Am I Biphobic?
“No!” I would blurt.
“Of course not!”
“Biphobia is ignorant!”, I’d think by default, as with any other blank-phobias talked about nowadays (arachnophobia is so 2002).
Discriminating someone for being bisexual is the same as discriminating someone for being homosexual, and we all know how that story plays out/ is playing out. (spoiler alert: it ends with homophobes realizing they’re fucking idiots).
But I’ve caught myself saying (and worse, THINKING) things that might fall into the biphobic category. And that’s not cool. I’m 80% sure I’m not biphobic, but I’m going to confront the potentially biphobic 20% side of me by surfacing and addressing these terrible thoughts here. (Didn’t I just say the other day that I’m a bad person deep inside?)
Three incidents come to mind:
1.) When I was in Portland a few months back, I met up with a bisexual, married woman (I didn’t know this before meeting up with her – we met on a Femsplain Slack group and she offered to take me to the #1 brunch spot in Portland). We hung out the entire afternoon and managed to find so much to talk about. Being open about our sexualities opened up a whole host of things to discuss, but at one point, I think I mentioned that I think it’s easier for bisexual women to end up with a man. “I hate when people say that!” she said. I had offended her.
Reflect: I don’t think she took my words as carefully as I had picked them. In our heteronormative society, there’s less friction, stress, and fewer obstacles when pursuing an opposite-sex (cis) relationship, because it’s the norm. Society is built on heternormative practices. I don’t agree that this should be the case, and I think obviously we should work away from heteronormativity, but I stand by what I said regarding ease, simply because I genuinely can’t see the counterpoint when it comes to same-sex vs opp-sex relationships. Not in 2016, when the possibility of being attacked for just being a visible same-sex couple exists and families excommunicating you is still very real and very present in the back of homosexual minds.
To be clear, I’m not valuing one relationship over another, based on sexuality, nor am I invalidating a bisexual person’s attraction to another of the same sex. I’m exclusively referring to ease and “fit” (in the Darwinian sense).
This instance of possible biphobia on my part has stuck with me since it happened (I was a little hurt that I may have offended her), but I’m certain it’s a statement on heteronormativity and not an ignorant attack on bisexuals.
2.) I was texting with someone about biphobia and how idiotic it is, when I may have ironically and unfortunately exposed myself as a biphobic lesbian (dafuq, Fab). This is what I’d said: “Am I jealous that bi girls can see the beauty in both genders? Yes. Am I weary of bi girls because of my own history with them? Yes. Am I biphobic? No.”
Reflect: Yes, I’m envious that bi and pansexual people are able to fall in love with both/all genders. I think there is beauty in being able to see the beauty in everyone, irrespective of genitalia. Where I shoot myself in the foot is saying that I’m weary of bi girls (no explanation before or after can redeem this sentence). But I don’t think this is what I meant, and my train of thought departed way too early with the wrong shipment entirely. When I wrote this, I was thinking of two girls, specifically. And I was wrong to identify them as “bi girls” as a whole as their (shitty) actions are not representative of the whole bisexual population. And I am so weary of them, as human beings.
And this actually leads to my third “episode”. Ripley’s Biphobic or Not S01E03:
3.) I had a thing with two bisexual girls last year and whenever someone mentions “bisexual”, it becomes an automatic association. The first was a friend who I quickly developed a crush on and ended up being the final straw that pushed me to come out (but only after she ended up dating someone else, because I am a doofus maximus). The second was a Tinder hook-up gone straight to hell (without going into detail, she ghosted me after wrongfully assuming I wanted a relationship smfh). I initially fought feelings of resentment towards the first girl for ending up with a dude – I told myself (correctly) that it wouldn’t have worked out between her and I anyway (but I also think a part of that resentment may actually be towards myself for not being ready to accept her advances at the time). Either way and sexuality aside, she eventually became someone I couldn’t tolerate for more than an hour at a time
and she wasn’t even my mom.
Reflect: I think I answered my own question with the first sentence: it’s a subconscious association between bisexuality and those two. “Bisexual” = They come to mind and they’re shitty people. But there’s no correlation between this identity market and this characteristic, obviously. Despite clearing my mind of them soon after each mention of bisexuals, residual feelings cling onto the thoughts that follow. I guess I just have to be more aware of this unfortunate Pavlovian response moving forward, if I don’t want to incorrectly expose myself as a biphobic lesbian anymore.
Holy shit writing this out was therapeutic.
I have some pretty great bisexual friends and know great bisexual people so even the possibility of me being biphobic was deeply irritating. I’m so glad writing this out helped me realize this
because I’m not fucking paying for therapy.
I AM 100% NOT BIPHOBIC.
Edit (17th, June 2016):
This article was critical in helping me empathize with bisexual people. I don’t think I’m not 100% biphobic as I shamefully admit to being dismissive at times and clinging desperately on to “yes, but my struggle is harder than yours”. But I am learning. And I am trying. Please forgive me.