“The worst type though is, I’m afraid to say, the bisexuals … what it is, is people not wanting to admit they are gay.”
Christopher Biggins, 2016. During his time on Celebrity Big Brother
As mentioned before, one of the reasons for starting this blog is to challenge the dialogue surrounding bisexuality. It seems to be more widely talked about than before, and perhaps it is why I felt more confident in coming out to others. Despite this, I am still relatively early on in introducing my sexuality to those around me, and there are all sorts of misleading myths that sometimes makes me think twice before discussing it.
What’s concerning is that whenever I have dug into/researched topics surrounding the ‘B’ in LGBTI+, there’s always some attempt to discredit it in spaces such as the media, public figures, online, and even within the LGBTI+ community itself. A prevalent narrative continues to portray people like myself as greedy, incapable of commitment or just playing up for attention.
In fact on a personal level, the presumption that I get most frustrated with is that you cannot be deemed bisexual if you haven’t had a relationship with both genders (not at the same time, that’s another misconception), or alternatively there is the opposite situation of people assuming you are to identify as either straight or gay depending on your partner’s gender in a monogamous relationship.
What’s funny is that if taking the first situation above, we would be questioning people of any orientation. For example, take a person who is in their mid twenties but has yet to have a relationship, either sexual or committal; that would essentially demand a line of similar questioning of their sexuality, as they haven’t fulfilled the criteria of being in a physical relationship of their preferred sex. This doesn’t mean that said person won’t have thoughts or desires, and therefore a lack of action on their part does not immediately invalidate an orientation of any kind, especially bisexuals.
Anna Paquin perfectly challenges the second scenario, of which your identity conforms to that of your monogamous relationship, during an interview with Larry King in 2014. The confused talk show host discussed her bisexuality in response to her marriage with co-star Stephen Moyer, and here’s what they discussed:
Paquin: “Well, I am married to my husband and we are happily monogamously married.”
King: “But you were bisexual?”
Paquin: “Well, I don’t think it’s a past-tense thing.”
Larry King: “No?”
Paquin: “No. Are you still straight if you are with somebody — if you were to break up with them or if they were to die, it doesn’t prevent your sexuality from existing. It doesn’t really work like that.”
To summarise, these arguments contribute to what many have deemed to be bi-erasure. Not only is this harmful to the community in general, but to individuals who are coming to terms with their sexuality. These misconceptions can mislead and cause serious mental distress – as I myself found during a heterosexual relationship a few years ago. At that point I was beginning to understand, presently and retroactively, that my sexuality was more than just being straight, and the societal mindsets encouraging people to conform to either straight or gay confines definitely prolonged my acceptance of bisexuality, and as a result I became insecure, isolated and depressed.
It is these situations where communication is key, and slowly but surely I have been able to speak out; this blog I guess is a similar reach. However with all the mixed up ideologies and perceptions people have of bisexuality, it creates a misinformed culture that has serious implications to those who feel they won’t be accepted, or taken seriously, if coming out.
The most important fact is that bisexuality does exist, and this blog will continue to support that message. Thank you for reading, and please comment if you wish to debate/question etc. I leave you with a song that I believe acts a call to action to anyone who feels oppressed by any sort of erasure, have a good day!