#BisexualMenExist | Vaneet Mehta
Coming out as a bisexual man is incredibly difficult, which is probably why so few do it. According to Stonewall, only 14% of bisexual men are out to their whole family. 46% are out to no one in their family. When compared to gay men, where the statistics are 59% and 10% respectively, the issue presents itself very clearly.
One of the reasons for this is a complete lack of bisexual representation. Growing up, I saw plenty of gay characters, but no one who was bisexual. Some characters would show bisexual tendencies but they never said bisexual, it was always ambiguous. To see this from a male character was non-existent. Even to this day, whilst bisexual representation is increasing, it’s rarely shown from a man’s perspective let alone a bisexual man of colour.
The representation of queer men often followed a similar storyline. A man who had shown himself to be straight goes through some form of inner turmoil as his attraction towards a man grows. Eventually, the character comes out as gay and gets into a relationship with another man.
This often fuels the biphobia and bi-erasure that bisexual men receive. Bisexual men are often told that they do not exist. They are told that they are secretly gay and need to come out. Those in a relationship with a woman are told that they’re living a lie and should let their partner be free.
This biphobia and bi-erasure is even received from others within the LGBTQ+ community. It can make it extremely hard to exist in LGBTQ+ safe spaces, which are decidedly unsafe for bisexual people.
#BisexualMenExist was created as a response to the biphobia bisexual men receive. In 2019, after seeing the abuse my bisexual male mutuals were receiving online, I decided I had enough with the negativity. The hashtag was my way of fighting the abuse, not by debating the topic but creating a wave of positivity.
In 2020, after the Netflix show ‘Love Is Blind’ had a man come out as bisexual, the topic reignited. The biphobia towards bisexual men had become so incredibly intense and it was making me depressed. I decided that now was the right time to bring the hashtag back. The response was beyond anything I ever expected, trending worldwide.
Coming out for me was incredibly hard. Finding other people like me was even harder. Seeing the abuse we get, I cannot blame bisexual men for keeping quiet. But being visible can be so important for those still grappling with their identity. It is with hope that this hashtag will bring people together, help others see themselves reflected and show the world that bisexual men really do exist.
My name is Vaneet Mehta, pronouns He/Him, and I am an Indian bisexual man born and raised in Southall, West London. I work as a Software Engineer, but in my spare time I work within the LGBTQ+ community. I volunteer for Rainbow Films and Middlesex Pride and co-founded The AmBIssadors, a bisexual YouTube channel. I am also an avid writer, having been featured in GMFA, Metro UK, Unicorn Magazine and The Bi-ble Volume 2, a bisexual anthology. I created the #BisexualMenExist hashtag and am currently writing a book on bisexual men.
Photo Credit: https://lightbydan.com/