This week I wanted to write about something I personally feel needs to be brought to light in the LGTBIAQ+ community and that is the damage the unfortunate culture within our community of Bi-Erasure. Bisexual people, much like any non-heteronormative sexual orientation face the same persecution and prejudice from the heterosexual community. Sadly, though bisexual people also face prejudice from within the LGBTIAQ+ community as well. Bisexual people face stigma from both the heterosexual and homosexual community labelling them as greedy, undecided, hiding, or deceitful.
It is a sad fact that within the gay community some gay people treat bisexual people as if they not being truthful to their identity or believe them to be hiding their true identity to escape persecution. This however is not true, there have been many studies that indicate people in sexual minorities including bisexual people are at a higher risk of prejudice and suicidal ideation. While studies into purely bisexual rates of suicidal ideation have been mixed this alone can only mean that we need to be taking better care of our bisexual friends and family.
Bi-erasure is not only damaging to Bisexual people, but it is also damaging to the LGBTIAQ+ community and the greater community as a whole. When we as a community delegitimise one person’s sexual orientation, we are giving permission for others to do the same to us. On top of this in a broader context by exposing bisexual people to more prejudice and failing to stand by them risks losing bisexual people to suicide. As a community that already sees and experiences so much grief and loss to suicide don’t, we owe it to ourselves to protect every member of our community possible.
Lastly, on a more altruistic note, instead of stigmatising bisexual people and seeing their attraction to both sexes as a negative, why not choose to see the opportunity or blessing that it is. Bisexual people have no more choice in their attraction then heterosexual or homosexual people do. What bisexual people do have is a unique ability to empathise with both heterosexual and homosexual people. In this way bisexual people can help to facilitate understanding and empathy between heterosexual and homosexual communities.
So next time a friend or family member comes out to you as bisexual, think carefully about your choice of words. Know that they have chosen you as a member of the LGBTIAQ+ community or an ally, and they have chosen to speak to you about their bisexuality because they believe you will understand. Show them that understanding, validate their experiences and recognise that bisexuality is as much a part of their identity as your sexuality is to you.