Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Response: Bisexuality is NOT Transphobic

So recently, an article was published with my school’s chapter of Her Campus titled “The Difficulties of Being Pansexual in a Heteronormative Relationship“, and it was a refreshing take on how difficult it can be to identify with a queer label and still be in a relationship that is perceived as straight. But one thing about this article struck a sour chord with me: the author’s take on bisexuality.

“I’ve decided that I do not like the label of bisexual, as it is a transphobic and exclusive label to me.”

This has been a hot button debate within the LGBT community, with the increasing number of people identifying as pansexual rather than bisexual. Is bisexuality transphobic? After all, traditionally bisexuality has meant “one who is attracted to both men and women”, does that mean it is exclusive of transgender men and women? What about nonbinary people?

Anonymous. Let’s talk.

I am — confidently, some would say obnoxiously — bisexual. I came out as bisexual to my best friend and family in 2010. This has been a huge part of my identity for the past eight years, and has changed minimally with the discovery of my own gender status (I identify as nonbinary). When I discovered the label “pansexual” in high school, I did identify as pansexual for a while. I thought the same thing as you: it is way more inclusive, whereas bisexuality is not.

But I did not have the same connection with pansexuality as I did with bisexuality. It is true, I do not discriminate when it comes to the gender of my partner, because I feel as though it is not a dealbreaker.

This does not mean I am pansexual, though.

Yes, anonymous, you are correct. Bisexuality has traditionally meant a sexual attraction to only men and women — and more often than not, most people assumed it was exclusive to only cis men and women. But language evolves, and the term has never been specific to cisgender men and women. Bisexuality just meant an attraction to men and women.

Over the years, with the rise of knowledge in trans and gender-nonconforming individuals and their identities, bisexuality has evolved as well. While pansexuality is a sexual attraction open to all genders, bisexuality has evolved to mean a sexual attraction to two or more genders — inside and outside of the binary. There is a large amount of transgender and nonbinary individuals that identify as bisexual, so ask yourself this: why would we identify with a label meant to discriminate against us?

I understand this was not the main point of your article. I think you’re incredibly brave to come forth and discuss your experiences as a pansexual woman in a heteronormative relationship, and I hope that your boyfriend does become more open and accepting of this aspect of who you are.

Which is why I am asking you for the same respect.

It is incredibly hurtful to hear that a huge part of who you are is hurting someone else, when it’s a matter of who you love or are attracted to. As I write this, I write this from a place of hurt and confusion. I have always strived to help my trans and nonbinary friends and family fight for our rights and to make them feel safe and welcome. I’ve struggled with my own gender identity for years, but have always found open arms and open hearts within the bisexual community. I understand that there are shitty, transphobic people within the community, but their sexual identity is not what makes them transphobic. It is ignorance that makes them that way.

I respect that bisexual is not who you are, please do not take this as a coercion to the bi-side of the force. I write this in hopes of opening up a dialogue. I want to talk to you about my identity. I want you to understand. We both identify with an often-confused, almost invisible sexual identity. We should be learning from each other, not accusing each other of ignorance.

Let’s talk. You know where to find me

Similar Reads👯‍♀️