MOM ASKS QUESTIONS ABOUT BISEXUALITY
How to Talk About Being Bisexual
Being bisexual can be tough in a heteronormative world. Even if you've accepted yourself internally for who you are, it can still be another hurdle to be able to talk about your identity. Start with step one to learn how to talk about being bisexual.
Accept your identity and wear it proudly.Your bisexuality is as fundamental and important a part of you as a gay person's sexual orientation is to them. Being bi is rad, and most importantly, it's a fact of who you are--so own it!
- Adopt an unapologetic mindset: remember, you are living your truth and living your best bi life--you should never feel like you have to hide who you are or lie to make others feel more comfortable. If they can't handle it, that's their problem! Learning to unabashedly own (and love!) your bisexuality is very challenging, and doesn't happen overnight, but becoming confident and proud in yourself first will give you the strength to then talk about who you are and your unique bisexual experience with others.
Decide to be brave--assert yourself and give your input!Remember, you're living your truth proudly; you are an out and confident bisexual! If conversations arise in your daily life that touch on topics that are relevant to you and your bisexual identity, dare to step out of your comfort zone and include yourself: "Well, as a bisexual person, I think..." It's scary at first, but the knowledge that you are being true to yourself feels amazing.
- Staying silent when you really do have an opinion (about something as important as same-sex marriage or as trivial as whether Jake Gyllenhaal or Maggie Gyllenhaal is more attractive) is, above all, unfair to you, and gets in the way of you living an honest, integrated life.
Step up and speak about your experiences--make room for you!This is a more assertive approach than that of the previous step, but a continuation of the same idea. If you've got something on your mind that relates to bisexuality, push yourself to speak your mind and say it. This is all about trying not to censure yourself.
- For example, imagine you're talking to a coworker about a movie you saw last weekend. They ask you what you thought about it. Sometimes you might be tempted to say something safe, maybe commenting on the landscape, for instance, rather than out yourself too much by talking about what really grabbed you. But challenge yourself to go there. "The depiction of bullying really resonated with me, as someone who was picked on in middle school for being bi." Alternatively, you could go with, "It really bothered me when the main character was called a lesbian by all the other characters, when she had had both male and female partners. I'm very sensitive to bisexual erasure, since I'm bi myself; many times people have misidentified me over the years, which has been really hurtful, and I hate that the media condones these kinds of things."
Push back against biphobia and bisexual erasure whenever you can.Speaking up against bigotry is extremely tough, and especially when the target of that bigotry is a group you happen to belong to. If you're bisexual, chances are you know all too well all the hurtful things people can say about bisexuals--that we don't exist, that we're cheaters, that we're promiscuous, that we're lying about who we are...the list goes on and on. Hopefully, if you are able to follow the previous steps listed here and be a visibly-out bi person, you won't have to deal with as much biphobia to your face--you'll have made your position very clear. But unfortunately, it's still pretty likely that you will hear this kind of garbage sooner or later. It's very hard to confront someone when they are saying hurtful things, and especially if they're someone you're close to, like a good friend or family member.
- But remember what we've been talking about all along here: speaking up about bisexuality means, foremost, fulfilling what you owe to yourself. There is nothing wrong with being bisexual (and in fact, a billion wonderful things about it, most importantly the fact that it's part of what makes you you). So don't back down! State your positions firmly and clearly.
- If you feel comfortable doing so, use yourself and your own experiences for reference--ignorant opinions come from a lack of knowledge and experience, and if someone is spouting ignorant biphobic views, it's likely because they've never actually talked about bisexuality with a bisexual person before. (And remember...If someone tells you, "Bisexual people don't exist!" calmly point out that you exist and are standing there right in front of them.)
- Good luck! Live your authentic bi life, and feel great knowing that you're being true to you and helping to increase bisexual visibility, which is a wonderful thing.
- All these steps are conditional on your personal safety. It may not always be safe for you to come out, and your safety is always first priority above all else. If you know that outing yourself to your coworkers, for instance, will create a hostile work environment; or if the person telling you biphobic things happens to be your boss who has the power to fire you, it may well be in your best interest to keep quiet. These things are not your fault and in no way diminish your personal integrity.
- Finding your voice to speak up is extremely challenging. Don't get discouraged if you can't do so every time! Take pride in your victories where you have them, and know that even just learning to feel good about your bisexuality within yourself is a huge victory in the biphobic society we live in. You're doing great!
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