When I was writing "Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe" I did not know I was going to be writing a novel about bi-visibility. I thought I was writing a fun, engaging, slightly erotic, love story about characters who live out-of-the-norm-lifestyles. It wasn't until I was done and started trying to think up pitches to publishers, and book blurbs, that I realized that what I had written was an account of a fictional character's struggles with trying to be true to himself as a bisexual in a world where no-one wants to accept him for who he is - albeit in a fun, engaging, slightly erotic, love story, kinda way. What's interesting to me now, and really rather sad, is that though most of my book was written more than 15 years ago, not much has changed in terms of how difficult being bisexual can be.
"But," someone not familiar with the issues might say, "how can that be true? Their have been so many gains in the last 20 years in gay rights."
This is exactly the kind of comment that has so many bisexuals banging their collective heads against a wall. Yes, advances in gay rights do help make bisexuals' lives better - for example if they are in an out relationship with someone of the same sex - but there are many issues unique to bisexuality, and the fact that people don't recognize this is one of the biggest issues.
Bisexuality is too often seen as akin to gay, in fact, one of the worst problems for bisexuals is that when they come out of the closet after living a heterosexual lifestyle they are immediately branded as gay by almost everyone, even after pointing out over and over again, that, no, they are bi, not gay. It's as if non bi people have an internalized translator that immediately and repeatedly interprets the word bi to mean gay. There can even been a confused/hostile backlash when an out bisexual gets involved with someone of the opposite sex; for case in point check out: The harsh hurtful reality of being bisexual.
Further, not only gay people, but also straight people, insist that newly out bisexuals are being homophobic when they call themselves bi. These well-meaning people insist that their friend/lover/spouse/family member is refusing to fully accept their homosexuality and needs to stop trying to be at least a little "normal" by claiming to still be attracted to the opposite sex. Ironically, in their efforts to be politically correct and fight for gay acceptance by trying to get the bisexual to see he/she is really gay and should act proud of it, people are actually participating in bi-bashing, bi-erasure, and bi-invisibility.
I will be writing more about bisexual issues in the future blogs.