Being bisexual can often feel like you’re on the side-lines of the LGBTQ+ community – especially if you’re in a straight relationship like me. It can feel like you’re stuck in the middle of two worlds, not straight enough to be straight, not gay enough to be gay.
So much of the LGBTQ+ movement’s sense of community comes from lived experiences and shared struggles. But comparatively, I’ve had a somewhat easier experience with being queer. I’ve never been openly discriminated against, no one has shouted slurs at me and I was never bullied for it at school. So sometimes it can feel like I don’t count, like when people are talking about the queer struggle, they aren’t talking about me.
For me, a big part of the battle is the way that bisexuality is often forgotten about, erased or dismissed as an identity. I’ve been told things like, ‘You’re just being greedy’, ‘it’s just a phase’, ‘you’re just attention seeking’, and ‘you’re actually gay and using bisexuality as a steppingstone’. It’s difficult to tell someone who you are and for it to be so quickly dismissed, to be told the journey you’ve been on to find yourself, wasn’t real.
Being LGBTQ+ in the workplace
Being bi in the workplace can be very odd, particularly if you’re in a straight relationship like me. There’s no prompt to come out and there’s no real reason to mention it, so it can feel like a weird secret you’re not trying to keep.
That’s why diversity and inclusion in the workplace is so important. It’s about having open, honest conversations and ensuring people have a chance to speak up and get their voices heard; not because they had to fight to finally be acknowledged, but because others willingly gave them a platform.
There are lots of letters in LGBTQ+ for a reason – the queer community has so many facets, so it’s important for organisations to acknowledge, understand and accept them all. Asexual, nonbinary, gender fluid, intersex – there’s a whole host of identities out there so make sure your inclusion is inclusive.
What non-LGBTQ+ colleagues can do
- Don’t allow people’s personal experiences to become topics of gossip or speculation
- Be accepting of your colleagues
- Never out someone against their will because it can be incredibly violating and even compromise their safety
- If you see or hear hate, whether it be outright homophobia or micro aggressions, then stand up, say something and be an ally.
Seeing an ally speak up can be incredibly powerful – it can make you feel safe knowing the people you work with are willing to stand up for you, even when you aren’t able to for yourself.
“Working at Alive has been such a positive experience for me. Sexuality has never felt like an awkward topic and being surrounded by people who are unapologetically comfortable with who they are is such a wonderful thing.”
Being LGBTQ+ at Alive
It warms my heart to say that everyone at Alive embraces difference and encourages people to be themselves. We listen, learn and most importantly of all, we provide each other with unconditional support.
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