Bi-Erasure and the Prejudice Against Bi-Oriented People

Goddamnit, humanity, can we for once just bloody learn to get along? I mean, seriously. You’d think the one safe space for people with bisexual or biromantic orientations would be the LGBT community. I mean, there’s a B, right there, specifically for them. But it appears there’s work to be done breaking down bigotry. K.C.’s post on her experiences coming out reminded me that prejudice lurks everywhere.

At first it was it was all great, like a beautiful, unicorn hug, until I started to notice small little digs whenever the topic of bisexuality came up. When a reader expressed her frustration about an author praising a show for including fluid characters by stating that fluid female characters was a negative not a positive addition to a show for gay women, I responded that this website wasn’t just for lesbians but all queer women. As the downvotes rose, I realized that I was wrong. Bisexuals make up approximately half the LGBT female population, but you’d think from the amount of representation they get from inside the female queer internet community that they were 1/30th. The authors, the content, and the goals were primarily lesbian with the occasional special interest bisexual piece. From the comments section I learned that 9/10 bisexuals end up with a man, but the mythical 1/10 must clearly be single because no one had ever heard of a relationship between a bisexual and another woman working out. I also learned that it was totally not prejudicial to say you won’t date a bisexual because that’s just like a sexual preference when you find that icky.

As I started to seek out specifically bisexual content the story stayed the same. Bi girl after bi girl expressed frustration that no gay women wanted to date them, that the only way to get a girl to dance at a club was to lie and say you were lesbian. I was shocked at the number of women who had come out as lesbian at first, and then realized they were bisexual only to be mercilessly teased, doubted, or abandoned by their lesbian friends.

As a vaguely bi-curious person, this infuriates me, honestly. I’ve got a great boy right now. If we break up or decide to branch out, I don’t know if I’ll ever find the right girl to explore those possible tendencies with. But if Cupid manages to shoot me in the arse when a captivating woman’s in the room, I hope like hell she’s the kind of woman who, even if she hasn’t also been a victim of that asshole archer, doesn’t think I’m disgusting just because I enjoy sampling from the whole platter, so to speak.

There’s enough heterosexism to go round. I’d love it if the QUILTBAG community could be free of that shit, no matter what form it takes.

Some of the wonderful bloggers here at Freethought Blogs were actually the first to show me there’s a problem. I haven’t collected their posts in any organized way, and I know I haven’t got them all, but here’s a small sampling of the shit they’ve had to put up with, and what can possibly be done about it.

From Heina:

Let’s Play a Love Game: On Orientation & Options

To cite my personal experience, I had far more options (albeit only male ones) available to me when I was a straight-identified woman than after I started identifying as bisexual. While the culturally-assumed straight male fetish for female-on-female “action” might have just caused a collective eye-roll, consider the important difference between reality and fantasy. Plenty of men who enjoyed porn featuring only women expressed insecurity about my leaving them for another woman, believed that homosexuality is generally wrong, or otherwise felt uncomfortable with dating a bisexual woman. Then there were the fetishists: men who had a pre-made fantasy about femme women performing sex acts on each other for his viewing pleasure rather than for their own pleasure (i.e. the ones scared off by my talk of butch lesbians).

From Aoife:

Queerness and Inclusion

You see, while we officially describe our community as LGBTQ+, in practice it’s almost always the same: the gay community. The vast majority of resources and attention go to gay men (and then lesbian women). The assumption is that if you’re here, you’re gay. Those of us who aren’t gay- but aren’t cisgender heterosexuals either- end up having to defend our presence all the damn time. And the way we have to do so tends to be through establishing the answer to one question: whether their experiences are close enough to be mapped onto the lesbian or gay experience. This was what we argued with bi people- we have same-gender relationships too, you know. And trans people- aren’t homophobia and transphobia both forms of gender policing? And so on, and so forth.

The Case Of Pansexuality 101 And The Sea Of Biphobia And Gender Erasure.

The idea that pan people are immune to biphobia because they also experience it is mind-boggling in its ignorance. Just as women can have sexist views and queer people grow up steeped in the same homo/transphobia as everyone else, nonmonosexual people can be biphobic. In fact, as bi+ people, our internalised biphobia can take on a personal kind of intensity that is far more pervasive than that experienced by mono/asexual people. If we internalise biphobia, we know that it can be directed towards ourselves. Sometimes the ways in which we deflect that biphobia can themselves be biphobic- I’m not like all those other bisexuals. I’m different. Accept me. People in marginalised groups throw each other under the bus to save our own asses all the damn time.  

We Are Bisexualised: Wherein I was wrong.

How can we be a bisexual community when many of our members would describe themselves as biromantic? How can we be inclusive of, say, biromantic asexual people if we insist on using a word that includes ‘sexual’? I don’t want to be part of a community that erases its members in favour of my own interests. Not now, not ever.

Bi+ Visibility Matters.

I need Bi+ Visibility because I’m not HALF lesbian or HALF straight, and when I love somebody I don’t HALF love them!!

From Yemisi:

5 Things You Should Not Ask A Bisexual

5- “Maybe you are just confused?”

No, I am not confused, thank you. It is astonishing how many people still ask bisexuals this question, even within the LGBT community. Being capable of emotional and/or sexual attraction to persons of same-sex and opposite sex does not mean bisexuals are confused about their sexual orientation.

There you are, my darlings. Plenty of reading to help you combat bigotry against bi people.

Image is a pink, purple and blue flag on a black background. Below, it reads, "Keep calm and love who you want."

Bi-Erasure and the Prejudice Against Bi-Oriented People

3 thoughts on “Bi-Erasure and the Prejudice Against Bi-Oriented People

  1. 1

    I’ve been making it a point in a lot of my recent writings to include at least one heroic or at least neutral hero-ish bisexual character. Too often even when bisexual characters are represented, they are the ‘depraved bisexual’ villain.

  2. 3

    I’ve always liked Gore Vidal’s deflation of a questioner who asked if Vidal’s first sexual encounter was with a man or woman. He replied, “I was too polite to ask.”

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