Biphobia: The Gay Side

I found this on change.org, and it is very heartening, especially in light of some backlash responses to the monosexual privilege checklist. This isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s a wonderful start. Credit goes to Daniel Vivacqua. Link to origin is here.

So I’m going to come right out and admit it — I’m biphobic. It’s not something to be proud of and it’s something I know I need to work on, which is the reason I decided to write this piece. The more I read about bisexuality, the more I realize that I’m wrong and the more I come to terms with the reasons why I might feel the way I do.

I picked up this book, Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, and started reading parts of it. I realized that biphobia comes from two populations — us queers and them there straights. I know that my biphobia comes from this idea that bisexual people can, at any time, shed the weight of being queer and live a heterosexual life. It’s as if they get the benefits when they want them but don’t have to bear the burden if they don’t want to.

And then I read this; “… we consider sexuality to be an essence, an unchanging core identity, and the way that lesbian and gay communities have adopted this view … has led to a great deal of lesbian and gay biphobia.” That’s a quote by Amanda Udis-Kessler from her contribution to the book, a piece called “Present tense: Biphobia as a crisis of meaning.” It makes me think of that thing we do when we say “I’m a gold-star lesbian woman/gay guy,” proud to have never been corrupted by the ickyness of heterosexuality. It gives us an identity as separate, forming a community of oppressed people that can band together against those hateful straights. If our same-sex attraction is intrinsic to who we are, then we can’t be attacked or blamed for it, and we have to come together to defend it. But if sexuality is fluid and flexible, if people can be bisexual, then does that call into question the essential nature of being queer?

Bisexuality might scare gay and lesbian people because it can’t be neatly wrapped up in a box. In Michael Brewer’s contribution to Bi Any Other Name, titled “Two-way closet,” the author talks about how many bisexual people force themselves to identify as either straight or gay/lesbian in order to avoid the ambiguity and social impatience with bisexuality. These people then suffer because of it. “Sadly, all too often, the bushes of San Francisco and highway rest stops now contain their tales of quiet desperation,” Brewer writes.

Maybe my biphobia comes from there, from that fear of the “what if.” Maybe I recognize a little bisexuality in myself and pushed myself to identify as a gay man for fear of uncertainty. Maybe it’s that internalized homophobia that I’m still working to get rid of. Maybe I’m 90 percent gay and 10 percent straight, and maybe I should learn to be comfortable with that.

So I guess this is a call to action: The LG and T community need to make more of an effort to support the B’s among us. Being bisexual doesn’t mean being selfish or sitting on the fence, it means being brave enough to live in the gray space.

And though I could write a whole other piece just about the stereotypes associated with bisexuality — like that bisexual people can’t be monogamous, or that they are just “confused” — coming out as bisexual means saying, “I don’t care if you think I’m just a promiscuous perv and I don’t care if you think it’s a phase and I don’t care if you don’t accept me as part of the gay community, this is who I am.” We need to provide a loving environment for our bisexual brothers and sisters and make them welcome among us. And maybe we need to learn to look at ourselves and accept some gray in our lives, too.

The bisexual pride flag

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5 thoughts on “Biphobia: The Gay Side

  1. thank you so much for this post and your blog! It was so good to finally come across another bisexual blog, they are def few and far between. As a bi femme, it’s def frustrating to see and hear all the negative things being said about us. It’s an interesting theory that many people push themselves to be straight or gay, b/c bisexuality seems to be a gray area.
    That is something that does confuse me, even though I understand why. It’s lgbt for a reason. There is a b in there! Is it really that lesbians and gay men are afraid that their sexuality will be less valid if they acknowledge us? Why does it have to be gay or straight? Sexuality is fluid and ever changing, and I get frustrated when my sexuality is dismissed or mocked.
    I choose to not box myself in by picking a ‘side’.
    Yes, gays and lesbians have it hard when they are mocked or discriminated against. I’m not dismissing that. But they’re sexuality is something that is not completely dismissed though. They are gay, and even if someone doesn’t like it, it can’t be as bad as being told your confused, or just being slutty, or trying to get attention. Think how much worse it would be to be told that people don’t believe in your sexuality, that what you know about yourself is wrong.
    When you are even being acknowledged that is…

  2. Hey, I’m Daniel Vivacqua, the one who wrote this. Thank you for posting it. Change.org took it down when they changed their format to exclusively petitions. I’m glad it’s still out here on the internet. I’m glad it had a positive effect on you.

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