By: Allison Parrish – Senior, Fine Arts
Bisexuality has been forgotten when it comes to acceptance in the LGBT community and society as a whole. The commonly known “B” in LGBT is continually ignored and even denied existence on a regular basis. Despite its definition being relatively common knowledge, the conversation surrounding it is nearly silent.
Frequently, we hear bisexuality being referred to as a “fad” or a “phase.” Both straight and gay people have told me someone who identifies as bi is just “confused” and will eventually decide whether they are gay or straight. In addition to the potential homophobia a bisexual person may experience for being attracted to the same sex, they may also encounter the complete denial of their sexuality’s existence.
Why is it so difficult for many to acknowledge that bisexuality is real? This could potentially be answered by our society’s preoccupation with everything existing in a binary. We struggle to see the world as not just black and white, but a gradation of grays. Sexuality should be viewed in the same manner. Believe it or not, a person does not have to be gay or straight but can be attracted to both and more.
Then, if someone acknowledges bisexuality does indeed exist and you happen to identify as such, there are the stereotypes and judgments that accompany it. Many assume bisexual individuals are inherently promiscuous and available to bring sexual fantasies to life. Or it is reduced to a form of pseudo-entertainment, since being “able” to make out with men and women apparently equates to a party trick. We constantly have to defend ourselves and somehow validate that we are “actually” bisexual.
There is the typical quiz I and many other bisexuals experience by those who find out about our sexuality: How do you know you are bisexual? Have you even been with people of the opposite sex? What if you get a boyfriend, are you straight then? Or a girlfriend, a lesbian then? This slew of demeaning questions contributes to the denial of bisexuality. This judgment leads to potential self-denial of your own sexuality and shame of it. It reduces sexuality to who you have sexual interactions with, when sexuality is more than just sex. It encompasses who you have feelings for, who you want to form relationships with, who you fall in love with and, ultimately, how you define yourself.
Specifically as a bisexual woman, you lack outlets for support—especially on UD’s campus and in this area. From my own personal experience, it began with a lack of community around me. It may not be surprising there is a very minimal amount of LGBT support on a Catholic campus. Along with this, when you fear straight and homosexual people will both discriminate against you, it reduces your options for friends and romantic partners. There are not even support groups in the Dayton area for us. There are two groups for bisexual males and multiple gay/lesbian/transgender groups, but nothing for bisexual women. With the obvious lack of options, it is hard not to begin to feel isolated and invisible.
This is not a pity party for bisexuals, but a simple call for acknowledgement. Bisexuality needs to be brought to an equal level of importance as lesbian, gay, transgender and other sexual and gender identifications. A person’s sexuality does not wholly define them, but it is not a part of them that should be ignored or negated. Society has certainly improved in regards to the acceptance of the diversity of sexuality and LGBT communities, but that does not mean there is not more work to do. If I and many other bisexuals feel like we have to hide a part of ourselves, there is still an issue.