I was recently taken aback by a comment by a dear friend of over 40 years. He is a gay man and said he would not want to date a Bi man because it was too much ‘competition’. First of all, I was apalled that someone who knows I am Bi would make such a thoughtless comment but I also realized how biphobia is so inextricably bound up in the life of every bisexual. Needless to say, we had a long discussion about the comment and I believe I made headway in making clear that Bis are not a threat.
Biphobia is a term describing an aversion felt towards bisexual identity and bisexuals, themselves. Biphobia arises from negative stereotypes and is wholly inaccurate. I checked out various blogs and articles about Bisexuality and came up with the following list, hardly exhaustive but definitely exhausting.
How does Biphobia manifest:
- Assuming that everyone you meet is either heterosexual or homosexual.
- Supporting and understanding a bisexual identity for young people because you identified “that way”before you came to your lesbian/gay/straightidentity.
- Expecting a bisexual to identify as straight when coupled with the so called different gender/sex.
- Believing bisexual men spread AIDS/HIV to straights.
- Thinking bisexual people haven’t made up their minds and are confused about their sexuality.
- Assuming a bisexual person would want to fulfill your sexual fantasies or curiosities.
- Assuming bisexuals would be willing to “pass” as anything other than bisexual.
- Feeling that bisexual people are too outspoken and pushy about their visibility and rights. (This one really pisses me off. We should stay quiet about our sexual identity for your comfort?)
- Automatically assuming romantic couplings of two women are lesbian, or two men are gay, or a man and a woman are heterosexual. We are 100% Bi and our partner does not alter our identity.
- Expecting bisexual people to get services, information, and education from heterosexual service agencies for their “straight side” and then go to gay and/or lesbian service agencies for their “gayside” . As if we are some kind of 50/50 split in our sexuality.
- Believing that bisexual women spread AIDS/HIV to lesbians.
- Using the terms “phase” or “stage” or “confused” or “fence-sitter” or “bisexual” or “AC/DC” or “switch-hitter” as slurs or in an accusatory way. I absolutely hated being called AC/DC back when I was young.
- Thinking bisexuals only have committed relationships with so called different sex/gender partners.
- Looking at a bisexual person and automatically thinking of their sexuality rather than seeing them as a whole, complete person. As though we are the sex we have rather than the person we are.
- Assuming that bisexuals, if given the choice, would prefer to be in a different gender/sex coupling tobenefit from “Straight Privilege” It is not a privilege to be seen as anything but your authentic self.
- Not confronting a biphobic remark or joke for fear of being identified as bisexual.
- Assuming bisexual means “available”. (Note: I AM bisexual but I am still not INTO YOU!)
- Thinking that bisexual people will have their rights when lesbian and gay people win theirs. Except that Bis (as are Trans folks) are excluded from the organizations and programs allegedly for the entire LGBT community.
- Being gay or lesbian and asking your bisexual friend about their lover or whom they are dating only when that person is the “same” sex/gender.
- Feeling that you can’t trust a bisexual because they aren’t really gay or lesbian, or aren’t really straight.
- Expecting a bisexual to identify as gay or lesbian when coupled with the “same” sex/gender.
- Expecting bisexual activists and organizers to minimize bisexual issues (i.e. HIV/AIDS, violence, basic civil rights, fighting the Right, military, same-sex marriage, child custody, adoption, etc.) and to prioritize the visibility of so called “lesbian and/or gay” issues.
- Avoid mentioning to friends that you are involved with a bisexual or working with a bisexual group because you are afraid they will think you are a bisexual.
This kind of nonsense just makes me bi-furious. As Bisexuals we have to hold our larger LGBT community to task to accept us as valid and visible members. We deserve and must demand their respect. We must work with our Trans sibs to make sure that the services available to the Ls and the Gs are also available to the Bs and the Ts.