Let's Talk About Biphobia
Let me start this little informational guide with the following statement; being intimate with someone of the same sex does not mean that you are gay, just like being intimate with someone of the opposite gender does not mean you are straight-- it just means that you fall somewhere in between those two on the beautiful and fluid spectrum of sexuality.
Unfortunately, we're so soaked in the binary way of thinking that there are many people that don't believe that bisexuality is a thing and that type of thought ultimately oppresses everyone. Perpetuating the unflinching heteronormative and homonormative standards is just as bad as saying these other sexualities don't exist.
Respected bisexual activist Robyn Ochs describes bisexuality as the potential “to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”
- One cannot simply be a heterosexual that would "do it with the same gender if the opportunity arose."
- One cannot simply be a heterosexual that would "be in a lesbian relationship if the opportunity arose."
To qualify for the term "lesbian relationship," both members of said relationship MUST be lesbian. If that is not the case and that term is still used, it's erasure and it's one of the most subtle (but still harmful) and most common forms of biphobia.
You have to remember that we're talking about a group of people that are constantly told that they don't exist. A group of people that are belittled by heterosexuals because they're strange and then belittled by homosexuals because they're not strange enough.
You would not say that you (let's say you're whiter than white bread for this) and a friend (we'll call this friend a latina) are an Asian couple. That is not a thing.
But it's exactly what you're doing when you say that you're a heterosexual that would be in a lesbian relationship. Misunderstandings like this are the anchor that keeps biphobia going.
Erasure is a big deal when it comes to this kind of thing. The San Francisco Human Rights Commission released a fifty-page report on bi-invisibility within the LGBTQIA+ community. There were FIFTY PAGES worth of things to write about this! And bisexuality is much more commonly accepted than other sexualities that this kind of remark could be erasing. Even the National LGBTQ Task Force thought it'd be super swell to write an article entitled, "Bye Bye Bi, Hello Queer" and proceeded to literally attempt to erase bisexuality from the books.
So when someone tells you that you're being harmful by making remarks about being gay, lesbian, or heterosexual when the proper terminology for the person in question is something else entirely, listen up.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.