Bisexual Discrimination in the LGBTQ Community
In the LGBTQ community, pride in who you are is essential. Everybody discusses their coming out stories, their first experiences out of the closet, and what life was like hidden away, pretending to be somebody else. The community is pretty close knit and we all rally around a brother or sister that is being harassed. However, lesbians, gays, and queers tend to leave out bisexuals. They talk about how inclusive they are and how tolerant they are of others but they ignore over half of their community.
People that label themselves as bisexual get harassed from both sides of the fence. Straight people see bisexual women as whores that spend their whole lives having three-somes in the bedroom or just say they are bisexual to please their man. They see bisexual men as liars that just pretend to be part of the community. Gay guys generally do not like bisexual men because they feel that they are lying about being bisexual just because they aren't fully ready to come out of the closet. Lesbians tend to see bisexual women as selfish, whores that just want to have fun with a woman for a little while then settle down and have kids with a man. Transgender identified people tend to be the most accepting of bisexual people because a lot of them are themselves bisexual, and even if they aren't they know what it is like to be tossed to the curb by everyone. Transgender people that do not "pass" easily for the other gender are ridiculed by straight and gays alike.
Coming out of the closet for bisexual people is hard because nearly everyone you come out to assumes that you are just labeling yourself that way until you "decide" to be gay or are just experimenting until you "decide" to be straight. Some straight people still think that a person decides if they are gay or not, like you can decide what make of car you want to drive. The best thing that you can say to straight people who claim being gay is a choice is "if you can choose to be gay, choose it right now." You are bound to be met with answers like "it doesn't work like that. I can't choose to be gay" or "Eww, that's gross. I could never choose to be gay." You can point out the flaws in their logic to them all day long about how people cannot choose to be gay, but most of them will never see it.
Why does the gay community exile bisexuals? If you ask nearly any bisexual person that you know, they will say that they get harsher treatment from the gay community than from straight people. Bisexual identified people make up roughly 50% of the population of the entire country, yet we are left in the dark when it comes to publicity. Many members of the gay community feel that bisexual people have an easier time being accepted by straight people because they can "pass" for non-queer with less effort, especially if they are in a long-term (even short term) relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Bisexuals that are committed to members of the opposite sex are sometimes referred to as "birthers" by those in the gay community because they can conceive children on their own and have the appearance of being straight.
As a very open, and proud bisexual, I must say that it is not easy being treated the way we are by both gay and straight people alike. If you are in a "straight" relationship, do not plan on attending a pride festival or march because you will probably be ridiculed and even harassed by the people that are supposed to be the most welcoming to you, though there will be many accepting people (probably bisexual) there to make sure you have a good time. I have personally experienced bias at a former workplace. I was discussing my ex girlfriend with a coworker when our boss pulled me aside and told me that if I mentioned my sexuality again I would be fired. There are no protections in my home state for LGBTQ identified persons in the workplace or housing and those identities have yet to receive federal protections.
On television, there is a gay character in just about every show you flip to, while there is hardly a bisexual one. Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez played bisexual Callie Tores on the series for over half of its seasons. She very adamantly makes the point that bisexuals tend to be forgotten about when her wife is upset about the fact that she also dated men. She has since left the show but in prior seasons developed from a side character to main cast. The famous lesbian show The L Word featured a woman in the first season that was bisexual, who later realized she was strictly women-only. Later in the series, another character sports their bisexuality and she says to her lesbian friends, "Ew, you're right. Bisexuality is gross." Many bisexual viewers stopped watching the show at this point. Men that label themselves bisexual are even harder to find on television. When you do spot a character that is possibly bisexual, odds are good that they will never say the actual word "bisexual" but will make subtle hints towards it.
We have to stand strong together because we are erased from nearly everything else. People that identify as bisexual have a greater risk of depression than their straight and gay counterparts, especially teenagers. Our identities are often swept under the rug as "a phase" causing us to feel like we cannot express who we really are without being judged. Everybody needs to be loved and supported for who they are. We make up over half of the LGBTQ community. Younger generations are starting to come out of the closet more as bisexual, increasing the population daily. We are not promiscuous just because we are attracted to both genders. We are not spending our lives pretending to be something just for attention. Bisexuality is a real sexuality and it is time to stop erasing us.