Why do queer and gay people feel the need to shout about it?

The simple answer to the question “why do I need to know how someone identifies is“, you don’t. When we reflect on how a single person, or even a single community identifies, we’re missing the point.

By acknowledging my sexual orientation, I am being part of the change we want to see. I’m frankly not concerned about x or y person’s opinions, because I’m privileged to be a safe space. I actively discuss my orientation on behalf of those who are not so lucky.

During the aids pandemic in the 80s, those burdened the disease were discriminsed in the community due to cultural intolerance. Thanks to tireless activism this is not the case anymore but that activism was not directed at any one single person – it created a shift in societal opinion.

By proudly wearing our rich and diverse identities on our sleeves (sometimes literally) we drive a shift in perception towards queer people.

A tattoo on my arm symbolising what is not visible is still valid

Moreover, there is still confusion about definitions, even within the LGBT+ community. The insinuation that all queer people are gay as a catchall is invalidating, but it remains a honest trip hazard, especially for those who do not identify as queer. Similarly, there is still a stigma associated to the queer label, of which I am sympathetic to. However my belief is that it is a suitable and accessible way of proudly identifying myself as part of the community, without having to put myself in a specific box.

Why does it matter if someone is bisexual?

Now when we take bisexuality specifically, there is greater work to be done to address the malignment and visibility issues faced by the bi+ community. Mostly because it is so easy for us to blend into straight-appearing settings.

Researchers estimate that 83% of LGBT+ people are in the closet"

One of the couples photographed in the Affinity project (J & A) summed this up perfectly , “[bi people are] reticent to show ourselves; because we are able to ‘pass’ as straight, and therefore can choose not to put ourselves on the frontline, in the same way gay people do, to fight for recognition.”

Other bisexual activists like Dr Julia Shaw make it very clear how important it is for those able to be proudly out, “80% of bisexual people [in a Bi Pride 2020 report] were not out to all of their family members“. The Stonewall riots created a seismic shift if attitude to queer identities and we owe it to those early pioneers to be proudly vocal, at least to support those who cannot be.

I long for a day when queer people do not feel a pressure to come out, instead, they can just be; free of judgement from passers-by.