are we fighting the same fight?
February 3, 2004 06:10 PM

I got into a discussion on a complete stranger's LJ post about bisexuality today that was pretty typical of the tension between the gay and bi communities in general. Her contention is, among other things I agree with to varying degrees, bisexual people are better off than gays (particularly legal-rights-wise).

I don't run into that many gay people who believe that bisexuals have it better. I suspect that most gay people (at least those of my cohort and older) have been closeted at some point in their lives, and this gives them the insight that living in the closet feels tremendously, tremendously oppressive. Everyone who is not straight experiences others' implicit assumption of your straightness, for instance. And having been closeted, I think it's pretty easy to see that being able to be legally out and open about your relationships with people of one gender but not another person who you might feel the same about doesn't mean you're fighting a completely different battle than someone who feels they can only be attracted to their same gender.

The fact that I have a male partner now does mean that our relationship is not legislated against, but it does not decrease my experience of being legislated against as a person, as I know that if circumstances change, my relationships could be faced with an entirely different legal status. I would expect that most bi folk don't think of their sexual preference and attraction to people as something they could easily compartmentalize in such a way as to ensure they were always on the right side of marriage law.

I don't contend that bisexual people have it worse than gay folk - but the notion that we aren't fighting the same battles for rights seems absurd.

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