Stop With Your Biphobia – Don’t Fall For These Ugly Myths
Bisexuality exists in our society, and that’s great! Unfortunately, so does biphobia. But it’s weirdly easy to avoid.
“People are either straight, gay or lesbian”.
I hear people say this all the time. But this statement has a problem, as it’s actually forgetting many other groups of people – particularly bisexuals.
Bisexuals make up almost half (40%) of the LGBT community in the UK. Simply dismissing their existence in the first place is one of many forms of bi-erasure. And it needs to stop.
You don’t need to be bisexual in order to support and respect bi rights. Biphobia isn’t just a ‘watered down’ version of homophobia, and even comes from inside the LGBT community.
Bisexual people aren’t just split 50/50
No one is really 100% anything. No one’s 100% gay or 100% straight; you fall somewhere on a spectrum. Just because someone is bisexual doesn’t mean they are equally attracted to men and women. You don’t suddenly become 50% gay and 50% straight.
Example: you can be a bisexual man who mostly prefers women, but also likes men. You are still bisexual.
Another example: a woman could end up marrying another woman and never be with a man again. She still finds more than one gender attractive, and is therefore still bisexual.
Bisexuality isn’t just for single people
A lot of people seem to think that you can only identify as bisexual if you are single. Once you enter a relationship you are then either gay or straight.
For example, if you see a man and woman on a date, most people would automatically assume they are a straight couple. But in fact it could be a bisexual man and straight woman (and vice versa).
19-year-old Evie, who identifies as bisexual, said she’d had some experience of this: “I’m dating a guy and I only have eyes for him so I guess some people might like to pretend I’m straight … but give me a film with Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson or Penelope Cruz and I’m totally not straight!”
You shouldn’t always assume to know someone’s sexuality because of how they appear or because of who they are currently dating. “Being bi is still part of my identity,” said Evie. “Actually, my partner enjoys that because we watch films with lots of hot women in and can totally agree”.
Another bisexual person I spoke to told me, “every time I started seeing a guy, my friends and family thought I’d finally gone back to being straight. They thought that when I was seeing girls this was just a ‘gay phase’ and couldn’t understand it was all part of my bisexuality”.
Bisexuality is not a temporary state that people switch into when they end a relationship. It’s not just a word to describe the time people spend ‘working it out’ before they choose a lifelong partner.
You don’t need to pick a side
Bisexuals are not confused or greedy or ‘gay in disguise’. You don’t need to ‘pick a side’ when it comes to which genders you’re attracted to. You can feel the hots for more than one!
Bisexuals are not just straight girls trying to impress men or seem edgy. It’s not a trend or phase of experimentation. Of course some people may experiment and find that they aren’t bisexual after all, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t apply to every bi person.
And it is definitely not something that gay people tell their parents just to give them hope of grandchildren. Telling someone you’re bi doesn’t mean you are ‘lying to yourself’ or ‘need to make up your mind’. Being bi doesn’t mean you’re in denial.
Bi people aren’t straight and they aren’t gay (because they’re bi!). This means sometimes they can feel excluded from both of these groups of people.
One bisexual person I spoke to told me she is often told by her gay friends, “you’re not gay enough to be one of us. It’s like you’re a fake. But then straight people turn around and say you’re not with us either”.
This is why it’s important for bi people to get support from the LGBT community as much as any other orientation.
Bisexuals are not more likely to cheat
There seems to be a common misconception that bisexuals are less trustworthy in a relationship. Perhaps people feel like they have more ‘competition’, but honestly a bi person is no more likely to be unfaithful than anyone else.
Being bi doesn’t mean seeing multiple people at a time, and just because you’re seeing a girl who’s seen other girls in the past doesn’t mean she’s suddenly going to run off with one. Liking more than one gender doesn’t mean you fancy every single person you meet.
Again, this was something Evie told me she had come across in early stages of her past relationships.
“I think it was due to lack of education rather than anything else. Remember that a bisexual can have any fish in the sea but they chose you so you must be pretty special and it’s unlikely they’ll cheat on you”.
Being bisexual doesn’t have to mean being binary
Yes, the ‘bi’ in ‘binary’ comes from the Latin for ‘pair’, suggesting ‘two’. But there’s no need to get hung up on the idea of ‘bisexual’ referring to two genders.
Just take it as read that people who can be attracted to other people of more than one gender may be ‘bisexual’ or ‘pansexual’, and there’s really no need to police their choice of words. Cis people, trans people and non-binary people can all be bisexual.
Being bisexual is a huge part of someone’s identity – don’t dismiss it
In most cases, biphobia or bi-erasure is down to lack of education more than anything else. But sometimes telling people you’re are bi can be incredibly difficult, because of all the misconceptions surrounding it.
Accepting yourself can be hard enough as it is, but imagine trying to do this when people keep telling you your sexuality isn’t even valid.
The next time you see two guys on a date, you don’t have to assume both of them are gay. If a girl tells you she’s bi, that doesn’t mean she’s saying she gets drunk and experiments with other girls at parties.
And, of course, if you are bi then wear that bi with pride.