Coming out as bisexual, bi erasure, stigma, and many other subjects came up for discussion in Campus Pride’s Google + Hangout for Celebrate Bisexuality Day last Tuesday.
Advocate contributor Eliel Cruz, activist and Point Foundation scholar Jacob Rudolph, and many others participated in the live-streamed forum, hosted by Rebby Kern, Campus Pride’s media, communications, and programs manager.
Rudolph, who made national headlines by coming out as LGBT at a high school assembly, talked about why he chose that identification rather than simply saying he’s bisexual.
“Number 1, I wasn’t completely sure what my sexuality was in a concrete label at that time,” he recalled. “I knew I wasn’t straight, but I wanted to use that ‘LGBT’ label to associate myself with the community. It worked, amazingly. And people were questioning, Why did you come out that way? And I had the opportunity to explain this is a community that loves and supports each other, regardless of what your sexuality orientation is, but I intentionally didn’t come out as bisexual for another reason —because I just felt it would illegitimize the coming-out experience. If I was coming out so publicly as bisexual, people would say, ‘Oh well, whatever, he’s just bisexual, it’s not a big deal.’”
Cruz, who writes on bisexuality for The Advocate, discussed the media’s tendency to erase bisexual identity. He noted a story he did on the 10-year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts. “Robyn Ochs, actually, the amazing bisexual activist, was one of the first people to get married to her partner,” he said. “But during an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, they were labeled a lesbian couple. They kept calling her a lesbian as the story was being picked up, and Robyn Ochs is a bisexual activist and that’s what she does for a living! So she was completely erased, which was very ironic for her work.”
Watch the full discussion below.