People Don’t Like What They Can’t Understand: The Bisexual Bias
Bisexuality, for most, simply means duality: the attraction to both the same sex and the opposite sex –male and female. To some, however, bisexuality is reduced to promiscuity –individuals who are considered so perverse that they don’t exclude either sex from their conquests or attractions. And, that notion is perpetuated by many aspects of the media, predominately television; along with the idea that bisexuality is neither a real identity nor a lifestyle choice, but a way for men to curtain their “true” gay identities, and an opportunity for women to engage in non-emotional sexualized play –and that thought directly correlates to the onset of biphobia in waking generations.
Bisexuality is by no means a new occurrence in nature. Throughout recorded history, various humane societies and the animal kingdom have been documented as having explored bisexuality. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are prime examples of civilizations recognized as having bisexual tendencies, and the squid, the Bottlenose dolphin and black swans are just on the short list of animals who like to swim at both ends of the metaphoric pool.
The fact that bisexuality is documented does not dissuade naysayers from objecting and volunteering their opinions on the matter. The gray-middle ground, where bisexuality lies, upsets people because it isn’t black or white. Men who love men are always considered to be gay, and are rarely accepted as being bisexual. If he is seen with a woman after he’s already been perceived as gay, then she’s a “f*g hag” or a “beard,” and he’s jumping back inside the closet. And, this is often the opinion from both gay and straight bystanders, who are waiting for him to finally admit he’s gay or to keep lying to himself, and presumably be on the down-low. This is not the case at all, if a bisexual man happens to marry a woman, he is no more inclined to cheat on his wife than a heterosexual man, or he would his husband. To assume that he would have to live a double life in order to satisfy his urges suggests that people don’t believe that bisexuals are able to maintain healthy and loving relationships without straying.
And, for bisexual women, the problem is entirely different. The assumption is that bisexual encounters between two women only happen when alcohol is involved, or during experimentation. Or, if there is a relationship, then it is just a phase. These women are expected to be having “fun” prior to the presumably superior life of hetero-normality. This, again, is reductive. The assumption not only cheapens the idea of female sexual experiences of women, but it suggests that a same sex relationship involving a bisexual woman is not a lasting one.
The challenge for society is to understand that fluidity in sexuality doesn’t simply occur when a person is drunk or horny (not every bi-person is hetero-flexible or straight-when-sober), it occurs through actualized attractions and personal honesty. Bisexuality can become more accepted if individuals refrain from jumping to conclusions about another person’s sexuality based on who others are dating or having sex with –also being candid and frank about one’s own attractions makes people less bigoted toward other people’s attractions and choices.