Several comments asked why I thought it was necessary to be out as a bisexual if I’m currently dating a guy. After all, I admit that although bisexuality is part of my identity, it’s certainly not the most important thing to know about me (that identifier is: giant geek). And isn’t it all kinda moot if I’m not currently single?
Let me run through the reasons I make a point of being out:
I can’t wait to fight for my rights until I know I need them
I’m currently dating a boy, but I don’t know for sure I won’t end up with a girl, in which case the question of gay marriage is gonna get a whole lot less abstract. I’ve got plenty of reasons to be pro-gay marriage beside self interest, but I want to mention this point because it’s a reason my bisexuality isn’t irrelevant to me when I’m not dating a girl.
Being ‘in’ requires self-censorship
It’s easy to think of not-being-out as the default setting, the path of least resistance. But being in the closet actually requires me to police my actions and words for no good reason. For instance, when a group of friends and I were discussing the pros and cons of Avatar, I probably wouldn’t have been able to add to the pro tally that Michelle Rodriguez is really really good looking.
Ok, so maybe Michelle Rodriguez is a bit of a shallow example. If I wanted to go into the closet now that I have a boyfriend, I’d have to lie by omission when I talk about my past or switch pronouns when I tell the story of my most disastrous blind date. I see no compelling reason to censor my history.
Being ‘in’ cuts me off from a community
If I weren’t open about being bisexual, I wouldn’t be able to be part of the queer community. Because I’m out, I was able to have a fun queer film festival with a bi friend, since we both like seeing movies where we feel this special point of commonality with the protagonist and each other. I can give romantic advice to bi or lesbian friends and express sympathy born of experience when they find out the cute girl in the math class is straight. Ceasing to identify as bisexual whenever I am with a boy means ignoring the ties I have to these people.
Finally, being out gives me a chance to fix misconceptions
One commenter who thought bisexuals were only happy when dating boys and girls simultaneously mentioned that he didn’t know any bisexuals personally. Well, now he knows one. Being out and visible is a chance to combat the stereotypes that all bi girls are polyamorous, promiscuous, secretly gay, really good with power tools, etc. (Ok, I’m definitely not a counterexample to that last one, but I could introduce you to some bi friends who are.)
The fewer bisexuals you know and the more you tend to know of them rather than know them personally, the harder it is to imagine us as a diverse group of people, not an archetype. And that’s particularly frightening when some of the archetypes people carry around are so negative.