I identify as a bisexual woman.
Bisexuality is as complex as gender itself. It’s unique to the individual. The Oxford dictionary defines bisexuality as the sexual attraction to both men and women yet this definition fails to mention the romantic, emotional and spiritual attraction. Bisexuality tends to confuse, titillate or enrage. Most people seem puzzled as to how it works and this causes them to make uneducated assumptions.
“So you bat for both teams do ya? That’s pretty greedy but double the fun, I suppose!”
This is just one example of the type of social commentary a bisexual person may experience in Australia. Bisexuals are misunderstood, demonised, discriminated against and silenced. Many bisexuals feel like misfits in both the straight and gay world. Homosexuals often assume that bisexuals are really gay but in denial. This is often solidified by the fact that many homosexuals use bisexuality as a stepping stone whilst finding their own orientation. Straights often believe that bisexuality is a case of sexual confusion.
Controversial biologist and sexologist Alfred Kinsey developed the heterosexual-homosexual rating scale, (often coined ‘The Kinsey Scale’), in order to convey that people don’t necessarily fit exclusively into homosexual or heterosexual categories.
People demand clear-cut answers on bisexuality but bisexuality is anything but clear-cut. For instance, I am #1 on the Kinsey scale above. I’m predominantly attracted to males but would be open to entering a serious relationship with a woman. Confusing isn’t it? Welcome to the murky waters of what it means to be bisexual.
The saddest part of bisexuality is most bisexuals are closeted. Bisexuals don’t want partners to see them as incapable of monogamy or in a state of sexual confusion – so they basically live a lie.
Bisexuality is not represented on TV, (or rarely). When it is, they call it groundbreaking, see here and here. We see homosexuals on Australian television but where are the bisexual characters? Are they not represented because many perceive bisexuality as a form of deviancy rather than a valid sexual identity?
According to numerous studies, self-identified bisexuals make up the largest population in the LGBTI community in the US. No such studies have been undertaken in Australia but my guess is the result would be similar.
There seems to be a lack of voices and positive role models in the bisexual community – stars like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie have all come out as being bisexual. I can’t think of any Australian stars or celebs off the top of my head.
Bisexuals remain the silent and invisible minority and bi-erasure is alive and well around the world. I have no doubt that a large percentage of readers haven’t even heard of the term biphobia.
Which proves the point of this blog!