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I am very open about my sexuality and the fact that I’m bisexual+. I’ve found that being true to myself and being authentic in my intersecting identities not only helps with my mental health but it brings the people in your life who meant to be in it. I can’t tell you how long I’ve held onto internalized biphobia for.
I think some part of me always knew that I was queer; but, because of our heteronormative culture, I denied being my authentic self. I didn’t know how to navigate the things I was feeling, and I openly talked to a therapist about them because I was so conflicted.
I embraced my identity in college and then began drowning in the idea that I can’t be genuinely queer in a straight relationship and I still struggle with this. For a long time, I thought self-acceptance of my bisexuality was enough. No one asked me for a label, and I experienced very little overt discrimination. As I’ve become more grounded in my sexuality, I’ve realized that self-acceptance isn’t enough.
I came out very soon after I figured out I was bisexual. Coming out is a process but being authentic in your identity helps.
Thanks to the increasing profile of bisexual celebrities, such as Keiynan Lonsdale and Stephanie Beatriz, bisexuality has become far more visible in the mainstream media. As a result, an increasing number of people feel comfortable coming out as LGBTQ+ (or as merely neither straight nor gay). But acceptance of bisexuality has been slow, both in mainstream society and the LGBTQ+ communities, despite evidence suggesting that more individuals identify as bisexual than lesbian or gay.
Bisexuality can be defined as simply as being attracted to more than one gender. However, society is most comfortable with binary categorizations when it comes to sexuality and gender, and it is often rigidly policed. This gives rise to misconceptions about bisexual authenticity, which threatens our visibility and excludes us from the LGBTQ+ community and western society. The most common harmful stereotypes are of indecision, confusion, and immorality, but the list is long and often supported by the media.
Invalidation and disapproval complicate the coming out process for individuals who identify as bisexual. Because of this, individuals who identify as bisexual personally may choose to remain in the closet or be mislabelled.
This leads to some severe mental health outcomes; the LGBTQ+ population is four times more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the community, it’s even higher for individuals who identify as bisexual. Over 40% of individuals that identify as bisexual have considered suicide.
There are many myths associated with bisexuality, and significant misconceptions go hand-in-hand with stigma and invisibility. In Western society, bisexuality and pansexuality are blanket terms for people who are not attracted exclusively attracted to one gender, and many people think bisexuality is when you are invited to men and women.
This reveals a very cis-sexist approach to breaking down bisexuality and doesn’t take into account the gender spectrum. Within bisexuality, there is no inherent binarism; bisexuality doesn’t refer just to refer to the two genders we are familiar with: men and women.. Yes, this could mean you are attracted to a man and a woman, though it could also mean you are invited to folks identifying as non-binary, genderqueer and trans. By saying bisexuality is an attraction to cishet men and women, you are making bisexuality trans exclusive. For someone identifying as bisexual and queer, I am not exclusively attracted to cishet men and women. I’m still navigating and becoming more grounded in my sexuality. I openly say I’m bisexual, but I realize I identify more as pansexual; that is why I use queer often when I’m usually talking about my sexuality.
I think a lot of this has to with my internalized biphobia because of western societies heteronormativity. I’ve found that people understand bisexuality more and it is accepted more. I know I’m writing about biphobia, so is it accepted more than the other LGBTQ+ identities? I don’t think it is.
Individuals who identify as bisexual have to continually validate their sexuality to people who don’t identify as bisexual. Individuals who identify as bisexual who are in straight relationships are still bisexual. Just because we haven’t kissed a man or a woman doesn’t mean we aren’t bisexual. Bisexuality’s constant invalidation stems down to the stigmas and myths that are associated with it.
Some examples of bisexuality’s stigmas and myths are:
I experience biphobia on a regular basis. Recently, someone thought I was only friends with someone because I was attracted to them.
Here are some ways you can fight biphobia:
Individuals who identify as bisexual+ are more likely to have to validate their sexuality when there is not enough social support for them after they come out to family and friends, or when they stay closeted for an extended period. While Western culture needs to tackle biphobia, The LGBTQ+ community also needs to take a look at the way they approach the word “bisexual” and actively educate those in their communities on bisexuality, in the hopes that society will recognize bisexuality as something other than a plot device to fill diversity quotas.
Hey lovelies! I’m Mary, a 25-year-old writer. I love a sunny day on the beach and jamming out to music. I created Dishability to engage in conversations around my struggle with Depression/Anxiety and Bipolar 2 as well as being a Queer, Disabled Woman.