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Erasing Bisexuality: Another Kind Of Homophobia

Erasing Bisexuality: Another Kind Of Homophobia
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Thursday, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and this year Care2 is bringing you personal stories from around the world on the fight to eliminate anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination. For our complete coverage, please click here.

The hardest part of being out and bisexual isn’t what you’d expect. Yes, I’ve experienced icy glares and unpleasant comments when out with female partners, and I know that being perceived as a lesbian in public could be dangerous. While I’ve thankfully been spared any personal experience, I’m acutely aware that hate crimes do happen. And bisexuals experience just as much homophobia as gays and lesbians when in same-sex relationships, and when publicly affiliated with LBGT events and organizations. Functionally, we’re no different when we’re involved in the gay community.

But there’s another kind of homophobia we experience as bisexuals, and for me, it cuts deeper. By and large, it isn’t perpetrated by people and groups who would hate me regardless of what I do and say. It doesn’t come from bigots and hate groups. It often comes from friends, family members, co-workers and other people I see and interact with on a daily basis. Sometimes, it even comes from queer allies.

It is true that many bisexuals end up in long-term opposite-sex relationships — although characterizing those relationships as strictly “heterosexual” is not always accurate, since bi people can and do date each other. Since only 2-10% of the population is queer, depending on which study you read, it makes sense that there are many more opposite-sex prospects out there for bisexuals — particularly those who don’t live in big cities.

And when a bisexual ends up with someone of the opposite sex, whether it’s for a year or for life, something strange and disturbing happens. It’s hard not to feel, sometimes, that people become too comfortable with the idea of you in a “straight” relationship. As if everyone you dated or had feelings for before ceased to exist. As if you’d always really been straight all along.

Often, it’s unintentional. Of course my family will focus on my marriage to my husband and not my ex-girlfriends they haven’t seen in years, or perhaps never even met. To a certain extent, it’s unavoidable in any long-term relationship. The past fades into the background. After a few years with someone, unless you have children or continuing legal disputes from a previous relationship, it disappears entirely.

But, just as often, the homophobia is blatant and deliberate. Marrying someone of the opposite sex is held up as evidence that same-sex attractions were “a phase” (or worse, a mistake). As if sexual identity is something you can outgrow. Some people seem to want to warp our relationships and experiences to fit their narrative that sexual identity is a choice, a lifestyle, a sin — rather than seeing that bisexuals, like anyone else, very rarely have any conscious say in who we are attracted to and who we fall in love with. The only difference is that sex and gender are not the same kind of limiting factors that they are for most other people.

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Photo credit: Caitlin Childs via Flickr

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8:11AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Thank you for writing this article- it's greatly appreciated.

6:15AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

I came out at 17 and suffered through all the BS a gay person would and tried to find refuge in the gay community. Then I fell in love with a lesbian and was ostracized by the gay community. To this day by saying "I am bisexual" means that I could be harassed at school or work - by both gays and straight people. My hope this all changes.

6:38PM PDT on May 21, 2012

great article and an amazing idea to end bisexual and homosexual misconceptions. But, there will always be someone who doesn't want to know. People tend to like following a set form of rules. We don't talk about them and rarely do we acknowledge these rules at all. Yet one of the rules is that you are born as either a man or a woman and whichever one you are has to be attracted to the opposite gender. I know that you heard this in church with Adam and Eve, saw it in cartoons with only Mommy and Daddy characters, even in school where the teacher would ask you to draw a " Mommy" and a "Daddy" picture. I myself have seen people who are so set on these rules that it doesn't really matter to them if the way you act and the people you choose to hang out with or date reflects on who you are and what makes you happy. To them, all they see is someone "confused" who doesn't really seem to understand the rules and who needs "help." Maybe one day the rules will be rewritten or better yet just vanish. Perhaps all bisexuals, homosexuals, gays, lesbians, "freaks", weirdos, everyone who dares to see past these rules can be accepted and loved. Until then never stop fighting against them. Never break under those icy uncaring glares they give you. Stand up straight and tall and fight on.

5:47PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Thank you for this post, I found it enlightening.

5:39PM PDT on May 21, 2012

one must always address myths with facts

4:22PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Bi-sexuals have it best. THEY can love ANYONE.

...and you know, love knows no sex (or has a particular sexual orientation). If it did, we could not love our pets...

3:38PM PDT on May 21, 2012

Thanks Julie.

2:14PM PDT on May 21, 2012

thank you for this post---I think we all need more information about bi-sexual people.

1:21PM PDT on May 21, 2012

I'm tired of hearing, reading, and watching the whole thing. No ones breaking any governmental rules or bombing any countries so, PLEASE lets be accountable for our own lives!! Let's MOVE ON ALREADY!!!!!!!!!! There are more important things in the world than whose eating sushi or whose choosing beef!!

10:51PM PDT on May 18, 2012

Thank you to the author of this piece.
It so clearly says much of what I have thought, felt, and/or experienced.

Lesbians have cut me more deeply than any others out there. I never know if it's insecurity or prejudice.

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