This might be the most fun I’ve ever had writing an article. Queer studies have always been an interest of mine, and I often get so caught up in issues that affect the female population at large that I don’t spend as much time on LGBT issues as I’d like. Beyond intriguing me when I first took Queer Theory in college…oh…seven years ago (?!), bisexual erasure and biphobia are phenomenons that I’ve observed for quite some time. To clarify:
Biphobia: The fear of bisexuals; more concretely, the tendency of both gay and straight folks to attach negative stereotypes to bisexuals including but not limited to promiscuous, unfaithful, “passing” as straight, closet cases, indecisive, immature, experimental.
Bisexual erasure: The tendency of some members of the LGBT community to downplay bisexuality or deny its existence altogether, meaning that bisexuals are often invisible (and it’s damn hard to nail down statistics on their demographic).
The truly crazy thing about bisexuality is that according to one of the studies I cited in my piece (Boise State University, 2011), about 60% of a roughly 500 woman sample group of self-identified “heterosexuals” revealed that they have felt attracted to the same sex. What does it mean for the LGBT community, who represents a smaller faction of the general population, when the majority of “heterosexuals” aren’t exclusively so? And if this many people truly do not fit into a nice heterosexual box, why are they not “coming out” as more sexually fluid? Is the label “bisexual” problematic? Should this word be reclaimed, or discarded for another term without the negative connotations?
I’m, no pun, curious to see what you all think in the comments to this post, or in the comments of the article!