My first real girl crush occurred halfway across the world in the bar of the infamous Rwandan Hôtel des Milles Collines when I was 23. I came out to my then-boyfriend as bisexual just a week later and then… never (officially) again.
Weaving my sexual identity into conversations rather subtly, I imagined people would just know — and not really care. But for years, internalised biphobia had me convinced I didn’t have any right to claim my space on the rainbow flag. In short, I felt like an imposter. Never gay enough, never straight enough. Never struggling quite as hard as queer people of colour or the LGBTQ community in countries like Hungary or Poland, subjected to instrumentalised hatred and legal hardships.
I am not the only one. According to a 2013 UK study by The Equality Network
, 66% of all bisexual people don’t feel part of the LGBTQ community, or just a little. Recently, I’ve been wondering if that imposter-syndrome is keeping me — and possibly others — from being the ally the community deserves. If people never feel “qualified enough” to speak up, how can they raise their voices?
In the past year alone, we’ve seen this type of support matters now more than ever. When Poland created over 100 “LGBT freezones,” the European Parliament in Brussels declared the EU an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone
” in March. Last week, after the Hungarian Parliament passed the anti-LGBTQ legislation, Sophie Wilmès, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement condemning Hungary’s new anti-LGBTQ law.
Seventeen EU member states backed the joint statement that reminded us of one thing: anyone has the power and responsibility to raise their voices, no matter what their circumstances are. Turning your privilege into action doesn’t make you an imposter, it makes you an ally.