“Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?” –Roger Daltrey
I was talking to my romantic partner in crime, Millie, and we were talking about the “invisible colors” sort to speak; those of us in the community who aren’t really represented either in pop culture in general or even within the community itself.
Millie is a part of the asexual community and I’m part of the bisexual community, and we’re both aware of invisibility of our orientations.
Now, it’s not complete invisibility; with the age of the internet, particularly with social media such as Facebook and Tumblr, we can find other members of our communities and see that we’re not alone. Millie has pointed me to dozens of blogs and personal pages dedicated to the asexual community, as I have shown her resources of the bisexual community. Other queer communities, such as the gender variation community (bi-gender, genderqueer, etc.), are using the same power of the internet to reach out and connect.
It has been great to find such a community online. Not only have I made contact with bisexual brothers and sisters all over the world – including being interviewed for the BiCast online radio show by a British bisexual named Becca – but thanks to Millie sharing her resources with me, I have learned a great deal about the asexual community, what their stories are, how they define themselves, and their own struggles for acceptance not only in the broader society, but within the broader queer community.
But we want more than just a presence online. We have stood by and watched as our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have won amazing culture battles and extraordinary legal victories. And we salute them; we often marched side by side with them on both the picket line and in the courthouses of America. Their victories have thrown open the doors to the entire queer community and allowed the light of equality and liberation shine in, giving all of us hope, pride, and a new lease on life.
So what do we do? How do we seize the light and march forward? Many of us under these “invisible colors” have been stung by the broader queer community as either imposters or worse. I know as a bisexual male, I have often heard the old adage of “you’re either gay, straight, or lying” (a phrase popularized by sex columnist Dan Savage). And Millie sent me a quote from an asexual sibling that said, point-blank. “Do you sometimes wonder if fighting to be accepted by LGBT is worth it? All the hate, being told that my very existence is a threat somehow, I’m just so tired. You ever think, ‘To hell with it, they don’t want us?’ Just wondering because lately, I do.”
If they don’t want us, as it often seems, why should we try to gain their acceptance, let alone the acceptance of broader society? It’s because the Rainbow Flag, our original Pride Flag, represents all of us outside the bounds of heterosexuality and cisgender. Those colors don’t shine with one shade, they shine with all shades. That flag represents those of us in the corners just as much as it represents the high-style gay man who’s getting all the press these days. We seize those colors and demand that they begin to represent all of us instead of only some of us.
The best way to start gaining such acceptance is to start coming out swinging – and by that, I mean we not only come out as bisexual/asexual/genderqueer/etc., but we do it with our heads held high; we wave the colors of our own communities and become fully visible members of those communities. When I march into a demonstration, I usually march carrying my bisexual flag. I let people know right off the bat where I stand and what colors I carry. I likewise encourage those in the corners to get the flag of their respective communities and fly it high. Carry that asexual flag, carry that genderqueer flag, carry them high, carry them proud, let your brothers and sisters know that you are here – you are visible!
It starts there, with that personal dedication to become visible; from there it branches out. If we become visible, if we become fully open, our brothers and sisters will begin to accept us, as they can no longer ignore us or write us off. It grows from there: Once our brothers and sisters accept us, society begins to take notice, and they begin to see us as fully human instead of just cheap punch lines or even stone invisible.
It starts with you. Pick up your flag and follow us, the light of true liberation is ahead.
Article republished with permission from The Gay Word.