Three time-worn sayings have popped into my head: “Silence is golden,” “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” and “Ignorance is bliss…” and when it comes to bisexuality, neither of these things are true in my book because what you don’t know can hurt you, our silence – as bisexuals – is leaving others to their own devices and, as such, allowing them to create their own mindset about bisexuals that isn’t what I’d call flattering, let alone accurate… and sitting back in the cut and being blissfully ignorant just doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about how people perceive bisexuality and assume bisexuals to be and I gotta tell you a lot of it is so eye-rolling that it really ain’t funny. Some folks have admitted that they know what they don’t know and that’s because despite the ‘call’ for bisexuals to come out of the closet like gays have, bisexuals remain the shadows, flying under the radar, anonymous and unaccounted for in the sexuality gestalt. Yes, some folks have good reason not to stand on a busy street corner and tell all who can hear them that they’re bisexual and damned happy and proud to be bi; this isn’t really that bad of a thing because rule #1 is always in effect: Take care of yourself first. A lot of people are bisexual in mind and/or body but the societal effect of keeping things sexual as private as possible prevents them from saying anything to anyone about how they feel and/or what they may be doing… and some have been so severely conditioned that they can’t even have a conversation with themselves about their bisexual feelings.
Because there’s so much angst toward anyone who isn’t straight – and the evidence and history of how badly homosexuals were (and are) treated, sure, it’s not really all that surprising that bisexuals are learning, if not by actual experience but from watching what gays have gone through, that staying quiet about their duality is a good thing to do. At some point in time – and I really don’t know when – LGBT communities began to spring up and with the mission remit to help anyone who isn’t straight understand this thing about themselves and then to educate those straight folks who firmly believe that not being straight isn’t the abomination they believe it to be. However, in the here and now, it seems that the LGBT community as a whole is a house divided, focusing on pushing the L and G agendas, kinda/sorta ignoring the T agenda, and doing their very best to denounce the B in their acronym which, when you sum it all up, appears to defeat the purpose of its existence if they’re not gonna be about supporting the cause for everyone who isn’t straight.
As bisexuals – and if we’ve been keeping up with our continuing education in this – we see the inexplicable fascination the media has with celebrities who come out, like those famous people are a shining example of what bisexuality and bisexuals are. We see this very same media produce writings that does little to shine an informative light on this so-called nonexistent sexuality segment, choosing instead to focus on the negatives and by doing this, can make a bisexual who was thinking about ending their silence rethink their decision to do so… so they remain silent. We see what I’d call pseudosciences popping up all over the place that are trying to qualify and quantify bisexuality with their surveys and studies – and knowing that because bisexuals aren’t all that visible or accessible, they wind up with such small target groups that the data they gather are sorely lacking in real hard facts.
Some bisexuals, like yours truly, don’t give a fuck about being silent and are putting the word out there for all to see because some of us know that there are so many bisexuals behind the scenes who need help to understand this thing and to know that despite the way the feel – and the opinions of others – they are not alone by a long shot. Over the last few days (or however long its been), I’ve been writing a lot of stuff about understanding what bisexuality is (from my point of view, of course) and what it means to be bisexual and, yeah, I’ve even been sharing my experiences because to me, keeping quiet about this just doesn’t help anyone. As bisexuals, we can often feel so alone because we’re not exactly straight, but not exactly gay, either; in this, the golden sheen of silence is more of a detriment than anything else. On the one hand, we know that we’re not the only bisexual in the world while on the other, some of us wonder where all the other bisexuals are; why aren’t they reaching out to their fellow bisexuals and lending the much-needed support and encouragement that the LGBT communities are having some issues providing?
What about those folks whose situation doesn’t give them access to information? Who mentors them? Who’s got their back when the weight of their sexuality is bearing down on them in some form or fashion? What about those bisexuals who wind up blindly going into sexual and/or emotional situations and wind up getting totally fucked up in mind and body, learning the hard way that what they didn’t know did, in fact, hurt them? Who eases their fears? Who lets them know that it’s okay for them to feel the way they do and that they’re not wrong to feel this way, that being turned on in some way by a man or a woman doesn’t make them some kind of godless freak?
I will say, rhetorically, that I don’t know how anyone can just stand by and watch another bisexual struggle with their feelings; perhaps we feel as if since it ain’t us, it ain’t none of our business and failing to realize the big picture here, that everything that negatively affects a bisexual will eventually affect us all and if you don’t think so, go find some of those writings I mentioned that suggest that bisexuals are diseased devil’s spawn, confused, lying to themselves, and all that other inaccurate information… and information that’s inaccurate because ignorance is not bliss; it is, however, inexcusable. Nope, this isn’t a call for bisexuals to leap out the closet like Superman out of a phone booth – shit, yeah, that could get your head handed to you in little pieces. But if you can say something that might not only help yourself but help someone else, why not?
The way we dispel the misconceptions is to offer up the truth and in the many forms it can take where bisexuality is concerned; the way we put a stop to the stereotyping is to let the people doing it know that, uh-uh, that might be some folks… but it ain’t me… and here’s why it ain’t. The way we put to bed that we’re really some emotionally disturbed, STD infected people who don’t have the sense God gave them is to tell them that, yeah, I have damned good sense… and probably more than you because you’re obviously sadly misinformed. Yep it’s true that some of us lack good judgment… but it ain’t all of us so stop acting like it is.
If we break our silence and, in doing so, help just one other bisexual to put things into perspective, this is a good thing because, again, not only can it help them, we can help ourselves because there’s really no such thing as too much information, no such thing as learning too much about such an important factor in our lives and, yeah, you’re never too old to learn. What we don’t know can and will hurt us… and all because there are too many of us willing to remain silent and if you could prevent someone from making a mistake in this, isn’t it worth doing?
The naysayers against bisexuals appear to not know what they don’t know… so they’re kinda making it up as they go along. We can’t have relationships, we’re flighty, over-sexed and so promiscuous that we’d put ladies of the night to shame. We’re greedy, we’re confused, we don’t exist, we have to choose one side or the other; we seem to suffer more bouts of depression and other like mental maladies because we’re supposedly unable to land on one side of the sexuality line or the other… and unless the bisexuals who are more vocal stand up to contradict these and other blanket condemnations against bisexuality, they’re gonna keep thinking that they’re right… and we know that they are about as wrong as it gets. I see the results of their studies and it makes me wonder what bisexuals they were talking to… because they sure as hell wasn’t talking to me. Sure, I’m just one voice, one of millions in the world… but I can make a difference by not allowing myself to be cast in the role of the silent minority in this and more so since it’s believed that Black male bisexuals don’t exist either, thanks to that “All Black men are homophobic” rumor that’s been around since I before I was born.
It’s not entirely true… but if I, as a Black male bisexual, remain silent and hidden away in the cut, their lie becomes their reality and my silence will not protect me… because I didn’t say anything to contradict the falsehood or to, at the least, make them further qualify their statement because, duh, there is no fucking way that I’m the only Black male bisexual on the planet – just no fucking way.
And then, there’s this: If not me, then who? If not now, when? I gladly give up my right to remain silent on this because that silence has already proven to have done more harm than good.
Whew, what a rant that was… and I might not be done ranting – continuing education at work.