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From navigating Biphobia to Bi-Columnist: Lewis Oakley on embracing bisexuality

Lewis Oakley bisexual writer

This bisexual dad is combating biphobia one article at a time.

"You should know better," someone told me at a birthday party. That moment is engrained in me like it happened yesterday. I was introduced to a mutual friend and began making small talk like at any party. He asked me if I had a boyfriend, to which I responded no, but I did have a girlfriend.

The look of shock on his face was evident, "what do you mean you have a girlfriend?" he asked. For the next few minutes, I had to deal with what all bisexuals have to deal with: shock at our existence, an endless list of pointless questions to answer, and the notion that a stranger thinks they know more about my sexuality than I do.

But this time was different. After years of being worried about my sexuality, I finally knew who I was. I was finally a confident bisexual, and no stranger at a party was going to make me feel otherwise.

So I went for it. I told the fellow partygoer that he was in the wrong. That he shouldn't be so shocked at encountering a bisexual man in an LGBTQ+ venue and that, yes, as a gay man, he should know better. I told him of the speculations - the stigma - that bisexual men eventually come out as gay. I asked him why he thought he deserved to be treated equally and respected if he wasn't willing to give that to others. That bisexuality wasn't just a cover for gay men in the closet; in fact, I couldn't be more proud of all the wonderful men I've been with. I told him I've probably slept with more men than him, so if I were gay, I would be gay. But that's not the way my hormones are wired.

That's when things got interesting.

I was so convincing and made such good arguments that he changed his mind. Not just that, he felt that more people needed to hear what I had to say and, perhaps, others might benefit from someone like me who could articulate the 'B' in LGBTQ.

It wasn't something I'd done before or considered. It was one thing to stand up for myself in a bar. But to go public? To make myself open to biphobia from all around the world? To risk having internet trolls come after me?

In hindsight, I probably should've given it more thought. But at that time, I was unapologetically bisexual, and I wanted to change the world for bisexual people. To evolve past having to explain their very existence to strangers in bars.

So, I took him up on his offer.

A few weeks later, my first article was live. I felt good after writing my piece. Within a few weeks, editors from national news sites reached out. They wondered if I could do something similar for them. I wrote it as 10 questions bisexuals are tired of hearing, which really cut through to all of the stigma bisexual people face. It summarized all of the ridiculous questions that bisexual people are asked to answer again and again, giving sarcastic answers. The mix of humor, along with very real points that bisexuals shouldn't have to keep answering, genuinely cut through and resonated with people.

Since then, article after article, interview after interview, I've chipped away at the stereotypes of the bisexual experience.

The more I wrote, my inbox became full—with offers for opinion pieces from editors and other bi people worldwide. Sometimes it was just a thank you, other times a challenge to something I'd written, but most of the time asking for help.

That's when I had the idea to write an advice column, publish some of the letters I received, and give my responses in a column. People who weren't confident enough to reach out might also find some perspective. I spoke to one of the leading bisexual websites,, and they loved the idea. And just like that, Ask a Bi Dad was born.

In the three years since, I've responded to as many letters as possible from people looking for advice, ranging from how to come out and how to deal with their partner's bisexuality to issues like not feeling bisexual enough. It has been an absolute privilege to be a source for people who feel comfortable turning to me. An incredible privilege! At the same time, the volume of questions speaks to the gaps missing in the bisexual experience.

I hope that I've contributed to a better world for bisexual people. I hope that more bisexual individuals can use the tools at their disposal to talk about their experiences and inspire others. Whether you're a songwriter, a comic book writer, or love a good argument, I want a world where bisexual people use their talents to change the world's perceptions and make it better for bisexual people as a whole.

You might be a scared bisexual in a bar, but if you can lean into your strengths, remember what motivates you, and look out for your community, some monumental things might happen.

Lewis Oakley is a bisexual columnist, dad, and author based in the U.K. His upcoming book, Bisexuality the Basics: Your Q&A Guide to Coming Out, Dating, Parenting, and Beyond, will hit stores this May. Like and follow Lewis on social media at @lewyoaks.

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