What Does It Mean To Be Biphobic
Biphobia is also known as monosexism and refers to the aversion towards bisexual people. It is a form of homophobia, and if someone is biphobic, they likely believe that monosexism is superior.
It's hard to believe that after all this time and active fighting for equality, biphobia and many other forms of discrimination are still as prevalent. Because of the many unfair negative stereotypes bestowed upon bisexual people and the lesbian and gay community, sexual orientation is still, in many cases, deemed as an undeniable indication of personality.
Moreover, the asymmetrical prejudice of bi men and bi women in the general population reflects the mentality of biphobic attitudes as a whole. There is no logic to this matter, but its contribution in making it extremely difficult for members of the bisexual community to achieve a positive bisexual identity is immense.
A shocking realization is that many of the worst biphobia and bi-erasure experiences of bisexual people come from the LGBTQ community itself. There is a general consensus among the LGBTQ community and straight people alike that a bisexual person must choose only one gender in terms of romantic attraction or "choose a side," as they might phrase it.
You would think that anyone who has struggled to express their sexual orientation and sexual identity freely would be more understanding of bisexual identities, but unfortunately, bisexual people encounter biphobic attitudes all too frequently.
Biphobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation shouldn't be as pervasive as it is. With the leaps and strides our generation has made in accepting same-sex relationships, why is it still an issue? Why is interpersonal homophobia still so prevalent? Bi people continuously fight the fight for equality and affirmation, and it is our responsibility to ensure they feel loved and respected, regardless of their sexual identity.
What Is Monosexism/Biphobia?
Monosexism is a form of homophobia leading to bisexual people experiencing prejudice, stigma, and general discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
Individuals who identify as bisexual have a romantic attraction to others of the same gender, same-sex, and other genders and sex as well.
A person is considered monosexist or homophobic when they are of the opinion that bisexual people should choose one gender to be attracted to and have relationships with.
Examples Of Biphobia
Some examples of monosexism include:
- Claiming that people can only experience same-sex or opposite-sex attraction but never both.
- Thinking that everyone is bisexual discredits the sexual identity of those who truly are bisexual.
- Telling bi people that they enjoy the same privileges as heterosexual people.
- Saying that bisexual individuals are promiscuous insinuates there is always a higher risk of infidelity in a bisexual person because they cannot conform to a monogamous relationship.
- Asking bi people if they "prefer" males or females implies that everyone will ultimately conform to being either gay or straight.
What Is Internalized Homophobia?
Internalized homophobia occurs when a person cannot come to terms with their bisexual identity and internalizes negative ideas concerning their sexual orientation.
Examples of internalized monosexism include bi people believing:
- Their sexual orientation is only a phase, and at some point, they will become exclusively gay or straight.
- Other members of the bisexual community are promiscuous.
- Members of this community will more likely be unfaithful to their current partner because they are incapable of monogamous relationships.
Biphobia does not exclusively come from external parties. Internalized biphobia can be extremely powerful and lead to severe experiences of shame, confusion, and isolation. Many bisexuals feel completely abandoned in their sexuality, and the fact that there are so few legitimate role models due to bisexual invisibility only worsens this matter.
Because of the widespread prejudice and discrimination, most bisexuals exercise their bisexuality in isolation in fear of judgment and stigmas.
It is common for bisexual people to conform, to a certain extent, to the sexual orientation of their romantic partner. For example, bisexual men in a same sex marriage may often conform to the gay community, although they do not identify as a gay man.
This unjustified synchronism can lead to discontinuity when a bisexual find themselves in a different relationship with a partner of a different sex.
Moreover, many bisexuals feel a strong affiliation with gay, heterosexual, or lesbian communities, and when they start dating someone of a sex that does not align with this community, they may feel a sense of shame and guilt for not adhering to the "rules" of that community.
With a whole collection of potential challenges and difficulties, bisexual people often practice their bisexuality in private or hidden settings to not agitate society's constructs. However, their silence only contributes to the growing issue of bisexual invisibility.
As members of a stigmatized group, the behavior of certain bi people is often considered representative of bisexual communities as a whole. Therefore, people who identify as bisexual may feel embarrassed or ashamed when another bisexual person acts to strengthen and confirm many negative stereotypes of bisexual people.
Bisexual individuals who are in monogamous relationships face their own difficulties. They frequently feel that they're betraying their partner by maintaining their sexual orientation instead of conforming to either straight or gay. In addition, many bisexual women and men's partners often feel like there are shortcomings in terms of commitment despite being committed to their lesbian, gay, or heterosexual relationships.
The solution to all these difficulties is genuinely complex and may not be absolute, but awareness and acceptance will go a long way in affirming bisexuality.
The silence of bisexual people only enabled the biphobic movement, and the first step to true equality is creating a safe environment where bisexuality is openly accepted and encouraged to gain a voice.
Lesbians, gay men, transgender people, bisexual women, and bisexual men alike must open their hearts and minds to celebrate the unique diversity among us. Biphobic mentalities can only be conquered when we succeed in respecting every and all sexual orientation.
Whether you are gay or lesbian, straight, or bisexual, we all bleed the same, and our differences are what make us so exquisite.
What Is Bisexual Erasure?
Also referred to as bisexual invisibility, bisexual erasure is when people doubt or deny that bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation or question a person's right to be bisexual.
It is evident that general attitudes toward gay and lesbian people have improved over recent years, but no attitudes toward bisexual people. Heterosexual and gay and lesbian people alike often question bisexual identities and exercise bisexual erasure.
When people encounter different-sex relationships, they often assume that both parties are straight people. Similarly, most presume that both participants of same-sex relationships must be either gay men or lesbian women. Bisexual communities often face challenges like these where their relationships are approached with hostility and biphobic attitudes.
The denial of the legitimacy of someone's bisexual identity leads to numerous discriminatory practices in many areas of the lives of bisexual people.
What is a Biphobic hate crime?
Any and all offensive behavior toward bisexual women or men should be treated as a hate crime. Hate crimes can vary from verbal abuse to domestic violence.
Bisexuality is not physically apparent in most cases, which leads to abuse and hate manifesting in personal settings where well-acquainted people gather. There have been countless accounts of inappropriate touching and domestic bus from close friends and family members. Although these hate crimes aren't always very transparent, special attention needs to be allocated to such situations as not to dismiss the feelings of inferiority and helplessness a person experiences when their sexuality is exploited.
5 Tips To Conquer Biphobia/Homophobia
(1) Don't Call Bisexual People Lesbian/Gay
If a person explicitly states that they identify as bisexual, do not discredit their bisexuality by referring to them as gay or lesbian. Regardless of whether bisexual people are currently in same-sex relationships or heterosexual relationships, their sexual orientation remains unchanged and uninfluenced by the sex of their partner.
(2) Never Suggest That Bisexuality Is Just A Phase
Avoid any language that suggests that bisexuality is a phase and bisexual people will eventually conform to being either straight or gay exclusively. Bisexuals are not indecisive or confused, and they deserve to feel confident in their bisexuality without having to deal with ignorant opinions.
(3) Never Expect Proof Of Bisexuality
Having a history of involvement with more than one gender or sex is by no means a prerequisite to identify as bisexual. Many bisexuals have only had relationships with the same gender or different gender, and this does not determine their sexual identities.
(4) Avoid Discrediting Bisexuality
Bisexuality has a long and extensive history, and most people are surprised to learn that more than half of the population who do not identify as straight are, in fact, bisexuals. A person does not simply change identities depending on the gender of their partner. Just as lesbians and gay men are born with their sexuality, bisexuals should not be dismissed as having a legitimate orientation. Implying that bisexuality is not a true identity is incredibly harmful and discerning for bisexuals, and it makes them feel like they have no foot to stand on.
(5) Don't Imply That Bisexuals Are Promiscuous
A common and most untrue stereotype is that people who identify as bisexual are unable to maintain monogamous relationships. This presumption is one of the pillars of biphobia, although it cannot be further from the truth. Bisexuals are just as capable of having committed and loyal relationships as any straight, gay, or lesbian person. It is extremely prejudiced to assume that bisexuals are more prone to promiscuity than any other person. Discrimination toward bisexuals, lesbians, and gay men drastically worsened when the blame for the spread of HIV in the 1990s was put on these communities. Many couples choose to explore sexual activity with other men and women for various reasons. Non-monogamous approaches are pursued by various people worldwide, regardless of their sexual orientation.