Welcome to Say No to Biphobia

Hello everyone!

This blog is dedicated to investigating biphobia in all of its insidious forms. I will be interviewing young bisexuals aged 20-24 who live in Sydney on their coming out experiences, their relationships with other people, and how the media plays a role in their lives.

After the interviews there will be a follow up post that will further analyse the importance of some of the comments to a wider audience. Some stereotypes or anxieties about bisexuality go way further back than the bisexuals might even realise. This is because of the monosexist society that we live in, where being straight is ideal, being gay is slowly more acceptable, but being bisexual defies all these boundaries.

I welcome and encourage all comments and contributions to this page and aim to make it as inclusive and supportive as possible.

Please follow my Facebook and Twitter pages for more content on these issues!

Thanks guys,

SW

 

Follow up on Rachael

Rachael’s interview brought up a lot of concerning issues. We have had a few other people that I have interviewed bring up how lesbian women can be some of the most discriminatory people towards bisexual women. There is a fear of bisexual women that they might cheat on lesbian women with men, or simply not enjoy lesbian sex as much as heterosexual sex. This kind of belief is totally unacceptable. If we begin to categorise and prioritise different kinds of sexual orientation, we are perpetuating homophobia which is detrimental to everyone.

 

While it is clear that society is begrudgingly and slowly moving towards a more accepting point of view towards homosexuality, I would argue it is simultaneously becoming more unaccepting of bisexuality. It is as if people are saying, “well we gave you the right to be gay can you just take that and not be greedy?” This ties in well with my first post ever, how monosexism is the root of biphobia. Monosexism is the discrimination against anyone who is attracted to more than one sex, it is the societal value that fears sexual fluidity as a threat to the family unit that capitalism thrives off.

 

Continuing on from this, Rachael’s comments on how stereotypes about bisexuals have actively affected her safety and made her fear for her life at certain points is a huge wake up call to anyone who reads this and isn’t 100% convinced biphobia is real. I have provided a platform to let bisexuals explain how biphobia affects their lives and unfortunately in Rachael’s case it has meant actual assault. The LGBT community needs to do better. It needs to advocate for bisexual specific services and encourage bisexual pride, inviting bisexuals into the community and not ostracizing them.

 

If you want to do more, Mardi Gras is coming up and I personally would love to see a bisexual pride float included. Last year the float was almost pushed through, but cancelled last minute. I will post details on how you can support this in the future.

 

-SW

The B Word: Rachael

  1. Can you tell me about a time when you started to come to terms with your sexuality being something other than heterosexual?

    Media had a lot to do with this actually, when I was about 16 years old I watched one of the YouTube compilation videos of all of Olivia Wilde’s OC scenes and that was it for me. That was the first bisexual representation I had ever seen in life or in media, and seeing it made me realise that was me.

  2. Do you think your sexual orientation has affected your relationships with other people? If so, how?

    Of course, with everyone. With any queer person you have that struggle when you make a new friend or you start a new job you have to figure out how you want to approach your sexuality, and whether you want to be out or not or if it’s even safe for you to do so. It really all depends on the person how strained or affected my relationship has been because of my sexuality. Relationships with sexual partners have been really strained because some people think my sexuality gives them license to be unnecessarily jealous or scared that I’ll cheat. My relationship with the gay community has been pretty complicated as I still meet people who think I don’t belong there.

  3. Do you think there are any other factors that contribute to how you understand your own sexuality? Race, gender, family, culture, etc.

I was pretty religious when I was younger, not so much any more, but when I was started to realise my sexuality I had an internal panic stage where I couldn’t reconcile my religious background and my sexuality. The attitudes other people my age had towards bisexuality was around that whole idea of young, attractive, sexually promiscuous university age girls making out with other girls for male attention. You would hear about girls making out with each other to make their boyfriends happy at parties, which was the only time I heard about bisexuality in my life. But I knew that was something I would never do, so I was confused around the idea that I was just going through a phase like all these other girls.

  1. How do you feel the stereotypes surrounding bisexuals have affected your life? E.g. bisexual men are gay, bisexual girls are straight, bisexuals are greedy, bisexuals can’t choose, bisexuals have straight privilege, bisexuality isn’t ‘real.’

    Oh man I have so much to say about all of these but I’m going to try to be concise. I get queer people telling me that it’s not real or it’s a phase, and that I’m somehow disrespecting them in some way? I get a lot a queer people telling me I shouldn’t be using queer space or queer services, that I don’t belong at Mardi Gras. I was told I shouldn’t go to the marriage equality rally with my Bi flag because marriage equality doesn’t affect me. I have had girls flat out refusing to date me just because I’m bisexual. I’ve had times where I’ll be making out with a girl at a bar or a club and we will be about to leave to go home together and they pull me aside to check what my sexuality is, and I’m always honest, and girls will just drop me on the spot. They can react saying it’s not their preference, which is still gross, or they go into a rant about how I am a liar and how they don’t waste time on straight people. With straight men it’s a whole other nightmare. It is completely and entirely unsafe to be a bisexual woman around straight men. Most of my safety issues as a queer person come from straight men, I’ve had guys just assume consent or assume they can do what they want with me just because I’m bisexual, and when I resist they say stuff like oh I thought you bi girls were up for anything, or if you’re not a dyke prove it and suck my dick, like this assumption that because I’m a young bisexual woman who prior to my last relationship was more sexually promiscuous, that it gave them the go ahead to do whatever they wanted with me. I got into some really dangerous and violent situations where I had to literally fight for my safety. That to this day is my biggest issue with stereotypes because it affects my safety, my bisexuality isn’t for you but the stereotypes let straight men believe that it is.

  2. Do you think these stereotypes have originated from poor media and pop culture representation? Can you be specific?

    I don’t think any attitude originates from media, I think it’s a reflection of what already exists. But media has certainly perpetuated these representations. For anyone who just meets me and learns I’m bisexual I know that they would be thinking the whole two girls for male attention image but in reality as I’ve explained my experience has been totally different. Media has a lot of responsibility when portraying any marginalised or misunderstood group.

  3. Can you comment on how the media and pop culture have defined bisexuality compared to how you might define it yourself?

    I feel like it just hasn’t been defined, it is a common issue with a lot of bisexuals where characters in TV and movies who has both male and female partners won’t discuss bisexuality, it’s like the audience knows and the characters know but no one says the word bisexual. It ends up being this weird behaviour based identification which is annoying because it perpetuates the idea that you can’t be bisexual unless you date all genders and defines sexuality as related to behaviour which makes it more guesswork than actual identity. Like I’ve been with lesbians who have been with more men than me, so sexuality is not defined by behaviour. It would be nice if media would just start by defining it at all to begin with.

  4. What do you want to do about biphobia or what do you want to say to people who are biphobic?

    I feel like the only thing I can do is be outspoken about it and be honest about my experiences, and not put pressure on myself to be the perfect bisexual representation for the whole community. Also, we need people to understand that bisexual people are a massive part of the LGBT community and needs representation and services catered to bisexual people. Like we don’t even have a float at Mardi Gras which personally upset me a lot. It hurts so much more to face discrimination from gay people as opposed to straight people. There is no queer movement that bisexual people haven’t been involved in, and we get no support or credibility.

-SW

 

Follow up on Millie

What is interesting about Millie’s interview is that she actually focuses a lot on the positives media can do for coming to terms with your sexual orientation. I remember interviewing Jen and Annaliese in the early days of this campaign and both of them referring to how difficult the hypersexualisation of queer women in the media has been for them to reconcile with their own identities. Additionally, Nate mentioned how the complete lack of male bisexuality representation in media has compounded into him thinking his identity wasn’t valid until he experienced a same-sex relationship. But this is one of the great things about Millie! She is truly such a positive and lovely person that she would of course pick out the positives in her experience of coming out in relation to media!

 

So let’s digest it further. Can Tumblr queer communities help with coming out and the overall bisexual experience? In my simple googling of ‘Tumblr and bisexuality’ I found an enormous amount of information regarding the identity politics of sexual orientations and the ways you can support fellow LGBT people. This was such a great thing for me to learn, especially since I had never really interacted with Tumblr before. However, with so much information there is bound to be misinformation and confusing ‘facts’. This means that while the social bonds and community support are so important, it is important to remember that these are just people and no one is a professional on that platform.

Here is a wonderful little bisexual joke I found as well, just for some context.

 

 

Continuing on, I loved the fact Millie mentioned how being a fan of a music subculture helped her to form friendships that were supportive of her sexuality. There is a beautiful acceptance in minorities that are already prejudiced against, especially in the emo/metal music scene. This kind of understanding is something that everyone can learn from.

 

Until next time,

 

-SW

The B Word: Millie

  1. Can you tell me about a time when you started to come to terms with your sexuality being something other than heterosexual?

    In high school, I was really close friends with this girl and one day she stopped being friends with me and I was properly heartbroken and realised it wasn’t like a ‘normal’ friendship. So that’s how I realised I was queer in some way, but also being in the Tumblr community I saw a lot of Pride stuff and learned the terminology so I became aware of bisexuality and identified with it.

  2. Do you think your sexual orientation has affected your relationships with other people? If so, how?

    I am more drawn to being friends with queer people because I recognised that they would have similar experiences to me. It’s influenced my relationship with my mum because she was initially not happy with me dating girls, but she’s come around. My family is generally traditionally Catholic as well, so I think my mum hides my sexuality from them as well which has affected how I relate to them.

  3. Do you think the media and pop culture has affected how you view bisexuality? Can you elaborate in relation to yourself?

    Tumblr has really helped me come out as it put me in contact with other like-minded people around the world and you can learn the discourse on gender and sexuality which was great. Also being apart of an alternative subculture music scene really helped me because it was already such a minority in the music scene they were really supportive of other minorities because everyone has already experienced some level of discrimination.

  4. Do you think there are any other factors that contribute to how you understand your own sexuality? Race, gender, family, culture, etc.

    I am half Sri Lankan, and homosexuality is illegal in Sri Lanka. So with my mum’s family, they aren’t not accepting of my sexuality but they are just a bit ignorant.

  5. How do you feel the stereotypes surrounding bisexuals have affected your life? E.g. bisexual men are gay, bisexual girls are straight, bisexuals are greedy, bisexuals can’t choose, bisexuals have straight privilege, bisexuality isn’t ‘real.’

    The myth of straight privilege really affects me as I am in a heterosexual relationship right now and a lot of people I know now don’t think of me as bisexual they think of me as straight, whereas when I was dating a girl people thought of me as gay. I’m really aware of no longer being afraid of holding hands, or kissing, or any public forms of affection, which is nice not having to be anxious, but that also sucks that I have to be aware of that. My mum has said stuff like it’s just a phase and that I’m straight, and then on the other side of that I get a lot of gay girls being telling me I’m actually gay.

  6. Do you think these stereotypes have originated from poor media and pop culture representation? Can you be specific?

    Yes, definitely. Like when you see someone kiss someone of the same gender in media, everyone automatically assumes they are gay, even if they have dated other genders before. Or the confusion over Kristen Stewart was totally ridiculous, how her girlfriend was called her ‘gal pal’.

  7. Can you comment on how the media and pop culture have defined bisexuality compared to how you might define it yourself?

    Media defines is as sexual attraction to men and women, but I think that’s not very inclusive to non-binary people, so I would define it as different attractions to different genders. But for pansexuals, it’s like experiencing attractions to different genders all the same. I’m pretty happy being bisexual generally though.

  8. What do you want to do about biphobia or what do you want to say to people who are biphobic?

    I just want to explain how their behaviour is biphobic and why that’s wrong or damaging to other people, but if they don’t listen or don’t care about what I have to say then basically fuck them I don’t have time for that.

 

-SW

Follow up on Natalie

What a week!

I personally loved interviewing Natalie so much. It was so refreshing to experience such a lovely person who is so in tune with her sexuality and so proud of it.

The thing that stood out the most for me was her comments on how even the most offensive stereotypes on bisexuality, e.g. it’s just a phase, can actually be turned around into something valid by itself. I agree with her saying that even if you only come out as bisexual for a brief time in your life, that doesn’t mean that these feelings and you identity is less valid because you have changed your mind. That would be such an unfair way to live your life!

 

Natalie is also an extremely accepting person of all genders and sexuality. She identifies as bisexual, pansexual, or queer. This is important to account for how there are many different sexualities that are not monosexualities (meaning only attracted to one gender). When she defines bisexuality for herself as being attracted to your same gender and others, it is her way of accounting for these differences.

 

Another great part of the interview is when she says not all bisexuals are the same. Which is SUCH an important message that we forget! This can be applied to everyone! Not all lesbians are the same! Not all parents are the same! Not all minorities are the same! It is so easy to generalise and to box people into what you think is ‘normal’ but the truth is that people are crazy complex and that the world is a place that simply does not function under stereotypes.

 

If you like these interviews and want the good word to keep on coming, follow, like or comment on any of my platforms! See the home page for more info

-SW

The B Word: Natalie

1. Can you tell me about a time when you started to come to terms with your sexuality being something other than heterosexual?

I think I knew subconsciously before I was okay with it myself, like I would tell my friends that I was bi when I was drunk and then deny it in the morning. One moment that stands out for me was this time I had like two drinks and I was like okay I’m coming out and I ran around and told all my friends and they were like yeah I know you’ve told me at least three other times. The next morning I was sober enough to be like oh it’s actually a thing now laughs.

2. Do you think your sexual orientation has affected your relationships with other people? If so, how?

Most of my relationships have been affected by it, it’s a huge thing. My longest relationship was four years and with a guy and he never saw it as valid. When we together I got into the headspace of wanting everyone to know about it and wanting it to become a part of my identity. And he couldn’t understand why and was scared that people would judge him. Also, I am generally more hesitant to be friends with people that I find a bit more homophobic. Even literally two days ago this girl I work with was really casually chatting about homophobic stuff and it made me so uncomfortable, and we have a totally different relationship now. I feel like because I have talked about dating guys in front of her, she assumed I was straight and felt safe to say homophobic things, which is a bisexual specific experience I would think.

 

3. Do you think there are any other factors that contribute to how you understand your own sexuality? Race, gender, family, culture, etc.

Everyone lives in their own culture, so of course. The fact that I went to university and like, first semester I did gender studies. That made me begin to accept that I was bisexual and that it was important to recognise why I had felt bad about it before. If I hadn’t had that very liberal and inclusive environment it would have been a different experience.

5. How do you feel the stereotypes surrounding bisexuals have affected your life? E.g. bisexual men are gay, bisexual girls are straight, bisexuals are greedy, bisexuals can’t choose, bisexuals have straight privilege, bisexuality isn’t ‘real.’

It made it harder to come out because I felt a bit detached from the gay community and I was tempted to try and hide in straightness which isn’t fun. Now being with gay women I feel a little scared to tell them that I am bisexual, like it’s easier to hide in gayness with them.

6. Do you think these stereotypes have originated from poor media and pop culture representation? Can you be specific?

Yeah, but also the media represents what our culture is actually like. The media likes things to be simple, where you have gay people or you have straight people. Because it’s easier to explain rather than the whole spectrum of sexualities that exist in actuality.

7. Can you comment on how the media and pop culture have defined bisexuality compared to how you might define it yourself?

The media hasn’t really talked about it; the only representation is very Katy Perry ‘I Kissed a Girl’ vibe. I get the impression that being attracted to women is less valid than being attracted to men when you are bisexual, so like being in a relationship with a man and kissing a girl isn’t ‘cheating.’ Small media like Tumblr communities are great though. For me bisexuality is the attraction to your own gender and other genders, not like a binary gender thing.

8. What do you want to do about biphobia or what do you want to say to people who are biphobic?

I would say people are highly complex, and it shouldn’t have to be an easy answer about how someone feels in order for you to feel okay. Also one bisexual person is completely different to another bisexual person. Lastly, I would say fluidity in sexuality doesn’t remove validity, like you can have a bisexual phase and then change later but that doesn’t remove the validity of your identity during that time.

-SW

Follow Up on Nate

Hey guys!

Welcome back, sorry for the delay in posting this has been a CRAZY week for me personally. Get excited for a lot of content coming up next couple days.

There are a lot of things that are interesting about Nate’s interview. He mentions that he doesn’t tell all his straight male friends about his sexuality as he fears it will change the dynamic of their friendship. I found this incredibly sad to listen to as opening up and sharing parts of your identity is a great way to forge long-lasting friendships. It does seem like Nate has come to terms with this in his own way, and it is great to hear he has begun to tell his new friends about his sexuality fairly early on.

It was great to hear about how his Thai background affected his perceptions of his sexuality as well. For me, coming from a very White and western upbringing, it was a reminder that all cultures have their own perceptions of LGBT and that it is important to recognise that. Effeminate men in Thai communities and cities are a lot more common compared to Western cities, which has affected how acceptable homosexuality is. This is an interesting example of how toxic masculinity affects bisexual and gay men coming out and being accepted for their sexuality.

Until next time!

-SW