As a child, I didn’t really understand the ‘wedding fever’ that seemed to captivate so many of my friends. I didn’t have an opinion on the type of dress I would want, and I had no desire to scroll through Pinterest boards of engagement rings and table décor.
Given that I was a queer kid from one of the only non-Christian families in a small Catholic town, it’s not exactly difficult to imagine why. I was too busy navigating my current reality: classmates who threw things at me, or commented, “something smells like dyke” as I walked past. Friends who abandoned me because they were “taught not to support that”. Adults who felt that instances of child abuse were more acceptable than queer relationships.
As you can probably understand, it took me a long time before I felt secure enough to imagine the thought of my hypothetical future wife on our wedding day. But when I finally let my mind wander there… It was the first time that I too felt connected to the idea of getting married. And it was at that moment that I realized that maybe marriage wanted me, too. It had just been waiting for me to be honest with myself. To acknowledge that the love of my life had the potential to be of any gender identity and expression — it was a truth I was punished for speaking. But it was a beautiful one — beautiful and freeing — and I wore it on my sleeve despite the plethora of harassment it brought me.
Now, in keeping with this — the exact definition of bisexuality — my current partner happens to be a man. As was the last one, and the one before that. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been with women, or that I haven’t been interested in non-binary people. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything more than what it is: that there are men out there and that I have the potential to be interested in them. Some of them have the potential to be interested in me. The same is true of people of all other genders.
That said, I sometimes start to wonder: why did I make myself go through all that if I’m just going to end up marrying a man anyway? And am I betraying the queer community if I do?
Is my current femme presentation just a subconscious effort to be more appealing to men? What happened to the teenage girl with the so-called ‘boy-short’ hair and a closet full of button-downs? Is it possible she’s still around here somewhere?
Did I inadvertently put myself back in the closet?
Why am I even having to ask these questions?
As women, we are often expected to define ourselves with respect to our current relationship status. For bi women, this is true on a whole other level. And so, as an adult, I’m finding that I need to be honest with myself again. Not for my own purposes, but in anticipation of the judgements of others. Because, like it or not, they will come.
“Everyone’s bisexual these days,” a friend once said to me. And unfortunately, I know exactly what she was implying. That we’re all young and dumb and saying it for the attention of men — or that we’re probably just experimenting, but we’ll ‘settle down’ with a man eventually.
Why do I feel the need to prove that I am a ‘legitimate’ bisexual, as if such a thing even exists?
I worry that my queerness is fading somehow. I can feel it slipping away sometimes — and I’m afraid to make it worse. I worry that I’m an imposter — and that marrying a man will reinforce this idea. That all the dismissals of “it’s just a phase” will be confirmed.
Here’s an idea I’ve considered. Can you celebrate your queerness at a seemingly straight wedding? It sort of goes against the goal of focusing on your feelings for your partner — which, to me, is the whole appeal of having the ceremony.
Or does it?
In a way, maybe not. Maybe, as a bi person, it says to your partner, “I could potentially have chosen anyone — anyone in the whole world — and I chose you.”
But even then, what are you gonna do, exactly? Hang a bi pride flag above the officiant’s head? Have your first dance with your husband to a Melissa Etheridge song? Surprise everyone present by having a conga line of potential spouses come parading through, and only then revealing which one you’ve decided to go with?
… Yeah, I don’t think so.
Honestly, I hate the thought of having to make my wedding about me at all. We fought (and are still fighting) to be able to safely and happily be with — and marry — the person we intend to love for the rest of our days. I just want the freedom to do the same — whoever they turn out to be.