I sort of recently realized I have a fair number of characters (main and secondary), as well as both MCs in an upcoming book, who are bi. As the statement implies, I didn’t necessarily do it consciously. I write M/M romance because I like it, it appeals to me, and that’s where my stories are (which is all the justification I’m going to give that). So why bi and not just gay?
Simplest and most straight forward answer is that I’m bi. I intimately understand what it’s like to be attracted to both men and women. To figure it out, accept it, tell people, when to be quiet for fear of retaliation or hurtful and hateful words…I understand it completely. And while every person’s experience is different, and it’s different for all of my characters, at the core, the basics, I get.
And then there’s the larger, more complex reason.
Look, I know I don’t have a huge audience, and I’m fine with that. I don’t expect to be able to change a lot of minds or enlighten anyone. But what I do want is for there to be representation in my writing. And I’ll be honest and say that my writing probably won’t run the whole gamut of LGBTQIA+ spectrum. I’m drawn to certain stories and characters, and that’s where my muse directs me. There’s certain stories I don’t feel equipped to tell, and I’d rather pass on those plots than cause harm. That’s the very last thing I want. But one thing I am equipped to talk about, one thing that means a great deal to me is is this:
Bi-erasure is a very real, very hurtful thing. I’ve experienced it. I’ve seen so many others experience it. The disparaging remarks, the sneering tones…from within the community and without…it seriously hurts my heart that in this day and age, when we as a society are moving toward (though certainly not there) acceptance of so many facets of humans, that bisexuality is still dismissed and erased. By writing bi characters, I hope to increase visibility. Even if it’s just a little.
Representation matters. When I first realized I liked girls too, I didn’t know being bi was a thing. I had a terrible crisis internally for a while, knowing I couldn’t be a lesbian because I liked guys but having no idea what it meant that I found women attractive as well. Had I seen men and/or women like myself I wouldn’t have had that struggle. I would have known. For me, the label was important and if there had been some sort of representation, things would have been easier on me. I probably wouldn’t have taken so long to come out, either. But that’s me. I just know that seeing people like me would have made a huge difference in my life.
So. Basically, the tl;dr version is this: bi characters matter, to me and to others, and I’ll continue to write them when the story and character directs. And by doing so, hopefully with all our voices together, one day it won’t even be a question anymore.