Bisexuals - its seemingly okay for belittling blogs questioning our identity (or even if we exist) to not only be granted a voice, but to remain largely unchallenged. This fact has been uncomfortably highlighted by Daniel Warner's recent exercise in hackery, creatively entitled 'Bisexuality: Is It Fun, Non Committal or Just Plain Greedy?'.
We hope Daniel realises how short this falls from the mark for groundbreaking, or even 'edgy' writing. Being bisexuals ourselves, we can assure you that being called 'greedy' happens to us with a tedious frequency - imagine, if you will, the number of times a day you might have to read an irritating phrase like 'float my boat' or 'cut the mustard'. Lazy writing aside, we thought we could take this opportunity to explain (for those of you who are 'confused' or can't make up your minds) what bisexuality is and is not.
First, let's address several recurring themes in bad articles about bisexuality. One staple favourite seems to be accusations of indecision. Writers seem to love the idea that we just can't decide who we're attracted to and so "sit on the fence". Of course this fails to acknowledge that nobody of any sexual orientation 'chooses' who they are attracted to.
The most bisexuals are guilty of then, is the guile to answer honestly when asked who we desire. If this leads to the predictable cries of 'greedy!', well, let's be honest here. In this increasingly commodified world, sex and companionship are some of the only fun things it is possible to get for free. Even if some of us are getting as much as we can (which not all of us are, because - hello - sexual orientation has nothing to do with sexual appetite!) then what on earth is wrong with that? As one of our fiercest bisexual friends likes to retort, "It's not that I'm greedy, you're just bloody starving!"
Inevitably though, if we're not greedy then we're trying to be "cool" - this, forgetting the fact that bisexuality ceased to be "cool" in roughly 2008, the same year Katy Perry's ear-numbing 'I Kissed a Girl' reached number one, catapulting bisexuality into the desert of mainstream culture to get picked at by the buzzards. In subsequent years, we've been left to defend a sexual identity that people are more willing to associate with a supposed ability to draw attention to pop-stars with dying careers, rather than as a legitimate orientation.
These misconceptions are just a the tip of the iceberg for your average bisexual - it's sometimes hard to keep track of all the different ridiculous stereotypes and misconceptions about our identity (though we admit to never having heard the one about being avid newspaper recyclers, thanks Daniel!). With a depressing frequency people feel the need to take to the internet for no other reason than to attack or diminish our identity (or, shock horror, compare us to Lib Dems!), and perhaps because of the alienation bisexual people face, these attacks often go relatively unchallenged.
Despite the LGBT community's struggle against homophobia and transphobia, it seems that experiencing this oppression is no guarantee against dishing out another in the form of biphobia. With portrayals of bisexual people in the mainstream and 'gay' media inoffensive at best, 'bi-chic' culture, 'gay' clubs operating "majority gay and lesbian" door policies, and a report this year showing that bi people suffer some of the worst mental health issues (including higher rates of depression, self-harm and suicide), coming out as bi can be a daunting prospect. If you have ever accused someone of 'not looking queer enough', of 'letting the side down' or proudly boasted of your 'gold star' status, then you too are part of this.
Because the simple fact is that bisexual is who we are, not what we do. Our identity doesn't make us any more "greedy" or "non-committal" than anyone else, and proliferating these simplistic stereotypes is not only lazy writing - it's part of a dangerously pernicious form of biphobia, which feeds alienation and narrow perceptions of bisexual people. And besides, whose place is it to say what sort of behaviour is 'acceptable' between two (or more) consenting adults?
As the blogger 'Radical Bi' writes: "Bisexuality is stereotyped as subversive precisely because it threatens the current social structure ...of society's fear of sexuality. Of anything not heterosexual-cisgender-coupled-monogamous-vanilla-missionary-position-intercourse-in-bed. Bisexuality is hypersexualized under the presumption that sex is bad, that wanting too much of it is bad, that wanting any of it is bad, that wanting people of more than one gender is bad. That wanting more than one person is bad. Bisexuality means sexual revolution."
If you still happen to be "confused", however, just keep this in mind: Bisexuality isn't a "choice" more than any other sexuality is. Writing uninformed and bigoted nonsense about other people's sexual orientations, however, is.
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