How to Be a Bisexual Ally

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Today is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, which was created in 1999 by three bisexual activists who were seeking stronger visibility for the B contingent of LGBT. If you are part of the LGT and want to know how to be a better ally to your bisexual sisters, we have some easy ways to show your support today and every other day.

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1. Don’t perpetuate stereotypes. Every time you make a sweeping generalization like, “Bi girls always end up with men” or “I’ll never date a bisexual—they are never satisfied,” a bisexual woman loses her wings. OK, she doesn’t but she does get really pissed because that’s like saying some ridiculous notion about lesbians that some people have (i.e. “Lesbians are all man-haters”) and thinking it applies to every single one of us. We’re individuals with our own sexual identities, but we don’t all subscribe to the same ideals about relationships. That might make dating a little bit harder, yes, but your assumptions about all bi people are just plain ignorant. Why would you want to spread ignorance?

2. Be inclusive. It’s not the 1960s anymore. Our community (and our world) is made up of more than what can fit into two checkmark boxes that read Gay or Straight. If you are going to be doing anything that is speaking to or for queer women (like, say, throwing an event or putting together a flag football team), make sure you aren’t excluding those who might not subscribe to the same terminology you do. Again, it can be difficult to find one descriptor to use (we face that all the time on AfterEllen), but all you can do is your best. Have conversations with the bisexual women in your life and as long as you are listening, you will find a way to work together and make everyone happy.

3. Don’t make assumptions. If you meet a woman who is dating a woman but identifies as bisexual, stop yourself from thinking something negative because she’s also open to dating men when she’s single, or vice versa. Bisexual women aren’t all promiscuous commitment phobes anymore than lesbians are. If you meet some that are, it’s not because they’re bisexual—it’s because they are human and, really, unless you are the woman she’s dating, why do you have anything to say about that?

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4. Understand different perspectives on sexuality. We live in a time and place where the rainbow is expanding to include all definitions and labels while also eschewing them. If you meet someone who would rather remain label-less or prefers pansexual, queer, sexually fluid or omnisexual, don’t challenge them on it. Maybe you would feel more comfortable with them using terms you are more familiar with, but that is truly not their problem. Surely you’ve had some people in your life who weren’t “comfortable” with your being a lesbian—find a way to see things from their perspective instead of from your own.

5. Speak up for them. Even if you follow all of these other tips and keep yourself from being biphobic, you will encounter others who might not be as enlightened. It’s now on you to help them from being asinine about their bisexual brothers and sisters. This doesn’t mean you have to force a friend into changing their mind about not dating bisexuals because of any number of stereotypes listed above — it just means you should tell them how harmful and untrue those statements are. When you discredit bisexuals, you discredit LGBT sexuality in general. Don’t like being countered on how you feel about women, or how you could “know” you’re a lesbian if you’ve never tried sleeping with a guy? Channel that same flabbergasting feeling when you hear someone make unfair decisions about an entire group of people that are standing next to you in our bars, book clubs, dyke marches and Pride parades. Work together, not against one another.

For more tips on how to be a Bisexual Ally, visit biresource.net.

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