Why Don’t The Bi People Just Come Out Already? An Open Letter To Dan Savage.

Dear Dan Savage,

It pains me to say this. I like you. I don’t think you’re perfect, or have any obligation to be. I don’t think you have a responsibility to be an official representative of everyone with a smidge of queerness in the world. I don’t agree with everything you say- not a bit!- but overall you seem like a decent enough sort. That, and you’re clever, funny, and I think that, overall, you do a lot of good. Also, your podcast keeps me entertained long enough to get a bunch of housework done every week. Me and my laundry say thanks for that, by the way.

It pains me to say it, of course, because as someone with a tendency to run his mouth on things (something I can well identify with), when you get things wrong it can be.. shall we say spectacular? But I appreciate that you don’t silence dissent, that you acknowledge that you piss people off, and that most weeks you even run some of those pissed-off voices on your show. Good job with that, by the way.

Dan, if you’re reading this? I’ve got a bone to pick with you today. This is where I’ll become one of those hordes of angry bisexuals that you keep hearing from.

Find out why (oooh, clickbaitey!) over at the Tea Cosy’s new home.

49 thoughts on “Why Don’t The Bi People Just Come Out Already? An Open Letter To Dan Savage.

  1. Reblogged this on Eponymous Fliponymous and commented:

    This is the statement on the subject that I wish I had written. Consider The Tea Cozy has a tendency to do that.

  2. Try being a pansexual transguy — twice as much stigma and assumptions. Pretty much every new person I meet just assumes I’m a butch dyke (a year into transition and post-top surgery). That’s not who I am already! Don’t you hate when people make assumptions based on their narrow views and perceptions? The amount of discrimination that comes from within the LGBTQ community against anything but the L & B is ridiculous.

  3. What you write has a good deal of force. One possibly serious thing almost nobody from either side seems to address is the need of many Ls, Gs or even LGs combined for some queer spaces to be same-sexer- exclusive or at least same-sexer-prioritized. That used to be about as taken as a given as the need for women-only or women-prioritized spaces, but the concept seems to have gotten lost or even to have become viewed as distasteful.

  4. I enjoyed reading this – this guy – who I’ve never heard of before reading about him in blogs like yours – is simply a self-righteous asshole and as a bisexual myself, I sure as hell don’t want to hear anything he has to say about something that I’m sure I know more about than he does.

    It just makes me insane when non-bisexuals feel they know what’s best for us…

  5. Excellent post, as usual.

    I remember back in the 90s reading some rather misogynistic screeds written by Dan Savage. Then came the cissexism. Then came the biphobia. Then came the wretched comments against asexual people.

    At this point, I think it’s safe to dismiss Dan as an arrogant, over-privileged bag of excrement. Sadly, he has a tried and true talent for saying hateful things while passing off such malignant words off as “humor” or “telling it like it is”. I suspect he either revels in this warped aspect of his public persona or perhaps, even sees it as part of his bad boy charm.

    Sadly, the media (and society in general) tends to favor whomever is willing to build upon the social hierarchy, placing a limited few a the top of the pyramid while shitting upon everyone else. Dan Savage seems to be an apt person to partake in this endeavor. If you’ve got to include queer people at the table these days, why not limit that influence to as few letters of the queer alphabet as possible?

    Dan Savage, you are a credit to the privileged white males before you. Keep up the good work.

    • Dude, it’s not the 90s anymore. Try reading anything the guy has written in the last year about bi/trans/asexual people. I’m not saying he’s perfect or agreeing with everything he says, but it’s really lazy to assume that someone who has been writing almost daily for as long as Dan has hasn’t changed any in twenty years. Hell, in his most recent book he apologizes to bisexuals at length for things he has said in the past.

      I don’t care if you dislike him/don’t want to forgive him for his past. It does, however, seem a little bit pointless to argue with a present-day public figure about views he denounced and apologized for years ago.

      • Many of his comments which have negatively impacted people who are not cis, white, allosexual, monosexual gay men are recent. He has abused his power as a well known gay writer/speaker for so long that I’m not willing to give him a pass for (supposedly) changing his hateful opinions during the past year. Is this change sincere? Does he really care about the people he has publicly shat upon for so long? Or is it merely a calculated attempt to hide from public pressure which has tarnished his image in queer communities? I make no apologies for failing to trust someone whose blatant, hypocritical bigotry has spanned decades.

        And quite frankly, having been a target of many of the prejudices promulgated by the likes of this public figure, I have little feeling for the man outside of mistrust, loathing, and contempt.

        • I didn’t mean to suggest that all the changes happened this year… It’s been a more gradual evolution. I’ve been a regular reader/listener for three years, and while he occasionally says something I disagree with, he has largely been respectful. His biggest problem is that he often gets snarky and defensive when criticized, and that is not appropriate in most cases.

          I, personally, trust that he is making an effort to change because he brings people on his podcast who disagree with him and let’s them call him out. But like I said, feel however you want about the guy. I understand if you are hurt. I just don’t think it makes much sense to just assume that everything he does forever is just as bad as the things that initially hurt you.

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  7. I see it all the time on Tumblr: People who say things like “my family is so open-minded about homosexuality and yet they hate bisexuals, or say there is no such thing as a bisexual.” Yes, it is true that it’s much easier for most gay people to come out these days than it is for many bisexuals.
    It’s also relevant to note that many older bisexuals will say that they were out when they were young and got forced back into the closest as their life progressed – do you ever hear that happening to a gay person?

    • You’re still better off being Bi than a straight congressman or senator, by popularity points.

    • Yep. It’s hard to stay out as a bi person, especially if you’re in a monogamous (or monogamish, even) LTR. Which, of course, many people are. I think that’s a thing monosexual people don’t get- if you’re straight or gay and in a relationship, then the assumptions people make about your orientation just by watching you live your life are going to be accurate. Being out as bi- even if people believe you- takes a lot more active effort.

  8. I am a bi guy who has been out since 17. In my 30’s I went through the worst struggle as I was out as bi but have been mainly sexually active with the opposite gender. It was painful to have explain that 80% of my sexual activity was with the opposite gender and the moment I date a guy openly all of my past relationships were completely illegitimate or “poof” they never happened at all – I was a liar. Being this is online what gay men considered a “phase” was me having sex with 23 different women. Hahahaha after this I decided firmly to date other bisexual men and women. Because although I could potentially fall for another gay man I really don’t think I could deal with having a horde of gay men tell me that my past loving relationships with women were a phase – frankly it is just to fucking painful.

    • Yep. Having to defend yourself all the goddamn time from the people who’re supposed to have your back is wearing!

    • I know exactly what you mean. I’m now in my mid 50’s and have only been out for 15 years. But even so, I’m in the south. I learned hard and fast that gay is one thing, bi is something completely different. I was so astounded and naive to hear things like I didn’t really exist, or I was fence sitting, going through a phase, afraid to come out as gay coming from people who I thought were my allies. It’s bad enough to catch all the shit from the straight community about how sick, twisted and fucking perverted you are, but jeeeis. I so wasn’t prepared for that aspect. I’d already been divorced twice so I decided that I could no longer get involved with anyone but another bisexual and was very upfront about it.
      Worked out good though, I ended up marrying a bi gal and we’re going on 13 years……

  9. I agree, and Dan can be all over the board on how attitudes and statements on this (and many other things), but it just sounds like you’re saying “it’s harder for bisexuals to come out” – which I agree in some ways, but that doesn’t seem to contradict the needed step of more bisexual people coming out.
    Am I missing something here?
    (Bisexual male here.)

    • No, you’re not missing anything!

      I absolutely agree that more bi people coming out is important. I just think that, on a large-scale level, it’s not going to happen until LGBTQ communities start to be genuinely inclusive and welcoming to bi people, and until people actually start believing people who come out as bi.

  10. I always thank Dan Savage for working on becoming less of an asshole over time. When I run into him in Seattle, I tell him to keep up the good work, ’cause he still has a lot work to do.

  11. Ah, the joys of being bi. Girls feel it’s okay to grab at me regardless of my boyfriend and guys disregard my girlfriend because she doesn’t have a penis.

    My ex bf was also bi. We completely accepted this about one another! However, associates treated me like I was in denial and was just a fag hag or a gay man’s beard. I got so sick of everyone telling me guys can’t be bi that the last time a guy told me my BF was gay, I just slapped him in the face. It’s not my proudest moment, but why is okay to deny a person their sexual identity?! It’s not. And they should be ashamed.

    I think the biggest problem is not “coming out,” because trust me, I’m out! My family, friends, and lovers know. Everyone knows.

    The problem is lack of recognition. I’m tired of other people refuting and dictating their interpretation of my sexual orientation.

    • I love this:
      _”I think the biggest problem is not “coming out,” because trust me, I’m out! My family, friends, and lovers know. Everyone knows.

      The problem is lack of recognition. I’m tired of other people refuting and dictating their interpretation of my sexual orientation.”_

      Coming out takes two people- one person to come out, and the other person to accept that information and acknowledge it.

      • First of all, everyone who is engaged enough in this struggle to have taken time to write comments down above and below — you all completely rock. I’m a 43 year old bi male who is out, but struggles pretty much down the line with so many of the visibility and hostility issues enumerated on this scroll. But I definitely have not been as active in the online support space as some of you folks seem to be — and that’s (just one!) of my New Year’s Resolutions! But bravo, for real.

        Aoife — to your last point here and picking up on something you said in an earlier thread: “Coming out takes two people- one person to come out, and the other person to accept that information and acknowledge it”

        The brass tacts facts are that we can only control one side of this equations. We can’t control the acceptance or belief (God help us all through this existential crisis of being or not being!!) in who and what we are. I believe firmly that we’ve got to just keep coming out in hordes, hard core, just keep fighting to find the ways to navigate the awkwardness of stepping into a space that doesn’t really fully exist yet — and the very process of doing that — becoming visible — will eventually make that space exist, and therein create the acceptance and acknowledgement of which you speak.

        I think the history of the mainstream gay rights movement (and the T movement in its nascent stage) has born that out. If we’re waiting for that other side to be ready or willing or to ‘get’ us before or in order for us to step into that space, I feel certain we’ll be waiting forever! And I say this as much to myself as to anyone else — I think those who have come before us in this struggle and those who will come after expect and have a right to expect more from all of us living and struggling and aspiring in the present and dynamic moment where we’ve got an enormous opportunity to take bisexuality and bi-visibility into the big time.

  12. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m a bisexual woman who’s married to a straight man. He knows I’m bi and has no issues with it. However, I feel like the wider LGBTQ community sees me as another hetero woman looking for attention.

    So, no, I’m not openly bi. My close friends know, but now that I’m older and raising kids, it’s not worth the heartache for me to advocate my ass off that yes, I am real. I’m not a fucking unicorn. And that I deserve the same respect that my L&G counterparts enjoy in the LGBTQ community.

    • My story too. THANK YOU. I’ve known I was bi since I was in 7th grade. I never felt ashamed of it. In fact I felt like it was a secret gift — that I have the ability to look past gender, age, race, etc. and fall for the PERSON inside, regardless of what the trimming looks like.

  13. This was beautiful. Thank you.

  14. Excellent post, thank you!
    A well known writer recently said, “There are 7 billion people on this planet, which means there are 7 billion ways to express human sexuality”. Whether it’s a phase we go through, a journey, or a firm decision from an early age, it is our own to make.

    I am glad that the LGBQT community has progressed to the state it is in. There are MANY more safe places for people to express their sexuality if it differs from those who would suppress them, and that is great. I would hope that things would progress to the point that no matter what gender a person is, the ONLY things that matter are “Do you feel safe?” and “Are you happy?”

    I’m a bi woman married to a man who has “played around” with a guy or two. Hubby doesn’t identify as bisexual, though. And that’s fine. I do get a sense that when a bisexual is in a “straight” relationship, those around them feel comfortable, because it’s “normal”. And if they were in a homosexual one, people would have SOME clue how to respond to it also. But telling them that you just like to love who you love, and oddly, their heads explode.

    I find that the BDSM community is actually rather accepting of bisexuality, as is the science fiction/fantasy communities. Or maybe it’s just where I live. So glad for that!

  15. This article is A#1. The research you’ve done to support and expand on your positions is really top notch and it should be part of a syllabus for Queer/Gender/Sexuality studies. Congratulations.

  16. Reblogged this on Finding the Secret Places and commented:

    This is an article that is sorely needed. I myself am only partially out, and luckily it’s to a group of friends who react like this: “you’re bi? Cool, are you free to hang out Friday?” Unfortunately not everyone has such a group to go to and they deserve that.

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  20. Thanks, but one thing you didn’t really go into in regards to bi-sexuality is that there are different levels of it. I’m 27, and gun to my head I’d either identify as mostly straight or bi-curious. I don’t really find male faces too attractive, but I love looking at a cock and hard abs. The thing is, though I’d like to explore a bit more, the costs and risks to explore a bit more, there’s really no need to put myself through the process when there’s a good chance that it never really becomes a factor in my life.

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  22. Thank you. I come out again and again and if that’s supposed to be all it takes, I must be doing it wrong — because people (well, to be fair, usually cis straight white men…) don’t believe me. I did my part; now it’s everyone else’s turn to start taking it seriously.

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  25. Well for many of us straight men out there looking for a good woman to settle down with which it is the reason why many of us can’t find a good one since many of the women today are certainly Gay And Bi. And guess what, we’re Not To Blame Either.

    • Steve, you do realise that women’s sexuality is quite gobstoppingly Not About Whether Or Not You Can Get Laid?

      Also, you do realise that homosexuality and bisexuality are not, in fact, recent inventions (in any sense other than the linguistic)?

      And finally, do you by any chance realise that bi women generally do, in fact, fancy men?

  26. I have to disagree with certain points, but i also agree.. I came out as bi when i was 18, now i identify mostly as gay, but i was definetively bi-sexual in the past..
    You cannot expect to find your community, if you dont allowmyour community to find you, welcome you, and see your face, and thus embrace you.
    If you remain hidden, you wont be found.. But if you step out, you are allowing your family to find you.. Complicated issue, yes..
    But I personally say to people with excuse after excuse, even up to their 50th year, just get out of tye freaking closet, start hanging with lgbt-community, and stop licking the balls of straight people who will never wccept you fully anyways..
    Just take the plunge, scary a it might be, and fly.. I have also found a lot of the closet cases,mwhether bi or gay, saying that they hate the gay lifestyle, or wish they werent gay..
    Well.. Goodbye to you, im not gonna hang out with you if you dont appreciate my lifestyle, and dont find anything great about beng gay.. Personally i would rather be gay than straight any day, and wouldnt trade it for the world, so i find it exhausting to be around such people..

  27. Pingback: Why Don't The Bi People Just Come Out Already? An Open Letter … | Blog Bisexual - All Bisexual Blogs, Articles, Discussions & Posts

  28. This post is fantastic in about 15 ways. Thank you.

    What is the citation for the research you mention by a Dr. Friedman?

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