cw: homophobia, transphobia
I didn’t come out as bisexual until 2020. I needed to finally be seen for who I actually was, a bisexual woman in a heterosexual relationship. When my husband and I started dating, I asked him if he was okay being in a gay relationship. I had never asked that before because I hadn’t allowed myself to be bi. He’s not gay. I’m a woman. Why is it a gay relationship? Because I’m a gay person. I’m in the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been there since I could remember.
The community was on the fence about folks like me when I was a kid. We were seen as selfish, confused, or somehow even more perverted than people who loved their own gender. It was all very confusing, so much so that I shouted allyship instead of coming out. It was hard being an ally to people who knew the pain of being rejected and still dismissed bi people.
Those same people would often dismiss or torment trans people and looking back, it was on them to look inward at their own homophobia and to question where their fear of trans people comes from. I read an anonymous article by a trans woman in a health magazine back in 2007. There weren’t articles by trans women in mainstream media then. I instantly felt seen and heartbroken for this woman, for the entire trans community. Here I was being told that I was confused and here she was, having to write anonymously so she wouldn’t be murdered the next day.*
The thing is, I was afraid to bring women home, to have them as a girlfriend, to shout “I love men AND women!” I missed out on what I think would have been some great love stories. Most of my friends knew, the ones that saw me outside of work. My club friends definitely knew. One of my cousins knew. I wasn’t completely closeted in some spaces. The spaces I felt safe enough in. Not all gay people are safe spaces to be around. But the majority of the straight people that I’ve met are not safe either. I try not to keep unsafe people around, it’s difficult when they can’t see their own homophobia within them. I have tried to have conversations and teach and usually end up feeling unseen and hurt.
It’s up to us, as individuals, to look inward at our phobias, the learned behaviour that tells us “this is the way to be safe”. Those learned behaviours and thought patterns and exclusionary measures are based on fear and misunderstanding. Gay people, trans people, and disabled people have been here just as long as ‘normal’ people. We’ve walked beside each other since the beginning.
We only want to ban your war guns, not your love. You want to ban and kill us for who we are. So when you use hurtful language or laugh and taunt and brush off homophobia, you’re standing on the same side as them. You’ve shown the gays how you really feel.
There’s still time to learn, listen, and grow out of those behaviours. It’s scary and feels weird but is one of the most rewarding things to finally be able to see the love people have for one another.
A note to my husband, thank you, love, for your unconditional love for me and for who I am. It’s okay that you’re not gay 😉
*I don’t want to belittle the fight that gay men and women have fought for so long. There is no but here. People have been murdered for who they love and for who they really are for millennia. It is time now to accept everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.