Thursday, July 02, 2015

People Like Us

People Like Us
By Aud Traher, BiNet USA Vice President

        I've been doing Bi+ and Trans activism for about 5 years now, so I've seen a lot of things. From raging religious bigots to lesbians and gays who should be our staunch allies in this fight leaving us out or kicking us out. But one of the things that still suprises me after all this time is when fellow Bi's ask:
        "Why do you (activists) care so much what other people think about you! Just be you and ignore everyone else!"
       On the surface this seems like great advice, we should all live secure in the knowledge of our innate self worth and any one who disagrees can take a long walk off a short pier! Heck yeah!
But the reality is, we don't live in a world where that is really possible for everyone. Is it great advice if you are a heterosexual cisgender person? Sure! Live your dream, forget the rest! But for the rest of us it isn't possible, not yet anyways, because;
       "What other people think of people like me, gets people like me killed"

Even with the amazing victory of marriage equality in the USA, many, many LGBT people are still vastly unequal and live in danger. This danger is compounded as a bi who is also trans.
Bisexuals are often exiled from the broader "gay" community, as well as having to deal with violent biphobia and homophobia from straight people. Adding onto this stress is being transgender or gender non-conforming and you have a huge target painted on your back that doesn't just say "kick me" it says "kill me".

   That death can range from a straight up murder, in a horrible grisly way or through callous disregard by the "gay community" and health/mental health professionals. Already this year we have lost several bisexual teens, half of which were trans, to suicide. What others thought of them, the negative, poisonous thoughts,the isolation and pain, directly lead to their deaths.
It is a privilege to not care what other people think about you. It is a privilege that is denied bisexuals. So every time the media latches onto some salacious bi themed story, every media depiction of us as cheaters, indecisive, secretly gay/straight, every one contributes to the climate of thought that ends with out deaths.

That is why I care. Because what others think has a powerful influence on reality.

It can turn the tides towards justice and equality as we say with the marriage decision, and it can lead to our deaths.