In the run up to BiVisibility Day, Lewis Oakley tells us what it means to be a bisexual man in 2016
I’m a bisexual man – Yes, we exist! And no, I’m not confused, lying or going through a phase. I’m 25, so I think I know by now what turns me on.
Friday 23rd of September is internationally known as BiVisibility day. It’s a chance for bisexuals everywhere to get their voices heard, celebrate who they are and bring attention to the issues we face.
I love being bisexual, to be able to find people interesting and attractive regardless of gender. It’s a perspective on life that not many people are lucky enough to experience. I’ve dated men, I’ve dated women, I’ve fallen in love with both and NO, I don’t have a preference.
Because I’d fancied women all my life, I had never considered that I was attracted to men (even though looking back now, I probably was). It wasn’t until I moved to London at nineteen and saw all the confident gay men in Soho living their lives and being happy that I began to notice an attraction to men.
I feel lucky that I got a chance to explore my bisexuality in a place so welcoming, that leaves you free to explore who you are and what you’re in to.
Sadly there are also a lot of gay people who have a problem with bisexuals and biphobia in London is rife – I’ve experienced it first hand.
A lot of gay men are sceptical. I do get a lot of ‘oh hunny, I was bi once too’ when I’m out on the town. I think the BIG problem is that a lot of gay men identify as bisexual on the way out of the closet before fully coming out as gay. This is probably the biggest cause of people thinking bisexuality is a phase. The truth is, these men were never bisexual. They were always gay, they just didn’t know or accept it at the time. There are people who are bisexual their entire lives and I think what we really need is a new word to describe those years of sexual exploration because that word is NOT bisexual.
“Bisexuals are still trailing behind with the stabilisers on, fighting to simply have their sexuality taken seriously.”
It’s a shame really. I do feel that some subgroups have done much better out of the LGBT movement than others. Gay men have achieved unimaginable success, yet bisexuals are still trailing behind with the stabilisers on, fighting to simply have their sexuality taken seriously.
This BiVisibility day, I ask my fellow LGBT members to ask themselves ‘am I supportive of bisexuals?’ And think about some of the abuse bisexuals suffer at the hands of other LGBT members. I would also ask those who are exploring or uncertain of their sexuality to not throw the word bisexual around loosely. Bisexuals are attracted to both genders for life, we are not a step in the coming out process.
• Follow Lewis on Twitter @lewyoaks