Saturday, April 13Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Is It Time To Wave Good-Bi To Stereotypes?

Bisexual. It is a word like any other. However, it is astounding that such a simple word can still inspire such curiosity, misconceptions, and disapproval from both heterosexual, and homosexual people alike. Why should Bisexuality be treated differently to any other orientation? If people wish for acceptance, should they not offer the same in return?

In the year 2019 – or twenty Bi-teen according to the internet – you would think outdated discriminatory ideas would be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, despite the current visibility and acknowledgment being afforded to the LGBTQ+ community, it is odd that only the beginning of the acronym is often acknowledged. No wonder many of us Bisexuals consider ourselves invisible mythical creatures that do not exist and feel the need to have to justify ourselves on a daily basis.

Society has a lot of misconceptions about Bisexuality and it is irritating, to say the least, to hear them repeated again and again. For example, some of the top misconceptions are:

  1. That Bisexuality is not real – people in opposite-sex relationships cannot be Bisexual.
  2. Bisexuals are automatically interested in sexual acts such as threesomes.
  3. Bisexuals are confused or in a phase.
  4. People are only using Bisexuality to be seen as ‘trendy’.
  5. Bisexuals are more likely to cheat on a partner or significant other.

Firstly, all of these are false. Bisexuals are people who are attracted to men, women as well as non-binary people. Secondly, many of these myths stem from ignorance. For example, a recent study found that of women who identified as Bisexual, only 8% changed their identity to gay or straight over time. That left 92% remaining Bisexual. Also, it may be common now for people to declare themselves as Bisexual, but this is largely due to the fact that people are finally feeling comfortable enough to come out. The LGBTQ+ community should be encouraging this, not discouraging it. We are in the middle of that letter sandwich after all.

You only have to look at history to see Bisexuality’s proud heritage. There have been many prominent Bi icons including David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, James Dean, and Virginia Woolf. In recent years, many celebrities and public figures have also declared themselves as Bisexual. As a proud Bisexual woman myself, I am pleased and relieved to see such public coverage of Bisexuality on a daily basis. Discussing the topic, and having public figures advocating the issue, is a great way to dispel myths and legitimise it as a valid orientation. Still, Bi-erasure is a real issue, and both gay communities, as well as straight, are guilty of it.

It is time for those who are supposed to empathise with our struggle to extend the same respect and inclusion that they have been fighting for. Society is not as liberal as many would suggest. Instead, it often still contains stereotypical ideas and criteria which can make life unbelievably hard. To many, Bisexuals are not gay enough to be considered LGBTQ+. Others see Bisexuals as not straight enough to be included as part of their community either. It is an orientation, just like any other yet many people feel isolated and excluded. Bisexuals have been fighting for legitimacy and respect just as long as anyone else has. It is high time we waved Bi-Bi to this exclusionary attitude.