Sometimes it feels like bisexuality is the biggest secret club in the world. We make up the largest percentage of the queer community and there are bi people of every race and gender, but sometimes it feels impossible to find each other. It’s one of my favorite things to whisper “I’m bisexual” to a relative stranger in a lesbian bar or a church pew or on Twitter and hear them say “me too.” These electric moments feel like a gift from the universe.
Because of the ways queer and straight communities erase bi folks, sometimes it feels like we have to shout just to hear each other, and that makes it all the more essential for us to create friendships with other bi people and build community.
“I freaking love having bisexual friends. If I wasn’t friends with y’all I never would’ve come out as bi,” said Trans Editor Mey Rude. “Bi friends are the best because they remind you that you’re just as queer and valid and cool as that lesbian over there. I still struggle a lot with internalized biphobia and it’s my bi friends that help shake me out of it.”
There are some things that my bi friends just get. I often feel self-conscious talking about my romantic and sexual history of mostly cis dudes because some lesbians (and straight people who assume I’m a lesbian) keep waiting for the punchline where I talk about how horrible it was. With my bi friends, I can tell all my stories without hesitation or editing, and it makes me feel like a whole person. On the other hand, I don’t have to talk about my past relationships in a floundering attempt to prove my identity is valid. I can just be a human who has dated and kissed and pined after some other humans and it’s not a big deal!
In general, my bi friends understand the alienation, erasure and self-doubt that comes with being bisexual in a “can’t you just pick one” world. By seeing and believing each other’s negative experiences, we help each other reduce the harm of those things.
While I was writing this, I asked my roommate Antonia what she thought and she said something incredibly true that I had never thought of: Being bi can mean the way we enter into platonic intimacy becomes more complex and freeing because a person’s gender is never the most obvious thing about our dynamic with them. In a way, the ostensibly broader range of romantic possibilities reduces the internalized pressure to filter every person of a specific gender through the lens of whether we want to date them.
Staff writer Raquel puts it this way: “It’s so helpful to just dish and vent about various partners and life experiences with people who share that experience. I mean, it’s so fun to rant, uncensored, about being asked for unwarranted threesomes or if I’m switching back to dick, to an understanding ear. (And one million eyerolls.) My bi friendships have been a safe space to just be myself and bitch, and that may not sound like much, but it’s everything. The understanding friendships you feel safe enough in to rant and to be vulnerable are the best.”
I’m lucky: I have a bisexual best friend, a bisexual roommate, and once a year I get to go to the Bisexual meet-up at A-Camp and hang out with a room full of people who ask each other questions and believe each other and are all very cute. But I know how hard it is to begin the journey of forging connections with other bi folks who will support you and teach you new crafts! There are a few easy ways to start:
- Literally just tell people you’re bisexual all the time. I know not everyone feels safe or comfortable doing this but if you do, I highly recommend it as the most efficient option. It has the added benefit of weeding out biphobic people in your quest for friends! And maybe you don’t carry around a blue, pink and purple neon sign, but seriously, the risk of someone reacting badly when they find our you’re bi is far outweighed by the reward of making a life-affirming connection. Sorry for being a sap but it’s true!
- Join online communities. As for any marginalized group or group with a relatively small population, the internet has changed the way we find and connect with each other. I recommend the BiNet USA group and the Autostraddle and A-Camp Bisexuals group on Facebook as a starting point.
- Celebrate Bi Visibility Week! It’s your lucky day, because bi week is going on right now. Watch social media for people you didn’t even know were bi posting specially filtered photos on social media or using the #biweek hashtag. Also get into the comments on all the great bi week articles here on Autostraddle this week!
When it comes to making bisexual friends, here’s what Staff Writer Alaina has to say:
All of my friends are bisexual. The weird thing is that I’m only sort of kidding; I have a lot of bisexual friends. And I love them so much, and they’re so important to me because I can talk about attraction with them in a really easy way. I think I’ve been able to find so many bi friends through being open about who I am. I don’t use bi as an identifier typically, but I’m open about being attracted to people who are my gender and who aren’t, and like, if you tell someone you’re bisexual/bisexual adjacent, if they are too, they’ll let you know. Also, a lot of my bi friends are nonbinary, and that’s been awesome, because we’re able to talk about our genders and our sexualities and like, can you even really be straight or gay if you’re not a woman????? And it’s super low pressure, and funny, and not this serious and awkward conversation. The best part of making new bisexual friends is the Bi Meetup at A-Camp every year. It’s amazing to meet so many people with the same sexuality as you but who are defining it and dealing with it in a ton of different ways. Plus there are always cute craft ideas, and what better way to make friends than crafts?
While on your quest to create more beautiful bi friendships, I hope you will insist that all your variously-oriented friends treat you with respect and kindness and take your identity and relationships seriously. Only you know what that means to you, but whatever it is, you deserve it. I promise.