How can I be visible this Bisexual Visibility Day?
"My sexuality may not be accepted by all online, but it's there for all to see. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate offline"
Rachel, 29, bisexual, spoonie, Doctor Who nerd. This is how easy it is for me to come out online.
By including that one word in my Twitter profile everyone instantly knows my sexuality. I am a bisexual woman.
From this, I’ve made a name for myself as a writer, a bisexual writer, and on Twitter especially, as an advocate for bisexual visibility and against biphobia.
As I’m quite an open person my followers also know that I’m in a relationship with a man and have been for a couple of years now. But I am still very much bisexual.
My sexuality may not be accepted by all online, but it is there for all to see. Unfortunately this doesn’t translate offline.
This Bisexual Day Of Visibility I will be sharing my experiences of being bi online, re-posting articles, amplifying other voices and celebrating who I am, but once I close the apps that all disappears again...
This isn’t my choice, my sexuality is something I’m proud of — I’m not hiding it. But it never comes up, being in a relationship with a man means that I’m automatically seen as straight. I’m just a girl, holding a boys hand, going about her "straight" life.
The Strictly Instagram profile picture looks like Tess and Claudia’s official engagement announcement and nobody can convince me otherwise pic.twitter.com/splcwIuhRh— Rachel Charlton-Dailey (@RachelCDailey) September 19, 2018
I came out to those close to me over seven years ago, but since then I've been in two long-term relationships with straight men.
When the first ended, everyone had seemingly forgotten that I’d ever declared myself as not straight in the first place. I was told, “You can't be, you’ve been with a man for four years,” and “Oh, we thought that was just a phase”.
After that, I was more vocal, reminding those I felt it was safe to and slipping in my love of women around elderly relatives to see if anyone noticed (I’ll never forget a great aunty swallowing back the words, “Well, that’s nice.”)
On the internet I can introduce myself as bisexual and be accepted when talking about LGBTQ+ issues, but in real life — thanks to looking like a "typical, feminine straight girl" — I'm dismissed by both straight people and those within the LGBTQ+ community.
When I speak about issues that the LGBTQ+ community are facing — from conversion therapy to homophobic jokes — I'm accused of doing what straight, white, cis feminists often do — speaking for other people or groups.
Yet, this isn’t the case when people think its ok to make “greedy bisexual” jokes in front of me, or when gay acquaintances accuse bisexual women of, “only doing it for attention from straight men.”
I'm very happy with my boyfriend, I would never wish for another partner and I plan on sticking with him for as long as he’ll have me, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t upset me that being with him makes my sexuality invisible.
There are still people in my life who don’t know my sexuality — because it’s literally never come up.
In two years, its never been questioned that I was anything but straight, there’s never been a moment for me to go, “Well actually, I’m bi,” and somewhat ashamedly I wouldn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable by bringing it up on the spot.
Still, I am and will always be a bisexual woman, it's a hugely important part of my identity — but I know now that, no matter how hard I try, I won't always be visible, which is why days like #BiVisibilityDay are so very important.
Rachel Charlton-Dailey is a freelance writer from the north east of England, who is passionate about disabled rights, squashing biphobia, and pockets equality. She can be found on Twitter (@rachelcdailey) or walking her tiny dachshund puppy, Rusty.
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