#27BiStories: Appearing Straight, Appearing Gay, and Other Misconceptions Bi People Face
BY Eliel Cruz
August 26 2014 5:00 AM ET
What is the biggest misconception you face about your current relationship?
Christina, 41, California: Most people assume that because I am married to a man that I am straight. I hid behind this for a long time because it was easier than trying to explain that marriage did not change who I am. I became a Christian about 15 years ago and I am ashamed to say that I hid this part of me. My family and I were a part of a very conservative Mennonite church and last year I overheard some church members saying horrible things about a woman that left the church because she is a lesbian. I was horrified and frozen inside. What if they found out about me? My dear husband (I came out to him when we first met) told me that I should never hide who I am and he is proud of me. I came out and we lost a lot of friends, but my 16-year old son realized that he is bisexual and felt secure coming out to us because of how I handled myself. My oldest son is 20 and is battling homophobia because of the attitudes of his peers in the church. I asked him why he is so afraid of homosexuality and he told me that he is worried that he might not be straight. We are helping him deal with his fears.
Melody, 32, Texas: The biggest misconceptions my partner and I face is that we are straight. Both of us are bi, but we are in a monogamous, same-sex relationship with three kids between us. We find that any mentions of anything that we are not straight sends people into a bit of shock, no matter how long they have known us, or what their own orientation or sexual behavior is. They just sort of have decided that because we are committed to each other, that we have "turned straight" or were just experimenting or confused before we realized we were heterosexual. It's hard for both of us to feel that "coming out of the closet" moment every time someone realizes they had made an assumption based on our relationship.
Gabriel, 34, Illinois: I’m not sure that I face misconceptions as much as I face no conception. People in our lives know us well and have seen our relationship as a presumed solid “heterosexual” coupling for nearing two decades now, and a good strong one at that, so now that it’s understood I am not straight little if anything has changed. Or if it has, it’s been for the better. And I feel lucky that for the most part the people we know understand, and if not they’re curiously ignorant as opposed to anything negative.
Colleen, 58, Canada: I have two life partners currently. For the purposes of this discussion, I will call them my "boyfriend" and my "wife," although these terms are far from accurate, as my "boyfriend" is far more than a boyfriend to me, and my "wife" and I are not actually married to each other, although this is our long-term goal, because all three of us are still legally married to others.
As you might infer from the foregoing, I am not only bi, but polyamorous. I'm also transsexual (MTF), although this is incidental. My wife is also bi, and married to a husband with whom she lives. My boyfriend lives with me. My wife and I see each other as often as possible, but since she lives four hours away, this ends up being about one weekend per month on average.
The biggest misconception I believe I face about my current relationships is that it is immoral or unethical. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Both of my partners have met my ex-wife and children, and are accepted at most family functions, such as Thanksgiving celebrations and family barbecues. I have met my wife's husband, and her two daughters, and will be meeting one of her brothers this fall when the two of us travel to San Francisco for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit. Everyone who is involved with me knows everyone else who is involved with me, and I am completely up front with each lover (including casual play partners) about my relationship status, and if I have a play date, I inform my partners as well. Everything is done in the open, there are no secrets, and if anyone is unhappy about anything, we talk about it immediately and work it out. There are no jealousies betweeen us.
Zefi, 23, Greece: The most common misconception is that we are both straight. I am bisexual and my boyfriend is pansexual. Both of us have shown active interest in the same or similar sex or gender (not that this should be necessary), but still we get a lot of denial, especially from our LGBTQ friends and acquaintances. I can understand people that don't know us "reading" us as straight, but it hurts more when people from the LGBTIQ organization we are both members of call us straight because we are in a relationship with each other.