As an openly bisexual man, I have been the butt of many jokes made by a lot of people, which, for starters, are anything but funny or ‘casually humorous’. It is almost as if men, upon finding out that I am a bisexual man, immediately need to give me a disclaimer saying, “I support your sentiments, but I am not that kind okay, so I cannot understand.”
Now my initial response to most of them were “Why do you think I will hook up with any guy I see? Do you want to hook up with every girl you see?” But over time I have just limited my response to a forced smile and an “Okay”.
If you truly wish to make queer folk feel comfortable – unpack the heteronormativity of the place.
What is it about queer men that make heterosexual men feel entitled enough to make fun of? It seems to me that my masculinity is deemed to be “lesser” compared to my heterosexual friends, just because of my sexual orientation.
So here is a list that I have made for all you heterosexual men, (and in some cases, women), to try and reflect upon your words, if you wish to. This is not to “look cool”, (what I’ve heard from my friends – I am bisexual to ‘look cool’) but rather a culmination of everything I have heard and engaged with, and therefore wished to be put out there.
1) Do not gloat about being more masculine than another person just because the other is queer. Masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with sexual orientation. A gay man may be more “masculine” than a heterosexual man. A lesbian woman may be more “feminine” than a heterosexual woman. In fact, masculinity and femininity need to be seen as a fluid spectrum, and not rigid, compartmentalized structures that one needs to conform to. So do not assume someone’s sexual orientation based on their levels of ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’.
2) Do not assume that I want to sleep with you if I talk to you, just because I am a bisexual man. I am sure you would take offence if every girl you spoke to took that assumption.
3) Two men kissing is not weird. It is strange that you may find two women making out “hot”, but two men making out “disgusting”, and only points to the level of objectification of women in society.
4) Non-heterosexual men are not ‘non-natural’. They may not be as visible or common because of this sick heteronormative culture around, but they are as “natural” as you are.
5) If you truly wish to make queer folk feel more comfortable in the society you are in, be it college, workplace etc. – try unpacking the heteronormativity of the place. For starters, do not assume that everyone you meet is heterosexual – it makes us feel invisible. Make it a habit to always ask. The more you make it comfortable for queer folk, the more you help them feel able to openly identity as queer.
6) Do not bully. Calling someone a faggot, gay (pejoratively) or bent IS bullying.
7) To bisexual men, do not ask silly questions like “Which do you prefer – a penis or a vagina?”
8) If you feel comfortable to talk about “which girl you think is the hottest on campus”, be equally comfortable with listening to “which guy a queer boy feels is the hottest in campus” as well. Do not minimise our desire.
9) Do not assume that bisexual men are bisexual only “for more action”. The level of our sexual desire has nothing to do with our sexual orientation.
10) Do not think heterosexuality is normative, natural or “the right thing”.