Bisexual+ individuals exist.
In truth, it is reported that they make up the most important proportion of the queer group with 75% of young lesbian, homosexual or bisexual individuals figuring out as bi (CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey). Yet, our sexuality and existence is consistently undermined and misunderstood.
February is LGBTQ+ history month, and as a proud bisexual girl, I wished to unpick some myths and misconceptions round bisexuality, and highlight the experiences of fellow Bi+ individuals. Because we have all heard the stereotypes. And boy are they damaging.
Bisexual individuals are grasping. They cannot choose a facet. They’re confused. They’re closeted. Bisexual males are homosexual. Bisexual girls are on the lookout for consideration.
The dialogue round Bisexuals misunderstands a lot, and sometimes comes from inside our personal queer group – which makes it all of the extra upsetting. As a cis white girl, my bisexuality is probably the most ‘socially acceptable’ – as a result of the male gaze enjoys it. It’s helpful to the patriarchy as a result of it is, merely put, seen as leisure and will be ‘loved’ by straight males. The porn business has peddled this for therefore lengthy, that after I inform individuals I’m bisexual I’m both met with leering or informed it is a section, or I’m fulfilling some kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy. I’m luckier than lots of my group.
Bi+ males are informed by society that they’re closeted and can, all the time, finally find yourself popping out as homosexual and be with males solely; the patriarchal society we dwell in cannot grasp that pleasure does not all the time centre round males. A bisexual man, clearly, desires to be with males. A bisexual girl, clearly, is simply making an attempt to arouse males. These stigmas and erasures are, not solely false, however utterly misunderstanding what bisexuality is.
First off, bisexuality will not be binary. Bi+ individuals are not all cis. Bi+ individuals are not all white. They aren’t cut up 50/50 down the center with their attraction to women and men. Bisexuals aren’t all hyper-sexual. Bisexual advocate Robyn Ochs‘ put it nicely: “The potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
Mike Knight, a 31-year-old primarily based in London informed me about his expertise: “I felt like everything around me was geared to monosexuality. I felt like it would be more accepted or at least understood if I were just to come out as gay. Look at films and television for instance: Being attracted to more than one gender is either erased from storytelling entirely or used as a device to show how a character is at best, on a journey to becoming gay or finding love in a straight relationship, at worst we are deranged supervillains.”
“I struggle with both gay men and straight women. The former assumes I’m just experimenting with men or still trying to pass to my loved ones by pretending I’m still attracted to cisgender women. The latter just get freaked out and run a mile. I’ve had more than one instance of a straight, cis-gender woman backing out of dates after finding out I’m queer. Even with those problems, I am a happy man being out than I was being in the closet. I would never swap the headaches now for hiding myself as I did before.”
Rachel Badham, a 21-year-old LGBTQ+ journalist, has felt equally erased: “I found bi erasure at the hands of other LGBTQ+ people to be one of the most devastating experiences, as it made me feel as if I didn’t belong in the community which I value so deeply. I’ve even had partners question the legitimacy of my sexuality, with an ex-boyfriend asking me why I wanted to attend a Pride event ‘considering I was in a heterosexual relationship’. Again, this was very disheartening as having an integral part of your identity questioned by someone you care about massively affects your self-image. Fortunately, positive bisexual representation is on the increase, and the majority of people in my life, LGBTQ+ or not, are very accepting.”
So, issues are altering. Slowly however certainly. More often the media is portraying bi tales in a optimistic gentle, and celeb bisexual popping out tales have gotten extra frequent. From Lili Reinhart, to Halsey and Harry Styles. Loki from the Marvel universe is even getting the bisexual illustration he deserves in an upcoming Disney+ sequence. Of course, illustration is vital – however what means extra, to me, is for the individuals in my life to take the time to teach themselves – all queer identities are legitimate, and for my coming-out to be so repeatedly dismissed by family and friends hurts. I’ve had relations inform me that I’m simply ‘too liberal’, or that they ‘cannot sustain these days’, or, generally, I’ve simply been utterly ignored – a nod and by no means talked about once more. At the naked minimal, it will be nice if individuals recognised we even exist. Affirmations and validation are vital, it could make queer youth really feel heard and vital, it could make or break somebody’s psychological well being, it could assist to undo biphobia.
Charley, aged 21, mirrored on her bisexual id, telling me: “I felt that the years I was in a relationship with a man somehow made me less qualified to consider myself part of the LGBTQ+ community. It has made me question whether I am gay enough to be considered Bi, but I quickly shake that. When would a straight person who hasn’t dated for a while ever reflect on whether they’re straight enough to be dating the opposite sex?”
No, no they would not.
Bi+ visibility issues. Bierasure is counterproductive when it comes from throughout the queer group, and marginalising when it comes from straight individuals. But, the excellent news is that it does not take a lot to chip away at. Think about the way you react to your pals after they discuss being bisexual, name out those that dismiss it as an id and watch your language – no extra utilizing ‘grasping’ or ‘confused’, please.