The first time I saw a bi person was in Dodgeball. Vince Vaughn’s character fancied a woman, throughout the film her sexuality is jokingly questioned by his teammates. When he sees her kissing another woman, he’s gutted. But *plot twist* she reveals she’s bisexual and kisses him too. For years, this was my only reference point for bi people.
Examples like this threw me in at the deep end of misunderstanding before I could make sense of my own feelings. I grew up thinking bi was defined by being duplicitous and the subject of cheap jokes. My sexuality felt shameful before I even knew it existed.
It feels fitting that our first issue is on the theme Myth. Nothing is more mythical than the elusive bi person.
On-screen we are greedy, indecisive and perpetually ‘figuring things out’. In real life, we’re notoriously invisible!
Our sexuality becomes defined by the person (or people) we form relationships with. Our stories are often mistold and misunderstood; which makes it hard to pick out the unifying things that represent our community. This is why UNICORN is here to elevate our voices so that we can tell our stories.
Being bi can feel awkward. I’ve never had to explain my attributes or characteristics like I’ve felt the need to explain my sexuality. Often it can feel like the elephant in the room, pre-conceptions you feel the need to address. Actions you feel obliged to explain, over and over again. It’s no surprise that nearly 80% of bi people reportedly feel more anxious than the average non-bi person (Office for National Statistics 2018). For me, my sexuality and anxiety have always been intrinsically linked.
Only through learning more about the B in LGBTQ, connecting with real people who share my experiences and seeing better depictions of us by us, have I been able to come to terms with my identity and feel at home with myself. More often than not, my identity feels like standing on solid ground that has always been there. I rarely feel the need to explain myself anymore, and when I come across painful untruths about our community, I find I can address them and add my voice to the conversation.
I don’t speak for everyone who experiences attraction beyond gender. The hope for UNICORN is that it can be the place to tell our stories, won’t you add your voice too?
If you are experiencing low mood, anxiety or negative feelings about your identity or sexuality, reach out to one of the following LGBTQ+ mental health services and helplines below.
*Bi visibility is an issue that often prevents us from identifying each other, but LGBTQ+ meetups are a safe place to meet other members of the wider community and combat feelings of invisibility.
She / Her | Illustrator and Writer
Katie Day is an illustrator-writer hybrid. Can be found either writing, drawing or in a youtube black hole, whilst sat incorrectly at her desk.
Katie is our staff writer for UNICORN, and Media Coordinator for Bi Pride. She also co-runs a platform for illustration and alternative art called Gross! Studio.