Hegemonic discourse* about what it means to be queer (and therefore, oppressed as queer) constructs queerness as a series of visual markers: certain appearances, certain gender performances, certain clothes, and above all – the proverbial “walking hand in hand on the street” (or simply being in a same-gender relationship). Bisexual people who, for any reason, do not give away these signs, are automatically read as heterosexual by default, because what people “know” about queerness does not include markers of bisexuality. […] However, the same social production of “queer” as this series of visual markers necessarily means that bisexuals who do give out these signals will automatically be read as gay or lesbian by default.
In both cases (unless the bi person in question is carrying a huge sign reading: “I AM BISEXUAL”), it becomes impossible to successfully pass as bi or to assert bisexual identity. […] Since our bisexuality is not “known” to have any visual markers, and because of the incongruence between what is “known” to be queer, and bisexual behaviour, we are routinely accused of fraudulence, perceived as invisible and are forced to deal with other people’s doubts regarding our identities and our oppression.
* Discourse means everything spoken, written, or otherwise communicated about a certain topic. Hegemonic discourse means a discourse created by those in power and which dominates social understandings about a given topic.