BY BLAIZE STEWART
When I came out roughly a year and a half ago through an online article, I did not specify whether I was gay, bisexual or transgender. Instead, I simply came out as a member of the LGBTQ community. I wrote the article this specific way for several reasons, first and foremost being that as a newly out member of the LGBTQ community, I wanted to make it clear that my goal from that point forward would be to advocate for the rights of every person who aligns themselves with the rainbow flag.
Another secondary reason was that, as a bisexual man, even before I came out I was continually having to defending my sexuality to men in the gay community. So much so that their continual assertions that bisexuality “isn’t a real thing” kept me from coming out any sooner. Even after coming out, I still receive messages or comments from time to time telling me that my bisexuality is not “real” and I need to “choose” one way or the other.
In the past, I have tried to brush the comments off or even ignore them, but now I realize by doing that, these men might continue to keep people confused or in the closet with their severe insensitivity. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but those comments had a real affect on me and I think it is time to let those men know the damage their words can have.
I want them to know how hypocritical I find it for them to tell me that my sexuality is just a phase, that I have a choice in the matter or that being bisexual is simply not real. Those phrases have long been used to discriminate against all LGBTQ people and I cannot fathom how one who identifies as gay can use them as ammunition against a bisexual person.
I have been told I am a coward for coming out as bisexual, that I did it because I couldn’t face being gay, and that what I was doing was damaging to the gay community. I’ve been told that I’m just confused and that eventually, I will realize I am gay and “really come out” after that.
If a straight man or woman had said these things to me and I was a gay man, I assume that the LGBTQ community would be up in arms about the comments. But, for whatever reason, as a bisexual man, it is OK for me to receive this abuse from members of my own community.
I’m not saying this is a universal issue I face with all gay men, or one that I haven’t experienced with heterosexual people as well, but it happens enough within the LGBTQ community that I felt the need to write this article. How can we stand together as LGBTQ if there are those practicing discrimination within it?
Everyone in the LGBTQ community knows the impact a few words can have. No one should have to face questions or harsh words for being who they are, particularly from those who should understand what can result from those actions.
I still vividly remember the feelings I had when I got these types of messages; shame, embarrassment, confusion and fear…fear that I was never going to find a place where I would be accepted.
Eventually, I was able to overcome these feelings and come out and, since then, I’ve tried my best to advocate for all those in the LGBTQ community, to offer support, help and whatever else I can.
It is my sincere hope that the gay men who continually berated me for my sexual orientation will see this. I hope they see this and, in the future, use their energy to help lift up the LGBTQ community instead of contributing to the discrimination within.