Being Bi At Pride

Jamie Arpin-Ricci
2 min readJun 5, 2021
(Banner art by Jamie Arpin-Ricci)

Every year during Pride month, it has become something of a tradition for my family and our neighbours family to attend events together with our kids. My neighbour and I both identify as bisexual/pansexual. We are also both married to opposite-sex partners. Often upon arriving my neighbour’s husband and I are walking together with my son, with our wives walking together with the little ones.

As we merge with the crowd, it is easy to see on the faces of those passing us that they presume we are a set of gay and lesbian couples. There are lots of smiles and greetings, with “Happy Pride!” being exchanged endlessly. However, when we return to stand with our partners, there is a shift. It isn’t always explicit (though having “Breeder” muttered at me is not uncommon). Rather, it is a clear cooling in the reception we receive- if we receive any response at all.

This is one of the tensions I feel every year as I attend public Pride events with my family. Far too many bisexual folks in straight-presenting relationships are ignored, dismissed, or even openly rejected from fully participating in the celebrations- and ultimately in the community we so long to be a celebrated part of. While bisexual erasure is becoming less common, it is still a widely prevalent reality in our communities.

And these dynamics are far from limited to Pride, though they seem to be amplified during the month. Even something as casual as posting to social media that mentions my wife can result in being subjected to inappropriate questions and explicit challenges to the authenticity of my identity as a bisexual man. From accusations of trying to co-opt queer spaces with my “straight-passing privilege” to claims that I am simply gay and in denial are the kinds of things that contribute to the mental health issues facing bisexual folks at rates marked higher than our gay and lesbian counterparts.

All too often you will hear bisexual folks confess to not feeling “queer enough”. This heartbreaking revelation stands in stark and irreconcilable contrast with the radical protest that defines the origins and purpose of Pride. The blood and tears shed, the lives lost, and the generations of tireless activism must be honoured with an equally radical embrace and celebration of all 2SLGBTQ+ folks.

My hope for Pride 2021 is that all of us, regardless of sexual orientations, gender identity, or expression- ALL of us will make space in our hearts and minds and celebrations for the fullness of our community, include those of us who identify as bisexual, regardless of who we are with.

After all, love is love.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is an author, activist, and Co-Director of Peace & Justice Initiatives. You can discover more about his work at his website: www.jamiearpinricci.com

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Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a bisexual author & activist with more than 25 years experience living at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and justice.