Bisexual acceptance in the queer community

Originally Published: February 18, 2011
Share this
I am openly bisexual and have been for years. I want to get involved with a queer community on campus but I am afraid of being discriminated against for being bisexual and not lesbian, as bisexuals are often viewed as just greedy and unfaithful. What should I do? — Unsure

Dear Unsure,

Good for you for wanting to be involved! Your hesitation is understandable­, though — some hold a definition of sexuality that is more rigid and constant than what is actually experienced by many people.  As a result, bisexuals often feel as though they are not fully accepted within the gay or straight community. Still, with an open mind, some searching, and a willingness to try some groups on for size, you will likely find a community that will support and accept you — sexuality and all!

Being open and comfortable with your sexuality is the first step in finding a community to support you; it sounds like you're already there. Congratulations! The next step is to find a community in which to get involved. It sounds like you know there is a queer community on campus, but, if you are not sure, the first step would be to contact your school's center for student life. You can also visit their website for a list of student organizations on campus. If there are no LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) groups on campus, consider starting your own! Columbia students may want to consider checking out the following student groups and their resource guides:

You may also be able to locate nearby LGBTQ community centers and organizations that are located off campus by visiting CenterLink. Once you have a few organizations on your list, contact the groups' leaders and plan on attending one of their meetings or events. You may even consider speaking to the group representative on the philosophy of the group in regards to inclusiveness. If you feel comfortble, express your concerns. Pay attention to the response you get — it could be revealing. 

If you find yourself faced with biphobic behaviors, remarks or reactions, you have a few options. Depending on the situation, you may be able to address them directly. Doing this without being accusatory or "fighting fire with fire" may not only help you assert your confidence in your sexuality, but also give a voice to others who feel discriminated against. Communicating openly and finding common ground with those who you're concerned may perceive you as greedy or unfaithful may help them realize that you are, in fact, neither of those things. However, if you feel at all threatened or unsafe, leave the situation and report it to a public safety officer on your campus or in the area. Additional tips on confronting discrimination may be found in the Related Q&As below.

As with any relationship, it may take a while before you find your perfect match in the queer community. Your concern over acceptance is one that is shared by many bisexuals and there are resources and support available to you. Start your search by visiting bi-friendly websites like the Bisexual Resource Center and the American Institute of Bisexuality. For more personalized help with addressing discrimination and other bi concerns, Columbia students may want to consider contacting Counseling and Psychological Services at x4-2878. With these resources in hand, you'll be well on your way to finding a community that will support and accept you for you. Good-bi, for now!

Alice