Closeted Bisexual Complains About Bisexual Invisibility
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Maria Southard Ospina also complains about misconceptions about bisexuals—including those held by her own family members—and wonders where her out bisexual role models are. HuffPo:
Here's what I know: My sexuality has never been a black-and-white matter for me. I cannot remember ever explicitly identifying as straight, gay, or even bisexual when I was growing up. I've always felt that people are people, or rather that souls are souls—regardless of gender. I never had that voice in my head saying, "You're a girl, so you should like boys," but I also didn't have one saying, "You are attracted to boys and girls, and you should probably tell people that."
My partners knew; my friends and relatives, for the most part, did not. And I didn't feel bad about it. I didn't feel like it deserved a big speech or a sit-down dinner with my parents. It was just how I felt.
As I've gotten older, I've begun to wonder if this lack of disclosure is dangerous and oppressive.
You think? You think maybe the bisexual closet—including your own—has something to do with bisexual invisibility? Maybe just a bit?
Presumably Ospina is out to her friends and family now—it's not an anonymous piece—but she never takes responsibility for her complicity in bisexual erasure (she erased herself!). And she doesn't make the obvious connection between her own closet and the ignorance that flourished around her:
Just recently, my older brother said something to me about bisexuality. I'm paraphrasing, but the gist was, "I just don't get it. Surely it's just a transitional period for deciding which gender you are attracted to." Initially I was angry. I thought he was being incredibly ignorant and insensitive. But then I realized that his is the opinion of a lot of people out there.
I read that and thought, "Maybe Ospina's brother wouldn't be so ignorant if he knew his sister was bisexual? Maybe if his bisexual sister had made a big coming out speech at sit-down dinner he wouldn't still be so ignorant and insensitive?" If I had edited the piece, I would've asked Ospina to address that point.
But her conclusion makes it clear that Ospina hasn't given much though to her own responsibility to be out. Because Ospina's proposed solution for all the ignorance, insensitivity, and invisibility that bisexuals face isn't bisexuals coming out to their friends and families—which doesn't necessarily require a big speech at a sit-down dinner—but more celebs coming out as bisexual:
Bisexuals will never be accepted if we don't see more of them, and that's why we need bi celebrities to step up. Actress and musician Maria Bello's New York Times essay "Coming Out as a Modern Family" was a shining moment in which she details the process of telling her son that she is romantically involved with a woman. When Olympic diver and television personality Tom Daley told us in his December YouTube video that he is "happier than ever" dating a guy, all our hearts were throbbing.
But neither Bello nor Daley actually identified as bisexual. And while I understand why Evan Rachel Wood and Allan Cumming might not want to give speeches addressing their bisexuality, I'd certainly tune in if they did. We need more widely visible, openly bi people out there to show the world that bisexuality is a legitimate orientation, that it isn't wrong, and that it certainty doesn't mean you're an indecisive mess of a human.
We need our Ellen Page moment too.
Ospina call for bi celebrities to "step up" would carry more weight if she had also called on bisexual closet cases—herself included—to do the same.