BY CHISOM PETER JOB.
Not until a year ago, I had different notions concerning bisexuality. These notions made me see bisexuals in a light I wish I didn’t. I remember once when I chose to identify as bisexual because I thought bisexuality was a pass to be accepted by heterosexuals, and that I wouldn’t have to face homophobia. At the time, I didn’t know a thing about biphobia. It wasn’t until I educated myself, that I got to realize that the notions I had concerning bisexuality were all fallacies, and that bisexuality is a valid sexuality.
This week, I caught up with Helen Adeola(She/Her) for an interview on her sexuality as a bisexual woman.
How would you describe your sexuality?
Bisexuality is referred to as the attraction to two or more genders. However, I would describe my sexuality as my personality: personal and specific to me because I find myself with more layers to it than just attraction to gender.
Yes, the simplistic label I’d choose to give to a stranger outside the LGBTQ+ community would be ‘bisexual’ (plus extra explanation if they are willing to listen) but for those familiar with the word, I always say Queer. It gives my experience－dating preferences, attractions, past, present－a lot more justice and, honestly, extra wiggle room for future Helen.
Do you think coming out as bisexual is important?
Coming out as bisexual is extremely important. There is a big fight against erasure that bisexual individuals like me have to face daily, navigating calls for LGBTQ+ visibility and representation. Don’t forget us Bs and Qs! I believe Bisexuality today is still a step behind the binary ends of the spectrum because some people don’t believe it exists yet. Individuals in and outside the community often think it is a phase
My unpopular yet simple solution to this? We need to validate the Bi-curious and Questioning experiences instead of forcing them to choose a label straightaway (choice most often falling on Bisexuality).In simple terms, we need to transform the world into one that allows individuals to date whoever they like before they find out the language for their experiences.
How would you say bisexuality is viewed within the LGBTQ+ community?
In my experience, acceptance as a blanket form of embracing everyone and anyone’s existence within the community also extends to bisexuality. However digging deep, I have always found this label as not being taken seriously, as if somehow one chooses to be bisexual just to keep their options open for little escapades.
Insisting on making some educated distinctions between relationship practices (i.e. monogamy, polyamory,..) and level of commitment away from the label of bisexuality will help reinforce our visibility.
What are the biggest challenges the bi community is facing?
I cannot speak for the entire bisexual community, but I would say not being taken seriously and often being fetishize is a huge issue. It replaces the legitimate space of being accurately acknowledged in the general public opinion. But that battle comes with patient activism and education.
What are the things people say about bisexuality that are not true?
- It’s a phase
- It’s a label for those that can’t make up their mind
- Bisexual people are greedy
- Bisexual people can’t commit
- Bisexuals can’t choose between a taxi and a train.
Okay, I’m just joking…no one says that last one! But I just wish they did, to show how silly they sound.
How do you deal with these things?
I honestly don’t pay attention to them, and if it’s an opinion of someone I care about, chances are they’ll probably care back and be open to listen.
Opinions are like hair cuts:
- Everyone has one
- Their beauty (or ugliness) lies on the eyes of the beholder
- And lastly it still won’t change who you really are.
Thank you for your time, Helen.
Thank you for asking me! I had fun and enjoyed the questions.
It’s the International Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Let’s end the stereotype of bisexuals. Let’s end biphobia in and out of the community. Happy BiVisibility Day!