I have a terrible addiction to advice columns. I don’t know when and where this started, but I read about 10 per day and another 10 weekly. I’ve always found it interesting (and
infuriating ) to see how gay people and gay relationships are responded to in columns, and I think that a kind word from Anne Landers or Dear Abby goes a long way towards touching the hearts and minds of people who don’t know any one who is openly gay.
But sometimes they drive me crazy. For example:
Dear Margo: I am frustrated with my relationship in so many ways. My partner of seven years has been looking at straight porn (we are a gay male couple) all this time, and I have just recently made him fess up. Finally he has admitted to looking at this for most of his life.
Wow, that really sucks, it always sucks to be lied to. But sadly, it isn’t that odd. If I had a dime for every time one of my totally gay activist friends confessed a secret interest in women or straight porn with women, I could be giving a lot more to LGTB activist groups.But go on, tell me more:
I had opened the door at one point to see if he needed to experience women beyond what he already has, but he declined because of our relationship.
Now I think that a rational person would think to themselves “Hmm, this guy has been doing it with a guy for 7 years and doesn’t want to cheat on him with an actual woman because he loves him a lot. And given that bisexuals are treated like at worst pond scum or at best confused by most of the gay male community, the poor guy is probably just bi.”
But instead Margo says:
Dear Un: This is kind of unusual, as it sounds as though your partner may be a closet straight person.
HUH? Who has ever heard of a closeted straight person? Why on earth would a straight person ‘pretend’ to be gay for 7 years?? That doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.
Isn’t it much much more likely that this guy is a closeted bisexual? I mean, my experience has been that closeted bis are everywhere; from the shy married ‘straight’ girl to the uber activist committed ‘gay’ man. They remain closeted about their desires because they fear rejection from their community and confusion from their family and friends. They worry that they will be subject to unfair stereotypes of bis and maybe are even in denial about their own bisexuality.
Who has ever heard of a straight person who is closeted because they fear rejection from the predominantly straight world? Would telling your parents you’re straight result in confusion? Are there a lot of unfair stereotypes about straights? No.
I’m not saying its impossible that this guy is straight, I’m just thinking it is infinitely more probable that he’s bi. But there is that problem of bi invisibility again, and the potential to help this guy, his partner, and educate some gay and straight people about bisexuals just flies on by.