I've been having run-ins with biphobia lately in a place where I expect it but still wish I could feel safe, the kink community. So, it got me thinking about some of the ways in which bias against bisexuals is displayed. I write this with the understanding that there are more fluid terms that exist currently such as pansexual, hetero-flexible, and genderqueer. While I've used each of these terms for myself in the past, I tend to use bisexual more often because it has a firm grip in our society and people think they know what it means.
So, here are my top 4 symptoms of biphobia that I come across quite commonly.
1. Having different standards for men and women.
Female bisexuality tends to be fetishized in our society and therefore marginally more accepted than male bisexuality. It is common for people to make assumptions about gender and how it relates to choices and monogamy.
2. Thinking that bisexuality is a phase or a process.
There are some bisexuals that will stop seeing either women or men during their lives for a variety of reasons. They may enter to a lifelong, committed, and monogamous relationship or they may decide that one type of attraction no longer exists. But, that doesn't mean that they are not bisexual or that they have passed through it. Unless someone tells you that they are now straight or gay (or any other label they may choose), honor the decision they have made about how to describe themselves.
3. Believing that bisexuals are "easy" or promiscuous.
The old joke is that bisexuals are greedy and will be with anyone. In reality they obviously have standards and limitations just like any gay or straight person that is looking for a partner or partners. That said, why not also question the fundamental assumptions of this bias? Consider what you think the problem with promiscuity is and ask yourself if there is any real grounding for it. Even if bisexuals (or any category of people) were more promiscuous, why is that threatening to you?
4. Assuming that people who are in a same-sex relationship are gay or in an opposite-sex relationship are straight.
Bisexuals often feel invisible because, if they are monogamous, they cannot easily signal their sexual identity to others based on their relationships. This is similar to the predicament that many non-monogamous people experience when they appear to be in a single, committed relationship. The reality is that the display of one relationship choice is not enough to define the identity of a person.
What are some other symptoms of biphobia that you may have encountered or perhaps even had yourself?