Candace Chan
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Candace Chan

Candace Chan

I grew up in Hong Kong, where being LGBT+ is just not something you talk about. The absence of openness and role models meant that I spent years exploring and questioning myself, before finally identifying as bisexual when I was 21. There wasn’t an urgency for me to come out - as a femme-presenting woman in an exclusive relationship with a man, it was easy for me to pass as straight.

Seven years ago, I relocated to London and jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for LGBT+ organisations. But people would assume I was a lesbian and I was embarrassed by the fact that I am married to a straight man. I felt like people would see me as an outsider and even worse, a fraud. It was a double whammy – to straight people, I’m not gay enough; to LGBT+ people, I’m not queer enough.

I am fortunate enough to say that I have not experienced biphobia, but the bi erasure from other people, gay and straight, and the self-denial, are both definitely there. I know the feeling of shame and fear of being ‘exposed as a fraud’, to the point where I even considered not getting involved in LGBT+ work because I’d never belong.

And then one day I stumbled across the Bi Role Models programme on the Stonewall website. Reading about all the unique challenges bi people face in everyday life, my eyes began to well up. Maybe I’m not the only one going through this, and maybe I could meet like-minded people who could show me the way?

No words could describe my excitement when I found out I was accepted on to the programme. While I was still worried that I was not a good enough ‘bi’, the openness of the space and the complete absence of judgment put me at ease. For the first time I was able to tell people about my experience and insecurities.

As an ethnic minority here I cannot stress enough the importance of intersectional activism, because there is so much diversity in the LGBT+ community and, as a result, we all have so much to offer. I hope Stonewall can continue to provide this invaluable opportunity for bi people to connect and learn how to make this world a more accepting and colourful place.