Earlier on this week, Victoria wrote an important post about bisexual myths in aid of supporting #BiWeek. Before reading her post, I didn’t even know bi week was a thing (being relatively new to the lgbt+ community) and as soon as I heard of it I just had to get involved.
As part of #BiWeek – co-created by GLADD – today, 23rd September 2016, marks annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day so I though it would be fitting to talk about my feelings towards bi-erasure which is something that, sadly, often goes hand-in-hand with bisexuality.
Bisexual erasure can be defined as:
the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists.
As you can probably guess, bi-erasure can take many forms. The one I have come across most, however, is the misunderstanding that sexuality is determined by the gender of the person you are in a relationship with. For instance, if you are in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, it is automatically assumed you are straight, and if you are in a relationship with a member of the same sex, it is automatically assumed you are gay.
I think the basis of this misconception boils down to lack of awareness as to what bisexuality actually is. So here’s a quick definition:
Bisexuality – being attracted to both members of the same sex and the opposite sex but not necessarily equally or at the same.
Therefore, a bisexual person can be in a relationship with a member of the same sex, knowing that there is the possibility of them being attracted to a member of the opposite sex in the future and vice versa. When bisexual people enter relationships with members of the same sex, they don’t magically ‘become’ gay, the same as they don’t ‘become’ straight when they’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
Although it’s great that society is coming to accept lesbians and gay men more, we need to clarify that there aren’t just gay people and straight people, that there are many other sexualities in between, bisexuality being one of them.
So, when a bisexual person is in a relationship with someone of the same sex, they are bisexual. And when a bisexual person is in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, guess what? They are still bisexual.
I understand the concept of bisexuality can be confusing to some people, but I hope my post has helped to show you just how straightforward it is, or should be. 🙂
By spreading the word and helping people understand bisexuality, the issue of bi-erasure will (hopefully) be tackled. Because it’s hard enough trying to figure out what your sexuality is, then find the confidence to identify as that only to be told that your sexuality ‘doesn’t exist’ or is ‘just a phase’. So to all my fellow bisexuals, lets spend today celebrating our sexuality and fighting against bi-erasure and the various forms it can take. 🙂