It has been my experience that the worst biphobia and bi-erasure has been directed at Bisexuals from within the Queer community. I would love to say this is not true but it is unequivocally true.
A recent statistic I saw reported during Bisexual Health Awareness Month is that almost 50% of Bi men feel accepted within the LGBT community. That is an abysmal statistic and one which should disappoint all members of the LGBT community. For a community which has experienced similar discrimination from heterosexuals you would think they would never want to perpetuate such a situation.
In fact, when I remember my baby Bi days I very keenly recall the discrimination I received from lesbians. They would not date me. They would use the common discriminatory language (switch hitter, confused, unable to commit, etc) and opine that I would (eventually) pick a side. They would question my commitment to LGBT rights issues.
Decades later, I am still 100% Bi. My sexuality is not, nor has it ever been, defined by my partner. I have maintained a committed relationship with another human being for decades. I continue to advocate for full LGBT equality and I do that without discriminating between the initials in the acronym. Now, I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. I have lesbian friends who are appalled that their own community would target anyone else in the LGBT spectrum with the same type of ignorance they have encountered. Sadly, the problem of discrimination within a community where Bis are the majority persists and cannot be denied. This is why so many Bis remain closeted and will not disclose their identity within the LGBT community for fear of not being accepted.
I was recently reminded of the level of discrimination when I tried to contact my local LGBT center for Bi centric programming and support and found none. My intention was to piggy-back off of any existing resources to create a more vibrant, inclusive local organization for my local bisexual siblings. While there are certainly Bi folks who are taking advantage of the offerings our local center provides they are either doing so on a stealth basis or doing so in programming that does not specifically mention our sexual orientation.
So, what to do about this conundrum. Visibility helps. Being out and proud as Bisexual people dispels many of the persistent myths. It also feels as though we are having a Bi ‘moment’ as more high-profile folks come out as Bi. My personal solution is to create, with other like-minded Bisexuals, an independent affiliation of non-monosexuals in my metropolitan area. While we will be happy to coordinate with gay men and lesbians we will do so with the expectation that they acknowledge and respect our existence.
2 thoughts on “Coping within the Community.”
So far as I have been able to determine, the large Canadian city I live in has nothing in the way of Bi+ social groups or programming. Our local LGBTQ organization once upon a time held one workshop on bisexuality — nearly three years ago. And that’s it. It would be funny if it wasn’t quite so frustrating. I have great lesbian friends who are very accepting, but I would once in a while like to find myself in a genuinely Bi+ space.
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That is it exactly. I have no problem being supportive of others in the queer community. In fact, I want to uplift all of us. However, it gets very frustrating when Bisexuals are not accorded acceptance and respect as valid and valuable members. The only thing I can suggest is to do what we are attempting to do here in Milwaukee….get together with other Bi folks and try to create our own spaces. I am taking a look at the vibrant work the Bi Organizing Project (BOP) is doing in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St Paul in Minnesota) for guidance. They have a facebook page with a ton of information about their doings. I wish you the very best of luck and send you loving Bi vibes. ❤
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