July 15, 2016
By Zach Rodriguez
Despite my comfort and openness about my sexuality, existing as the B in LGBT immediately invites jokes, dismissal, and, sometimes, scorn from a very vocal minority in both straight and gay communities. I am called greedy; I am told to “pick a side”; I am told “it’s just a phase”—that I’m really gay and that I just haven’t accepted it yet.
These same people, if they’re gay, will make sounds and faces of disgust when they find out that I have, in my past, fallen deeply in love with and have been in relationships with women. (In fact, a large majority of my relationships have been with women.)
If they’re straight, the reaction is somewhat different: people in general assume I’m gay the moment I walk into the room: I’m on the shorter side of average height, I have a slender build, clothes from the boys’ department tend to fit better than those from the men’s, and if the FDA allowed us to donate blood, I’d be just above the minimum body weight requirements. No one expects to find my picture in the dictionary when searching for the word “masculine”, “rugged”, or “heteronormative.”
With that in mind, the acknowledgement that I have dated women prior to my current relationship with an openly gay man provokes fascination, confusion, and, ultimately, disbelief from straight acquaintances. In both cases, facts about me and an integral part of my identity are deemed invalid and erased. This happens over and over and over again, often when I meet new people. As a result, I frequently feel caught in both the straight and gay worlds, steeped in the distinct cultures of each, but at home in neither, despite fighting my entire life for the rights of LGBT people (which I never plan to stop; we’re coming up on one year of marriage equality in this country, but housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexuality is still very real). I am judged too gay for straight people and too straight for gay people.
Often, I find myself feeling like my life would be easier if I just identified as gay. After all, what would be different? I would still come home to a man whom I love to the point of crying when I think about our future together. I will still hold his hand in public and never be afraid to kiss him. He will still smile, wrap his arms around me, and tell me he loves me every single day, and our supportive friends will still tell us that we’re absolutely adorable together. Only a label—a single word—would be changed. But, I would be doing a disservice to my fellow bisexuals. I would be silencing myself, and silence equals death. Several studies have found that bisexuals comprise a plurality of the LGBT community, yet our contributions (such as creating the very first Pride parade) are minimized, and we fly under the radar, rarely represented in media (and even less, accurately) and LGBT organizations.
The prism I view the world through is one of love: everyone I meet receives love. Everything I do is a result of love. Everything I am is a result of love. So, my primary question to those who discriminate against me on the basis of my sexuality is this: why is the capacity to romantically, emotionally, and sexually love both persons of your own gender and those not of your gender castigated? Why is it not, instead, celebrated? With as dark as recent events have been, this world could use a little more love, don’t you think?