Columns / Discourse / October 11, 2017

Bisexuality is valid, nothing less

I remember how I came out as bisexual in the middle of my high school junior year government class. My hometown is a conservative, Christian-based community in the middle of West Michigan and every single one of my classmates looked at me with astonished eyes. How could someone actually admit to this lifestyle? I thought this was only on the internet? She’s obviously confused. It’s just a phase.

The next coming days I looked at myself and tried to decide if I really was making this up. I never really thought of it as a phase, it’s just something I have always accepted as a part of my identity. I have always liked both boys and girls. Was that so hard to grasp? Apparently, to my government class, to the students and teachers in the hallways, it was. I had no idea what to think of my identity for the rest of the year, because no one would even have a normal conversation with me anymore.

I have seen this sort of situation happen too many times. One is often looked at as either gay or lesbian. Bisexuals are the third-wheel of the gay community.

When one thinks of someone being bisexual, it is immediately oversexualized in this society. The idea of identifying as bi is creating a sex market in itself. Bisexual people are labeled as cheaters and sex maniacs, when really they’re just someone born with an interest in both male and female. Someone who is bi isn’t always someone who is looking for sexual partners. They could be looking for a real relationship, they are just blessed with more options.

In the past, while scrolling through the Internet, I’ve seen people bashing the idea that bisexuals who are in committed relationships should be kicked out of the community as a whole. Because once you have decided what gender you are going to currently spend your time with, you are immediately deemed gay, lesbian or straight. Once one commits, they are completely removed from their bisexual identity.

At the point of a relationship, it is common for questions to occur for these identifying as bi on if they are truly who they say they are. The questions tend to run around the idea of who do you like more, or how can you say you’re bi when you are committed to one gender and it is common for bisexuals to get inside of their heads and push the ideas around. Who are they?

How is it that bisexual individuals are seen as confused and less of a LGBTQ+ members because of liking both genders? It blows my mind that it has been pushed so far to the edge, that while it is the most represented identity in the United States, it is the least represented group in the LGBTQ+ community.

People who identify as bisexual tend to grow up with more mental health problems because of the lack of support in the community. There is even a lack of understanding in the therapy field on how to provide support to a bisexual individual. When one comes out as bisexual, it seems like less of a catastrophe than a someone coming out as another member of the LGBTQ+ community. But we all matter, and we all need to be treated and represented the same.

There is lots of work to be done for the bisexual community and it only starts now. It needs to be less of a surprise when friends and family come out as bisexual. Bisexuality needs to be recognized as an identity rather than an experiment.

 

Sadie Cheney

Tags:  bi erasure bisexuality feminism lgbtq queer

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