Gay men are constantly working towards acceptance in mainstream society. From the domestic abuse bill in Louisiana to the push for visibility from Florida’s Democrats, we’re working hard to get the rights we deserve. But even though we’re still fighting for equal rights in many states and scenarios, it doesn’t stop us from harboring prejudice against bisexual men.
The Independent’s Lewis Oakley wrote about bi invisibility in a July essay. “I’ve been asked to stop kissing my girlfriend in gay bars on several occasions. From the outside my girlfriend and I kissing is seen as ‘straight’ therefore we are seen as invading gay people’s safe space,” he writes. Though gay spaces should technically cater to everyone that’s LGBTQ, it seems the B isn’t always included. You don’t have to look far to find other stories like Oakley’s, in which bisexual men are shunned or questioned by gay men. And their girlfriends find themselves on the receiving end of hate and aggression from all sides.
Perhaps it’s because so many bisexual men appear to show an obvious preference for one sex or the other. Though, we should understand that a current relationship doesn’t dictate the scope of one’s sexuality, a lot of gays use that as a determining factor. Unfortunately, the available research kind of confirms their stance. As per Pew Research Center, 84% of bisexuals end up in committed relationships with someone of the opposite sex.
Thus, bi guys don’t come out just once. They come out every time they speak to someone, and even worse, they’re often forced to prove they’re real, as if they’re unicorns. Sadly, it’s gay men who ask for proof most often. “Bisexual men are like climate change: real but constantly denied,” writes Splinter’s Samantha Allen. She tackles the ongoing belief that only women can be bisexual, and she calls for change.
No doubt, change is needed. Aside from the prevalence of biphobia, there’s a social perception that bisexual men are less worthy of favorable social positioning. Openly bisexual men earned 30% less than their gay counterparts. It’s a wage gap that no one’s talking about, and it’s one that shouldn’t exist. But it’s yet another example of the bias bisexual men are up against.
Don’t let this deter you in quest for self-acceptance. The world needs more out and proud bisexual men. “There are a number of high-profile women: Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho, Anna Paquin, among others,” writes Washington Post’s Ryan Carey-Mahoney. “These women have done wonders for the community, but none speak directly to what it’s like to be a bi man.” It’s true. The public, gay and straight, seems far more accepting of bi women than bi men. But attitudes are changing slowly but surely, and you can be a part of that.
Bisexuality and Gay Men: Expect Shade
Once you come out as bisexual, you’ll undoubtedly face your fair share of shade. But if you’re prepared, it won’t be a problem. Use this as an opportunity to love yourself more while educating those around you.
- You exist, and it’s not a phase: Your gay friends might think you’re just sleeping with women to pass the time. They’ll definitely ask when you’ve last slept with a woman. Know that your sex timeline has nothing to do with your bisexuality. You can sleep with 20 men and only one woman, and still define yourself as bisexual.
- You’re not greedy, polyamorous, or a cheater: This seems to be the next phase of the conversation. “Ok, you’re bisexual. So that means you can’t be trusted.” You know this isn’t true. You want love like anyone else. You’re just more open-minded about where it comes from.
- You’re not scared of commitment: You are absolutely capable of loving one person in a monogamous relationship. But if that’s not what you want, that’s okay. Being single isn’t a bisexual behavior. It’s a life stage that everyone goes through.
- You’re no more at risk for HIV than gays: Some gays think bi guys are more likely to spread HIV, but that doesn’t make any sense. People who don’t take proper precautions are the ones who end up spreading disease. Sexuality has nothing to do with it. That being said, be aware of your options (i.e. PrEP).
- You may or may not like threesomes: This is a belief too—that you’re all about threesomes because you like men and women. Also a silly belief. Gay, straight, bi, man, woman—threesomes appeal to a lot of people. If you like them, you’re part of a club that extends far beyond bisexuals.
- You don’t owe the gays an explanation: When it comes down to it, you don’t have to prove that you’re bisexual. You can teach others about your sexuality but by no means should you feel like you’re on trial.
Every bisexual man’s experience is different. Some guys have experimented with women. For others, a woman’s body is a foreign concept. If you’re experimenting, these are some guidelines you can abide by regardless of your experience.
- Go digital: It’s impossible to identify which women are open to dating bisexual men. But there are plenty of apps (i.e. Tinder, BiCupid) that help narrow down the playing field.
- Disclosure is your choice: This is new for you, and it might be new for her, too. The sooner you get your sexual history out of the way, the smoother things will flow. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when and what to say.
- Don’t force it: You know that you’re bi, but that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to date a certain number of women. If you’re only into guys right now, then you’re only into guys right now. It’s that simple.
- Accept your feelings: Admitting that you’re bisexual can be scary. But accept it. There’s plenty of joy on the other side.
Bisexuality shouldn’t be as difficult a concept for gay men to understand, but the unfortunate reality is that it is. Remember that this is a personal journey, and if you move at a speed that works for you, you can have a great experience.
Also check out our Guide for Embracing Bisexuality: Straight Men.