WWE wrestler Tegan Nox came out as LGBTQ in July with a heartfelt social media post. Impact Wrestling’s Kiera Hogan and her partner, AEW Women’s Tag Team tournament winner Diamante, did the same one year prior. Both announcements sparked waves of support for their vulnerability and increase in LGBTQ visibility. Neither explicitly stated how they define their sexuality.

Both announcements saw traditional media outlets and countless supporters default to defining their relationships as “lesbian” despite that lack of explicity. Nox later indicated she is attracted to multiple genders while Diamante and Hogan never publicly defined their sexuality. This isn’t unusual.

“There is nothing wrong with identifying as gay. I just think that there is a lot of erasure with bi+ people. It’s almost like we don’t exist,” independent wrestler Russell Rogue told Outsports. Rogue puts his bisexual identity to the forefront, adopting the moniker “Biconic,” in an effort to combat the kind of erasure seen in how Nox, Hogan and Diamante’s coming out posts were covered and celebrated. “Paying attention to those details is important in respecting people,” he added.

The issue Rogue points out is all too common not just for those that identify as bi+ as a whole. Coming out is meant to be an empowering and liberating moment, pulling the curtain back and committing to no longer hiding one’s true self. But bi+ people all too often find their identities trivialized by others, even those that identify as some form of LGBTQ. Talk to any bi+ person and you’re likely to hear an anecdote about how one or more people completely disrespected their identity as a “stepping stone” to being gay or lesbian or outright had their identity invalidated.

I know the effect those responses have on bi+ people personally. It trends somewhere between devastating and infuriating. Usually both at the same time. Those impacts heighten when paired with the rawness that accompanies putting your own identity out into the public for the first time. That kind of pain and ostracization is exactly why some people keep their truth bottled up from the world. Wearing a mask that doesn’t bring that attention is much easier than taking it off and being told you don’t exist.

“It definitely affects my confidence in trying to correct people that I’m not gay; I’m bisexual. That’s a reason why I just don’t get into it, which isn’t the correct way to go about it by far. It’s just a lot to explain to people who are very ignorant and dismissive,” independent wrestler Jared Evans told Outsports. “I can’t tell you how many straight and gay people I’ve told and they either say ‘you’re just gay’ or the ever favorite ‘Yeah sure, you’re just gay and haven’t accepted it yet.’”

“That’s the secondary reason why I don’t broadcast my business. I don’t have the time or energy to argue what my sexual preferences are to someone who thinks they know how sexuality works… some people like to deal in black and white, when life is grey,” Evans added.

Hypersexualization and fetishization are also key issues bi+ people are forced to confront once they begin living openly. Independent wrestler Solo Darling came out as pansexual in June and relayed that her own dealings with bi+ fetishization factored into her hesitance to put her identity out there. “I never really considered celebrating myself until this year when I came out… because it is a thing where you tell people that if they’re interested in you and they look at you like, ‘Ooo, threesomes.’ How did we get there?” Darling told Outsports.

“An ex of mine literally had an argument with me [saying] ‘I’m with you because you’re bi. What’s the point if I can’t [have threesomes]?’” Darling added. “Maybe I don’t tell people that so that doesn’t happen or maybe I don’t join Pride celebrations because I don’t know if that is for me.”

These obstacles continually keep bi+ members of the LGBTQ community from feeling like they can accurately express their identities and feel the sense of belonging that the collected LGBTQ populations have strived to cultivate for decades. They haven’t kept all of us from living out and proud, but being othered for something as benign as being a bi+ person in a relationship with a member of a different gender does the same level of damage as the anti-LGBTQ bigotry we all collectively fight against.

As LGBTQ people, we cannot fight against our own. Uplifting messages and widespread support of people coming out cannot stop at the first two letters. With National Coming Out Day approaching, the commitment from LGBTQ communities and their allies to support all LGBTQ identities must be guaranteed. Our fight is the same.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though. Bi+ members of the wrestling community are continuing the fight, speaking up about these issues and providing public, positive representation alongside their voices. To that end, let the lasting image of National Coming Out Day be these words of encouragement and make sure that bi+ people feel the same warm embrace all LGBTQ people deserve.

“The Bisexual King” Keita Murray: “Bisexual people, we are out there and we are fucking valid… Be you. Be comfortable with who you are. Speaking these words, it’s hard to say because I struggle with having to think these [things] and reiterating these [words] is helping me … never forget who you are and unapologetically be you.”

Jared Evans: “Just be yourself. Sleep with and love whomever you want. You don’t have to fit the mold of a gay, straight, bi or pan person. Sorry if I forgot any. But be yourself and it’s ok to be scared about telling people who you are but don’t be scared to be that amazing person.”

Solo Darling: “Talk about it. Find someone you’re comfortable with and talk about it. Write about it. Really follow your heart. It’s OK to trust yourself. I think a lot of the hesitation is really trusting how you feel and using outside perspectives to determine what you feel. But the way you feel is beautiful.That’s real. It’s 100% OK to trust yourself and let that shine out. Be proud of who you are.”

“Biconic” Russell Rogue: “I’m proud to be a bisexual man and be putting a face on this community… I want it to be acknowledged. I want it to be respected. It shouldn’t be that hard for people to do.”

Listen to full interviews with Russell Rogue, Keita Murray, Solo Darling, Jared Evans and many other bi+ pro wrestling figures on Outsports’ LGBT In The Ring podcast every Thursday on the Outsports Podcast Network.