Bisexuals are being told their sexuality is 'not real'

Our cracks are showing, and I do mean that in every sense of this multiple entendre. We need only take seriously the complaints of bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, and others in order to see that the movement has always been in disarray, and that too often our community is merely a loose coalition of sexual minorities with sometimes aligned, sometimes competing interests.

The LGBT community is often touted as a banner beneath which sexual minorities of all types, shapes, and varieties can come together and find mutual comfort. It’s a place we can all be safe from the harsh realities of the heteronormative forces of the society that surrounds us. It’s us against them.

So many people are so disappointed when they flee the judgmental arms of society into the welcoming bosom of the LGBT community and are met not with open arms but with more judgment. This is the experience of many minorities with in the minority.

A few months back, O&AN featured the difficulties Nashville’s people of color face in its LGBT community. In the months since, the national news has been full of calls by members of the normative gay and lesbian communities to remove the T from LGBT.

Frustrated by society’s growing—though still woefully inadequate—acceptance of transgender people, one gay man took to the online petition forum to get others to show support for this idea. "Any attempt to rationally discuss issues that gays/lesbians/bisexuals are concerned about regarding the trans movement,” he said in his anonymous interview with The Federalist, “is met with unparalleled vitriol..." Basically, he is pissed that he can’t—without challenge, or consequences—demean trans people as he would like anymore.

As we see in this month’s feature on how bisexual people experience the LGBT community and its members, bisexual people have been met with similar arguments, and though the biases they face are different, they are real. Bisexual men and women feel as if they are erased by the lesbian and gay community—often being told explicitly that their sexual orientation “isn’t real.”

Some of you might say, “Our community is accepting—how dare you?!” But if you’ve ever heard a gay man or lesbian answer someone’s coming out with a smirking, “Bi now, gay later,” and not reacted in shock and anger, you should rethink that. Because that cute phrase is no different than saying, “There’s no such thing as homosexuality: you’re sick and we will fix you.” I challenge you to read about the experiences of some bisexuals of our community.

It is unsurprising then that both bisexuals and transgender people have countered with “maybe we should leave” arguments. And here’s where it gets tricky: given the state of the LGBT community it might just be better for them as individuals. But it’s not better for everyone, as a group.

We are stronger in numbers, and while the bisexual community is treated as a minority within a minority, the facts are otherwise. Bisexual people count as a small group right now because they don’t figure in the equation: bisexual men especially are less likely to come out. Were the LGBT community to truly open our arms and encourage all variant expressions to come out in authenticity rather than trying to coopt people into conforming to homonormativity, out bisexual people would likely outnumber lesbian and gay people by a large margin.

As we move forward, can we embrace the true diversity of our community? Or will we use our brothers and sisters for our causes, while disrespecting them and their difference? The future of all of our rights, and the existence of our loose LGBT coalition, may well depend on it.





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