Life Sexuality Busting Bisexuality Myths By Noemi Guzman Defining the term ‘Bisexual’. The term bisexual has come to mean slightly different things in popular culture. It is a broad and inclusive term that describes the physical attraction to more than one gender. It’s important to note that bisexuality is varied, as all sexual identities are. A bi person may be attracted to different sexes or genders in different ways or be attracted to more than one sex or gender. In other words, there are many ways to be bisexual. Why is it important to bust myths that surround it? Myths in general, whether they are surrounding sexuality or gender can be dangerous. They can be misleading and provide false narratives to those who may be struggling with their own sexuality or gender, as well as contributing to stigma – a common problem bi people face. Busting myths that surround bisexuality can allow for others to gain a better understanding without misinformation being spread. Myth #1: People who consider themselves to be bisexual are actually heterosexual, but they are simply experimenting or trying to be trendy. Reality: This is a common form of prejudice that bi people face. People are free to experiment with their sexuality and dismissing this as attempting to be “cool” is a way of invalidating their experience. Even if some people who experiment come to identify as heterosexual, this does not invalidate the people who have come to accept their bisexual identity. Myth #2: Bisexuals are shallow, narcissistic, untrustworthy and immoral. Reality: Mistrust from the queer and cis-het community has created a false stereotype of bi people who are obsessed with sex at all costs, as if being attracted to multiple genders means they lack the normal feelings, attachments, and moral compass of other queer or straight people. It’s a form of demonisation that arises from a lack of understanding, and the way in which bi people’s existence calls binary notions of sexual attraction into question. It’s wholly untrue. Bi people are just as caring, trustworthy, and moral as the rest of us. Myth #3: Politically speaking, bi people betray the cause of lesbian/gay liberation. They pass as heterosexual to avoid trouble and maintain heterosexual privilege. Reality: Some bi people may hide their sexual identity, as many of us have done in the past, in order to avoid stigma and prejudice, but this is just as true for gay, lesbian, and trans people. It’s important to remember that having to “pass” as heterosexual is just as damaging for bi folk as it is for anyone else who has to hide a part of themselves in order to feel safe. This myth also entirely ignores the huge population of out, proud, politically active bi people who have consistently fought for LGBTQ+ rights, and is another case of bi people being othered by the rest of the queer community. Myth #4: Bi people are equally attracted to men and women Reality: Some bisexuals do experience a '50/50 attraction' to different gender identities but many do not have preferences that fit into a neatly split percentage or a set percentage in who they choose. Preferences may change over time and a percentage split is a really poor way of examining something as complex as sexual attraction. Myth #5: Only women are bisexual Reality: Many assume that bisexual men don’t exist in large partly due to the lack of visibility. Truthfully, bisexual men are just simply less likely to openly identify as there are lower levels of societal acceptance. As a result of the lack of social acceptance of bisexual men, and endemic misogyny, bisexual women often bear the brunt of overt biphobia and discrimination. Myth #6: Bi people tend towards non-monogamy, and are more likely to cheat. Reality: This perception that bi people tend to be more promiscuous contributes to the fear that a bisexual partner might suddenly run away to be with someone of a different gender. This is one of the oldest and most damaging myths about bi people that many queer people may remember hear growing up. Promiscuity and sexuality do not correlate, and calling all bi folk cheaters is simply another way of invalidating their experience and discriminatorily filtering potential partners based on sexual orientation. Being an ally means spending time in getting to know the different terminologies. Stopping the spread of misinformation is a step forward in supporting the community. What Next? Additional Reading: Check out this website to learn more about bisexuality! Support: You can contact the LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 or www.switchboard.lgbt or find details of local switchboards and organisations that offer face-to-face counselling at www.turingnetwork.org.uk.