Time and time again I’ve heard bisexuality be invalidated as a sexual orientation, and those who identify as such told me they were “just experimenting” or, more often, “confused.” And yes, being bisexual is confusing! In a relatively heteronormative society, discovering that you don’t exactly conform to societal expectations can cause anyone to question who they are and the way they feel. Discovering one’s sexuality is a confusing time and can be particularly challenging for those who believe they may be bisexual because many people don’t even believe that bisexuality exists.
“Either you’re gay or straight, just choose.”
“It’s just a phase.”
These are both common phrases used to describe those who identify as bisexual. Bisexual erasure is a very real problem happening commonly in society today. On television, in books, and throughout history, bisexuality has been falsified and bisexual people have been labeled wrongly or simply ignored for convenience. Growing up without any bisexual role models or examples on any platform, I don’t think I even viewed bisexuality as a sexual orientation.
I now identify as bisexual. This past year has been challenging for me as I worked through my conflicting feelings and tried to figure out who I really am and understand how I’ve felt my whole life. One time, a close friend of mine who didn’t know I was bisexual negated the existence of the orientation to my face, saying: “They just need to choose a side.” With my newfound awareness of the problem of bisexual erasure, I notice it everywhere. I see people on television called gay or straight based upon the relationships they are currently in. I see common celebrities mislabeled: Kurt Cobain, James Dean, Frida Kahlo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alexander the Great, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Judy Garland, Georgia O’Keeffe, Angelina Jolie, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Madonna, Elton John, Virginia Woolf, Mick Jagger, and Freddie Mercury are all examples of bisexual people commonly labeled as hetero or homosexual.
I hope, in the future, to see more representation and acceptance of bisexuality in society and mainstream media. I have confidence that redefy can help with this, bringing education and awareness of stereotypes and discrimination to all people. Teaching people from a young age about different races, cultures, sexualities, and more is so important to make the world a happier and more accepting place.