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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 23, 2020) - It would prove difficult to throw a rock at the Nashville LGBTQ community and not hit someone who knew, knew of, or had heard rumours of self described “notorious bisexual” Thomas Horton, 54. The author, activist, poet, artist, tech wizard, philanthropist, DJ, singer, world traveler, linguist, and salty yet satisfying dish of hard truth died December 19 in hospice after a brief illness.
When a journalist submits their work, the first rule of thumb is to eliminate any trace of yourself from the story you are covering. We fuel on facts, and information given to us by those we track down for the scoop. To approach this highly unusual situation, I am in the front row seat. Thomas was my best friend, and I have spent the last year of his life next to him, in our home, quarantined.
It is nearly impossible to rip myself out of the bowels of this extraordinary life and approach it through the eyes of a journalist, but I will do my very best, and ask forgiveness in advance for any opinion injected into this article. The library is open, and I will read him accordingly.
Thomas was a Nashville native with degrees in French and French Literature, attended L’Alliance française Paris, and taught English to French students in the city of Marseille, France. He also happened to be a fairly decent French kisser, and on occasion cooked remarkable French toast. But France, and the French language, was only the beginning for this debutante, this force of nature that flew through the streets of cities across the globe inspiring change and a solid acceptance of reality.
The author of explicit and kinky novel Titanic Days was a peer support counselor and guide of sex positivity for members of the queer community long before his debut work of fiction. In a recent adults only episode of Out & About After Dark, taped in September with Managing Editor James Grady, he spoke about the topic, explaining what sex positivity does and does not mean. The topic came up of what it’s like to navigate bisexuality between the competing demands of the heterosexual and gay communities.
“If you look at the closet as an institution and ask one hundred people, one hundred of those people will say they are glad they came out,” Horton told Grady in the interview. “No one ever says ‘You know, I really wish I had stayed in the closet and hid that part of myself’.”
Horton went on to explain that the act should always be done in that person’s own time. He spoke on numerous occasions of the frustration with the erasure of bisexuality, from both society and within our own community. Thomas was not one to waste time with taboos, traditions or religious biases.
“There are three things you should always ask,” Horton said. “Is it safe, is it sane, is it consensual. If it meets that criteria, let your freak flag fly.”
The information I’m privy to, that most journalists outside of the window looking inside of this glorious life may not be, is the innumerable people Thomas guided into their coming out and acceptance of hidden parts of themselves. He did this with straight people too. A decidedly and resolvedly single cis man, Horton was ironically the best friend for relationship advice. On numerous occasions he assisted women in fleeing situations of domestic violence, held mirrors up to the face of gay men in love with a narcissist, talked with people who had just learned their HIV positive status, listened to youth coming out to him as transgender, and sometimes was simply an ear to listen.
Even when I worked in the mental health and addiction industry, Thomas spent countless hours with me, assisting people with treatment, helping them find stability, helping them to find themselves.
It would be a tremendous void if we didn’t also talk about Thomas Horton’s ability to do life right. His favorite thing to do was nothing. To set work aside responsibly and visit with those important to him. If you’re asking yourself if you were important to him, I’m very sorry but you weren’t, because you would know.
Also important to Horton was the advancement of LGBTQ rights on a federal and state level. He gave to numerous campaigns that fought for equality. In the early 2000s, he served as Creative Director for the 2002 Democratic Coordinated Campaign and later would work for the state as Creative Strategist for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. It was there he worked directly with top aides of the Governor.
“In my 25 years in and around journalism and communications, Thomas was hands down one of the most talented individuals I worked with,” recalls one coworker. “To say that he was talented and smart is an understatement.”
This sentiment was echoed as I talked with numerous activists and political professionals in the past few days. That he was a “great guy”, that he was “brilliant”, and that he was “devoted” to advancing the community. A fluent speaker of seven languages, communication was his first strong suit. His second? Humor.
After reading the comment on a post on social media from a mutual friend that read “I love you, you hateful queen,” Thomas founded the Facebook group You Hateful Queen, and thus, the International Society of Hateful Queens (ISHQ). The about section of this group tells all you need to know before entering: “The world is full of vapid twats. Contemptuous hussies. Dizzy bitches. Wretched hags. You know, people who deserve to be made fun of. We do that.”
To become a hateful queen, one must not simply have the ability to be cruel, but more importantly, clever as well. The hateful queen does not blurt out contempt, but disguises their shade as helpful, for example “That’s a lovely dress Karen, did someone have a garage sale?” Or “What a large boat Charles, perhaps tonight your numerous inadequacies won’t tarnish a good night’s sleep.”
Thomas Horton, photo by Anthony Matula, MA2LA
The group would meet up in public occasionally for “reading sessions”, during which each member present would express their insults with a side of snark and a pinch of truth. It was a glorious and motley crue. On occasion, the group would meet for karaoke and cocktails, a favorite pastime of the man his friends in China call “The Happy Buddha.” It was at Corner Bar at Elliston Place where he would often sing duets with a group of minions affectionately and admittedly known as his “whores.”
“There are two types of people who don’t mind being called whores,” Thomas would always say. “My friends, and actual whores.”
It was at these outings that he would admire and state the praises of his favorite singer, Memory Strong Smith, scheduled to perform at his memorial service Tuesday, December 29. The two were not only partners in shade, but confidantes, who spent hours conversing with each other in between turns to sing.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Strong says of the upcoming ceremony. “One I wish I never had to experience.”
The memorial services will be limited to family and close friends due to COVID-19 restrictions, and will take place graveside at Harpeth Hills Cemetery at 10:36am this Tuesday. 10:36 is a very significant number for Thomas. He would talk a lot about interesting things happening to him at this time. Occasionally, he would blurt out in a room full of people “It’s 10:36.”
Thomas died December 19 at 7:55pm, but he was carried out of the building at 10:36pm. Christa Suppan, friend and owner of The Lipstick Lounge, would remind us later of the significant meaning of the number.
“The number 1036 is a message to trust that your home and family will be cared for and material needs will be met,” says Suppan. “It means to give your relationships the time and energy they deserve and bring love to all of your interactions. Enjoy the support of others and give yours in return. Focus on love, joy and peace rather than anger and fear, and keep your spiritual light bright and strong.”
Those who wish to show their love for Thomas and support for his family are welcome to line up in a procession of vehicles beginning at 10:36am. After the graveside service has ended at approximately 11am, the procession will quietly drive past the graveside with silent gestures such as signs on poster boards or leaving a single rose out of the window as the family stands to acknowledge them. Everyone is asked to refrain from honking. Once safety restrictions are lifted, family and friends hope to plan a larger memorial service surrounding his birthday, April 22, 2021.
Many decisions have to be made regarding Thomas’ material possessions he left behind, but the most pressing of these matters, according to his friends, is who will receive custody of friend Carrie Lowery’s left breast. Not long after Lowery met Thomas, she was laid off from her job, in a terribly toxic relationship, and generally just having a rough time.
“He called to check on me one night, and I told him that I'd give my left tit for a bottle of wine,” recalls Lowery. “We finished the conversation and hung up. About thirty minutes later, there was a knock at my door. I opened it, and Tom was standing there with a bottle of wine. He presented it to me, then pointed to my left boob and said ‘That one’s mine.’”
Lowery says that contract is how Thomas Horton came to be the sole legal owner of her left breast, which he often affectionately referred to as her “party tit”, a fact the two flaunted at parties as he held it with consent.
Horton’s two finished scripts for television series Legacy and Bayport are now being overseen by co-author and publishing partner Nannette Clark.
“Having the tremendous gift not only of being his attorney and business partner but also one of his closest friends, his writings will be handled with kid gloves,” says Clark. “I will not make the decisions with these works moving forward. He will. And I will consult him, in my memories, often.”
So, you see, my worry of inserting myself into the story, my Achilles’ Heel, my insertion of emotion was inevitably not even having the ability to separate myself from this story. After spending a month in the hospital with his wonderful family and close friends, holding his hand, falling asleep watching him in his involuntary slumber, sometimes not showering or eating for days, I have changed not only because of Thomas Horton, but also because of his departure.
As I sit in our apartment, in his chair, in the dark, the only light is a decorated Christmas tree. There are not enough fists and not enough force to hit the God or Heaven that took him. I can only address the stars with a quiet “Why?” And the only answer I have gotten is “Because.”
One of my favorite principles in life is the African phrase “I am because we are.” During my time with Thomas in this wretched and disgusting year of which I will never speak of again after it ends, we lived together. And I learned life. Oftentimes when I was working or recording an interview or episode of Out & About Nashville’s video episodes on social media, he was just a few feet away from me. My favorite times, however, were when I closed my laptop, sat on the couch, and fulfilled my best friend’s wishes of doing nothing with him.
Before this, I was quite often late to an event or a meeting with him because of work. One of the last notes I have from him was written in a notebook we were using to communicate with each other while he was intubated in the hospital. He wrote “What are you doing?” as I sat beside him with my laptop. I replied “Just finishing this up.” and he wrote back “Always working” and smiled. Thankfully, I took my cue from the brains of this operation that then was the time to resume holding his hand. That was the time to spend with him. I never worked at the hospital a single day after that. Thomas had it right. “You work to live, not live to work.”
In the dark, by the light of the Christmas tree, tonight I am giving him what he often asked me for. I’m doing nothing with him. And as I type, I have felt my fists relax and open. I have felt some of my anger dissipate into the rain. In reporting to you all a glimpse into the life of Thomas Horton, I feel gratitude. I am grateful to the force that took him for the fact that, if it absolutely had to happen, it was a most peaceful departure, void of struggle. He simply drifted from this world four days ago. I am grateful that in losing him I have gained a new family of those who loved him as I did, when I could in fact be facing this alone. I am grateful that I had the highest honor of spending the last year of his life with him, learning from him and keeping other things we talked about in my heart to carry with me, for our eyes only, the remainder of my days. I am grateful that I am still here and have been given the opportunity to forever educate the world on the ways of my best friend.
There is a long way up the staircase to arriving at the top with the gathered pieces of ourselves left scattered from this loss when we were tossed down by this tragedy, so I will sit with you here on the first one, and offer some advice.
As you read this, by the light of your holiday gatherings or lack thereof, know that the most important thing you can do for this world is to do nothing with those you love. To sit, talk, listen and be present. But most importantly, if you see them making a mistake, read them for absolute filth, and be a bitch about it when you do. I love you, you hateful queen.
Photos by Anthony Matula, MA2LA
This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.
When I was 14 years old, I surreptitiously made my way through the stacks in the local library until I came to the Psychology section. One after one, I took down the books whose titles I thought would provide an answer, went to the table of contents and, if there were any, I flipped to the pictures.
Eventually, I landed on one with a word I had never seen or heard: Transvestite. And on the next page there was a black and white photo of a man wearing a dress, looking like he had just crawled out from under a rock. I can still see the expression of guilt on his face.
Not long after that, the newspapers and TV broke the story of Christine Jorgensen, a former member of the U.S. Army who had gone to Denmark to have Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). Of course, the majority of the reports were always accompanied by some sort of joke, such as “Christine Jorgensen went abroad and came back a broad!”
America's First Trans Celebrity: Christine Jorgensen youtu.be
But those two events rescued me. I learned that I was not the only person in the world with this “affliction,” this sense that something wasn’t right. And I got a word I could apply to it and maybe even hope for a cure. But it was too early. I knew that to say out loud, even maybe, that I should have been born a girl, would mean being ostracized, becoming part of the joke, so I chose the path followed by most transgender people of my generation. I put all of my energy into making sure that no one knew.
And that wasn’t easy. For no matter what I did, I couldn’t match the image of the all-American boy, so I became the class clown. If I wasn’t the John Wayne male, at least I could be Lenny Bruce. It was my way of deflecting the mismatch, and, to some extent, it worked.
Others like me took varying escape routes, becoming athletes, businessmen, or whatever role they could slip into and hide behind. Most married, had kids, and did whatever was necessary to survive, with varying results, but never with happy endings.
Segue to the present. The scenario I described above is, to a great extent, still being played out, but now there are exceptions. Transgender kids today can find some consolation on the Internet. They can learn early on that they aren’t “afflicted.” They can make contact with others like themselves. And they can read about transgender people who are proud of themselves and what they have accomplished as well as hearing about transgender children whose parents accept them and allow them to be who they are.
But the information highway is not all smooth driving. And naïve youth can get lost on detours and take wrong turns, winding up as prey to the trolls, predators, and religious zealots—as well as various other kinds of bullies—who inhabit the virtual world.
So is it any better today for our transgender youth? Most still have parents who reject them and peers who bully them. Nearly half of transgender teens have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having attempted suicide  compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population.
It’s far from a perfect world. But I believe it is definitely better than the one I grew up in, because it’s a world where the President of the United States has condemned “the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender”; it’s a world where the parents of transgender children have publicly supported their sons or daughters and stood up to schools that would try to discriminate against them; it’s a world where the medical and psychiatric professions have come to recognize that being transgender isn’t a disease. All these things were inconceivable possibilities on the day I sneaked into the library.
Nina Simone To Be Young Gifted And Black youtu.be
When I was a teenager, Nina Simone had a hit record titled “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” that has since been covered by artists as diverse as Elton John, Rah Digga, and Faith Evans. A portion of the lyrics say, “We must begin to tell our young / There’s a world waiting for you / This is a quest that’s just begun.” That same message applies today.
To be transgender is not a curse; it’s a gift. As Derrick Moeller, a graduate student in Education at Iowa State University and a transman explains, “Having to contemplate what your gender identity and gender expression looks like is a privilege that most folks don’t have to go through” . Rather than being rejected they will know that they have been blessed, so that their plea “Why was I made like this?” will be replaced by a prayer of gratitude: “Thank you for making me like this.”
 Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. *Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors* 37 (5), 527-37.
 Tiffany Herring, January 28 2015 Iowa State Daily [goo.gl/YSL3SC].
Many of us have made resolutions and pledged ourselves to transforming some aspect, or aspects, of our lives. For some, these resolutions will involve career, budget, home ownership, etc., but for a LOT of us, they will involve various health, exercise and fitness goals.
Often, these resolutions are vague, like “lose weight” or “exercise more”, and way too often they begin with a gym contract and end with Netflix and a bag of takeout. Getting specific can help in holding yourself accountable for these commitments, though. So we thought it might be interesting to talk with a local gay trainer, James Mai, about his fitness journey, his work as a trainer and how he keeps himself motivated, and get some of his suggestions for carrying through on this year’s fitness resolutions!
Mai said he hasn’t always been athletic, though he was thin. “I have not always been athletic. I danced a bit in college but never lifted a weight. I was what you call ‘skinny fat’ and I didn't know any different. I only started truly working out three years ago, when I started in the entertainment industry.”
The motivation to get into better shape was work. “Fitness was a byproduct of having to keep up my looks for castings,” he explained. “I found a love for training because everyone is on a different path, but I knew that I enjoyed being on that journey to help others get to be their more confident selves.”
Training, of course, keeps Mai in the gym, and helping others reach their goals keeps him motivated. He trains at Barry’s Bootcamp in Nashville, and he’s clearly passionate about his workplace.
“Barry's Bootcamp has been my family for the past 3 years!” Mai said. “There is a community of people that come together and actually encompasses what a fit family truly is.”
Barry’s describes its gym as “the room where everything becomes possible. Where you push through the ‘I can’t’s’ and ‘If Only’s.’ Where you run faster, lift more, lean out, quiet down. This is what transformation looks like. Where you become the best version of yourself.”
“The workout itself is designed for efficiency. The intervals and strength training combinations are proven to lean and tone your body. This isn’t a fitness trend. It’s just science. And it works,” the company says. “Then there’s the ‘thing’ that happens when the doors close, lights dim, and music turns up. There’s a palpable energy in the room that pushes you one step further. It’s the soul, body, brain revolution that’s uniquely Barry’s.”
Mai’s commitment to health continues outside the gym, though. “Outside the gym, I love dancing, and you can see me taking classes at DancEast to brush up on my technique or out and about just jamming to music. Dance is a great way to move your body and a cardio workout, if you are really get into it.”
It’s not all about what you do with your body: what you put into it matters as well. “Diet is a huge part of getting results that you want, in addition to time at the gym,” Mai explained. “I meal prep every week, so that I know what goes into my body and I can monitor the macros that I am consuming each day. There are plenty recipes and information about meal prep options to help you reach yours goals. Check it out, test it out, and choose what you like and don't like.”
Mai also doesn’t do something that might be a hard habit to break for some of us: “I also don't drink, so that helps keep off those unwanted calories that I don't need!”
Asked for some strategies he’d suggest for people looking to get healthier and keep those New Years resolutions, especially those of us out of practice or new to trying to get in shape, Mai offered the following:
Try to exercise every day.Be active, whether it's a simple walk or run, bike ride, dance class, yoga, or swim. Daily exercise builds adrenaline, endorphins, pheromones, and testosterone—which are ingredients for the perfect healthy addiction. Once exercise becomes a daily habit, you will miss it if something gets in the way.
Get a workout buddy.Friends don't let friends down. With a friend, you can hold each other accountable and keep that motivation intact. Try a new studio together, take a class together, and laugh and share the joy of your journey together.
Vary your diet.Most people will eat the same thing every time, given the option. Think about how what you eat powers you through your activities. There are many types of diets out there. From keto or whole 30, paleo to low carb, research and try out what works for you. Even gradually incorporating aspects of these diets can help you towards your goals.
Get more sleep.Take naps, go to bed earlier, and give yourself more time to rest. Sleep volume is directly correlated to physical and mental health.
Focus on yourself and your feelings.Often, people strive to lose weight or make muscle gains and focus on the scale to see their progress. Making change takes time and is not immediate. Instead of focusing on the numbers right away, focus on how you feel after a workout: strong after a lifting exercise, energized after cardio, or relaxed and connected after a yoga session. By focusing on how you feel rather than the scale, you are more inclined to stay motivated on your fitness journey.
Mai also had some suggestions for incorporating health goals into daily life. “Being healthy is comprised of many parts: Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Filling these capacities takes time and needs attention and care. At the end of the day, you are working on living your best life, and, by living a healthy life, you impact not only how you feel but also how others feel around you.
“Mentally,” he explained, means “Keep learning. Feed your mind and continue to grow. Workout your mind and allow it to keep you informed and motivated. Eat well. Drink sensibly. Take a break from social media, because the perceptions versus the realities of posts on social media can mess with your emotions and how you think. Allow yourself to connect mind, body and soul.”
“Physically, working out and exercising allows you to get to your best self. Like Elle Woods says in Legally Blonde, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.”
“And emotionally, how you feel about yourself feeds into how you perform. If you look in the mirror and you don't like how you look, you are less likely to want to go out and have a good time,” he added. “By emotionally feeding yourself positivity, you are creating a more well-rounded version of yourself. Every time you look in the mirror, tell yourself ‘I'm beautiful and worthy.’ These words of affirmation to yourself may seem silly, but are crucial to your health. Start believing that you are beautiful and worthy and that positivity will take strives in your life.”
For more information on Mai’s gym, visit barrysbootcamp.com.
Rarely are the words, “I’m bi,” heard. Whether on TV, film or even from friends and family, it’s almost nonexistent. Coming out as gay is thought to be brave; a pivotal moment in someone’s life. Coming out as bi, however, is often met with rolled eyes, being viewed as a sexual object, and even with the chant, “Bi now, gay later.” Being bisexual isn’t heralded as brave: it is often treated as if it isn’t even a real thing!
Many well-known blogs have used the purple analogy to explain bisexuality. Purple is known as its own color and not half red, half blue. There are even several shades of purple, some with more red or some with more blue. The same exists in bisexuality, where attraction can be fluid. Some can be hetero- or homo-romantic (meaning that when it comes to establishing romantic relationships they are primarily attracted to members of the opposite sex, or same-sex, respectively) but do enjoy physical, sexual contact with someone of different sex than their partner. Some can be polyamorous and even cohabitate with both sexes. And others decide on their romantic and sexual partners freely, a person to person decision based on what about the individual might tickles their fancy.
Understanding bisexualityPhoto by Isi Parente on Unsplash
While bisexuality, on the surface, should be welcomed as yet another beautiful way of living—loving hearts and not parts, if you will—bisexuality is often viewed in a not so great light or simply swept under the rug by both the straight and broader lesbian and gay communities.
I asked men and women who identify as bisexual to help us take a look at what it means to be a shade of purple in the big world of pink and blue. It should be noted, and of some concern, that most did not want to be identified by full name, or to use a photograph, in order to avoid judgment from one community, the other, or both, or even because of the risk of losing their jobs and family.
Sorting through the responses to our questions on bisexuality, early feelings of attraction for both sexes was a common theme. Most relate it to the same feelings as straight or gay people face. “I’ve known I was bisexual since I was very little,” Emma Frye stated. “I realized I was not attracted solely to one sex as early as I understood attraction. Most people know they’re straight or gay early in life; I was the same with bisexuality”
Some state that they did not recognize their feelings as bisexual, or perhaps did not know there was a name for it, like Lish Rodriquez: “I didn’t know about bisexuality—I just knew that I liked those people. As I grew older and the media picked up more stories about homosexuality and the AIDS/HIV epidemic, it gave me the word ‘bisexual’ to identify with.”
What comes up also, is the difference in fluidity. The majority of respondents were in an opposite-sex marriage and thus present outwardly to the wider world as heterosexual. Out of those people, many refer to themselves as “swingers.” This is a way for them to explore their bisexuality, with or without their spouses’ involvement, while keeping their marriage and families intact.
Taking the “B” out of “LGBT”
Despite its banner of open acceptance, there is a great deal of questioning in the wider lesbian and gay community about the status of the “B,” and just as some have called for the expulsion of the transgender community from LGBT, others are calling for the removal of the “B”.
One Tumblr blog, “Unpopular Opinions,” states, “I think we should take the B out of LGBT. Bisexuals have it way better than most of us in the queer community. They have straight privilege and ride on the coattails of the gay community.”
Turns out, that just as in the transgender community some agree for very different reasons, some bisexuals likewise argue that this just might be a good idea. Recently a YouTuber known as BisexualRealTalk called for the “B” to be taken out of “LGBT.” He concluded that a bisexual looking for support in the LGBT community was ultimately going to have more questions, be left with a greater sense of uncertainty, and come away with a deeper sense of being alone. “Expectation kills,” he says. “The LGBT community is not our friend”
In fact, a major Canadian study published by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in 2010 called “Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations,” found bisexual men are 6.3 times more likely, and bisexual women 5.9 times more likely, to report having been suicidal than heterosexual people. Bisexuals are also 3-5 times more likely to feel suicidal than gay men and lesbians.
The majority of those we surveyed also felt discrimination from the LGBT community. Rae Schomburg-Hall states, “I receive scorn from most lesbians as they feel I should ‘pick a side’ and I must just need to ‘make up my mind.’” She feels she is seen as “a confused individual. An oversexed person, just looking for fulfillment. Not to be trusted. An interloper. This, coming from a community that heralds inclusion and acceptance is just…just…wrong.”
Views and Perceptions About Bisexuals
Reading through blogs and articles mentioning bisexuality, it doesn’t take long to find the words "greedy," “whore,” or “slut” being heaped upon bisexuals individually or as a group. The belief that bisexuals, regardless of the evidence, aren’t actually, or can’t be, monogamous is another common attitude.
“There are definitely people who think being bisexual means the exact opposite of monogamous, which is kind of hilarious” answers one of our participants. “I think people's sexuality is so personal, and it varies from person to person. Not all of us sleep with everyone, just because we can, although I have had close friends say that I was a whore or a slut because I dated both ‘sides’ from my pool of friends as a young adult.”
R.J. Aquiar, YouTube’s “NotAdam,” has a series he calls “Ask a Bi Guy,” where he addresses many of the perceptions and attempts to use his personal experience to change the attitudes on bisexuality. In response to our questions, he wrote, “There are still so many people out there who can't accept our identity as valid. They're so adamant about sticking to their existing world view, so they'll look for any reason to dismiss us rather than accept this new information that might require them to change their world view. That doesn't necessarily make them bad people, since it's human nature to do that. And it's even more understandable when you look at how much society enforces that gay/straight binary. Most people would, for instance, refer to a male/male or female/female couple as a ‘gay couple’ rather than a ‘same-sex couple’ while a male/female couple is most often referred to as a ‘straight couple’. If you know what to look for, there's bi-erasure all over the place. This can make it really difficult for a bi person to consider coming out since it means having to face all of that adversity head on.”
Men vs Women
Attitudes men versus women concerning bisexuality certainly differ. It is often said that women have it “easier” being bi. The acceptance of a bisexual woman actually involves oversexualizing her. When a woman says she is bi, many men would jump at what they think is a sure-fire way into a threesome. Very rarely is she viewed as a potential monogamous partner.
And if she comes out to a potential same-sex partner? She is often not taken seriously. There is a fear she will want to return to a heterosexual fantasy of husbands, children, and white picket fences in the suburbs. After all, bisexuals are always viewed as having the potential for passing in straight society as an option. One lesbian told us “I’m scared I’ll be hurt by bisexual women, so I won’t mess with them at all”.
Bisexual men do face a different demon, and because of it, very few men will ever come out as bi. Cooper S Beckett—author of “My Life on the Swingset” and “A Life Less Monogamous”—offers personal insight on this. There is “the immediate assumption that I was gay and kidding myself. I've been told it was a phase as well. Straight men don't like bi men, because they're afraid of another man coming along and treating them the way they've traditionally treated women, as someone you could cajole into doing something. They're worried about being cajoled into ‘gay sex.’ I've been told to my face by a gay man that I'm not bi, I'm just on the road to gay town. It's shocking and sad. But I think acceptance is growing.”
Finding a Tribe
There are plenty of online communities to join. Binetusa.org and shybi.com are places to discuss the unique challenges and obstacles bisexuals face. Bisexual.org has a fantastic library of articles, and discussions, and even lists famous people you might not have known were bi. In your local community, look at meetup.org to find bisexual or bisexual friendly meet-ups.
It is much easier to research within the bisexual community than to look in the LGBT community. It is most important to fight for your rights and support others who are questioning or longing for understanding.
“A lot of LGBT experts call bi people ‘the silent majority', since there are likely a lot more bi people out there who would rather hide than come out and deal with all the stigma,” Aguair writes. “Unfortunately, the only way we can change that is for more bi people to live their lives openly, and demonstrate firsthand how much it doesn't have to be that big a deal. It also illustrates how important it is for bi, pan, and other sexually fluid people to come together and form a community to support one another”
Pam Simmons, who has struggled with her bisexual identity for many years, wrote, "The best advice I could give is to find someone you trust and share what you are feeling, how it is affecting you, your fears & doubts. The journey to identifying as bisexual may be a lifelong process. But that’s ok. You define you…. Nobody else. Be true to yourself. And most of all, love yourself.”