by Tristina Wright
Once upon a time, there was a college girl very confused about her sexuality, and her best friend was a lesbian. They were the closest of friends and helped each other through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They were never more than friends, nor did they ever want to be. They were friends and that was special in itself.
There’s this pervading stereotype of bisexuals that we’re incapable of holding down friendships because of our propensity to flirt with anything with a pulse. We’re portrayed as easy and promiscuous, yet confused and teasing. Bisexuality is a “phase” or a “stepping stone” to the more acceptable sexualities of straight or gay. If we do settle down, we’re then labeled based on the gender of our partner so we fit into a more socially palatable box. We’re only allowed to take on the label bisexual if we’re single and, even then, we’re questioned and erased and deal with assumptions of fidelity and promiscuity, even from within the queer community itself.
Watch out for those bisexuals, they’re tricky folks. Don’t look them in the eye.
It’s incredibly important that, in addition to portraying bisexuality respectfully in literature through their romantic relationship(s), there are strong platonic relationships as well. Bisexuality can be confusing enough and wrought with microaggressions from seemingly well-meaning folks who simply don’t think or believe they’re joking.
Ha ha ha threesomes, amirite?
But to navigate that, and life in general, without friends by your side is not only unrealistic prose, but a missed opportunity. Some of my most cherished memories involve friends, not lovers. My bisexuality and the sexual/romantic orientation of my friends has no bearing on our friendships beyond the occasional shared conversation of “Listen to this [microaggression] that happened to me today!”
Platonic relationships are just as important as romantic ones, especially for queer sexualities because of the myth that we want to hit on everyone regardless of gender or orientation. That line of thinking is incredibly disrespectful to us, and also paints us as disrespectful to everyone else as well.
However, it has to go beyond the Token Gay Friend in a group of straight characters. The vast majority of my close friends are queer in some fashion. We connect along those lines, and our friendships build off that and branch into shared interests such as writing or music or favorite video games and movies. But that support system exists for moments when someone pokes at one of us, or an ill-informed article appears on the internet. I have a network of people who understand on a personal level and can support each other that way. We flock together like penguins huddling in the cold.
When you’re writing a bisexual character, it’s just as important to give them well-rounded friendships as it is to get their sexuality right. It’s important to show strong friendships with various genders because those portrayals, while seemingly innocuous in themselves, add up to help combat the myth that we’re incapable of stable friendships.
Friends are one of life’s greatest treasures. Your sexuality doesn’t preclude you from having some of the best friendships of your life. And if someone doesn’t want to be friends with you because of your sexuality, run far away in the opposite direction.
Once upon a time, there was a woman confident in her bisexuality, and her best friend was bisexual. Her other best friend was straight. She surrounded herself with friends who existed all over the queer spectrum. They helped each other through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They were never more than friends, nor did they ever want to be. They were friends and that was special in itself.
Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid but no one can get confirmation. She writes epic queer YA SFF, and one day her books will be on shelves for you to read. Until then, you can find her on Tumblr, her website, and Twitter.