Before I came out of the closet, I always looked up to the LGBTQIA+ community. I always saw it as a safe haven of people who understood, or at least tried. To me, it was a progressive movement of people who just want to live their true selves, and help others do the same. They fight for their rights, and they fight hard. I still remember being in my first Pride March last year, and it was one of the most memorable moments of my life; it was when an intense sense of belonging draped over me, and I felt like I was where I was supposed to be.
Imagine my frustrations when I came out as a bisexual man when I started seeing the individuals in the community for what they are. The safe haven I once thought was actually not safe from judgment after all.
When I came out of the closet and got involved in the hookup culture, I got really shocked to find out that there are people who don’t like bisexual people. To them, we were confused and undecided. Some of them thought that we were cheaters and that a relationship with us would never work because we’d choose to build a family in a heterosexual relationship. It frustrated me when I started in the dating scene. Granted, I didn’t encounter that many of them, but others like me have told their experiences.
The culture of being overly politically correct also frustrates me. There are some people in the community who made it their life’s mission to police other people’s sexuality. Once they find out you’re bisexual, they would pry open your sex life and romantic history. You only had sex with women before? Nah, you’re not bisexual, you’re straight. Nakiki-belong ka lang (you just want to be included and be cool). You only had sex with men before? Well, you’re homo, not bi. You’ve had sex with both genders before, but you’re currently in a heterosexual relationship? that, you’re straight who just happened to go through an experimental phase.
These people don’t seem to understand that sexuality relates to sexual attraction, not sexual activity. If you’re attracted to both genders romantically, sexually, or both, you are bisexual. You don’t have to go lengths and walk miles just to prove that you are. True, there are people who say that they are bisexual just to sound cool (as if being harrassed on the daily and oppressed by systems and governments is a cool thing), but what is our place to police other people’s sex lives? And in this policing activity, what is our right to decide for others which sexuality they have? And why is it always that bisexuality is never the option? That it’s always gay or straight?
I understand that as a bisexual man, I have the privilege of being a male person and also being straight-passing. And I guess some people don’t like that I have that privilege. But also, understand that straight-passing is a skill for a lot of us, that we developed through years of hiding in the closet and trying to evade judgmental eyes who are out to get us. And straight passing is not something I am proud of. It is something I was forced to do so I could stay alive.
The LGBTQIA+ is a community, and it should be that way. There should be no trace of judgment inside this community; it should be a safe space for all of us. We all stand by the phrase “we are all valid, and we exist”. But how are we going to live by that if we keep invalidating some people’s sexualities. It is not a safe space if it’s not safe for everyone all the time. As we fight for our rights and for a more progressive society, we all must also do the work to recognize other people’s right to exist, to keep in mind our lack of right to police others, and to be more progressive in the way we think and look at other people. That’s the only way forward if we want to stay inclusive.