Bisexuality is often criticized by both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and is often considered to not even exist, despite the huge shift recently in legal rights and general public opinion of the LGBT community.
I am bisexual. I came out with it publicly a little over a month ago. I’m very proud of this, but it has been a weird experience since then. From the late 20th century to the present day, the U.S. has seen more openly homosexual celebrities, politicians, athletes and other public figures than ever before. During this time, the general consensus on homosexuality in the United States went from that of disapproval, contempt, and hatred to attitudes of increasing acceptance, respect and solidarity.
Bisexuals in particular, however, continue to encounter the most unique of circumstances in regards to how they are received by others after coming out. From my own experience, I see a contrast between how bisexual women are received by society as opposed to bisexual men. Oftentimes, bisexual women are fetishized and objectified in the media, while bisexual men are usually mislabeled as gay.
More alarmingly, the gender contrast is often irrelevant because many people deny the existence of bisexuality in general.
In early June 2014, I made a Facebook status announcing that I was bisexual. Within the first 24 hours of this, my post had over 150 Likes and dozens of comments from friends, family and even strangers showing me love and support.
One of the first comments, however, was a simple three-letter abbreviation for a certain homophobic slur: the other ‘F word,’ if you know what I mean. This was written by a former classmate who I’ve barely interacted with my entire life. Many people who congratulated me on coming out also passionately defended me from that one person, who felt the urge to spread hate.
That same day, an openly gay friend of mine started a conversation with me on Facebook with the message “Were you hacked?” in reference to my post. He then went on to question whether I was ‘really bisexual’ or not.
The homophobic slur did not upset me nearly as much as the publicly homosexual friend of mine who simultaneously questioned my identity and integrity. The latter incident infuriated me compared to the first, and neither should be tolerated. This is what I mean when I say it’s a weird experience to be bisexual, a lesson I learned on day one of being open to the world about it.
Bisexual people of any gender sometimes get unexpected cold shoulders from others within the LGBT spectrum. Most of these cold shoulders serve as a pedestal to hold up the faces of open homosexuals, in both an anatomical and figurative sense. Homosexuals sometimes see us as less worthy of the queer identity.
Since it blurs the line between being gay and straight, it is arguable that bisexuality may be used to fuel the theory that sexuality is a choice. Most gay and lesbian people affirm that they were born as homosexuals. There are also some homosexuals who argue that being bi gives us ‘heterosexual privilege’ that bisexual people use to blend in more easily into society at our discretion. This argument is a hypocritical slap in the face within the LGBT community.
Sexuality is not, never was, and will never be a universally defined institution with a clear set of rules and categories for everyone to fall into. Throughout history, opinion has fluctuated within many different cultures and nations of people regarding sexual practices, varying by regions of the world, periods of time, and how sexual intercourse and romantic love relate to major belief systems. Here are a few examples:
– Homosexuality in the Book of Leviticus (The Torah, The Bible – Old Testament)
– Hedonism in ancient Egypt
– Pederasty in ancient Greece
– ‘Two-Spirit’ in over 130 Native American tribes
– Polygamy throughout history, which is still practiced today by Fundamentalist Mormons
– Polyamory in the present day
With this in mind, it is nothing but short-sighted hypocrisy for any openly homosexual person to view themselves as a higher class than bisexuals, or to see themselves as more true to the cause of advocating for alternate forms of sexuality. Here are a few household name celebrities who have identified as bisexual, although with the way the media hides bisexuality you may not have known this about one, or any of them:
Here’s a list of more openly bi celebrities. I was unaware of the majority of this list.
Many people, both gay and straight, do not consider bisexuality to be a true to life concept, a scathingly condescending opinion. If that were the case, then I may as well be a vampire, or Pikachu, or maybe some awesome hybrid of the two. Neither of those things, nor ‘VamPikachu’, is a real thing. But I’m a real human being, as painfully obvious as it is to say.
The trend of hiding bisexuality by the media is nothing new, and still goes on today. It’s a trend that is trivial to most, which in turn contributes to the marginalization and alienation of bisexuals. Hopefully in time, the B in ‘LGBT’ will be regarded more so as a real way of life, rather than a phantom initial in the spectrum of alternative forms of sexuality.