MYTH: Bisexuality isn’t real: people are either just straight and experimenting, or actually just gay or lesbian.
Whew! Talk about erasure!
This myth about bisexuality may sound archaic, but it’s a stigma that still persists in public discourse today. Did you know that only 12% of bisexual men have come out, in comparison to 77% of gay men? Biphobia is alive, people, and it’s due time that we put some focus on dismantling it.
Bisexuality is not a pitstop for people passing through, either on their way to gay, or back to straight. Bisexuality is a sexual orientation all on its own that indicates a person is sexually attracted to multiple genders. Bisexuality, similar to pansexuality and other queer identities, at its core just means that an individual is not monosexual. No – bisexual people do not need to have a 50/50 attraction to men and women. Some bisexual people lean more toward women, with occasional attraction to men. Some bisexual people have different preferences for different gender expressions, such as being into femme men and masc women. And many bisexual people do not subscribe to the gender binary in their preferences, and instead identify as simply being attracted to more than one gender. And no – having a relationship with a cis person of a gender other than your own does not invalidate your bisexual identity.
Just like many gay and lesbian people know they are attracted to same-gendered people before they start having relationships and experiences, bisexual people, too, know they are attracted to multiple genders without needing experience to back it up. Many bisexual people report dismissive attitudes from not only straight people, but also within the queer community where accusations of sexual greediness or disbelief sometimes occur. Bisexual people also face a unique type of rejection from partners who feel uncomfortable, or even threatened, dating someone who is attracted to more genders – something that wouldn’t necessarily occur in a gay or straight relationship.
These experiences can make coming out a uniquely difficult process for bisexual people, who describe it as a never-ending process of having to come out to every new partner, risking that rejection every time. Luckily, the erasure of bisexuality is being combated by steadily increasing numbers of bisexual identification (add that to the list of things we have to thank black women and women of color for). On top of that, this poll shows that nearly 50% of people ages 18-24 identify as “not heterosexual.” As diversity and fluidity of gender and sexuality are increasingly accepted, our society will have to come to terms with biphobia, and stop questioning where we should be embracing.
Oh – and Happy Pride Month everybody!
Written by our amazing intern Olivia Poulin!