We Need To Stop Ignoring Biphobia

I’ve been considering writing a blog about biphobia for a long time, but with starting my internship I had yet to get round to it. Last night, sitting in Wetherspoons, I decided I was finally going to do it. Mainly due to the fact that some of the people I worked with asked me if I was bisexual and I didn’t even want to tell them the truth. My sexuality isn’t something I like to talk about much and something I don’t often admit to anyone I don’t fully trust or know. Why is it that I find it so hard to talk about it outside my main close knit friendship group? Mainly because I am scared of how people will react. I think a lot of gay people out there think that bisexual people have it easy. We can just go around acting like “straight people” a lot of the time, and avoiding the homophobia than openly gay people have to put up with. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth.Of course the guys and girls I work with are lovely and had no problem with it at all, so why should I let the actions of a few people in the past affect how I feel about myself? The truth is a lot of bisexual people feel the same.

“Greedy”, “confused”, and “desperate” are some of the words I have heard used to describe bisexual people. Along with “following a trend” and “trying to be cool.” The truth is more and more people have been coming out as bisexual in recent years and this is often “blamed” on the existence of scene kids and hipsters. They think it’s cool to be bisexual right? Or maybe it’s that there have always been high levels of individuals attracted to members of both genders and it is the accepting liberal sub-cultures that allow them to feel comfortable enough to admit to it. The sad thing about biphobia is that it comes not just from straight people, but also from within the LGBT community itself. Hell, I’ve even heard bisexual people make horrible comments about how there are so many “fake” bisexuals out there…

The first instances of biphobia I encountered were in year 11 when I was around 15. People used to ask certain friends of mine why they were friends with me because “she might fancy you!”. I don’t even need to explain why this is such a stupid, ignorant, bigoted thing to say. Straight people don’t fancy every single member of the opposite sex, so why would I fancy every women I meet? A girl in my geography class asked my best friend if I fancied her. The girl was as ugly on the inside and she was on the outside, so no, I certainly did not fancy her. This is the type of crap bi and homosexual people have to put up with. I’ve even heard friends of mine insist that gay men go around trying to turn straight men gay. No they don’t. In fact I know certain straight men who have seduced gay ones, not the other way round…

It isn’t just straight people who are biphobic though. In fact I have heard with my own ears gay people refer to bisexuals as “greedy”. I’m sure it was meant as a joke, but when people out there genuinely believe that, it’s really not funny. Of course I will stress that it is only the minority of gay people (and straight people) who are biphobic. But it is still a significant amount considering the fact that there is a B in LGBT. There are some lesbians out there who will not date a bisexual women, believing that they are indecisive, less loyal, or going to “turn straight” five minutes later. Last time I went onto the g3 website (a while ago) there was a poll asking whether readers would date a bi girl or not. Why should sexuality even be an issue? My ex girlfriend was absolutely paranoid I would leave her for a man. I adored her, and would never have considered it. There are probably more men out there I’m attracted to than women, but that’s because I get on better with men in general. If I’m going out with someone I am 100% committed to them and wouldn’t even look at anyone else. Promiscuity is another trait constantly linked with bisexual people. Some may be, and if that is how they want to be then fair enough. It is certainly not the case for all of them, no more so than it is with heterosexuals and homosexuals. A few days ago somebody messaged me over the internet saying “Hey I really appreciate the confidence and self awareness required to realise you need both men and women in your life. That’s really cool. When did you know for sure that you were bisexual?”. I found this rediculously patronising. Firstly bisexuals do not “need both men and women in their life”.  Most of us date one person at a time thanks very much, and often don’t “need” anyone. Secondly it doesn’t take “confidence and self awareness” it’s just something you know about yourself. Does it  take confidence and self–awareness to admit you’re straight? I don’t think so.

The way past boyfriends have reacted to my bisexuality has also not always been positive and free from ignorance. One guy who liked me told me that if I wanted to sleep with women whilst I was with him that was okay. Of course my reaction was to turn around and ask him if it was okay for me to sleep with men too, predictably he said “no”. Apparently it’s okay for me to cheat on him so long as it’s with a women. Again the ridiculous assumption that bisexual people “need both men and women”, are polyamorous, and promiscuous rears it’s head. May I stress that I have no problem at all with people who are any of these things, but to make it a stereotype of bisexual people is absolutely ignorant. Needless to say I never did end up going out with that guy, thank god. Another of my exs asked me if I was into threesomes. Here we go again…

Possibly the most insulting thing I have ever heard about bisexuals was a comment one of the girls I worked with in the Student’s Union made. Apparently there were a lot of bisexual girls in  her school and the reason for this was that “they were too ugly to get guys so went for girls instead.” Unfortunately my dislike for confrontation meant I said absolutely nothing. I still kick myself for that. For the most part she was a really lovely girl, who had no idea about my sexuality and probably would have been mortified if she had ever found out how much it had upset me. However it still remains probably the worst thing I have ever heard that has offended me personally. (I was never bullied at school so people haven’t hurt my feelings often, but that hit me to the core.) The fact that everyone else there just laughed  despite knowing full well about me just made the whole situation worse. I don’t consider myself an attractive girl at all, but I’ve never had too much problem getting male attention. I don’t like women out of desperation. I like them because I see beauty in them the same way as I see beauty in men.

The worse thing is, people don’t even seem to see anything wrong with comments like the ones I mentioned above. There is so much emphasis on gay pride, and rightly so, but often bisexual people get missed out. You know what, we aren’t desperate, or confused, or indecisive. We aren’t all promiscuous. Some of us haven’t even slept with someone of the same sex.  Many of us are real human beings who are secure in our sexuality. To anybody out there who thinks bisexuality isn’t real (another ridiculous biphobic comment that often crops up): I know for a fact it does, because I know exactly how I feel and who I am attracted to. You can’t say a feeling doesn’t exist just because you have never felt it. I am not going to be ashamed of admitting my sexuality anymore, just because of the reactions of a minority. It’s time to make that minority even smaller. We are all human, and accepting bisexual people is part of accepting LGBT people in general. We need to stop ignoring biphobia.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in LGBT, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Excellent stuff – would you consider letting us run it as a guest post on BiBloggers?

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: “We Need To Stop Ignoring Biphobia” « Bi Bloggers

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