Straight Passing Privilege
Having spent the majority of my teenage years in opposite-sex relationships, my sexuality has never been questioned. Seeing a man by my side ticks the invisible requirement for a straight relationship and I live a seemingly heterosexual existence, despite actually being bisexual.
Not once have I been attacked due to my sexuality, nor has the gender of my partner been met with confusion or anger. And for that I am grateful. Yet, I sometimes wish there was a pink, purple and blue siren flashing above my head.
Appearing straight, despite its obvious pros, can also prevent me from being recognised in the queer community. As someone who is neither gay nor straight, the automatic labelling of my sexuality based on my partner‘s gender massively contributes to bierasure in supposedly safe LGBTQ spaces. Contrary to many hasty assumptions, no matter my relationship status or how I portray myself, I will always be bisexual.
The mindset of ‘straight until proven otherwise’, especially in LGBTQ groups, is hugely damaging to bisexual people with no ‘evidence’ of their sexuality, like a same-sex partner or previous same-sex experiences. This quickly leads to the feeling of not being ‘gay enough’ in queer spaces. Obviously, there is no such thing; if you feel that a label fits you there is no need to prove it. But the expectation, particularly from within the LGBTQ community, that identities need to be supported with a checklist of sexual achievements is unreasonable and ignorant of bi people, like me, that are in happy monogamous relationships.
As members of the LGBTQ community – a group which has fought so hard for decades to achieve equality – we should be welcome and celebrate all queer people, even those in apparently ‘straight’ relationships.
Words by Anonymous