The Stigma of Identifying as Bisexual
As a person who identifies as pansexual, I've met my fair share of ignorance and discrimination when it comes to my sexuality. I have rarely seen positive depictions of bisexual people; instead, we are seen as chronic cheaters who have sex with anyone. This is extremely problematic because it directly affects the bisexual/pansexual community. Even within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) community, bisexuals often meet resistance and ridicule. We don't fit in with the straight world, yet we find isolation within the LGBTQ community, too. Where do we truly belong?
Bisexuality: A Negative Label?
My most recent experience with biphobia (the dislike and discrimination of bisexuals) occurred with my last therapist earlier this year. While she was very helpful in teaching me how to cope with my depression and anxiety, she did not react well when I told her that I was pansexual. She stated that society sees bisexuality as a bad thing and that I shouldn't label myself. She also said that it doesn't matter since I'm married to someone of the opposite sex now. Her words hurt me, especially since she was my therapist, someone that I'm supposed to trust in. After that negative experience, I'm hesitant to tell my next therapist about my sexuality. Will he/she be accepting of my sexual identity or will they reject me?
Negative Stereotypes of Bisexuals Fuel Depression and Anxiety
It hurts when I see lack of support for the bisexual/pansexual community. It makes me really sad and upset to see so much negativity surrounding my sexual identity. I am happy to say that I've been with my partner for four years now and I've never cheated on him (and I certainly don't plan on it). I consider myself lucky that he accepts and loves all of me, including my sexuality. I try my best to ignore the negative stereotypes about bisexuals, but I'm not perfect. I've read several books where it was clear that the writer was using the same stereotypes that are accepted by society: bisexuals can't be monogamous and they are bound to cheat. Even some individuals who identify as gay or lesbian will not date people who are bisexual. The stigma is that entrenched. These negative and false assumptions certainly don't help my depression and anxiety. If anything, they make it harder to love and accept myself.
Eradicating the Stigma of Bisexuality
The good news is that there are more bisexual and pansexual people speaking out against these contorted, damaging stereotypes. It helps when actors like Alan Cumming proudly declare that they are bisexual. Since he is married to a man, many have assumed that he is gay, but he is very outspoken about the fact that he is bisexual. Why is it so hard to understand bisexuality? I could easily lie and say that I'm straight and no one would doubt me, but I would be lying to myself. I want to live a happy, healthy life where I can be my true self. I don't want to lie to myself anymore and I don't want to stay quiet. Denying who I am has only hurt me in the past, and I no longer wish to go down that road.
Celis, V. (2014, October 22). The Stigma of Identifying as Bisexual, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2014/10/the-stigma-of-identifying-as-bisexual
Author: Vanessa Celis
Thank you for this article! I struggled very much throughout my childhood and adulthood with my bisexuality. I have experienced every one of the points you make, and it has brought me much dismay, and at times, despair. I found little comfort in the LGBTQ community and it hurt so much, I have felt so alone. In my attempts to come out I have been met with the same reactions you mentioned, that I am likely to be unfaithful because I cant be with "just" a man or a woman, or that I have some sexual appetite that can never be satiated. Straight men either think its cool and "we can have threesomes" all the time or, like one guy I dated, was totally freaked out because he felt he needed to "compete" with women. Lesbians often roll their eyes or suddenly refuse to see me again because of it. I've heard "I hate bi girls" more times than I care to remember. Friends and family just can't seem to understand it, or worse, act like its just some phase and then refuse to acknowledge it ever again, like I'm so effed up they just have to not think about it.
It was great stumbling onto this article. Thank you for taking the time to bring up the issues that affect people like us!
After my best friend did things to me when I was still recovering from a reaction to lithium, I don't know who I am anymore.
I'm sorry that happened to you. It's okay to be confused. I was confused a long time myself. I wish you the best.