From bizarre interactions to threesome requests to complete dismissal of their sexuality, bisexual people continue to face the stigma attached to the ‘B’ in LGBT+ in India. As we mark the end of Bisexuality Awareness Week, we take a look at what it means to be bisexual in India as explained by bisexual people.
“Why is my experience as a bisexual woman less valid when I am dating a man? It doesn’t change that I am bisexual, and it certainly doesn’t change the oppression I feel from the homophobic discourse that de-recognizes my sexuality”, says Shruti, a bisexual woman.
“Being bisexual is treated as a stepping stone to eventually becoming gay… and when queer people perpetuate these stereotypes, straight people also believe it’s okay to say these things because ‘the gays’ say it”, says Sadiq (name changed for privacy), a student.
“There have been times when I have felt completely frustrated and have considered to never talk about my sexuality again, especially when I come across weird men who think it is okay to ask me if I would agree to a threesome, or people who ask me “So have you been with more men or women?” as if in an attempt to proclaim the credibility of my sexuality”, says Kavita, an artist.
“Because I faced so much biphobia, it also made me uncomfortable with my own identity, because I felt like there was this wrong notion of bisexuality that I had to prove wrong”, says Shibanshu, a student and start-up founder.
“It has not been uncommon for people to brand my sexual orientation as a ‘phase,’ and absurd questions like “Do you like girls more than guys?”are more frequent than I would like them to be”, shared a bisexual person anonymously.
“Ultimately, patriarchal norms guide our perception of bisexuality and men are stigmatised because they defy the traditional ideas of masculinity and continuing the bloodline”, says Aayush, who is currently a student.
“I always knew I was attracted to women too even before I understood the word bisexuality. However, I was very scared to actually explore it because of internalized heterosexuality. When a woman approached me, I was initially quite apprehensive, but finally overcame my fears. But, I still don’t feel comfortable to identify as bi or openly talk about it”, says Noor* (name changed for privacy), a bisexual cis-woman.