When I saw an article titled Is this the reason why bisexual people have yet to form a community?, I couldn’t help think about my own experiences.
I first googled ‘I think I might be bisexual’ one cold November night in 2016.
In short, the conclusion I came to was that yes: I was bisexual. I sat on this new knowledge for months though.
Back then, I hadn’t yet heard of Stephanie Beatriz or Desiree Akhavan or Janelle Monae. That Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song hadn’t been released, either. I was sure I didn’t have any bi friends I could talk to.
Worried my attraction to people of the same gender wasn’t real, or that it wouldn’t be taken seriously because I’d never had sex with a woman, or that it would be dishonest to say I was bisexual because of that fact, I kept it to myself.
In this period of lonely isolation I turned once more to my laptop for help. My lifeline was the abundantly active online bisexual community.
Bisexual community is abundantly active online
Accounts like Still Bisexual and The Bisexual Index and hashtags like BiPride and BisexualHistory all proved there were others like me all over the world. There was a whole history of bisexuality the mainstream media tended to ignore.
When I eventually came out, the more people I told the more fellow bisexuals I seemed to find. We fed each other with news of other groups and events to join, introducing each other so that our bi friendship group expanded.
Last year I came across Biscuit, an organisation working at the intersection of biphobia and misogyny, providing support, education, social opportunities and behind-the-scenes activism for bisexual communities.
They were raising money to fund the first ever bisexual+ community float at London Pride.
Some bi friends and I joined them on the parade. It was my first ever Pride. For the most part I felt, for the first time, visible and part of a much needed community.
‘I finally felt safe’
Last month I attended London Bi Fest, an event that’s been running for 20 years.
The festival had talks, speed friending and bi-activism stalls, offering the chance to meet yet more wonderful bisexual people.
In fact, I was so overwhelmed at finding myself in a room of bisexuals, I began to cry (with joy).
For the first time, I was in a space where I knew everyone accepted my sexuality as completely valid. I finally felt safe.
There are a heap of bi community groups out there, so many in fact I couldn’t include them all.
In London alone there’s Stitch Bi Stitch for creatively crafty bisexuals, Bisexual Female Friends, Be W Hitched for married bisexual women, Bis of Colour, The Big Ol’ Bisexual Cabaret, London Bisexuals, Bisexual Underground, Bi Coffee London, Bijou a new bisexual dance party… then there’s the UK BiCon taking place 1-4 August in Lancaster plus the first Bi Pride event due to happen 7 September in London.
Bisexual erasure still exists
What’s especially beautiful about these groups is that while we’re all united by a common sexuality, our gender identities, sexual histories, stories and experiences are just as likely to be vastly different and unique as they are to be similar.
I can understand why the author of the original article and other bisexuals might feel isolated: bisexual erasure still exists.
It’s there in our day to day lives, in the media, in the stereotypes perpetuated in pop culture, in the gross under-funding of the B in LGB, all of which can lead to a vicious cycle of invisibility.
However, I promise you the community is out there willing to welcome you with open arms.
Sadie Clark is a writer, actor and comedy improviser. You can catch her play Algorithms: A Bisexual Bridget Jones for the Online Generation in Nottingham, Norwich, Peterborough, London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Follow her on Twitter.