And how our lesbian sisters can help us.
1. Dating boys seems so much easier
We live in a society where it’s OK for them to come up to us on the bus. Or in a bar. Or a club. Or in the convenience store. Or whatever. We get bombarded with heteronormative messages, all the time. Bi women get told we don’t exist, to the point where we sometimes wonder if we do or not. But we do. We absolutely do. And sometimes we are super-keen (like, insanely keen) on another woman but we get brainwashed by those messages to the point where all our attempts at seducing said woman are reduced to terror and clumsiness and it all goes wrong. My pal Sasha describes it as “having more of a script” when trying to come on to men – and she’s absolutely right.
2. We have this thing called “straight privilege”
Except we don’t, because we are desperately stuck between a rock and a hard place and nobody wants us except porn film directors. Aha joke. But seriously, we often get so fetishized. And it’s dehumanizing. And scary. Men tell us to make up our minds just as much as women do.
3. We sometimes end up lying about who we are
We can’t always help it. It’s just simpler. Who wants to tell the cute girl at the bar that they’ve slept with a guy (or more than one guy, and liked it) and risk rejection? Gold star lesbianism is still a firm currency amongst many women. Sleeping with one guy when you were a teen and trying to fit in? That’s OK. Anything else can be a problem.
4. It’s hard to feel part of the LGBT community
It ostensibly involves that “B”, but it’s often ignored. If you’ve recently dated a man, forget it. You have “straight privilege”, according to lots of people who don’t know what they’re talking about. So any idea of being proudly yourself sexuality-wise can easily go out of the window.You’ve made your hetero bed and now you have to lie in it.
5. Labelling becomes a minefield sometimes
I used to call myself queer, but then some women though I was a lesbian and it all got so confusing that I went back to bi. Now the pansexuals are fighting the bis and I’ve kept to bi because I don’t think it refers to a binary (I believe the etymology to be about attraction to more than one gender), plus it references a whole history of activism that shouldn’t be erased… Yet, according to some, by calling myself bi I am still apparently only attracted to men and women, even though my last partner was genderqueer and I am mourning the failure of the relationship with all my heart. Figure that out.
6. We’ll cheat
Yeah, yeah right. No issues at all with polyamory or open relationships here (big loving shout-out to all my poly/open pals), but if we have agreed to be in a mono relationship, usually we are in a mono relationship. Sexuality is irrelevant. Being bi doesn’t mean needing multiple partners of more than one gender or fancying everyone on the planet. I often wish it did mean fancying everyone – life would be much easier. Sadly bi people are just like the rest of you. Fancying people who don’t fancy us back etc etc. And it’s a shame that a lot of those people are lesbians who won’t give us a chance.