Queer Corner: Celebrate Bisexuality

This Friday is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, my favorite holiday! Now, you might be wondering why we need to celebrate bisexuality. What makes bisexuals special? Well, nothing, really. They’re just as smart and athletic and good at crossword puzzles as everyone else, except that they tend to get a lot of unjustified bad press from both inside and outside the queer community. This is called biphobia, and it’s bad for two reasons. One: nobody’s better than anyone else, so people shouldn’t be mean to other people based on their sexuality, gender, race, etc. Two: this is coming from within the queer community, which is double not cool.

Bisexuality is often given a bad reputation based on some silly stereotypes that someone made up at some point and now some people believe in them. In accordance with these stereotypes, bisexuals are viewed as both promiscuous and indecisive about their sexuality. The first stereotype is based on the notion that if you are attracted to both men and women, you will therefore have sex with everyone. This is silly. Just because you are technically capable of being attracted to many people, that does not mean that you will want to get with many people. Also, you don’t need to be bisexual to sleep around. The second stereotype states that bisexuals just won’t “pick a team,” so to speak. Similarly, bisexuality is often viewed as a “gateway sexuality,” and in a few years, you’ll realize that you’re just plain gay. To address this, I want to reinforce the idea that sexuality is a spectrum, or a web. People generally aren’t just gay or straight. We tend to fall somewhere in between and outside and all over those two labels. We’re tricky like that. And even trickier, sexualities can change over time. So yeah, you might identify as bisexual in high school and then go to college and find that you actually significantly prefer one gender to the others. Does that mean that your bisexual identity wasn’t real? No. Does that mean that other people’s bisexual identity isn’t real? Of course not.

And, like I mentioned, the bisexuals aren’t getting all this hate just from straight people. Sadly, a lot of it comes from within the queer community. I’ve heard queer people, who identify as all-the-way gay, say that bisexual people are “half-straight” and that they have it easier than the rest of us since they can pass as straight. So let’s talk about this passing-as-straight thing, because that’s not just a bi thing, and oftentimes, it’s not something that you can control. For instance, I identify as a gay lady, but people tend to assume that I’m straight. I’m not hiding anything. I just don’t actively tell people my sexual orientation when I first meet them. With bisexuals this gets tougher, because you could identify as bi­sexual, but if you’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, it’ll look like you’re straight. It’s not that you’re denying your bisexuality, since you’re actually dating someone whose gender is en­compassed by your sexuality. And although you could potentially wear a rainbow cape every time you hold your opposite-gender partner’s hand or yell “don’t worry, I’m bisexual” every time you make out with him or her, that might be a bit excessive.

What comes out of this is a group of people marginalized by two communities, one of which is the actual community to which they belong. This could result in people who are afraid to come out as bisexual or try to deny their sexuality because of its negative connotations, and if they try to find some support within the queer community, they might not get it. That’s not cool. So for all you bi kids out there, don’t be afraid of being yourself. And for everyone else, go celebrate Celebrate Bisexuality Day!

Contact Kate Pochini at [email protected].