“Biphobic? That’s dumb as hell, lol. I don’t have anything against gay people; I just don’t fell like guys can be bisexual.” This reaction — which I got one day on Twitter when I, as @BisexualBatman, called someone out on a biphobic remark — illustrates typical ignorance about biphobia. It denies that there is biphobia, while laughing at the idea of it, and then implies that homophobia is what is really meant.
Though bisexuals are subjected to homophobia based on the same-sex aspects of our identity and/or behavior, what many monosexual people don’t understand, is that there is also much bigotry directed at bisexuals specifically because we are bisexual.
When a bisexual girl walks down the street holding hands with a same sex partner and strangers in a passing car yell, “Lesbos, burn in hell,” she is being subjected to homophobia. When this same girl’s mother says, “I’m okay that you are dating another girl, but I won’t tolerate you saying you’re bisexual; that’s just slutty,” the girl is being subjected to biphobia.
When a lesbian says un-categorically, “Never trust a bisexual; they always cheat,” this is biphobia. When a gay man tells a friend who comes out to him as bisexual, “Ha, ha, my boyfriend went through a phase like that too; come talk to me when you’re ready to admit you’re really gay,” that’s biphobia.
As tolerance for homosexuality becomes more widespread, actual biphobia becomes more easily noticeable. This is one of the reasons why the fight against biphobia is starting to gain momentum – it’s no longer something that’s mostly hidden in/mixed up with homophobia.
When a high school teacher, while giving a lesson on gay rights, tells her students that bisexuals are confused, indiscriminate, or just lying for attention, that is biphobia.
When bisexuals go to “LGBT” events and are spat on, yelled at, laughed at, or even simply called an ally, by gays and lesbians, this is biphobia.
When bisexual women on dating sites are constantly contacted by men crudely describing the threesome they are sure these women are just waiting to have with them, because the stereotype spread by the porn industry is that bisexuals want to have sex with everyone all the time, this is biphobia.
Stark statistics, such as the following, also provide evidence that biphobia “is a thing.”
Sixty percent of bisexual people report hearing anti-bisexual jokes and comments on the job, so not surprisingly, forty-nine percent report that they are not out to any of their coworkers. Compare this to the fact that only twenty-four percent of lesbian and gay people are totally closeted at work.
When bisexual survivors of violent crime interact with police, they are three times more likely to experience police violence than people who are not bisexual.
Thirty percent of bisexual women live in poverty, compared to twenty-one percent of heterosexual women, and twenty-three percent of lesbians.
Forty-six percent of bisexual women have experienced rape compared to seventeen percent of straight women, and thirteen percent of lesbians.
Sixty-one percent of bisexual woman have experience, stalking, physical violence, or rape, from an intimate partner, compared to thirty-five percent of straight women, and forty-three percent of lesbians.
While lesbian and gay adults are two times more likely than straights to attempt suicide, bisexuals are four times more likely. Further, while gay men are about four times more likely than straight men to seriously consider suicide in their lifetime, bisexual men are nearly six and a half times more likely. Especially disturbing, is the fact that while thoughts of suicide tend to lessen as people move from adolescence into adulthood, recent studies show this isn't the case for bisexuals.
Want more examples of biphobia? Once on Twitter, when someone responded to me saying, “There’s no such thing as biphobia,” one of their friends responded, “Look at her Twitter feed! Yeah, biphobia is a thing!” Sadly, you can find new examples there daily.
When I tell someone it’s ignorant to say that bisexual men don’t exist, and they tweet back, “Go kill yourself,” yes, biphobia is a thing, and yes, it’s way past time to do something about it.
This first appeared, in a slightly different version, as my The BiAngle column in The Gayly.