Would you like a side helping of biphobia with that? The Gay UK and stigmatising bisexuality

Guest writer, Rachel Charlton-Dailey examines how The Gay UK’s Twitter poll were biphobic.

This morning started as any other Saturday morning usually does; I woke up, kissed my boyfriend and as he went to make me coffee, I checked Twitter to see if we’d entered into a nuclear war. Instead of the oncoming apocalypse, I was greeted with another shit-storm that is becoming all too familiar- hating on bisexuals. The Gay UK posted two polls aimed at gay men and lesbian women asking one question- would you date a bi person?

As you can imagine, it backfired spectacularly with bisexual users demanding to know why this was a relevant question and branding them biphobic. It’s a situation bisexuals are unfortunately very used to.

When I talk about biphobia and people refusing to accept my sexuality, it’s assumed that I’m talking about straight people. Yet, whilst I do get asked inane comments from straight folks (“you can’t be bi; you’ve got a boyfriend” obviously being my favourite), I get just as many from the gay community.

When I talk about biphobia and people refusing to accept my sexuality, it’s assumed that I’m talking about straight people.

It absolutely baffles me that in the LGBTQ+ community, with the B right there in the middle, people discriminate against bisexuals. They tell us we’re appropriating their culture and don’t belong in their spaces. They say that as a woman I’m only saying I’m bi to turn men on or that I’m just experimenting until a man puts a ring on my finger.

I openly identify as bisexual, but I’ve learnt recently that I’m mostly heteroromantic, meaning that I tend to have romantic relationships with men. So I spend a lot of time having to defend my own sexuality to people who think that to be bisexual I need to be having sex with men and women on a constant rotation. When I came out as bisexual five years ago, I couldn’t predict that I’d spend a chunk of that time in relationships with men. I also couldn’t predict that this would mean most people- on both sides- see me as straight.

I also couldn’t predict that this would mean most people- on both sides- see me as straight.

Being bisexual I have two completely different experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. When I’m single or with a woman I’m welcomed with loving arms, feel safe going out and having a laugh and not questioned. However, when I have a boyfriend it’s the opposite. I’m made to feel unwelcome and outright told that space isn’t for me; I pass as straight so I’m privileged, I don’t experience the discrimination they do. I shouldn’t be punished for being erased. An ex close friend once told me they felt betrayed and lied to because I obviously wasn’t gay- no I’m bi! When I write about LGBTQ+ issues whilst in a relationship with a man I almost feel like a fraud, and I hate that this is something I’ve internalised because of the way I’ve been treated.

Biphobia from individuals is something I’m used to, it can be put down to small mindedness or ignorance. However, when a national magazine like Gay UK tweet about bisexuals like we’re undateable and lesser than gay and lesbian folks it feeds into that way of thinking. It gives people the fuel to say that we don’t deserve love. People can say they don’t want to date us because we might cheat on them with a different gender, we’re only dating our own gender for attention and that we’re just confused about our sexuality. When an outlet with 35 thousand followers and the audacity to have the pinned tweet “Love is love” asks its followers if they’d date a bisexual person they’re giving biphobes the excuse to cast us out. They’re telling bisexuals that we are not welcome.

The world is full of enough discrimination and hate, it shouldn’t come from a community that is supposed to make us feel safe. I am still a bisexual woman no matter who I date and I refuse to be told I’m unworthy of love.

Hi, The Gay UK, TL:DR? Do better.

Follow Rachel on Twitter (@RachelCDailey)

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