A recent post on Slate.com by
Dana Sitar is a bisexual woman that is still exploring and growing into her bisexual identity and recently ran into this issue with her and her straight cis male partner.
I long for acceptance in a community of queer people, because I am queer people. But I carry around one giant roadblock to being embraced in LGBTQ spaces: My partner is a cisgender heterosexual white man.
While many LGBTQ people pay lip service to bisexual validity regardless of who we sleep with, date, or commit our lives to, I’ve found actual acceptance lacking in practice—if only by accident. Consider my recent experience with the Madison, Wisconsin-based DJ collective Queer Pressure, which sometimes hosts queer-exclusive events. I asked if my boyfriend would be able to come to one of their queer-only events and was told he could not if he didn’t identify as queer.
She elaborated that the when she reached out to the group, the feedback from the community was that “the queer-only events are super special to people” where they “can get a break from needing to be vigilant about the people around" them and allows people to “curate [their] own beautiful queer utopia, even if it’s just for a night.”
Sitar also explains:
… invites to the group meetings explicitly state when an event is for queer-identifying people only, and “people self-select and respect that.” They also reiterated if a queer person has a non-queer partner, “that partner may not attend, as it is a queer-only event.” As for our place in the LGBTQ community, Akawa told me, “Bi+ people are under the queer umbrella and they are welcome and embraced at Queer Pressure.”
Imagine if you needed to check to see who you were dating to see if they matched a certain definition before you both could attend an event. If I were bisexual, I would have to possibly lessen my queerness if I was dating a woman, but if I was dating a man, I would not have to worry about where we could go together and what LGBT events I could attend.
Wouldn't allowing a bisexual's opposite sex partner into such groups give them an insight into the Queer community? Or is it more important to check for LGBT ID cards at the door?
Of course not all Queer/LGBT groups are exclusive or shun no LGBTQ+ individuals. Sitar mentioned Meetup, a group in Tampa, Florida, that gave her "an almost opposite reply to the same question I asked Queer Pressure. The organizer of Gay Friends of St. Pete and Tampa said simply, 'EVERYONE is welcome and [inclusion is] the reason the group was created.'”
What do you think?
Do both types of groups have a reason to exist?
Do queer-exclusive events need to be organized?
Should queer-exclusive events not allow bisexual opposite sex partners to attend?
If you need to create an exclusive space, I encourage you to be flexible about it, and be cautious of bi erasure and exclusion. (It’s subtle, so if you’re not bi, listen to us!) Understand that to be bisexual can mean to share life with a straight person. Put yourself in my shoes, and consider how you’d feel if your partner were excluded from any part of your life for any reason. Then treat my partner and me the way you’d want your relationship to be treated.
For more on Slate.com.