Friday, October 14, 2016

Fiend or Falterer? – The Demonization of the Bisexual

previously published here

There are various types of creatures in the whole LGBTHKQIA+ community, some visible, some not so visible; some accepted and some demonized. One of the most common creatures is the bisexual. They form a major and important part of the community and play a key role in the fight for visibility and rights. After all, the very name of the common larger movement and community LGBT – acknowledges that bisexual people are a major part of the community (after all the B is a strong 1/4th of the alphabet soup).
Coming out is difficult under any circumstances. But given the high amount of bipohobia, suspicion, derision, and demonization faced by the bisexual people, even within the LGBT community, not to mention the larger society, coming out becomes even more daring.
There are some popular misconceptions about the bisexual. Bisexuals are very commonly classified as either confused and naïve creatures who don’t know what they “really want” and are just wandering off the path a bit on their way to true gayness; or as lecherous people who  cannot be trusted to make a commitment;  or as people without any kind of ethics, morals and choices; or as sellouts, who are just keeping their options open and always have one foot in the “straight” world so that when the going gets tough, they can easily go back to the nice and cozy heteronormative life.
Things get much worse if the person happens to be in a relationship with someone of the “opposite sex”. Even if you do not believe in the gender binary and your partner does not identify themselves as either male or female, the moment you are in a straight passing relationship, it is as if all the suspicions of everyone within the community have been confirmed. And if, by any chance, you are in a monogamous relationship and not actively reinforcing your “gay” credentials by either having relationships or flings with people of the “same sex”, it means that you have converted or more specifically, you have turned straight.
If you are single and ready to mingle, and thanks to modern technology, are looking for possibilities online, then as a female bodied person identifying herself as a bisexual on any dating portal, you have to brace yourself for some standard responses. First and foremost you will have to explain what kind of an animal a bisexual is – again and again until you want to scream, smash your head against the wall and finally ask for forgiveness for committing this grave sin!
Due to some unexplained reasons, having this particular identity means that you have the moral responsibility to educate every tom, dick, harry, ram, shyam, jodu and modhu about not just sexual orientation but also about gender identity. Believe me, you will spend a good amount of time explaining that … bisexuals are not “hermaphrodites”, and they do not have “half-half” genitalia (whatever the hell that means).
As soon as you cross that bridge, you can almost always expect to be asked for a threesome; especially if the responder is a male and this probability increases if you are in a relationship with a female bodied person. For some strange reason, your stated bisexual identity is an open invitation to any and every straight man to invite themselves into the bedroom with you and your girlfriend.
For both male and female bisexuals, some things remain the same. No one trusts you, especially the straight world.  If being “gay” is just a phase, being bi is not even considered a thing. You are just doing it to be mean, to make people uncomfortable, and to torture your parents. After all, if you do like the “right” gender then why are you pretending to like the “wrong” one too? Why not just stick to the correct and approved path? Even in the LGBT world, being a ‘bisexual’ is not fine. It is still a phase. It’s a pit stop on the road to coming out as “really” gay. Either that or you are still confused, or worse, a sellout.
The kind of vitriol a bisexual seems to attract from both sides of the divide is scary, disheartening and depressing; but it is something most bisexual people have had to learn to deal with on a daily basis. And it is often the negativity and the demonization from within which is harder to accept. When we realize that we are “different”, most of us accept the fact, that we will have no support from the traditional support structures such as Family, friends, relatives, state, police, judiciary, health workers, and mental health community.
That’s why our communities are so important and that is why visibility is so powerful. We have to create alternative sources of support for ourselves and for others. The thing which hurts us the most is when those alternative support structures turn around and join hands with the “Straight World” in oppressing us. Those wounds leave deeper scars. It feels like losing one’s family all over again!