This last Saturday was Bisexual Visibility Day. That label speaks volumes. It’s not bi rights or even bi equality, it is that bisexual people are still struggling to be recognised let alone accepted! I posted the following to Facebook on the day: Today is Bisexual Visibility Day. Homophobia and racism are bad but the level of intolerance suffered by the bi community is also relentless and even suffers hypocritical abuse from other groups who should be way more understanding.
It is wrong to call them gay or lesbian.
Wrong to deny they exist.
Wrong to say it’s a phase.
Wrong to say they are confused.
Wrong to say they are sitting on the fence.
Wrong to say they are just greedy.
Wrong to say they cannot choose.
Wrong to use non inclusive language.
Wrong to assume they will be unfaithful.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong!
One thing I did not list but is possibly the worst of all is that bisexual men never were actually vectors for the spread of AIDS to the straight world as they were thought to be. Apart from this horrific accusation, for the most part, bisexual men are treated like climate change. They are real but frequently denied. I refer specifically to bisexual men because for whatever unfathomable reason, the myth has long persisted that only women can be bisexual.
During the 60’s and 70’s gays and lesbians started to gain recognition but slowly bisexual people began to realise that they needed to form their own groups if they were ever to achieve cultural acceptance. Then however during the 80’s the AIDS crisis proved to be a disaster for bisexual men in particular. Many bi men were forced back into the closet as a result of the most pernicious and persistent assumption that they were the bridge for HIV transmission from the gay world to the straight one. This view persists to some extent into the present day. Can you imagine how hard it is to convince people that you really exist when the start from a place where they see you as less than human?
The facts tend to support the disadvantages of being a bisexual man or woman. It is clear that bi people face discrimination from within the LGBT community. Bi people are far less likely to be out of the closet than their gay peers. Sadly when compared to the gay community in general, bi people register more mental health problems than most. Bisexual women are routinely stereotyped as sluts of some kind with their sexuality reduced to the status of a spectator sport.
Bi men are seriously misunderstood and society seems incapable of choosing from more that two options: you must be either straight or gay. If any man has the slightest experience of a sexual nature with another man, he is labelled as gay and thus tainted as a man.
I do believe that it will be down to the youngest generation to bring about change since they are far more tolerant of sexual fluidity than any of their elders. They will have to overrule the attitudes displayed in the media where bisexuality is often used as an attribute of the villain.
I listed above many of the misconceptions aimed at bisexual men. Many such men would love to see these misconceptions eradicated but I get the feeling that what they desire the most is to simply to have bisexuality accepted as real and anything but fake.