I recently had a moment of synchronicity that got me thinking about the “B” in LGBT. While reading a book in which the main character was bisexual, I stumbled across a blog post that used bisexuals as an argument against marriage equality. (More on both of these shortly.) I realized that I’ve lived with homophobia and spent a fair amount of time fighting transphobia but hadn’t really looked at the struggles of bisexuals.
Sadly, many within the gay community practice denial and discrimination against bisexuals. I’ve often heard two types of statements made both jokingly and seriously:
- (S)he’ll figure it out eventually – implying that the person is really gay and just not ready to come “all the way out”
- (S)he has it easy and can just find someone of the opposite sex and “pass”
Let’s be clear: bisexuality is real. People fall all along the Kinsey scale, and there are many people who are truly attracted to people of both sexes. Far too many people on either end of the scale ignore or deny its very real middle. Such denial is bi-phobic discrimination; discrimination against any sexual minority is wrong.
Besides the misconceptions mentioned above, one other significant false charge leveled against bisexuals is that they must be inherently promiscuous or incapable of commitment. Surely someone who is attracted to both sexes cannot be happy with just one person, the reasoning goes.
This was the argument made by the psuedo-christian arguing against marriage equality: If we allow equality for gay and lesbian couples, surely bisexuals will demand bigamy so they can be fully satisfied in their relationships. This is absurdist reasoning at its worst. It’s akin to saying that a man who is attracted to both blondes and redheads cannot be satisfied unless he can marry two women to satisfy both attractions. Marriage is a union of two people. Bisexuals may find their life partner in either sex, but there is nothing that compels them to need both at once.
There are certainly people who are promiscuous, polyamorous, unfaithful, or commitment-phobic. These people may be gay, lesbian, transgender, straight, confused, in denial, or former Speakers of the House. Knowing someone’s sexual orientation does not tell you anything else about their needs, desires, or behavior.
For more information, the blog Datingish has a great list and refutation of the most common misconceptions about bisexuality. I also recommend the sweet novel The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli. He creates a very real, compelling bisexual character and makes it easy for the reader to sympathize with his struggles.
Let’s be sure that we remember all the letters in LGBTQ and support our bisexual brothers and sisters.
h/t to GayLeague for the review that directed me to The Cranberry Hush.