Specifically, lesbians. I’m more afraid to come out as bisexual to lesbians than to straight people.
I should note that I live in San Francisco – if I lived in bumblefuck homophobiaville, the story would probably be different. But, here in San Francisco, the land of the gays and politically correct, straight people are way easier to deal with than lesbians. When I come out to a straight person, they will usually say nothing. Sometimes they will talk about how great it it gay marriage passed, (or, back in the day, they’d talk about how they thought gay marriage *should* pass) to indicate how OK they were with it. Sometimes, if I casually mention my girlfriend, they will get this facial expression which I’ve interpreted to mean “I am trying as hard as possible to project that I am totally fine with your having a girlfriend.” It’s a little awkward, but sort of charming. I realize that they’re trying to tell me they accept me, without being unhip enough to project that being queer is a big deal.
On the other hand, I dread mentioning ex boyfriends to lesbians. Usually, gay women meet me in a gay context and assume I am also gay. When I’ve casually mentioned a male ex of mine, I’ve gotten responses like “Oh my god, what?” to which I’m awkwardly like “Uh – yeah, I’m bisexual.”
Check out this video:
I get that people have preferences, but what’s amazing to me is how entitled lesbians seem to feel to be outspoken about it. If you didn’t date black people, would you be willing to have a recording of yourself saying that published to the internet? I imagine most people who secretly felt that would probably keep it quietly to themselves. Of course, sexuality is different from race – but the majority of gay people argue that it wasn’t a choice for them. It’s generally polite not to rail on people for things they can’t help, which would seem to apply to bisexuality in this case.
Even with people who aren’t this outspoken, when I mention to a woman that I’m bisexual, it’s usually a “bad” thing. I’m sure to mention it to any woman I go out with on the first date because I expect it to be a possible reason she wouldn’t want to stay with me. Conversely, when I date men, I’ll usually bring up that I’m bisexual whenever because I’ve never had a man get upset about it. Sometimes, I’ll get a “zomg, that’s so hot can I watch?” which is irritating, but a lot more welcome than the lesbian “that’s a shame.”
To be fair, not all lesbians are like this (my girlfriend, being one obvious exception.) In fact, possibly even *most* lesbians aren’t like this but enough of them are that make me wonder what is going on with it?
I asked my girlfriend for her take on it.
Me: Why do some lesbians not like bisexuals?
Her: Maybe because they’re insecure about it
Me: Insecure about what?
Her: I don’t know – like how I get insecure cuz you slept with guys.
Me: Why does that make you insecure?
Her: Cuz you slept with them before me.
Me: Why would that matter?
Her: I don’t know, cuz they have something I can’t give you.
Me: Like what?
Her: I don’t know.
Me: Like dick?
Her: *giggles* yeah.
Me: Why do you think I want dick?
Her: I don’t know.
The cultural power of the dick is pretty impressive. I was hanging out with one of my more dude/bro friends the other day, and he was inquiring that had it really been two years since I’d had “the D” and didn’t I miss it? (“The D” was clearly capitalized, given his tone of voice.) I responded that what I missed about men was nothing so specific – it was more a male “energy” or something. I miss parts of all my lovers when they’re gone because everyone is unique, but that’s just a part of dating. What I miss about men as a whole doesn’t feel terribly different from that.
I think that bi-phobia is really a form of misogyny. The stereotype about bi men is they’re really gay, the stereotype about bi women is they’re really straight. The unifying theme is that people have a hard time believing someone who was attracted to both genders would choose to be with a woman. But, I don’t have trouble believing it because I love being with my girlfriend and I choose to be with her every day.