Misconceptions About Bisexuality
Sexuality is an infinite and fluid continuum. It can be complex, it can be confusing, and it can be changing. There are really no rules to sexuality; each individual is free to love whom they choose, and identify as they choose, or not at all. While this may not be a completely, or even a widely accepted concept, it is probably understood by most of you reading this. You are probably also familiar with the unfortunate truth that there are multiple misconceptions attached to any sexuality that is not straight.
Now, as a bisexual woman, I can only candidly discuss my own experiences. My intentions are not to diminish the discrimination of other members of the LGBTQ+ community, but to openly discuss the invisibility of bisexuals; a topic that, in my opinion, is not touched on enough. First things first, the most common misconception of bisexuality is its very definition, that it is the sexual attraction to both men and women. This binary definition is found on google, wikipedia, and other common websites. In actuality, bisexuality is the attraction to two or more genders—it is not limited to cis-gendered beings.
For the record, bisexuals are not greedy, selfish, confused, or more likely to cheat. The most offensive delusion, in my opinion, many people have about bisexuals is that our purpose is ultimately to please men. Perhaps this is not directly thought or said, but it may as well be. For example, often times when a woman comes out as bisexual she is told that it must be because a man jaded her. She is told that she is simply experiencing a phase, and will change her mind. She might also be told that she is seeking male attention. Men will insinuate a threesome with her on multiple occasions, and over-sexualize her in general. On the contrary, when a man comes out as bisexual, it is assumed that he is truly gay and either doesn’t know it yet, or doesn’t want to admit it. Notice how in both scenarios, the idea is catered to men.
To expand on bisexual men and the misconceptions they face, aside from the obvious homophobia, there is a less obvious form that is embedded in straight women. I have often heard women describe their unwillingness to date a bisexual man. They claim that they don’t have anything against it, in fact they support it, they personally just “couldn’t do it.” This expresses a sense of disgust, and the idea that a man is tainted, less masculine, and less dateable after he has been with a man. It is homophobic.
While I do not believe that the misconceptions of bisexuality are any more oppressive than any other form of sexuality, there is a layer of invisibility that is unique to us. Having already discussed the myths reinforced by straight, cis-gendered people, I think it’s important to point out the anti-bisexuality issue within the LGBTQ+ community. Many people within the LGBTQ+ community have considered bisexuals to be "straight passing." To be clear, it is true that many bisexuals experience straight passing, up until they come out. They are treated as straight so long as they don’t open their mouth about their sexuality. While there absolutely is straight privilege, this thought excludes bisexuals from the LGBTQ+ community just as much as they are excluded from the straight community. It is a new type of discrimination which leaves bisexuals with little to no representation.
The fact is, sexuality is an everlasting controversy. Regardless of how you identify, if you are not straight and cis-gendered, you have most likely faced some sort of discrimination and heard a number of misconceptions. As a bisexual woman who could pass to most as straight, the experiences I can speak on are most definitely limited. Nevertheless, I have witnessed first hand the sexualization and over-all confusion that the straight community has toward bisexuals, as well as the invisibilty within the LGBTQ+ community. I would describe it as a strange, in-between sense of limbo.