The bisexual community frequently feel like they are neither fish nor fowl – and this is not because they are confused about who they are attracted to, but rather because they are often made to feel this way by straight and gay people alike.
“Not straight enough” for the straights, and “not gay enough” to be fully embraced by the gay community, bi people might feel like they don’t fit in anywhere, and this notion is generally the result of a range of dangerous misconceptions about this part of the LGBTQI+ community.
Here are a few common myths about bisexuality in serious need of debunking.
1. Bi today, gay tomorrow
By far the most prevalent among the many myths about bisexuality is the one alleging that bisexuality is only a phase that will ultimately see the bisexual person adopting a gay identity. While a bisexual person may end up settling down with someone of the same gender, this is certainly not always the case.
2. Bisexuality is just a veil for straight people looking to experiment
Bisexual people unfortunately quite regularly face the scorn of gay people, who are often convinced that someone who claims to be bisexual is only an experimenting straight person who will eventually go back to chasing partners of the opposite sex. The fact of the matter is that the gender of their current partner by no means dictates what gender a bisexual person prefers: by definition, being bisexual means that a person is attracted to more than one sex or gender.
3. Let’s go 50/50
Bisexuality differs from individual to individual and is more nuanced than simply being equally attracted to the two binary genders in equal measure. What does hold true is that bisexual people are drawn to more than one gender or sex, regardless of how the scales tip or to what degree. Other identities that may fall under the broader bisexual umbrella include pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, fluid, queer, bi-curious, and homo or heteroflexible, among others.
4. ‘But she can’t make up her mind’…
…sang Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on the track A.C.D.C. There is a very common misconception that bisexual people can’t make up their mind about which gender they prefer. To say this is a contradiction in terms, as there is not necessarily a specific preference either way. Many people also believe that people who identify as bisexual aren’t willing to commit to a single, more clear-cut label even though a bisexual orientation is, in itself, a legitimate identity.
5. Trans people can’t be bisexual, and bisexual people can’t be attracted to people who are trans or non-binary
Gender identity and sexual orientation are two separate concepts and, as such, people who identify as trans or non-binary in terms of their gender identity can absolutely be attracted to more than one gender. Bisexual people can also feel attraction towards people with a different gender identity to theirs – in essence, that’s exactly what bisexuality entails, and thus some bi people may also describe themselves as pansexual or queer to signal that they are open to dating people who are trans or gender-fluid.
6. Bi people are more likely to cheat
When it comes to their representation in movies and TV shows, bisexual people are often portrayed as more likely to be unfaithful to partners because they are attracted to more than one gender. This is in line with the misconception that people who are bi are attracted to every person they meet. Gay people should be acutely aware of how dangerous this stereotype is. Just because you are attracted to certain genders, it definitely doesn’t mean you’re going to pursue some kind of relationship or hook-up with every single person of said gender(s) you come across.
7. Men can’t be bisexual
Bi men are usually judged particularly harshly, both by gay men and by women. This is probably rooted in the outdated discomfort that some people have with sex between two men. It is also important to note that there is a difference between a man who identifies as bisexual and a man who has sex with other men (MSM) while still being attracted to women.
The bottom line is this: bisexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation that should be held in the same regard as others are. It’s high time that bisexual people are granted the same respect that other members of the LGBTQI+ community expect – and this is especially true when it comes to respect from the community which they are a part of.