Almost two weeks ago, on September 23, the world celebrated BiVisibility Day. Twitter went mental with #BiVisibilityDay and #BeYou, people coloured up their profile pics with purple and pink (us here at Bobo included), everyone paid a bit of lip service to the B in the LGBT, felt good about themselves, and then carried on with the rest of their week.
By now, you've all forgotten about it.
How am I doing so far?
2015 has been a pretty good year for LGBTQ visibility across the board. Ruby Rose and Miley Cyrus have opened up a dialogue on gender fluidity; Kristen Stewart has come out and told everyone and their Mom with their labels to piss off; Caitlyn Jenner has smashed back into reality TV and with I Am Cait, a valiant attempt to educate the world about trans issues from the comfort of a multi-million dollar coastal Malibu mansion; and Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Susan Sarandon are all gay for pay on the big screen with upcoming Freeheld, Carol and About Ray respectively.
Well, Ellen is always gay, but she’s still getting paid.
All-in-all, I feel like we on the spectrum of queer are pretty popular this year.
However, in amidst all of this new dialogue and popularization of queerness is an issue that continues to plague the queer community: biphobia.
Bisexuality is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “sexually attracted to both men and women.”
It’s a fairly simple word that should be able to be used freely to describe anyone who considers themselves attracted to both sexes; and also shouldn't be confused with current poster child sexually fluid which - according to Lisa Diamond's book Sexual Fluidity - is the idea of sexuality existing in a fluid state, or changing, over the course of an individual's lifetime in response to a variety of factors i.e. moving from heterosexuality to bisexuality or homosexuality.
It's easy to get bogged down in the terminology at this point in time, however, defining oneself as bisexual simply means picking up the Kinsey Scale, and if you land anywhere from a 1 to 5 then you've essentially hit the nail on the head.
Yet, as we are all aware, words carry with them a great amount of weight in this world. They can be empowering and damaging; can be used as identifiers and slurs; some have been reclaimed in the queer community, whilst others have not.
Faggot, dyke, tranny, bisexual.
Bisexual, bisexual, BIsexual, BI-fucking-SEXUAL.
Lezbehonest, it’s a word spat more often than celebrated and avoided like the plague - as if being labelled a bisexual is a sure fire way to become a sexless pariah for the rest of your days.
Bisexuality has developed such a stigma in the LGBTQ community - particularly amongst lesbians - that it has resulted in more and more individuals shying away from embracing the term to describe themselves.
And is it any wonder?
Bisexual women are more often than not viewed as attention seeking barsexuals, sluts, sexual deviants, and overall confused, generally untrustworthy individuals. They are the cheaters, the traitors, and the nymphomaniacs of the Earth. If someone’s up for an orgy, it’s got to be that fucking bisexual chick Mary down the road, right?
Biphobia is something that stems from – in my opinion – fear and an overwhelming sense of insecurity. It also comes – as most prejudice does – from a lack of understanding, and the resulting perpetration of stereotypes such as the ones listed above.
Bisexual erasure is the resulting effect, as bisexuality is simply viewed as a phasal sexuality - one that eventually leads the individual to their true orientation of straight or gay.
This is utter bullshit, of course, and has stemmed from historic needs of the gay and lesbian community to stabilize their sexual orientation in an unstable world. At a time when the validity of homosexuality, particularly amongst women was questioned, the last thing the lesbian community wanted was a bisexual woman moving gracefully across gender lines and giving the patriarchy any reason to re-establish the idea that women could be “turned” straight.
However, we now live in a time when questioning the validity of someone’s sexuality is neither practical nor accepted; and although we can’t remove all of the hatred and inequality from the world, there are very few outright deniers of the existence of homosexuality any longer, so why do we in the queer community feel the need to participate in continued biphobia and bi-erasure?
As I said earlier, I think it's a pleasant mix of fear and ignorance. I'm going to focus on the lesbian camp for a second and point out that in every comments section of every "How do I know if I'm gay?" post on lesbian subreddits, blogs, message boards and forums there tend to be two types of lesbians:
Lesbian A has "always known" she was gay, ever since she drew her first breath out of the uterus and shat rainbows all over the mid-wife.
Lesbian B, on the other hand, tends to have come out later, maybe early-to-mid-20s, has had boyfriends in the past, but now finds herself quite happy and fulfilled in her gayness.
If bisexuality wasn't such a curse word in the LGBTQ community, then Lesbian B might identify as such, to avoid the sudden expectation that her previous sexual and/or romantic history must now be erased / explained continually as it doesn't fit with her current outward representation of lesbianism.
I'm not saying all Lesbian B's aren't lesbians. However, throw a handful of stones into a crowd of 100 Lesbian B's and I'd imagine you'd hit a few bisexuals in hiding.
The point about all this is that they shouldn't have to be. The time has come when Label Police need to step down, and people need to learn to educate themselves and be more accepting. Biphobia does nothing except scare away a huge group of gorgeous women who might possibly sleep with us if we weren't all spending so much time being assholes, and punishes those who already do.
Bisexual erasure is not okay, and it needs to stop.
Just like trans issues, it's about time we all of the L and the G educate ourselves on bi issues; and learn to be more open and accepting instead of sneering and judgmental.
BiVisibility Day was almost two weeks ago. You've already forgotten. So, take a moment to remember that BiVisibility is not just a single day. It exists 24/7, 365.
Spread the love.
Oh, and you can also wear the shirt 24/7, 365 too: