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The Problem With Bisexual Invisibility

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Bisexual

“Help make bi visible,” a bisexual writer scrawled on a comic I received at a convention in 2013. I thought it was a neat sentiment, but the gravity of the phrase didn’t really resonate until recently, when I really began to understand the impact that bisexual invisibility can have.

Recently Kristen Stewart (of Twilight fame) was photographed with another woman. For the paparazzi, it created a certain amount of confusion: after all, she had previously dated Robert Pattinson. The story was all over the media, with some fans claiming that it was “obvious” that she was really a lesbian. The thought that Stewart might be bi or queer or pan or omni or fluid never seemed to cross anyone’s minds. Instead, it all went back to the sexuality binary: you’re either straight or you’re gay, nothing in between.

The first time I encountered bisexuality in media, it was never referred to by name. It was the late nineties, and I was watching the movie Chasing Amy (you can see my Throwback Thursday post here). The entire movie is about relationship fluidity; Alyssa’s character is bisexual, but the word itself is consciously absent. I remember thinking it was a pretty good movie on the topic, but I didn’t put much thought into it at the time.

And maybe I should have.

By Emily Rush – Full Story at Dot 429

The Year in Bisexual Invisibility

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Bisexual

This year has not been a great one for bisexual visibility. Time and time again, both straight and gay people have ignored or dismissed bisexuals. In news stories, in interviews with celebrities, and in movies and TV shows, bisexuals were hard to find.

Even though several studies indicate that bisexuals make up the largest portion of the LGBT population, they have some of the worst representation. Here are some of the most glaring examples of bi invisibility in 2014.

The New York Times: Early this year, The New York Times questioned whether bisexuals exist. In “The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists,” the Times questioned the legitimacy of bisexuality due to the “lack of” science-based evidence.

Authored By Eliel Cruz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Bisexual Identities Often Erased in Rush to Marriage Equality

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Robyn Ochs and Peg PrebleRobyn Ochs and her partner, Peg Preble, tied the knot after the ban on same-sex marriage was overturned in Massachusetts, the first U.S. state with marriage equality. Ochs and Preble were happily together for seven years before racing to the altar in a mad dash to beat any further legal challenges by then-Gov. Mitt Romney or others opposed to marriage equality. They wed May 17, 2004 making national news and history as one of the first same-sex couples to marry.

Ochs and Preble’s photo was used nationally and they were labeled a lesbian couple repeatedly, even by The Washington Post, to which they gave an exclusive interview headlined, “A Carefully Considered Rush to the Altar: Lesbian Pair Wed After 7 Years Together.” The pair quickly became poster children for “gay marriage.” The problem? Ochs not only identifies as bisexual but is a renowned bisexual activist.

Ochs taught classes at Tufts University on bisexual identity and sexual politics, something that was mentioned in the original Post article, and has dedicated her career to educating straight and LGBT people alike on the bisexual community. She is known for speaking nationally on bi erasure, biphobia, and monosexism (the idea that heterosexuality or homosexuality is superior to non-monosexual orientations). Yet the very thing Ochs works to eradicate happened to her.

“I contacted the journalist after the otherwise beautiful story came out and she apologized, saying she didn’t have anything to do with writing the headline,” Ochs said.

What happened to Ochs is more than just a useful anecdote for her talks all over the country about bisexual erasure. It’s an example of how bisexuals are left out of marriage even when fighting for it on the front lines.

Authored By Eliel Cruz – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Image via Robyn Ochs and Peg Preble

Bisexuals Need to Come Out

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Bisexual…But part of it really does point to a long-standing challenge when it comes to bisexual visibility: Your sexuality may exist inside your head, but most people are going to judge your orientation by who you’re partnered with. And so monogamous married people tend to “read” as gay or straight, but some may actually be bisexual. “When you’re bisexual or pansexual, but you’re in a long-term relationship, your bi/pansexuality can become invisible,” Greta Christina, the author of Coming Out Atheist and expert on all things coming out sexuality-related or not, explained to me. “People often assume that you’re gay or straight, based on who you’re involved with now–and it kind of eradicates your history and your identity.”

This is a problem because, as the gay rights movement has shown, visibility helps–a lot. There are many myths that proliferate about bisexuals, including the myth that they are oversexed and can’t be monogamous, a myth that King was pushing with this line of questioning whether he intended to or not. These myths exist in no small part because there aren’t a lot of visible bisexuals to act as a counterpoint. Many of the uglier myths about gay people have faded in recent years as more gay people have come out and forced people who believed in ugly myths to rethink their opinions. Having just one out gay friend or family member, for instance, doubles the chance a person supports the right to same-sex marriage.

Christina, who writes about these issues frequently at her website, says that the importance of visibility is a major concern. “I sometimes find myself working my bisexuality into my conversations and my writing, even in awkward and irrelevant ways, just to make it visible. ‘As a bisexual, I prefer roasted vegetables to steamed ones.’ That’s silly–but it’s better than entire swaths of my self and my life being eradicated.”

Authored By Amanda Marcotte – See the Full Story at the Daily Beast

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Bisexual People Exist

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Rachel - BisexualRachel is bisexual, and for the first time, she was confronted with an issue that has plagued people like her for a long time: biphobia.

“I hear that’s that’s a big problem in the queer community, not accepting bisexuals, but that was the first time I’ve experienced it.

“And it didn’t hurt my feelings … but I think it’s really weird that some people don’t think that bisexuals exist, because we do.”

Authored By Nathan Manske – See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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