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While we all can agree that the queer community is supposed to be one of unwavering acceptance and support to all identities, there are times when even the most accepting group of folks fall short. If there has ever been a sub-culture within a sub-culture that gets a bad reputation, it’s bisexual womxn. Aside from them being the only queer representation that pop culture seems to acknowledge, they are also the black sheeps of our family. We never know if they are coming or going, or if their feelings are real and if their actions are genuine.
But let’s be honest, those assumptions and judgments are neither fair or rooted in true acceptance. (Bad lesbians, bad) Automatically placing a veil of shame and dishonesty over every bisexual womxn you encounter, both sets our community back and isolates the exact people are community was created to protect.
Looking to have a deeper conversation around how the queer community views bisexual womxn and the stereotypes we often place upon them, LBH decided to sit down with a bisexual womxn to discuss, well, what is truly like to identify as bisexual in a community that doesn't always accept you.
At what point in your life did you realize that you identify as bisexual, and how did that moment feel for you?
Jordan: I think I knew I liked girls from a young age. I would say I was about maybe eight when I was like, you know, I'm attracted to girls. I remember having play dates and playing house and kissing and doing all of that. But I didn't come out until after college. [During] high school, and through college, it was kind of me [just] figuring out what the fuck was going on. Because I liked men. I had always dated men and all my friends were straight. I was also very concerned with my image in high school so that might’ve been the reason why I didn't come out at that point. And then college was really when it was in full swing, I was like I'm attracted to womxn. But at that point, I was just scared. I felt [like] I was late. I hadn’t come out to anyone, and I had barely come out to myself. So, it was a lot of the fear of being new [in the queer community] and then fear of just how I was going to be received by loved ones and people I care about. But I knew for a very long time.
How would you define your bisexuality? Because some bisexual womxn like men more than they like womxn or they like womxn more than men, or like both the same.
Jordan: I would definitely say I am more attracted to womxn than I am to men. I would say there’s definitely a spectrum of where everyone falls. I find myself more romantically and sexually attracted to womxn, and [with] men, I feel it's a lot more sexual. Long-term, I see myself [being] with and marrying a womxn. However, I think it would be wrong of me not to identify with the other part of me that is still attracted to men. I think labeling myself as bisexual just feels more comfortable. It feels like I'm still being my full self.
How has coming out as bisexual changed the way you date? Is it easier or harder?
Jordan: I would say easier, easier for me at least. I know exactly [how] I want to navigate. Though I’ve noticed more of a shift [in my life] socially. I think maybe three or four years ago when I first posted my girlfriend at the time, I noticed a lot of the straight dudes that I knew unfollowed me. Some people started viewing me differently. So, I would say the outside view of me might have shifted for people who knew me before I came out. But I don’t think coming out as bi has been detrimental to the way I navigate dating at all.
I know that within the queer community, bisexual womxn are often ostracized; while in the heterosexual community, they are sexualized. In which community, do you feel the safest?
Jordan: I still feel the safest in the gay community. There's way more acceptance in the gay community. [Like] of course they are always going to be those few that aren't as accepting of everyone [even] within their own community, [but] that's within every community. I still feel accepted within the LGBT community, I do. And I know a lot of times bisexual people tend to have to rally around each other when it comes to issues like bi-phobia, but I've still never felt more like myself than at a gay event or when I went to pride. I finally felt comfortable, like I don't need to be anything else.
Do potential queer partners ever react harshly to the fact that you have had or still have relations with men?
Jordan: I have never experienced anyone I wanted to date or have dated reacting harshly, and I think it’s because I've always been openly bisexual. They knew what they were coming into from the very beginning. The times that I have experienced anything like that has mostly been with people that I wasn't really interested in dating in the first place.
What does the balance of dating both men and womxn look like for you?
Jordan: I'm going to be honest, there really hasn'tt been a balance really since I came out. I haven't dated a man in four years. The last date I went on was around the time that I came out, and I would say a few months after that I was like, you know what? It's not working out with this dude. I'm gonna finally go and explore all the [other] possibilities. So, after that, I think I just kind of, I felt more comfortable [dating womxn]. Like I found like the missing piece of what I wasn't getting with dating men. And I haven't really gone back.
That leads me into my next question because I know that in the lesbian community, a lot of times bisexual womxn are seen as imposters. It's like, oh, because you're not getting the emotional connection from a man, that's why you're dating a womxn, and not because you genuinely want to be with a womxn. Is there any truth to the assumption that bisexual womxn will always prefer men over women?
Jordan: No, I don't think that at all. I do think that with bisexuality there is always a spectrum. There was a video that I saw on Twitter not too long ago, and the girl was explaining that she identifies as bisexual, but she wants to be with a man. Like she sees herself being with a man further down the line and she only wants to be with a womxn sexually. I just think it's important to understand that who you're dealing with. If you are going to date someone who is bisexual, you [have to] understand where they lie within that spectrum.
For me, personally, although I do see myself in a relationship long term with a womxn; I do know that I still have an attraction to men. And I don't want to box myself off and say it could never happen, you know? But at the same time, I am transparent. If I'm dating a lesbian womxn at that time, I'm going to let you know that that is what I'm going to do. I like to just to reassure or affirm [to] someone that I’m not in this for the wrong reasons. But I do notice we get a lot of the [blame for] straight girl’s escape routes because a lot of straight girls do act bicurious.
Is it safe to say that the attraction that you still have with men is purely just sexual attraction versus seeing an actual future or relationships with them?
Jordan: I would honestly. I had a conversation the other day with one of my friends and I think maybe the lack of attraction I feel towards men might be because they are straight. I've never dated a bisexual man or a trans man, and I would be open to that. But I think it's straight men that I’m kind of having that disconnect with. And it might just be because [they are] not progressive enough. Most of the straight men I've dated have not been emotionally mature enough. But I've never dated a bisexual, trans or non-binary man; so, I can't cancel them all out.
Knowing that a lot of stereotypes around bisexual womxn come from the queer community, in what ways do you feel like the queer community can become more welcoming to those who identify as bisexual?
Jordan: That's weird because I've never felt not welcomed in lesbian spaces. I know [people on] Twitter have a weird way of talking about it because everyone is given the space to say whatever they want.
I mean that kind of goes into the next question, like, do you feel like social media amplifies stereotypes?
Jordan: Yes, yes.
I feel like what I'm hearing from you is that in your everyday interactions with your friends, family, and the community that surrounds you in your actual life, you feel safe. But not on social media?
Jordan: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Like in my everyday life, I have never had any kind of weird feeling of not feeling accepted or not feeling heard or understood within the gay community. It's only when it comes to social media where I'm like, “What is this? I've never experienced this in my life. It's like [people] on social media just say things to get a reaction or are just trying to play the opposing side of things. I don't want to say that no one else has experienced that in their real life but personally, I've never have. So, I would just say let people do what they want to do, and stop pushing your personal experience as the bisexual agenda.
Just to jump back a little bit to something that you touched on earlier, do you find yourself being friends more with other lesbians or other bisexual womxn? Or even straight womxn, you know, since that's kind of how you identified for so long. Did your friend circle change at all when you came out?
Jordan: No, I mean, but also, I think it's me. I'm not a real outgoing person, so my friends have usually been my friends since I made them. I would say that socially, like on Twitter and Instagram, I have started making a lot more mutuals that are queer. Especially now that I am openly bisexual on social media, I think I attracted more people that are like minded.
What advice would you give to another womxn who identifies as bisexual but might not be comfortable being fully open about it?
Jordan: Sit with yourself and feel everything. Figure everything out that you're feeling, and once you're affirmed in that, don't be afraid of what everyone else is going to say to fully be yourself. You have to take the leap. Even though it's going to be [hard] and you might lose people that you've always had. To be really happy, at some point, you got to make the decision to live for yourself. Just take the leap because you're never going to know what could have been if you just sit in what's comfortable with you now.
Special thanks to Jordan Hall (@jo___deci) to participating in this conversation so openly and honestly!
Written by: Kee Simone, LBH Editor-in-Chief (@thebaddiegalore)