Bi Erasure is Forcing Many Bisexual People Under a Cloak of Invisibility

Across the LGBTQ+ community there are an endless range of ways you can self-identify. For some people, that may be identifying as bisexual where you are attracted to both genders – sounds straightforward but unfortunately, it’s not.

 

For many bisexual people, they will often encounter bi erasure at some point in their life. This is a problem in which the existence and legitimacy of bisexuality is either questioned or denied.

 

This can take many forms such as considering a person to be gay or straight depending on their partner or calling bisexuals “allies” to the LGBTQ+ community rather than including them as part of it.

 

Denying that people are actually bisexual by claiming ‘it’s just a phase” or its experimental as well as mislabelling them as lesbians or gay contribute to bi erasure. 

 

Bi erasure can cause people to feel invisible as their identity is often rejected by society and they have to listen to negative and disapproving comments.

 

This cloak of invisibility can be destructive and can place people in an unhealthy closet that is hard to come out of. Gay Community News (GCN) describe this as feeling “too queer to be straight but too straight for the queer community.”

 

For Caitlin Hart, a bisexual woman, says that her experiences with being bi erasure are usually the “occasional comment or little dig but they add up.”

 

Caitlin’s first experience of this was when she was in a relationship with a lesbian. She said: “she would make jokes that I was basically straight and say things like she’d never dated a straight girl.”

 

While it hasn’t impacted her mental health, she does find it gets frustrating after a while and feels as though “you need to pick straight or gay.”

 

Caitlin believes the feeling of needing to pick between the two can come from being with people who “so casually just don’t understand bisexuality”. 

 

According to GCN, bisexuals are six times more likely to hide their identity than those who are gay or lesbian. Less than half of young bisexual people have been able to confide in a trusted adult.

 

This is something that needs to change. Bisexual people are part of the LGBTQ+ community and should not have to feel torn between being gay or straight.