The acronym "LGBT" can be very misleading for many reasons but none more than the fact it implies that we are all united. Being the "B" in that acronym can be devastatingly isolating. Not only do bisexuals have to deal with homophobia from ignorant hetrosexuals they must also deal with the biphobia that is prevalent in the LGBT community. Talk to anybody about bisexuality and you'll hear a repetitive stream of thinly veiled insults. What is bisexualism? When will someone with bisexual identity be able to declare as such in a way that's unapologetic and why don't we take it seriously?
There are said to be 3 categories under the bisexual umbrella; Bi feelings, bi behaviour and bi identity. Bi feelings can be classed as bi curiosity the stage most of us find ourselves before we have the confidence to explore. Many lesbians (and gay men) often come out as bisexual. We are about to enter into a world of which we know nothing about, many haven't even had sexual experiences with the same sex, so to declare themselves gay would be rather presumptuous. It's somewhat of a saftey net label for many in case their lust for the opposite sex is just a phase and their not left running from the gay scene tail between their legs. This transistional bisexualism is a common experience and many quickly relinquish that identity as confidence in their sexuality grows. Many are in fact so happy to do so they are unwilling to speak about those feelings for fear they won't be seen as a fully fledged member of the community. We live in a world where confidence/sureness is sexy and confusion is off putting. It's no wonder many of us discard that label like yesterdays knickers. Since for alot of us bisexualism was a transistional identity bourne out of confusion it's easy to see why many of us project those feelings onto others who come out with as bisexual.
Then there's "bisexual behaviours" an experimental phase. Raised with hetronormative ideals an attraction and need to experiment with both genders is a neccesary path to finding one's self for some. When one is in this phase they may find biphobia reigns supreme and feelings can get hurt. Every single lesbian I have known to be with a bisexual who simultaneously experimeted with men has vowed never ever to go near a bisexual ever again. Some even vow not to befriend them. There doesn't seem to be a safe space for someone experimenting with both genders to turn, indeed fear of backlash causes certain individuals to lie about their sexual orientation which just serves to perpetuate the myth that bisexualism is as wrong as the people who practise it. This is dangerous territory. As lesbians and gays we know how confusing it is and for those whose interests in both genders persist after initial experimentation the confusion must be like a fire alarm in their heads 24/7. They are told by lesbians/gays to make up their mind and seen as seedy by hetrosexuals. An almost impossible predicament.
A lover of souls?
Lastly there are those with a bisexual identity. Although those in this category are sure as hell about who they are this doesn't stop the "confused" tag from being foisted upon them. Often they feel the need to explain themselves to whoever they meet about how and why they came to be the way they are, asked if they are just greedy or in the best case scenarios, just given a look of disbelief from those who do not share or refuse to understand their identity. They have to tolerate seeing the glad eye of someone they were getting along with and attracted to dissapate the moment they admit they are bisexual. The celeb trend of bisexualism doesn't help either. When is the last time you saw a self declared bisexual celebrity with a member of their own sex? Does seeing someone who's bisexual with someone of the same sex even matter? Bisexuals are attracted to both and are in the position to be with the "person" who attracts them the most rather than biology playing a part. A true lover of souls. I wish I was like that. In spite of the predjudice it sounds rather lovely. A report on bisexuality from The Open University has found that bisexuals are at a higher risk of mental health problems such as; depression, anxiety, self harm, and suicidal thoughts than lesbians and gays. This makes for uncomfortable reading especially seen as alot of the isolation comes from within our community.
Sirena Reynolds, Editor