Bisexuals have historically been denigrated or rendered invisible by pervasive myths, such as the belief that bisexuals are merely experimenting with same-sex/opposite-sex partners. or are in denial of homosexuality. However bisexuals have also faced erasure and redefinition in recent years from within academia and from activism that seeks to prioritise gender-inclusivity over sexual orientation.
In “The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure (2000)”, Kenji Yoshino states that bisexuals reify “that there are only two sexes” and are “not currently understood as people who are attracted to both genders, as opposed to sexes”, but this alternative interpretation of gender-based attraction should be “theorized”.
As such, sexual orientation to both sexes presents a challenge to some activist beliefs that attraction should be interpreted in terms of expressions of gender rather than our sexed bodies. The result has been that both-sex attraction has been supplanted in modern definitions with more umbrella interpretations as an attraction to “multiple genders”. Such descriptions for many render bisexuality effectively meaningless, and do not reflect the nature of their attraction to both sexes.
Bisexuality is often misunderstood as sex-blind or, but the vast majority of bisexuals experience attraction to men as men, and women as women, on the basis of their sex. Redefinition of terms of sexual orientation away from sex hides the reality of this attraction.
Just as we stand up for the recognition of same-sex attraction, so we do for both-sex attraction.
Research has shown that bisexuals suffer from greater levels of depression and anxiety than gay or lesbian people.
Besides the societal stigma for those with same-sex partners, bisexuals are all too often seen as untrustworthy or unserious. For example, a study earlier this year found that many people – including gays and lesbians – still “stereotype bisexual women as truly heterosexual and bisexual men as truly gay”
Attraction to two sexes leaves many suspicious that no single partner could be “enough” – wrongly believing that bisexuality is incompatible with monogamy – while bisexual women in particular are fetishised as being sexually available.
These harmful myths are some of the reasons why only 19% of bisexuals are truly out, compared to 75% of gay men and lesbians.
The simple reality is some people just are attracted to both sexes, and the sooner the prejudiced myths surrounding this are consigned to history, the better.