In the last few years, society has become more accepting of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community, including the underrepresented group of bisexuals. People who identify as bisexual are attracted to more than one gender.
While these people exist and are defined, many of them still face discrimination. Most, if not all, bisexuals deal with people saying that their sexuality isn’t real or has been mislabeled.
Accepting oneself can be the hardest thing about being bisexual since many people don’t believe the sexual orientation is legitimate at all. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, though. In fact, in the last few years, there has been a growing number of students in the LGBTQ community coming out at Oswego High School, including those who identify as bisexual.
“I don’t regret coming out.”
– Heather Start
Junior Heather Start is one of many who took some time to come to terms with her sexuality. “I definitely feel more attracted to men,” Start said. “That’s why I assumed I was straight.”
Bisexuality doesn’t mean being attracted to both genders equally, but it’s often talked about that way – which can make people who find themselves more attracted to one gender over the other confused about their orientation.
“I felt bad about myself because my mom and my best friend at the time didn’t think [ bisexuality ] was real,” Start said. “Being bisexual is seen as just a phase.”
Even so, Start found people who did accept her for who she was.
“I don’t regret coming out,” Start said.
The common stigma surrounding the LGBTQ community includes the assumption that there is only gay and straight. A man, for example, could be automatically labeled as gay once they’ve shown attraction to another man.
Junior Grace Plum also found it hard to come out to her friends and family.
“Not being able to tell my friends [ was the hardest part of coming out ], because I wanted to tell them but I was too scared to tell them,” Plum said. “I thought I’d feel like an outcast if I was out to the whole school because they wouldn’t really accept that.”
The media is a main reason for the stigmas and stereotypes that develop around certain people in the LGBTQ community, especially bisexuals. In both right-wing and left-wing media, bisexuality isn’t talked about as much, which leads those who identify as bisexual to feel like their sexuality is seen as just a phase.
“A lot of the time when you’re looking at the media, [ bisexuality is portrayed as ] something you do in college, or it’s experimental,” Plum said. The media portraying bisexuals like this causes people looking in on them from the outside to form an opinion based off of false information.
People who identify as bisexual are often afraid to come out because of these reasons. They are worried parents and family members may not understand. Parents aren’t the only ones who could have a problem with a bisexual person coming out. Relationships and friendships can end simply because a person doesn’t agree with the sexuality of a partner or friend.
“I had this one friend that I told about it, and she was accepting, but then she started acting really weird. She wouldn’t talk to me as much, and then she got a boyfriend, and we stopped talking,” Plum said. “We had been friends for five to six years.”
Junior Lexi Buskey is in the larger part of the community that doesn’t care about what the media, or anyone, says to them. They’re proud of who they are, and nothing anyone says or does can change that. Even though they’re more quiet about their sexuality, they still represent a large part of the bisexual community.
“I didn’t tell my family, but my friends didn’t really care,” Lexi Buskey said. “Nothing bad really happened. I just like girls, too, now.”
Even though some of them deal with the backlash, a majority of OHS is overwhelmingly accepting. As time goes on, the community acts as a seed of hope that the world will grow to be more accepting of all members of the LGBTQ community.