You are just confused. Are you ever going to make up your mind? You are not really bisexual, you are just gay and do not want to say so. You should be careful – bisexuals cheat on people.
I have heard it all, and it is because I am bisexual. But I rarely hear a conversation about biphobia – the fear or aversion toward bisexual people – which is surprising given that I experience the issue in all facets of my life. Bisexual people face discrimination from both the straight and LGBTQ communities, which often doubt their existence because they are not seen as a member of either group.
Biphobia is seen in everything, like the insistence that bisexual people are confused about their sexuality and only attracted to one gender. It is seen in the fear-based stereotypes that bisexual people are promiscuous or more likely to cheat on their partners than people who are not bisexual. Bisexual people are cut out of conversations on LGBTQ issues like health care and societal acceptance, and sometimes they are cut out of the community altogether. But bisexual people are part of the LGBTQ community and deserve to have a seat at the table.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an accepting area of Los Angeles, surrounded mostly by people who were supportive of my choices and my identity. But I can still point to instances of biphobia I faced from those inside and outside of my family and friends.
In high school, I was talking with friends about our futures and potential lives. I was dating a woman at the time, but I was told that I would end up marrying a man because my “phase” will be over by the time I am grown up. I was so hurt that my friends did not seem to believe that my identity was real, but I bit my tongue because I felt it was better to say nothing.
I have also faced judgment from within the LGBTQ community. In one instance, I was told that bisexual people are greedy and want to say they are a part of the community and still date opposite gender partners. Hearing a stereotype from a community that is supposed to be accepting of all identities was disheartening and made me feel that there is no group that really accepts bisexuality.
Bisexual people are not confused. They are not just secretly gay, and they are not more likely to cheat on you. Bisexual identities are valid and deserve to be seen as such.
Many misunderstandings and stereotypes about bisexual people are rooted in ignorance. Being attracted to more than one gender may confuse some people because it is considered the norm to be attracted to only one type of person. Bisexuality challenges that norm and, in turn, causes many people to question and doubt it. This lack of understanding is at the core of issues facing the bisexual community.
Many people in the LGBTQ community may believe that bisexual people are too afraid to come out as gay or do not want to be with bisexual people because they think we are more likely to cheat. Bisexual people are not considered in discussions about issues facing those in the LGBTQ community because many see bisexuals as having a “hetero” privilege when they are in opposite-gender relationships, or they are seen as posers when they are in a same-sex relationship.
Stereotypes and misunderstanding about bisexual people are harmful to both the people perpetuating these beliefs and the bisexual community. If there is enough tolerance to understand and accept that some people are attracted to the same gender, there should be enough tolerance to understand that some people are attracted to more than one.
Bisexual people are valid. Intolerance, stereotypes and toxic erasure toward this sexuality should not be accepted. We are here, and we are here to stay.
Hannah Thacker, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor.