Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Gays Don't Support Bisexuals

Gay and Lesbian people often are not only not supportive of bisexuals but actually go so far as to bash bisexuals or deny our existence. A lot of people are perplexed by this. After all, shouldn't homosexuals be bisexuals' allies? shouldn't they feel our rights are just as important as their own? Shouldn't they relate to being oppressed, ridiculed, marginalized? Why are they not on our side?
I have a few thoughts about this, just thoughts, not saying these are facts, and I would love to hear other people's ideas as well.

First Thought:
If you have a lot of frank conversations with a lot of bisexuals, as I have, you will find that many bisexuals feel that everyone is fundamentally bisexual and that gay or straight people have, for one reason or another, ended up focused on one gender or the other. I read an article in Penthouse when I was fourteen which had this notion as its focus. At the time, I thought, "yeah, that sounds right," and this is actually how I came out to myself. Thus I went around believing everyone was fundamentally bisexual for a very long time. It was only upon some very frank conversations with some very open- minded gay and straight people that I realized that they were really actually fundamentally mono-sexual.

Why was it so hard for me, and many other bi people, to get this? I think that for many bisexuals the idea of not being attracted to one gender or the other is difficult to grasp. If there is a good looking, sexy, man who has a great personality and who you get along with etc. - how can you say, no, not attracted?  Same for a hot beautiful woman who has a hot beautiful well matched personality. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she's all beautiful and wonderful and sure, sexy, and we get along great, but no I'm just not attracted to women? I don't get it. But, I've come to accept that it's not for me to get; if people tell me that they cannot be aroused, not be attracted, interested, in someone like that because of their gender, then I have to take their word for it. I'm not in their head, not in their body, so who am I to say? Conversely - and now were getting to the point - I think, gay/lesbian and straight people - in other words, monosexuals - do not get how we can be attracted to both genders. It just doesn't add up to them. I'm thinking that in their minds they feel that men and women are so different physically and mentally, how can us bisexuals be attracted to both? Either you like feminine body types and personalities or you like male body types and personalities and to like both is beyond their comprehension. If they can't understand it, then in their minds, its not possible. Bisexuals will often use the chocolate and strawberry ice-cream analogy - you can like one or the other, or both, right? But for monosexuals it must seem more like a mutually exclusive situation. It must sound more like if someone said "I'd love to go live in a quiet monastery, and I'd love to play guitar in a heavy metal demonic band." They're all like, what? Make up your mind already. You can do BOTH, and you certainly can't HAVE it both ways!

So the theory here is a difference in perspectives, each side not understanding and there-fore denying the other side.

Second Thought:
It's pretty well established that some gay/les people who have struggled with coming to terms with their identity do go through a phase of deciding that maybe they can find a way to fit into established society. The hope is maybe their same-sex attractions can be ignored, because maybe they are also attracted to the opposite sex. Maybe they can just have a normal hetero life-style and subvert their same-sex desires. For a kid growing up in a homophobic family/school/community/religion the effort to grasp onto any hope of not being that which they know is not accepted and considered evil or sick, must be substantial. "Bisexual" then would be like some shining light in a formerly dark tunnel of "oh my god, why can't I stop lusting after that cute same-sex person sitting next to me in math class!" So maybe I'm bi and can try to live a nice hetero life and no-one will know about my hidden desires. But eventually they find they can not pull this off, and they come out to themselves as being gay and not bi. Then as they become more prideful in their new found love for who they are, they look back disdainfully or pitifully at who they use to be. This colors their view of everyone who claims to be bi and they just think "Oh stop fooling yourself, stop hating yourself, stop hiding yourself! As a result these well-meaning homosexuals make some true bisexuals try to fool themselves into believing they are really gay, and hate themselves for not accepting their "homosexuality" and hide from them-selves and others their true bisexuality.

Third thought:
Gay people have been trying to be accepted by the larger hetero population for so long that the ideals of "being  respected for who you are," and "being able to love who you love" have been overshadowed and largely forgotten by "Acceptance and rights! Acceptance and rights! Acceptance and rights!" I'm going to guess that others besides me have heard bisexuals - especially in the earlier days of gay rights - say that they identify publicly as gay "for political reasons." Fighting for gay rights was paramount, more important than, addressing bisexual-specific issues. The idea was that once we have gay rights and acceptance, things will be much better for bisexuals too. Of course gay rights and acceptance has addressed many issues that bisexuals also have to deal with, but what perhaps no-one saw coming was the day when many homosexuals started to identify with their former oppressors more than their fellow opressees. Perhaps many gays - finally enjoying somewhat the fruits of their labors and getting to be finally considered "normal and included" by many in the majority population - do not now want to muddy up the situations by saying, "bisexuals need to be taken seriously too and need to be acknowledged and accepted."

Homosexuals have one major thing in common with heterosexual that neither have in common with bisexuals - yep, mono-sexuality. And it's all very "let us normal, mono, types stick together and snub those silly, out-of-control bi people."

Again, I'm generalizing and over-dramatizing to make a point. I know there are still lots of gay people who are bisexuals' advocates. These thoughts are about those who are not.

Fourth thought
This is really an extension of the third. Back in the 1960s and 70s, gay people - in celebrating their newly, found pre-HIV, out-and-proud euphoria - got rather wild with displays of overt sexuality. After AIDS/HIV settled all that down considerably, many gays, especially as they got older and society got more accepting, looked back and maybe felt all that bath-house, glory-holes, stuff didn't help any in the cause of fitting in. They look at how bisexuals are stereotyped and see "oversexed" and "sex-greedy" and want to distance themselves from that. There is so much in the current gay rights movement that says over and over again to the straight community "Look, we are just like you!" Aligning with the bisexual contingency does not help in that cause, because straight America still sees us as being perverse.

I'd like to end with a shout out to all the gay men and lesbians who still do stand by our side, defend us, and recognize and respect our existence.
Please everyone, share your thoughts and ideas about this issue.

10 comments:

  1. This is very thorough. You were linked on reddit's /r/bisexual, bi the way... :)

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    1. Thank you!
      Reddit has been a great site for interest in my blog.

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  2. I used to have some very interesting and heated conversations with gays who felt that I, as a bisexual, was totally in denial about being gay. It occurred to me that some gays have that 'you're either straight or you're gay' mindset that made me think that if anyone was in denial, it was them if they couldn't wrap their heads around the obvious fact that someone could be happy working both sides of the fence, as it were.

    The detractors think "either/or" when the whole thing about being bisexual, at least in my opinion and experiences, is always thinking "both" - it's men and women and not men or women and I've always found it funny that some gay folks just can't figure that one out - it makes perfectly good sense to any bisexual, right?

    Excellent writing - glad I found it!

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  3. Thank you for this post, it really helped me understand some of the rejection I've been facing from the gay community.

    I'm pansexual, and I've encountered a lot of resistance and aggression from the gay community. I've had people tell me that I'm just a straight girl trying to "play gay", or that I "don't count" as part of the community. It's always surprising to receive this kind of opposition from a group of people that preach love and acceptance.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I'm so glad I was able to help.

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  4. This is an amazing post. Thank you so much for this.

    Even though I grew up in a homophobic community ("Homosexuality is a sin!" "You're gonna go to hell!"), I still became bi xD at first I thought I was a lesbian because I first became attracted to women. Then I became attracted to men as well. I was so confused at first because I thought it wasn't normal to be attracted to both genders. Then I discovered that there was something called "bisexual". Glad I found that term too else I'd continue to think I was nuts or something.

    As I read your post, I realized how accurate your words are. I had a gay professor this semester and when he found out I was bisexual, he had this look in his eyes that told me that he wasn't satisfied with my answer. However, I know a lot of gays and lesbians who are okay with bisexuals so I wasn't too down about it. Perhaps those who are not okay with it think that we're just "holding back our homosexuality". Well, I like chocolate, I like strawberry. Can't I like men and women as well? Besides, I think bisexuals are very lucky because their "range" is broader and they're not so "picky".

    Thank you once more for your post. Really helps a lot :)

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    1. It's great to get such wonderful feedback. Knowing that what I've written has helped someone in some way is very encouraging. I'm sorry you had that experience with that professor, but so glad you didn't let it get to you.

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  5. Harrie, I have been looking around for a way to understand my husband. I am of the opinion that it doesn't matter who you love, just that you are loved as you need to be. While straight myself, I recently discovered that my husband is bisexual. At first I was extremely Angry and Hurt, but I have always thought things thru before forming an opinion, and realized that it wasn't the fact he was with men. He was obviously being careful, but that I felt betrayed because he had been lying for seven years to me and sneaking around and cheating. So I spent a few months examining why I was so angry, then one day I brought it up. He denied it and became angry, I realized watching him that he thought I was going to leave him. After I got him to calm down, we talked and I explained how I felt about it. That gender didn't play a part for me, but the thought of a man I had been best friends for 10 years with before marriage had been living a lie made me sad. We are trying to find a way to make this work, I guess what I want to know...is am I fooling myself? I would welcome any advice or constructive criticism you might have.

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    1. Jo, I offer Life Coaching for Bisexuals professionally. This is the kind of question that I could help you find the answer to with coaching sessions. It would be irresponsible for me to give you an answer based on just this info. With Life Coaching, together we would explore what is happening with you and your husband, and what you ultimately really want in life and a relationship and if that would be achievable in your current situation. Please take a look at my website: http://harriefarrow.wordpress.com/. If you are interested, please email me directly (harrie.farrow@gmail.com). We could set up an initial free introductory interview for you to see if Life Coaching is something you want. I do think, from what you have told me, I would be able to help you sort things out.

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