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Biphobia/erasure (and feeling alone)

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by bambibat, Jun 27, 2022.

?

(if bi) have you experienced bi erasure or ignorance?

  1. yes

    8 vote(s)
    88.9%
  2. no

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  1. bambibat

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    I’m tired of bisexual erasure and people who have the idea that bisexuality is some “lesser” sexuality. Like it’s either a stepping-stone to being gay or a backwards-step to being straight. One that especially bugs me is the myth that bisexual people never experience the same hardships that gay people go through. I’ve seen quite a few instances of bisexuals being brushed aside in gay conversations.

    I’m bisexual but the majority of my experiences overlap with those of lesbians because my attraction to men is almost nonexistent. So when I see people claim/act like bisexuals “have it easier”, it infuriates and upsets me. I know for a fact I couldn’t be happy in a straight relationship. I tried to force myself to like men more but it would never work. I used to be terrified of sex and marriage until I realised I could do those things with a woman.

    To this day I also have awful intrusive thoughts that tell me I’m gross and should be ashamed for desiring women, that I’ll never be happy in future because of this, and that the only way for me to not end up alone would be to settle with a man (which I wouldn’t do).

    But time and time again I see all these kind of things written about as specific “lesbian struggles”. It kind of makes me feel un-acknowledged I suppose.

    I believed I was lesbian for about seven years and struggled to shed that label when I learned that it wasn’t the one for me. I had felt so much connection to it and found comfort within lesbian online spaces.

    Now knowing I’m on the bisexual spectrum, it sometimes feels like I’m alone in my own community because I still have zero interest in men. I can’t relate to 90% of bi people I come across irl because they either lean straight or are in a hetero relationship. The very few bisexuals I knew who also leaned towards the same sex, ended up re-labelling themselves as gay. Not that those things are bad. It just all makes me feel like I don’t quite fit anywhere.

    I was wondering if anyone on here had similar experiences? I’ve yet to come across many bisexual people who at first thought they were gay (usually I only see it being the other way around).

    Part of me believes that there are a lot of bisexual people out there going under a different label, either because they have internalised biphobia and don’t want to acknowledge it, or because they’ve been misinformed. Wider society seems a lot more willing to throw people into the gay or straight boxes, forgetting that another one exists.
     
  2. Chip

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    A lot of bisexual people have problems because, essentially, straight and gay folks don't trust them. That's probably in large part due to the large portion of gay or lesbian folks who, when they first come out, use the 'bisexual' label as a bridge identity because they're still in the bargaining stage and aren't quite ready to let go of their straight identity. You add those things together, and you get some real difficulties for the folks that are genuinely bisexual. So yes, I've talked to a lot of bisexual people that run into that.

    On the other hand, I've also met some bisexual people who have had no problems at all.

    I don't think there's any particular rhyme or reason as to why some have problematic experiences and others do not, but it is certainly irritating and unfair that folks get prejudged.

    On a separate note, one of my soapboxes is the use of the overly dramatic and emotional word 'erasure.' According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'erasure' means "the act of removing or destroying all signs of something." Nobody who is disrespecting bisexuality is 'removing or destroying all signs of bisexuality.' Hell, the ignorant right wing crowd would do that in a heartbeat if they could... but they can't, and neither can anyone else. So, from my perspective, when we use ridiculously over-the-top, emotion-laden words, we devalue the actual argument we're making, and some folks will read the headline and just dismiss it as some crazy left-wing kook trying to stir up drama. So I would respectfully suggest you consider dropping that word, even though there are indeed plenty of left-wing crazies who overdramatize everything and do use that language... which is, in my opinion, to the detriment of the actual argument. 'Nuff said.
     
    #2 Chip, Jun 27, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
  3. Prisma

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    I've had similar experiences. Ive had people tell me "I'm full on lesbian" as if that is more valid. I've had it implied that my struggle is less because I can have sex and children with my husband, although I've been leaning towards women more lately. I refuse to have someone pigeonhole me or define me. What's the difference between acting like bisexual is a stepping stone, than acting like the only valid choice is straight. To me, sexuality is a continuum and I get to decide what I call myself. Which would actually be omnisexual instead of bisexual. And for that matter attraction is not simply deduced to a sexual act. Let's stop limiting people's personal choices!
     
  4. bambibat

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    I have also met a fair share of bisexuals who say they haven’t run into any issues or much prejudice, which is interesting (but good for them!). It probably is largely down to the individual and the crowds they are around.

    And I understand your point about the word “erasure”. I suppose I never thought of it that way. I started using the term recently because I only somewhat-recently even came to accept being bisexual and it’s just one of those that’s pretty prevalent in bisexual spaces especially. For me at least, the word isn’t emotionally fuelled but rather I felt it does somewhat describe the way certain ignorance comes across; from what I have experienced and witnessed, there are many people who simply act like bisexuality isn’t a thing (intentionally or not). But I suppose if going by actual definition then “erasure” isn’t that accurate. I also agree there is a lot of leftist language out there that is pretty over-the-top and at best does nothing to support arguments as opposed to just making a show.
     
  5. BiGemini87

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    I've definitely experienced some of what you're talking about: biphobia from both sides (though mostly when it's from straight folk it's homophobia; only on occasion has it been biphobia from that corner--I get that more from other LGBT folk) and in some cases, the denial/almost forgetfulness that that is, in fact, what I am.

    In my case, my being in a heterosexual relationship has been a double-edged sword: on one hand, I have better camouflage than my same-sex peers, but on the other, I've had that used to invalidate my experiences (or you know, they've tried) just because I "chose" a man (never mind the years of turmoil before I could even acknowledge who/what I am). And like you, even when discussing things with other bisexuals in hetero relationships, I feel a disconnect. I think this can be chalked up to the fact that sharing an orientation is not in and of itself grounds to form a friendship; just because we're attracted to both, doesn't mean we have any other common ground--and when you consider those attractions are to varying degrees (such as your attraction to men being nearly non-existent, whereas for another it might be an even split) it only makes sense that we can't all relate to one another.

    But I know, even when we look at things through that lens, it can still be isolating--especially when we're still coming to terms with how to feel about our orientations. So to make a long story short--even if you can't 100% connect with another bisexual, just know you're not alone in feeling that way. And I'm sure this is true for anyone of any orientation, as well.
     
  6. CanadaGamerGirl

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    When I first came out, I came out as lesbian. I had never had a real crush on a guy before, and the people i wanted to be with were all female. I had the label of being lesbian or gay for about 6 years or so.

    I started to question my sexuality when I developed a really big crush on one of my guy friends and I wanted to pursue a relationship with him. It didn't end up working out, but it made me realize that I was bisexual. As it stands right now, I am open to dating anybody. However, I do find that when I am dating guys I lose that status. A lot of people will just assume that I am straight, or they'll question my orientation. I also feel that inside of myself at times where I almost feel like I am betraying myself by being with a guy because I identified as being gay for so long, if that makes sense? There are still some people that I have on social media, for example, who still see me as lesbian, as I haven't 'come out' to them as bi. I think, for myself at least, that having this label can sometimes complicate things because I tend to view my sexuality as something that is constantly changing and more fluid, so having a label for myself can sometimes feel quite uncomfortable.

    So I guess it sounds like we have a few similar experiences, but we also differ in a lot of things as well.
     
  7. Spatula

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    I'm 35. I've been out for longer than many members here have been alive. Hot blooded Kinsey 3 still... and I've never claimed to be anything else. I find that I have to remind everyone in my life that I'm still bi every few years.

    I can say from personal experience that guilt takes on a sinister new dimension if you CAN choose. So I would say that these people are misinformed. I can also say that being rejected by a crush for your sexuality is something these people don't have to deal with. Being told by society and by people around you that your sexuality isn't real can also do quite a number on your mental health... internalized doubt is a big problem bisexuals deal with. There are some perks we have that they don't. There are challenges we face that are unique to us and that deserve respect, camaraderie, and sympathy... just as they have their challenges.

    Most bi men round to straight because of the stigma. Some who have been out for a long time round gay to improve their odds getting a serious LTR with a man if that's what they're more interested in at the time. I can't speak to womens' experience but I imagine there are similarities.
     
  8. Isbjorn

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    I have noticed this, especially when I was first coming out. I visited my friend who was coming out at the same time and we clicked. We went to an open air market, because there was a group there that was openly gay and kind of had an area to hang out and chat. A gay social group, if you will. There was a natural leader of the group there who knew my friend and I were new to the scene. He actually had the audacity to list out parameters for being a true gay, like if you weren't in his cookie cutter idea of gay, you weren't really gay. I was offended, as was my friend, so I challenged his idea and mentioned that it was fine and dandy, but I wasn't gay, I was bi. He was very condescending and said I just hadn't figured out I was gay yet. I looked at my friend and told him loud enough for all to hear it was time to leave before this Bear pinched the head off of the Queen for being an obnoxious bitch. He agreed, and we left. So yeah, I have had firsthand experience with it. It also gave me my first unfortunate taste of how unaccepting some in our community can be. Which was a huge shocker, since I thought we would all at least be accepting of each other, with the battles we have already been through for just that, acceptance. It was also a wake up call, tha humans are humans regardless of orientation or gender, and that many are just plain old assholes.
     
  9. Tightrope

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    There are a lot of good posts here. I see myself and my situation in quite a few of them. For now, I will express my thanks to those who have posted here because it helps everyone understand what bisexual folks go through. I might quote and add more later. I'll just say that many are silent about it because they're not in a place or a time where they seek commitment, but they're still comfortable with their sexuality within themselves because they don't see sexuality as a big deal where many people are too, too concerned with it. Among my relatives, sexuality was not a big deal and I suppose my extended family probably suspected there were some LGB members in it and they were treated just like everyone else in the family. The discrimination can come from friends, family, health care providers, and even your place of work, and that's all because they're extra suspicious if you're not in a relationship and have never had children. Even if you are doing your job and doing it well.
     
  10. Prisma

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    Good for you!