My college age daughter just told me she is bisexual, but I am not sure if she really is or if she is a “thesbian”. My husband and I are very liberal, and have long been supporters of gay rights and equality for all. While neither of us has a problem with our daughter being bisexual, we are not certain that she actually is – we think she may be pretending in order to seem more attractive to men. Here’s the whole story:
“Brandi” came out by tweeting to all of her friends and followers that she is bisexual. While I realize times have changed and people are more accepting of homosexuality and bisexuality, my husband and I are from a time when people of alternative sexuality were beaten and killed simply for being who they truly are. I think of how Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay, and I get upset when I think my daughter is making a mockery of his legacy.
When I told Brandi that she should take her sexuality a bit more seriously, that posting on Twitter is sure to give the wrong impression, she got angry with me and accused us of not accepting her for who she is. My husband stepped in and told her that was nonsense and that we looked forward to meeting her girlfriends. That was when Brandi rolled her eyes, gave us an, “Oh please” and said “It’s not like that.” She told us that she was still going to be dating men, but letting them know that she enjoyed being with women, too, and that if she found one she liked she may have to stray a little. She told us that she wants to eventually get married and have children, but for now she wants to “have fun” with her sexuality.
Tazi, can you see why I think Brandi is not truly bisexual, but is pretending to be to attract guys? She was never the type to date much in high school, and now that she is in college she is feeling left out as all of her friends start planning their weddings to their high school sweethearts. I am torn about talking to Brandi about her sexuality. I just want her to know of the struggle generations before her went through to gain acceptance, and for her to appreciate the roads that were paved by others. I want her to really think about what she is doing, and I want to be sure she is not playing games at the expense of someone else’s sacrifice.
Dear Rainbow Mom:
I can understand your hesitance to accept your daughter’s bisexuality, considering the way she publicly announced it; however, times have changed quite a bit over the last few decades and people are both more aware and generally more accepting of same-sex relationships. October 6th will mark 15 years since Matthew Shepard was killed. Perhaps you can sit down with Brandi and talk to her about him as a way to honor his memory, explain to Brandi why you feel as you do, and give her a chance to open up to you on a deeper level than what gets posted to her Twitter feed.
While there is a possibility that Brandi is using her sexuality to get attention from men, this poses the additional issue of what type of man she is hoping to attract, so let’s table that thought for a minute and assume that Brandi really and truly is bisexual. Does she have any kind of support services at her school where she can hang out and feel comfortable and safe? Has she made connections with others in the GLBQT community? Does she plan on having committed or open relationships, and does she understand the importance of protecting herself from STD’s and HIV/AIDS? Does she understand that her attitude could easily lead to being sexually abused by a domineering male partner? Essentially, you need to discuss with her all of the things you would discuss if she were straight, plus a few added questions. Your activism in the gay community should have put you in contact with dozens of people who will be willing to assist you in getting your points across to Brandi without sounding like you are condemning her; lean on them to help.
If it turns out that Brandi is a “thesbian”, as you call her, you will be able to address this issue after she understands that you love and accept her just as she is, but that her behavior is disrespectful to those who truly are bisexual. As with every civil rights movement, people have fought and died in the fight for acceptance; pretending to be bisexual in order to boost your own ego is despicable.
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.