Unique challenges are faced by bisexual people - having their identity flattened into either gay or straight, being perceived as unfaithful, non-commital, or hypersexualised against their will. We asked Queer Leaders from our community to share their experiences and where they would like to see progress for bisexual people and how they are seen in wider society.
Whilst there has been progress made in recently which improves the perception and acceptance of cis, white gay men in heteronormative society (which is undoubtedly positive, and absolutely needed), there are some parts of the LGBTQ+ which have not yet been afforded the same privilege. One part of this community is that which is made up of bi people, who tend to be caught in-between the judgements of both straight and queer communities.
What would you like to change about others' perceptions of bi/pansexual people in wider society?
Anick Soni (he/him)
I hope that when bi/pan people are represented in stories (film/TV/books) that we exist as bi/pan people. More often than not, we tend to see characters who are closeted or with an mixed gender relationship, struggle with their sexuality and it is linked to being lesbian or gay. It's almost as if even in a fictional world, bisexuality is too 'confusing'. Bi/pan people need to be able to exist in all their various forms. We're not secretly lesbian/gay, we deserve to be openly bi/pan. - @AnickWrites
Christopher Kenna (he/him)
In the Media - I often find the way I am portrayed by media is very much sexualised or negatively portrayed as being 'greedy' or 'undecided'
Personally - it's been my experience that especially when dating Gay Men - that it is 'not believed' or strangely 'not liked' that you are bi-sexual and often dismissed as the female partnerships were a phase. I have personally stopped arguing the point and just concede.
Professionally - Whenever I have explained my sexuality with peers it is often met with more questions than I wish to answer - I would therefore say I often remain in the “Bisexual Closet” and have been straight or gay professionally, dependant on who I'm dating at the time of discussion.
Jolinda Johnson (they/she)
When it comes to my own bisexuality, the thing I'd love for people to understand is that even when I'm in a straight passing relationship, I'm still queer. That's always something for me to know, not anything I should ever have to prove. Sometimes you can't help who you fall in love with, but your relationship status doesn't determine your sexual orientation. I've been attracted to both men and women for as long as I can remember, and lately I find that expanding as I continue to explore gender identity. At the end of the day, it comes down to who I feel an emotional and energetic pull towards, and of course how receptive they are to me. Bisexual just happens to be the label that fits me best.
Vaneet Mehta (he/him)
I'd like to change the idea that bisexual people have it easier, that we don't have issues, or that the issues we're dealing with are the same as gay or lesbian people. Biphobia and bi-erasure exist throughout society and even in the LGBTQIA+ community. This isn't the same as homophobia and it has a detrimental effect on our journey of coming out and self-acceptance which impacts our mental well-being. Bi people are more likely to have anxiety, more likely to self-harm and more likely to have suicidal ideation than gay people. We have to talk about that, talk about why and tackle that! - @nintendomad888
Tatum Swithenbank (they/she)
I’d like people to know that fluid sexuality is a part of nature and we’ve always existed. Being queer is about living beyond binaries yet even within our communities we as bi people are still questioned. I count my blessings every day that I’m bisexual. It’s joyful, creative and an epic adventure. - @tatumkarmen
Emily Horton (she/her)
In the media, bisexual people are often portrayed as promiscuous, overtly sexual and dangerous. Historically, this demonisation can be linked to the AIDS crisis. Bisexual people found themselves excluded not only from straight communities but also queer communities as well. This exclusion, bi-negativity and hyper-sexualisation have led to bisexual people, women in particular, being disproportionately impacted by sexual violence. These negative attitudes and harmful stereotypes have real-world and violent consequences. This needs to change.