This feature is dedicated to our #NoChangeNoFuture initiative. From the Women's March, to Australia voting yes to same sex marriage, and the #MeToo movement, 2017 taught us to look beyond ourselves and come together as a collective of powerful women who are writing our own history. Join us as we cancel setting one-dimensional personal resolutions this January and commit to being the change we want to see. Because without change, there is no future.
Valentine's Day. Arguably the worst day of the year for those not in a relationship, because even if you're happily single, you get certain coupled-up friends looking at you with pity, as if you're diseased.
To them, I say this: it's 2018! I'm a 27-year-old bisexual woman who is single, dating, and completely happy to not be in a relationship this Feb. 14. And no, despite the (completely incorrect) stereotype bisexuals often face, it's not because I'm a massive slut who can't be monogamous, but simply because the last few years have taught me that I don't need to be wanted romantically to feel good about myself.
Despite being a feminist — someone who educated herself on the patriarchy and gender control in society — in my early 20s I found myself internalising the message that I needed to be wanted by men to feel good about myself. It's an insidious, subconscious message that seeps into many women's lives. It makes us question ourselves and it makes us love ourselves less.
For me, this mindset has changed over the last three years, when I was able to both reclaim my body following sexual assault, and declare myself as an out and proud bisexual woman.
Coming out as bi was one of the most empowering and emotional times in my life.
Coming out as bi was one of the most empowering and emotional times in my life. My sexuality was something that was both always a part of me, but also not entirely realised consciously. As a teenager I had obvious crushes on girls; I would have a couple of drinks and kiss girls at parties, some of them regularly. But I knew I also liked guys, and bisexuality wasn't visible to me as an option, so I ignored what my crushes on women meant. It wasn't until the end of a long relationship with a man, just before I turned 24, that I stopped lying to myself.
Being able to be honest with myself, and the people in my life, to become a part of the LGBTIQ+ community, did wonders for my self-esteem and self-love. It felt like one of the final pieces of the puzzle was in place and I was truly myself. I have found a LGBTIQ+ family that ranges across the spectrum, people who have been so supportive and loving of everything I am, who have supported me through difficult times.
When I did come out, reactions from people in my circles varied: my family expressed support but surprise, my best friend from high school said she already knew and had since I was 15, and I had a sharp increase in straight men asking me if I wanted to have a threesome.
No, unfortunately that isn't a joke.
Being out as a bisexual comes with a number of stereotypes. Dating as a bisexual woman makes you realise how common one specific stereotype is: that all bi women want to have threesomes with straight couples.
I've been propositioned by old friends, by strangers on social media, by men I'm on dates with, and I've seen entire profiles on Tinder created by couples dedicated to finding themselves a bi woman to have sex with (they're known in the community as "unicorn hunters" because what they are looking for is all but mythical).
These people aren't homophobic, they just haven't considered the stereotypes they have internalised about the LGBTIQ+ community. The issue here isn't threesomes — threesomes can be great! The issue is assuming all bi women want one.
Swiping on dating apps this past week, after seeing another couple seeking a unicorn and having another man joke about my sexuality, I realised that the need I once felt to get affirmation from others is gone. I'm free.
This Valentine's Day I'm not looking for love — I am happy loving myself, and confident enough to ask the cute girl I've been flirting with out for a drink without needing her to say yes (although that would be nice).