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  • Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival

"Straight Passing"

This poem is about how I feel in response to bi-erasure, both in the cis-het community and the LGBT one.

Content Warnings: Biphobia

By Emily Metcalfe

I hate the term "straight passing". I am not straight. I'm bi and demisexual, when I'm in a relationship, regardless of that person's gender, I'm still bi. When I'm single, I'm still bi.

When you say "straight passing", all that does is erase who I am. When you look at me and tell me I look straight, you're just saying that you think I'm something different to who I know I am.

When coming out to a friend, one of the first times I'd said the word 'bi', meaning me, I was told I "don't look bi". I look straight. That's not who I am.


I hate it when people say "gay" as a term to include me too. I'm part of that wider community but there are more letters in the acronym than G.

Yes, I feel something inside me relax in the spaces you call "gay", something I didn't even realise was tense until I walked in. Yes, I can be myself here - hold my partner's hand and kiss them more freely than I sometimes can in other venues. But I am still bi.

With a different partner I suddenly no longer belong. I'm not quite like you anymore, and you think it's fine to tell me this space isn't for me. But I was bi all along, you just wouldn't see it.


I'm no more gay than I am straight or straight than I am gay. I'm part of a spectrum, a planet full of diversity, not defined by the polar opposites, pulling and pushing.

Emily (white, non-binary woman with spiky blonde hair) with a pink, purple and blue "Ziggy Stardust" lightning bolt painted on their face

Emily Metcalfe is the founder of Leeds LGBT+ Literature Festival and Book Club and has been an LGBT+ activist in Leeds since 2014. They can often be found in queer book stores and cafes, and will need to move house soon to make room for their TBR pile!

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