As someone who identifies as bisexual, I have unfortunately faced biphobia from others: from family, from people I’ve considered friends, and from complete strangers. But for years I didn’t know what biphobia looked like; it was mostly a feeling I got that said, Oh, that didn’t sound right. That doesn’t make me feel good about myself.
So, what is biphobia? What does it look like? A lot of people say they’re not biphobic because they’re not homophobic — well, I’ve got news for you! You can still be biphobic even if you’re not homophobic. Biphobia is embedded in statements like, “You’re either straight or gay, you can’t be both,” “You just say you’re bi to look cool,” and “It’s just a phase.” Phrases like these are dismissive and discriminatory towards people who identify as bisexual because they erase our sexual identity. What’s more, is that these phrases further perpetuate stereotypes about bisexuality and influence the attitudes of other people concerning bisexuality, effectively continuing the cycle of hate and discrimination.
Here are some common biphobic sayings, in no particular order, with some of my own comments:
- “You’re just confused.” / “You’re in denial.”
We live in a binary world where many people believe you have to be either one thing or the other, such as “good” or “bad,” and that you cannot be both. Bisexuality completely undermines this belief. People who believe in binaries get confused about bisexuality, and as a consequence project their confusion onto bisexuals by saying “you’re just confused.”
- “If you’re bisexual, you’re transphobic.”
Don’t get hung up on the “bi” part of bisexuality. Bisexuality isn’t contributing to the gender binary by insisting that there are only two genders; instead, many bisexuals simply see this label as the freedom to feel attracted to anyone, regardless of gender, masculinity, and femininity, and going beyond the gender binary entirely.
- “I’m afraid you’ll leave me for a man/woman.”
Statements like this most often come from an intimate partner. This fear has nothing to do with the bisexual partner, and everything to do with their phobic significant other.
- “You can’t be faithful to your partner.”
Bisexuals are no more likely to cheat or be unfaithful than homosexual and heterosexual individuals. This myth and harmful stereotype of being hypersexual and promiscuous is one that a lot of LGBTQ+ individuals face.
- “Why do we even need a bi community?”
Yikes! This one stings. Community is all about coming together and being able to celebrate with others who have similar experiences of what it’s like to be bi.
- “You’re not bisexual if you haven’t been with men and women.”
We literally do not need to prove anything to anyone, nor are we obligated to date both men and women (or even be attracted to them on a 50/50 ratio).
- “Everyone is bisexual.”
I’m tired of hearing this. This statement is very dismissive and erasing. It’s about as helpful as saying, “Everyone is mixed-race” i.e., it’s not.
Bisexuals are regular people, and we aren’t lesbian, or gay, or straight. Some of us have been confused, some of us feel more fluid in our sexuality whereas others don’t, and that’s okay. Bisexuality doesn’t make us that way; it’s just that we’re varied, diverse people like everyone else.
If you’re unsure if your attitudes or comments are biphobic, read up on bisexuality to educate yourself further on the topic; take initiative and make use of the readily-available resource that is Google.
Looking for additional resources? Check out the ones below that helped me in crafting this article: