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Biphobia in the Gay Community

by Maria Molloy

Despite the vast number of people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or other non-monosexual identities, the exclusion of these people from the LGBTQ community is very common. Constantly having to reaffirm your sexuality to yourself and a community that is supposed to accept you is a reality many non-monosexual people face. Often times, homosexuals feel more entitled to LGBTQ spaces and resources because they consider themselves to be the “real gays,”and dismiss bisexuality as a not serious identity. This also often leads to the assumption that their oppression is more valid because of their exclusive attraction to the same gender, ignoring the fact that they are contributing to the oppression of other sexual minorities.

This superiority towards and erasure of bisexuals by other members of the LGBTQ community is further perpetuated by the media and the representation of the LGBTQ community in the media. The general lack of bisexual characters at all speaks levels to this erasure, but even in television shows that are known for their positive representation of the LGBTQ community, negative views towards bisexuals still shine through. For example, in Orange is the New Black, a show known for its LGBTQ cast, Piper, a character who shows attraction to both men and women, avoids describing herself as bisexual, instead saying that she “likes hot people.” Similarly in Glee, Kurt, a homosexual male, says that “bisexual is a term gay guys use in high school when they want to hold hands with girls and feel normal for a change,” and is never corrected, perpetuating a view that bisexuality is not a valid identity.

Identifying as bisexual myself, I feel entitled to the same positive representation in the media and acceptance in the LGBTQ community that monosexuals have. I don’t want to see my sexuality be characterized as “just a phase” and be told that I’m “not a real gay.” I don’t want to worry that I will be excluded from the LGBTQ community if I’m in a relationship with someone of a different gender. I want to stop being chastised by homosexuals for calling myself “gay” despite the fact that gay is an umbrella term. I want to be accepted in a community I deserve to be in.

Commentary by Bernice Arricale

While everyone is entitled to respect, understanding comes with awareness, familiarity, and listening to the voices of those who feel excluded and belittled. Time and again we see groups that have been the victims of discrimination become the perpetrators of rejection of the “next” group that comes along asking for the same rights. Think about tent theory again and how it helps to explain this seemingly contradictory behavior. How about non-sameness? Why might some people who identify as gay be reluctant to allow a bisexual to share their space?