Nu Misra is the founder of Revival Disability India — a community for and by the disabled which helps others navigate their way through an ableist society. The following article is an excerpt from #RevivalRants, an unedited series of narratives “where thoughts and words cannot be contained,” published in the magazine. In their article, they say that they wrote this piece when “unable to sleep, with their mind full of unexplored ideas, excitement and a sick rage.”
Why is my queer disabled identity so unacceptable to you?
I remember when I first entered college as a queer disabled individual, everyone was shocked to know that I was dating someone. It was as though I was breaking a norm — a norm that perpetuates bullshit stereotypes that disabled people are asexual, don’t masturbate, don’t have a sex life, don’t date and are not desirous. People would often run to my friend wide-eyed and curious asking for details about my dating life.
Years ago, when I was 18 years old and trying to find my first boyfriend online, I used to tell (read: warn) men often, saying, “I walk with a crutch. Will that be okay for you?” Some would be ‘kind’ enough to overlook it. I considered myself ‘grateful’ in these cases. Some would be intrusive and ask several questions.
I have several identities, and my queer identity is an integral part of me. I identify as a bisexual woman. I’ve encountered several bi-phobic comments over the years.
'Bisexuality as a queer identity already has to fight so hard to even be represented'Shutterstock
First, as mentioned above, people never believed that I could be sexual, or that I could have a dating life. Ironically, I went to a women’s college and the bias has a lot to do with internalised misogyny that infantilises disabled womxn and portrays them as helpless, in need of care, polite, non-assertive and innocent.
Second, bisexuality as a queer identity already has to fight so hard to even be represented. Bisexuality has been oppressed by the majority of queer culture that claims ‘bisexual's have it easy’ and that we should just ‘choose one’. Queer culture has been known to be complicit when it comes to calling out bi-phobia.
The first bi-phobia I encountered was my friend telling me, “Oh, but I hope you don't have a crush on me, that would be incredibly weird!"
Cis-gendered men often perceive bisexuals as sex-crazed, threesome machines and my Tinder chats are full of ignored men begging for threesomes the moment they see the word ‘bisexual’ in my bio.
Another bias I've seen in the queer community is that I can’t know I’m bisexual ‘unless I kiss a girl’. This urgency to force people to ‘experiment’ in order to prove their sexuality is highly toxic.
Why is my queer-disabled vagina so hard for you to accept?
This article was first published on Revival Disability India Magazine, with the headline ‘Why Is My Bisexuality So Misunderstood?’