Everyday, I witness our Missouri legislators find their passion and harness their voice to speak out on legislation they believe in. Specifically, watching legislators like House Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade speak out against HB 126 and openly gay Rep. Greg Razer call out anti-LGBTQ rhetoric by sharing their personal stories taught me to see bravery in myself.
When I tell people I work at PROMO and advocate for LGBTQ Missourians in the State Capitol, people tell me I am brave. I don’t always know how to accept that compliment without fumbling. To me, I have always viewed it as simply the right thing to do. LGBTQ people, including myself, deserve the same fair treatment in policy as everyone else. However, I’m learning that what people recognize as bravery is that I am not just advocating for others, but I am also advocating for myself.
I am bisexual. “Coming out” as bisexual is often complicated. I may have to explain how being in a relationship with someone of one gender doesn’t change my sexual orientation. Regardless of my partner’s gender, I am still bisexual. There is sometimes a certain level of invisibility or assumptions that grant me privilege when I am in a relationship with someone of a different gender. This invisibility leads to higher rates of discrimination and stigma, so it’s important to me to challenge those assumptions and invisibility by wearing bi-pride t-shirts and lapel pins or being more vocal about my identity on my social media.
It’s refreshing to see an increase in visibility of bisexual and pansexual individuals than there used to be. Even from my own encounters at Pride festivals this year, I saw more bi and pan pride flags than ever before. I believe this is because people feel safer in society to be themselves and have access to more of the resources they need to be visibly out. Even with this increase in visibility, there is a misconception that we are in the minority. In reality, more than half of the LGBTQ community identifies as bisexual. For the transgender community, that percentage is even higher.
Another misconception about bisexual people is the belief we are in a constant state of confusion because we can’t “decide” on who we are attracted to or that our bisexuality is a “phase” on the way to being out as gay or lesbian. On the contrary, I am not confused about who I am or who I love. And I am definitely not confused about how every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Missourian deserves full and equal protection under the law.
I know over the years, my existence has challenged me, those I teach, and those I’m in community with to reflect on who they are and who they are capable of loving. We live in a world that is constantly trying to divide us, and I’m proud to be a part of the work to bring us together.
On this Celebrate Bisexuality Day, I choose to celebrate those of us who are unafraid to be out and proud, who take risks in advocating and demanding a better world. I also choose to celebrate this day for those of us who can’t be out quite yet. When you’re ready, there’s a whole world waiting to love and celebrate you.
Please help me celebrate this special day with a donation of $10 right now and support PROMO’s efforts in advocating for our entire community in the Missouri Capitol.
Happy Celebrate Bisexuality Day!
Manager of Public Policy, PROMO