We Spoke To 5 Bisexual Individuals About Their Experiences & Challenges In India

Micro-aggressions have always been directed towards the Bisexuals — First, they were asked to “pick a side” and received hate from both the heterosexual and the queer community.
Micro-aggressions have always been directed towards the Bisexuals — First, they were asked to “pick a side” and received hate from both the heterosexual and the queer community.Manasi Patankar for Homegrown

Bisexual people often feel like outsiders in the LGBTQIA+ community. Controversies and micro-aggressions have always been directed towards the Bi community. First, they were asked to “pick a side” and received hate from both the heterosexual and the queer community and now they are blamed for enforcing the gender binary. Bi people are also judged for their preferences in a way that gay and lesbian people aren't. If you date a guy you’re not viewed as queer anymore and if you date a woman there are always lingering conversations about you not being “fully into them” or your sexuality just “being a phase”.

A lot of them will agree that B is not the best letter to be in the spectrum.

The first bi folks hurdle they encounter is the process of coming out. While they aspire to embrace their true selves and assert their identities, it can often prove challenging due to potential resistance from their close ones, especially their romantic partners. Balancing the desire for authenticity with the uncertainty of loved ones' acceptance becomes a significant journey for them. We spoke to Indian individuals what it's like navigating their life being bisexual.

20-year-old Noor* says, "I have consistently disclosed my sexuality to partners and been open about my preferences in social circles. However, revealing it to my parents has proven to be quite challenging. In my parents' presence, I adopt the facade of a straight, heteronormative girl. Going back and forth between home and college used to make me feel like I was living double lives."

31-year-old Rickson's biggest fear was her mother but she's starting to accept his sexuality. For 25-year-old Aditi* it was the fear of judgement and being oversexualized.

29-year-old Karan's* partner doesn't know and 27-year-old Disha struggled to come out because "to other queer people I wasn’t gay enough and to my heterosexual partners it became something to fetishize."

Bisexuality rarely elicits an empathetic response; it's either invalidated or hypersexualized. Even history has been unfair the community. In the 1970s, the Gay Liberation Front, a queer-rights group, treated bisexual people as effectively straight, and thus associated them with regressive politics and edged them out of the organization. There are stories about men who aren’t bothered when their girlfriends have a sexual affair with women only suggesting that they do not see bisexuality as a real sexual orientation.

Noor feels a sense of disconnect with the queer community as a whole which she owes to her disclosed identity at home.

Rickson shares, "On Grindr, a lot of men have even refused to have a conversation with me let alone meet me just because I told them I am a bisexual. The fear arises from the fact that apparently most bisexuals eventually choose to be with a heterosexual girl which is certainly not true. I am open to being with a person who is loving and caring, and honestly it doesn't really matter what sexual organs they have."

Aditi* insists that many lesbians or gay people see bisexuals as a phase or a way to fit in and that they don't take you completely seriously whereas Karan's* queer friends have been supportive.

Disha believes that the quuer community is blatantly biphobic, "Too many comments invalidating my bisexuality since i’m a femme presenting bi who’s been in a long term relationship with a hetero man. Additionally, most queer spaces seem curated; queer folk with the most social media presence and cliquey drama. it’s not a fun dynamic anymore."

The ignorance in discourse around bisexuality also alienates those who identify as such. In India, the cultural undercurrent of hyper-gendered friendships and relationships also comes into play. When Noor's* parents found out about her former same-sex partner, they figured she fell under the 'wrong' influence because they saw her as a straight person.

Most of Rickson's hetero friends don't really know how the whole LGBTQ+ spectrum works and see bisexuality as an on/off switch. Karan* has even had to pretend that his coming out was a prank when his friend's response didn't feel safe.

Disha has dealt with assumptions like bisexuality is an excuse to cheat, that it makes her easy, that threesome is a given because she likes both men and women and that she's no longer bisexual since she's in a heterosexual relationship.

As for me, I'm only beginning to grasp that men aren't where my sexual attraction ends. I feel envious of those who knew earlier and often find myself floundering like a headless chicken looking for someone to blame — my parents who didn't create a safe environment, my surroundings that had such a strong heteronormative current that I just went with the flow without looking inwards, and even myself who only had the courage to recognize and own my sexuality when it was socially acceptable.

This also forms part of a popular argument online — that queerness has become a 'trend'. However, this perspective misses a crucial point. It's not a matter of suddenly becoming "more gay", but rather a collective realization that the spectrum of sexuality and gender is far more fluid than once thought. As societal spaces grow more inclusive and accepting, individuals are finding comfort in expressing what they've long known about themselves. The shift isn't about chasing trends; it's rather an awakening of raw and radical acceptance; a simple realization that we love who we love.

*The names of some respondents have been changed for anonymity.