11 Tips To Be A Great Lesbian Ally To Your Bi Girlfriend
That joke about running off with a man can wear a little thin.
1. Take a chance on us!
Bisexuals still get baaaaaaad press. There’s every chance you’ll have doubts about getting involved in a relationship with a bi woman. And it’s no wonder, given what people say about us. We’re generally painted as fickle bed-hoppers, when in actuality lots of us are dreaming the cat sanctuary and Birkenstocks dream just like you are. Don’t let your friends warn you off us. Don’t pay attention to headlines where Amber Heard is simply described as Johnny Depp’s “bi wife”, as if it were the reason they broke up. Get to know us.
2. Trust us
If we’ve promised to be true, we are no more guaranteed to cheat on you than a lesbian is. Honest. We don’t all lie awake at night, tossing and turning and longing for “a bit of the other”. We love you. You tend to date women, whereas the gender of our partner isn’t important to us. We don’t need to have access to multiple partners of more than one gender and we are no more likely to be tempted to stray than someone attracted to only one gender.
3. Keep your humour respectful
Words like “greedy” and “confused” hurt us. You might think it’s just teasing but to us it hits deep. Remember we hear this stuff all the time. And when you say it, it makes us worry that you’re still concerned about our identity and its implications for the relationship. Which sucks, frankly.
4. Don’t make us fake our identity or “choose”
There’s nothing more galling than being told “Oh well you’re gay now you’re with me, right?” Er, no. I am no more gay now than you are me-sexual now, with all your other attractions ever rendered null and void. You’ve had past girlfriends/crushes, I’ve had past multi-gendered partners/crushes. We have histories. Not just that, but just look at us cuddled up on the sofa with you ogling Scully and me ogling Mulder! There’s this great campaign called #StillBisexual, which I love, and its name very simply says it all.
5. Don’t ask us if men or women are “better”
I am having a really, really nice time with you – oh god please do that again, just there – and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. So why start trying to pick at this issue? Also bear in mind that we might have been with non-binary or trans partners so may not appreciate the stark polarity of this question. There is obviously different “equipment” and body types across the gender spectrum, but if we feel attraction, this generally doesn’t make a difference to most of us.
6. Accept that we’re more similar than you think
Picked on for your sexuality? Check. Reduced to porn fantasy? Check. Part of the LGBT banner? Check, with a disclaimer – us bis often get forgotten about/left out/considered unworthy of being there at all.
7. Try not to push the “straight privilege” issue
“It must have been much easier when you had a boyfriend/when you were single than it is now you’re with me...” Yeah, like all the times my ex-boyfriend told me I was straight now I was with him, or I was pestered for a threesome I didn’t want, or I had to be really cagey about gender pronouns if I ever mentioned any ex-partners to his friends. Or you know, when I didn’t even tell a boyfriend. Hiding your sexuality is not fun, as we’re all aware.
8. Learn about our culture
History-wise, we’re often erased. And on the rare occasions we crop up in a movie or a book, we’re frequently depicted as the usual stereotype (yaaaaaaaaawn). The woman who first had the idea to celebrate Pride, Brenda Howard, was bisexual. However, many documentaries depict her as straight because she was with a guy. I cannot even. But times are slowly changing and if you’re snuggled back on that sofa you might want to raid your girlfriend’s Netflix for some movies like Appropriate Behavior, which actually try and tackle bi identity in an accurate way.
9. Stick up for us
If you hear biphobic slurs, call people out on them. We don’t care if it’s overheard in the line at the grocery store or said to you by your best friend, you tell those folk exactly how it is. It’s easy not to make a fuss but trust us, we really need you to do it. We promise we’ll do the same right back atcha.
10. March with us
Come and join us under the bi Pride flag for a bit! Don’t be shy. If you’re still afraid of how doing this (or indeed point 9) will make you look, then perhaps you’re not the girl for us.
11. Don’t leave us for a lesbian (joke)!
Charlotte Dingle is a freelance journalist, fine art tutor and mature (ahem) creative writing master’s degree student. Writes regularly for Cosmo, DIVA and Occupy. Ex-editor of the Stonewall award-winning g3 magazine, for lesbian and bisexual women. Current editor of Biscuit, a Stonewall award-nominated website for bisexual women. Bisexuality and mental health crusader. Hobbies include hanging with a lovely, smelly, weird, 23-year-old cat. Too many tattoos and piercings (well, that's what my mum said).