There is a lot of confusion about the concept of bisexuality. Many people are gay or lesbian, in other words, they are sexually and emotionally attracted only to partners of the same sex. Others are completely heterosexual, bonding in sexual and intimate relationships only with people of the opposite sex. But what about alternate sexualities? A significant percentage of people do not fit neatly into either of these categories, because they experience sexual and emotional attractions and feelings for people of different genders. We came across a very charismatic and outspoken individual who wanted her story to be told.
Born in Kolkata, Alankrita(17) identifies as a bisexual, to be more specific androgynosexual and as for the gender, she prefers not having labels but being called a ‘she’ works fine for her.
When asked about how she came to terms with her sexuality, she said that it was a long-term process for her. It started when she saw the video of ‘Boulevard of broken dreams’ in which Billie Joe Armstrong was wearing lipstick and eyeliner, it was the first time she saw a man in makeup. The whole band looked pretty good and she thought why don’t men wear makeup. Later, when she was in class 8, she had this deep desire to be friends with a girl which initially she thought was quite weird because she used to think of herself as an antisocial person. “I realize now that she was the first ever girl that I had a crush on,” she said.
“When I was about fourteen years old, there was this girl who used to sexually assault me and while it felt like my privacy was being violated, I realized that I liked that. Then started the denial period, I was in denial for like one and a half years until this one girl came along and I came to accept myself and that this who I am. I was sixteen when I came to terms with who I am.”
For LGBTQ people, coming out is often a complex, complicated process. the hardest people to come out to are your own family. Perhaps it’s because your family has a set of religious or moral beliefs that dictate their feelings on the LGBTQ community in general, or perhaps you’ve been raised with a set of gender norms that are not inclusive to the LGBTQ community. Alankrita is out to her mother. She said that her mother is homophobic but she handled it a lot calmly than she expected. According to Alankrita, her mother thinks it’s just a phase which will pass but sometimes when she is very angry then she says, “You are not getting anything in our property if you marry a girl.”
Alankrita says, “As for my father, I’m not out to him and if truth be told I don’t know how he would react. My relation with him is quite distant and I don’t want to come out to him.”
Bisexuality is romantic or sexual attraction to both males and females. Alankrita explains her sexual preference by saying that, “I think I like opposites, I am attracted to men who are feminine and I’m attracted to girls who are masculine. Also, with men, I only crave a physical intimacy but with girls, I want a devoted, long lasting and fulfilling relationship. For a long time, I used to think that this was weird but by interacting with other bisexual people, I’ve realized that this happens to a lot of bisexual people.”
Though the LGBT+ community as a whole has become more accepted by society in recent years, there are still many ridiculous myths surrounding bisexuality that are believed by gays, lesbians, and straights alike. These myths perpetuate untrue stereotypes about bisexual individuals and make it even more difficult for those to identify as bisexual to feel accepted by society.
When asked about some of the myths about being a bisexual woman that she has encountered in her life, Alankrita said, “the most common thing a guy comments when I come out to him, “great, now we can stare at girls together.” They don’t understand that just because I like girls, it doesn’t mean I like every girl, I have my types and they often don’t match with guy’s tastes. I understand that they are trying to be supportive but this isn’t exactly the best way to support me, rather the conversation then shifts to their preferences and other stuff which I don’t want to hear when I’m coming out to someone.”
She said that guys have this weird misconception that if a girl is bisexual then she enjoys threesome. She said, “I abhor this kind of statements because it a reinforcement of patriarchy.”
Many people out there think that bisexuals somehow exist in this mystical “sweet spot” where attractions to men and women are perfectly balanced. According to Alankrita, it is not true, she gave her example by saying, “in terms of romance, I am not at all interested in boys but in terms of sexual attraction, I do like them.”
Although many people believe that only straight women can be victims of domestic violence, it actually is prevalent in LGBTQ+ relationships at a similar or higher rate. According to Alankrita, “a lot of people in the community suffer domestic violence. Many of the trans folks are prostitutes and violence and sexual abuse is widely prevalent in that domain.
“As for domestic violence, people belonging to the LGBTQ community are often denied jobs and many of them are ousted by their families. In those circumstances they are either dependent partially or fully on their partner’s income, these partners often have the upper hand,” she said.
“They can domestically violate their partners and the partners having no means of subsistence or support becomes bound to live with abusive partners. The long term solution to the problem is obviously to create awareness so that people from the LGBTQ community not become victims of abuse and do not face problem securing employment. Also, recognizing gay unions as legal would also help as it enables the abused partner to file a case under domestic violence act or claim alimony,” she continues.
When asked about giving any advice to people who have not come out of the closet yet, she said, “there is nothing wrong about being in the closet, your safety matters more and it doesn’t make you any less gay, even I am mostly closeted. Not because I’m ashamed but because I believe that people see you in a different light. Also, If you’re in denial, that’s okay too, I just hope that you figure it out fast. And if you ever plan to come out, always test the waters before you come out.”
About national awareness campaigns such as FSOG, she said, “I think they are quite important until the point being gay is considered to be as natural, organizations and campaigns supporting LGBTQ community such as FSOG are extremely important. They show that being gay is not something wrong and help people experiencing those feeling, accept themselves and come out. As for me, it gives me a sense of hope that there are others around me feeling this same thing.”
Alankrita plans to join a law enforcement agency after she graduates to help the causes of poverty, environment and also work for the upliftment of LGBT+ community. She believes she can help the society by doing this.