We Need to Talk About: Biphobia
Updated: Jan 20
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had conversations with women around a topic that I’ve been wanting to discuss more openly for quite some time. These conversations have been among biphobia and how this impacts many people who identify as bisexual. When I look deeper into phobias that are brought upon the LGBTQ+ community, it makes me wonder how societal assumptions around sexual orientation (especially bisexuality) transpire. I will try my best to continue to be mindful towards writing about this, but I do want to mention that I think it’s important for me to not shy away from the truths around this word because of the false ideologies that are brought to the surface. So, I would like to bring these conversations to the forefront and to hopefully be able to talk more fluidly with others around biphobia as well.
When I was first exploring my sexual orientation, I came out as bisexual even though I knew my feelings and attraction were only for women. For some reason, I told myself that I would be more accepted by friends and family and not seen differently if I stepped back from my whole truth. It was an interesting time in my life of such uncertainty and fear that I didn’t know what the right way would be towards openly expressing myself. Though, what I did begin to notice were comments like, “This is just a phase, are you really bi?” or "Are you just wanting to have fun?” and I will just say that these comments did not sit well with me whatsoever. To be fair, there is no harm if someone does go through a phase or merely wants to have experiences, but I quickly realized that there was such an assumption around myself saying that I’m bisexual and it was upsetting. These comments did not only make me upset about how I was being viewed by such stigmas, but also for how the people who truly identify as bisexual and what they go through from inconsiderate assumptions society has conjured up about themselves.
I have found that within the ballet world, there tends to be an added pressure and unsettling feelings for a woman to come out regardless of their sexual orientation. As discussed in my recent postings, this is due to the stigmas and stereotypes in which female dancers are perceived to be, but this also made me think about stigmas particularly around bisexuality. Though, these are not just within the ballet world but in society entirely. So, I wanted to dig deeper and talk about how biphobia is not just only seen from people who don't identify as bisexual but people who do identify as bisexual.
The main question I continually come across is, "Bisexuality is a sexual orientation, so why is it questioned so much more than other sexual orientations within the community?". Well, this is exactly the question that lingers inside my mind. I completely agree! Why is it that there has to be an abundance of questions following bisexuality? If we follow the words, we love who we love, then questioning someone's identity who is bisexual is hypocritical. People who are bi should not have to hear the comments of 'this is probably just a phase' or 'no, you must be gay'. As I have labeled myself as both bisexual and gay since coming out, these comments made myself question my own identity not in my terms but within the terms of other people. The thing is, sexual orientation can change for each individual. There should be no limitations to what a human can identify as. I suppose this is why I find the word queer to be beautiful; a word that people of the LGBTQ+ community can identify with from all identities. But there needs to be a stronger understanding around bisexuality and how it is as real of a sexual orientation as any other.
As there are many other phobias around bisexuality, what I want to stress the most is that there can be a strong denial that many go through around coming out as bi or who already identify as bi. Coming out can already be difficult enough and brings up uncertainty in an individual, but then there is an added fear of not being seen authentically or taken seriously. Biphobia may hinder many from coming out or to even accept themselves as bisexual. There are misconceptions that bisexual individuals are unsure of what they want or it's an excuse to be sexually attracted to both sexes. We, as a community, need to continue to bring the awareness around these misconceptions and the comments that are continually stated.
Since speaking with other women and hearing what they have to say around accepting themselves as bisexual, it has truly opened my eyes to making sure we are all seen equally and taken seriously with what we identify as. Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, and many others, your identity is as serious and real as any other person who is right next to you. The women I have spoken with do not find the humor in the playful questions society asks them about their bisexuality. They want their sexual orientation to be taken seriously. I hope to bring more conversations up about this, and I want you all to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. The more we openly share what we feel around biphobia and bisexuality, the stronger of an awareness we can bring for many others.
We should all be taken seriously for what we identify as, and we are all beautiful in the courage and strength that we have to be who we are. With this in mind, let's continue to have these conversations.
Photo by Frances Chae