Angelina Jolie, Frank Ocean, Kristen Stewart, Josh Hutcherson and several more! Even though a multitude of personalities who identify as bisexual entertain and motivate us every day, the widespread hostility against bi-people is still prevalent. Almost half of the LGBTQ+ community identifies as bisexual, but they still face micro aggressions from their own community regularly. Let’s talk about why and how this happens.
Bisexuality is defined as romantic or sexual attraction to more than one gender, but it should be thought of as an umbrella term. It is crucial to keep in mind while sexuality and gender is that they all are spectrums. Specifically, bisexuality is a spectrum. Every bisexual interprets it as it applies to them. For some, it can be defined as being attracted to all women and non binary people. Bisexuality can mean attraction to only cis women and cis men, leaving out transgender people all together, which is a topic for another day. Also, attraction to all genders with a preference for a specific one is also one of bisexuality’s many variations. If you don’t see an example that fits yourself, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a part of the spectrum. This shows that there are many ways to identify as bisexual. Most importantly, remember that a person’s individual experience of sexuality is valid.
The bisexual community is definitely unique than the other parts of the queer community because they precariously stand between the heterosexual and homosexual communities. However, it keeps coming forth that the similarities with one community isolate them from the other. Bisexual individuals like the opposite gender as heterosexuals and in certain situations might find it relatively easy to pass as heterosexual, if needed or desired. The bisexual community also shares the homosexual community's attraction and desire to be with the same gender. Bisexual individuals can be viewed in one of two ways: they have the best of both worlds or they have the worst of both worlds.
According to research conducted by Pew Research, bisexuals are less likely to come out than gay men and lesbian women. It is not too far to assume that the widespread misconceptions regarding this sexuality act like a leash holding back non-monosexual people from coming out, and even forcing some to re-closet after feeling that their identity is not being respected. It is commonly misunderstood that bi-people are selfish and greedy. Some people even go to the lengths of refusing to date any bisexual, claiming that they are more likely to cheat. Here the characteristics typically associated with people identifying within the bisexuality spectrum. But it is to be noted these traits are based in human nature and not sexual orientation. The behavior trait of infidelity doesn’t arise in a person as soon as they identify as bisexual.
Keeping in mind that no straight cis person is attracted to all people of their preferred gender, the stigma that this is normal for queer people is defaming. No one’s sexuality should be used as a means to judge their capability to stay in a monogamous relationship. Another condemning belief states that bisexuality is a phase, which is far from the truth. It is often heard that bi-people are either just testing the waters or they are on their way to become gay. This comment completely invalidates a person’s identity. Surely, there have been people who have identified as bisexual before coming out as another sexuality but their experience cannot speak for the entire community. On the other hand, there have been many people who saw homosexuality as a phase while on their path to identify as bisexual. After having their identity been discarded by both the homosexual and heterosexual community, there is a sense of confusion between bisexuals. Confusion is also a consequence of gas-lighting and oppression to conform to either side. Assuredly, everyone needs to be a better ally to the Bi community. Here are a few points to keep in mind for the same.
Remember to adapt your language to the terms they use to describe their sexuality. It is not okay to use words like gay or straight, after assuming a person’s sexual orientation from the gender of their romantic or sexual partners. A bi person can also be in a seemingly heteronormative relationship! The sanest step would be to ask the person how they wished to be referred to, because some bi people do refer to themselves as gay or lesbian in certain situations. Stand up to bi-phobic comments. Don’t be afraid to fight against biphobia shown through insensitive fetishizing of bisexuals or bi-erasure by using inclusive language. Celebrate the bisexual community! Especially during the Bi-visibility Week, make time to read up on the history of the Bi+ community, support bisexual artists and help your bi+ friends combat feelings of invisibility and loneliness! After all, it’s the least a good ally can do, right?