Anti-Bisexuality Sentiment and Bi Erasure

Occasionally, I will read an Online article about bisexuality of which the comment section is filled with comments in which gay men and/or lesbian women (I rely on the way people identify themselves in these comments.) declare that  a bisexual lover cheated on them, and that this made them decide to never again become involved with someone who is bisexual. I have yet to see a comment in which a gay man declares he no longer wishes to date gay men, because a gay man cheated on him, or a comment in which a lesbian woman states she no longer dates lesbian women, because a lesbian lover was unfaithful to her, so these I-distrust-all-bisexual-people-because-one-bisexual-person-has-hurt-me-statements seem very hypocritical to me.

Before I got an Internet subscription (in 1995) I had little access to the opinions of gay men and lesbian women, and I naively assumed (despite knowing that those who are discriminated against sometimes discriminate others) that people who identify as homosexual would be more likely to understand the problems faced by people who identify as bisexual than those who identify as heterosexual, and thus be less likely to discriminate against bisexual people. Therefor,  I was surprised to discovered a high prevalence of bi-hatred in comments made by gay men and lesbian women. The bigotry isn’t limited to the distrust of all bisexual people because of the actions of one or just a few bisexuals, it also concerns the refusal to accept the self-identification of bisexuals; the claim that people who identify as bisexual will inevitably come out as homosexual later is quite popular. While some people who first identified as bisexual chose to identify as homosexual later, I have seen no evidence that suggests this is extremely common. Even if this were the case, then it would still be wrong to disbelieve the self-identification of individuals.

I know people who identify as homosexual despite having one or more other-sex lover(s). I don’t know whether they’ve decided not to identify as bisexual because they incorrectly assume that bisexuals are equally attracted to men and women, or if they have another reason for not considering themselves to be bisexual, but whatever the reason(s) may be, I find it important to respect the way people label themselves, so I will consider them to be gay or lesbian regardless of the gender of their lovers. Peoples’ behavior isn’t a good benchmark of peoples feelings anyway, since people cannot or will not (always) act upon feelings of attraction.

Being a bit of loner, I haven’t been in many relationships, but I noticed that most people who didn’t know about my bisexuality assumed I was straight whenever I was involved with a man and lesbian when I was involved with a woman. A disbelief in the existence of bisexuality isn’t uncommon among either heterosexual or homosexual people, but I assume that most people who made incorrect assumptions about my sexual orientation simply didn’t consider bisexuality to be an option. For some reason people tend to divide humanity into just two groups when it comes to sexual orientations: a heterosexual group and a homosexual one.

In most articles about LGBT or LGB issues the word bisexual is used only once, namely in the explanation of the abbreviation(s), while the words gay, lesbian or homosexual are likely to be mentioned several times. While the writers of these articles may at least acknowledge the existence of bisexuality in this way, I find it annoying that they ignore bisexuality in the rest of the article.

I wish that people working in the media would stop calling same-sex marriage gay marriage, since doing so wrongly implies that only gay and lesbian people marry people of the same sex/gender. Perhaps, same-sex marriage will eventually become so non-controversial that few people will feel the need to emphasize the sex/gender of the people involved, but until then it would be wise for journalists and reporters to acknowledge that bisexuals and others who do not identify as homosexual may also be married to, or wish to marry, a person of the same sex/gender.

Since my sexual orientation is not something which I control, I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it, but in response to bisexual erasure and common misconceptions regarding bisexuality I have created a few basic bi pride graphics and put them Online, including a few Celebrate Bisexuality Day (AKA Bi Visibility Day) images.

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About dnnya17

Interests: photography, music from the mid-1950s-1980s, watching biathlon, motorcycle speedway and curling on TV, and reading.
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