To Bi or Not to Bi

Bisexuality: Sexual orientation wherein a person is romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of multiple genders. Contrary to popular belief, historically bisexuality means “same and others” and not “men and women”. It’s an umbrella term and can also be defined as a spectrum of sexuality.

Growing up as a questioning queer, bisexuality wasn’t a concept I or anyone for that matter was truly aware of. It was always either gay or straight. Which seemed unfair, because sexuality cannot be simply defined in black or white.

Individuals who are bisexual are rarely taken seriously. Bisexual women are treated as objects who would get in bed with anyone and gladly cheat on their partners. And bisexual men were portrayed as men who were too afraid to come out as gay.

They are often told that it is “just a phase.” This is said a lot as many times bisexual women and men eventually end up in heterosexual relationships, proving that bisexuality is just a nickname for exploring one’s sexuality.

Realization struck only when I stumbled across shows which had bi characters. It didn’t take me long to figure out the pattern; the stereotype. It mainly consisted of big vibrant hair, dark makeup, polygamy and a hyperactive sex drive. Portrayal of bi individuals as slutty objects with no loyalty, moral or sense of monogamy puts out a derogatory standard for others to critique. Fetishisation of bisexuality, having bi characters just for the sake of a show’s sex appeal, innuendos and to make it “juicier”, turning bisexuality into a personality trait or a “quirk’” to make supporting characters seem a little interesting is downright disrespectful to the community and everyone involved.

Since western media is the only platform for any sort of LGBTQ+ representation for Indian queers, the “requirements” for being an “authentic bisexual” don’t really sit right.

Representing bisexuality in such an unhealthy and demeaning way merely for the sake of making it a profitable concept to the audience, increases the struggle and pain that the bisexual community goes through.

Even though we’ve seen the worst examples of bisexual idols to look up to, I’ve had my share of personal favourites as well. Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99, Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones, Callie Torres from Grey's Anatomy and Frida Kahlo from Frida are some of the examples that took the queer community by a storm.

Bisexuality is not a phase, it’s not being confused and it’s definitely not a fetish. If you’re someone who’s struggling with your sexual orientation, please remember you’re loved, you’re valid and you matter!