I recently have done several posts about my coming out as Pansexual. However I’m seeing something that has been growing quite a bit in the back of my mind. I’ve been watching accounts that talk about the Bisexual and Pansexual experience. One of the things that I have taken note of is something that is called Bi-Phobia or Bi-erasure. It’s something that is both frightening and really interesting. Even within the LGBTQP community, the way that Bisexual or Pansexual people are viewed as either not able to make a choice, or that they’re just sexually greedy.
It’s something that has come up over and over again, with accounts like Bisexual_FTW and the related account Pansexual_FTW on twitter and tumblr being advocates for orientations that aren’t generally accepted in the LGBTQP community. I have to wonder why a community that has dealt with so much adversity that it would allow such behavior. Being Bisexual or even Pansexual isn’t any different from being Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Or even Transgender.
Who we are attracted to isn’t always under an individual’s control. If that was the case then considering all the aggravation that members of the LGBTQP have suffered then why would anyone want to cause more harm to those that are attracted to more than one gender identity. Although I would have to say that the majority of the community is open and accepting. There is still a large percentage of people that think that Bisexual or Pansexual individuals are just people that either want it all or just haven’t settled on being straight, or gay.
However as someone that is both Pansexual and Polyamorous I fall into the category that some would think that I either don’t want to choose or I just want it all. Honestly it’s taken me a long time to accept my sexual orientation. However I’ve been moving towards being Polyamorous since shortly after my marriage ended in 2006. I’ve always been attracted to more than one gender, even though I have only just in the last year been able to admit it to myself and accept the pansexual part of myself. I’ve been curious about Transgender individuals since I saw the first images of a Male to Female Transgender individual.
So why is being Bisexual or even Pansexual looked down on by so many in the LGBTQP Community. It’s a question that needs to be addressed by our community. I think that we need to start addressing these issues and become an even stronger collective by being more accepting and even more tolerant then we are now. We should be encouraging acceptance even more then we are now as a community. We should make it even more clear that putting down or devaluing someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity isn’t acceptable behavior in our community. As that message continues to get out, I think we will begin to have a stronger community of support and acceptance.
As I was thinking about this issue I had to ask myself why would individuals want to discount someone else’s sexual orientation? Is it because of moral objections or is it because of simply not being able to understand another person’s point of view. Could it also be that maybe it’s because of the way a person was raised or could it be because of an individual’s dislike of a particular orientation? These are questions that we will have to answer as we continue to move forward with marriage equality and more mainstream acceptance of sexual orientations that are outside of the perceived norm.
So how do we move forward from this point to create a community that is truly accepting and tolerant of everyone that is a member of our growing community. We should always be working towards being more accepting and being the example that other people look to as the standard bearer of what the is right way to treat those who are different from us. We have the religious right, and other non-tolerant groups, attacking us every day.
As someone who is Pansexual, and Polyamorous, it’s disconcerting that someone would devalue my sexuality just because they either aren’t able to understand, or don’t want to understand my sexual expression. I think that this will be a continuous issue until we can have a society that puts less value on who we engage with sexually and more value on being good member of the community at large.
Color me bi and greedy. Yum! Yum! Yum! The only polite responses I have to the neurotics who make stupid claims about bi people is that their theories and stereotypes do not match my reality and the reality of my lovers.
A more serious question than why some people disparage bi/pan people is what are the real consequences to us? The laws against being who we are are rapidly being repealed. Poly, bi, leather, etc have gone from being mental illnesses and anathema to being trendy and daring. So we’re only a decade or so away from being mundane. If there is a declining number of people who badmouth bi, etc, how does that harm us? Maybe it’s time to stop being irritated and laugh them off as quaint relationship Luddites.
Positive exposure to other lifestyles and sexual identities seems to be the best solution, just as it has been for gay people. I’ve known several lesbians who had what they felt were predominantly negative experiences with bi-girls, ones where they were left feeling used afterwards. Used for sex, used for the other person’s exploration/adventure. Unfortunately for my friends, those handful of experiences colored their overall opinion of bi-girls. Hopefully, as time goes by, people who have had experiences like that will also have more positive experiences that can help them get a richer, more diverse opinion of people who are bi.
The letter and comments leave unsaid what we all know but will not acknowledge: bi-men that are part of a heterosexual couple are discriminated against. It’s practically verboten to list yourself as bi-curious if you are a male on the popular websites. You will be disdained by those who recognize you even though there is a bell curve of bisexuality among men in the same way there is among women. True, the curve leans substantially left, meaning most men’s bi-side barely registers in today’s culture; but that does not diminish the need for acceptance. The result is a medley of men who are unable to enjoy their bisexual side in the same way women are encouraged to enjoy their’s.
It gets worse. Many women are turned on by seeing their guy with another guy. They are denied the pleasure of sharing a foursome, too.
I don’t have a solution. Most of us are neither confident or brave enough to own that side of ourselves.