so you are making a difference.