Karine Jean-Pierre
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#27BiStories: Appearing Straight, Appearing Gay, and Other Misconceptions Bi People Face

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What is the biggest misconception you face about your current relationship? 

James, 32, New Jersey: Most of the time when people see my wife and I, they think we are not together, even if we are holding hands, hugging, kissing, or hanging on to each other. I'm a little girly, she is a bit masculine, plus there are the differences in age, race, size, class, education level, and country of origin. Finally, since we both kept our own last names, people are generally confused that we are a happily married couple.

Calvin, 30, North Carolina: Because I’m married to a woman, I’m always perceived as straight even more so than the straight-default already perceives everyone as straight. Even at LGBTQ events, even at Pride, we’ll be labeled “allies” before “queers.” This means that I can never really come out, because no matter how many times I do, I’ll just be assumed back into the closet with every new person I meet or just being out with my family.

Heather, 29, North CarolinaI would say that the number one misconception that I face is that I’m straight because I’m in an opposite-sex relationship, especially since I also have a child. I’m often completely invisible at LGBT events. In fact, I was straight out asked “Why are you here?” at a recent planning event for the local LGBT center because it was assumed that I not only was not queer but had nothing to offer the queer community, at least by some people.

Denise, 43, New Jersey: That my husband is really gay. Although to be fair, there is a lot of room for misconceptions about our marriages. My husband is 11 years younger than me and I am black and he is white. So no one ever thinks we are together ... ever. Add the bisexual thing and then the poly thing. Lots of folks think we have a sham marriage. Clearly we are married to "appear" normal.


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