Anonymous asked: someone told me recently that bisexuals have privilege over lesbians because they can pass as straight, and that discrimination against bisexuals occurs but since they're privileged/ not as oppressed as lesbians that biphobia doesn't exist. this feels so wrong to me but idk how to work it out... thoughts?
I’m gonna be lazy and copy and paste some stuff from a presentation I’ve already given:
Nearly half of all bisexual women [46%] will be raped in their lifetime, compared to 13% of lesbians and 17% of straight women. This is horrifying, and it comes from the hypersexualization of bisexuality, to the point where simply being bi is seen as an invitation for sexual advances. It also comes from “rape culture,” the social attitudes that tolerate and promote rape and then victim blame women who are seen as overly sexual.
Over 40% of bisexual people have considered suicide compared to 9% of straight people and 27% of gay people, and these rates are much higher for bisexual women than for bisexual men. This is also very alarming and speaks to the power of biphobia and also the harm of gay communities failing to extend their support to bisexual people.
28% of bisexual people are in poverty compared to 18% of straight people and 22% of gay people. While gay people earn 2-3% less than straight men, bisexuals earn 10-15% less. Bisexuals also have higher rates of hypertension, poor physical health, smoking, and risky drinking. Many if not most bisexuals don’t come out to their healthcare providers, which limits their access to complete information and resources, for example, regarding safer sex practices.
Bisexual women in a relationship with a monosexual are much more likely than a straight or lesbian woman to experience domestic violence, whether they are in a relationship with a straight man or a lesbian woman. Compared to lesbians, bisexual women have significantly lower levels of education and higher rates of poverty, are significantly less likely to have health insurance coverage and more likely to experience financial barriers to receiving healthcare.
So pretty much that’s bullshit and sorry bout it but lesbians have monosexual privilege over bisexuals. I know gay men and lesbians get really angry being told that and some bisexuals even shirk away from the word, but too bad, because there’s no other way besides “monosexism” to explain the evidence of institutional oppression of non-monosexuals. And if you have a system of oppression you have a privileged group. (psst just like white privilege or cis privilege it doesn’t make a monosexual evil, just privileged, nor does it mean monosexuals are on the same level as heterosexuals because, you know, intersectionality is a thing)
Passing privilege is not privilege, and plenty of lesbians can pass as straight too. That’s because everyone is assumed to be heterosexual. Only heterosexuals can access heterosexual privilege, because privilege is so much bigger than how a random person on the street perceives you. I can have a public relationship with a guy. So what? Does that change the fact that I’m way more likely to be raped, consider suicide, be in poverty, or be abused by a partner? No. If a closeted lesbian doesn’t have straight privilege then neither do bisexuals. Having my identity erased because people perceive me as something I’m not isn’t privilege, it’s monosexism.
When bisexual people Continually tell you something bad exists + when bisexual people Continually tell you something bad is happening to them, for goodness sakes stop yapping defensively and Just LISTEN!
so do people insisting that “bisexual” means “two” and two MUST mean “man/woman” and Could Not Possibly mean “same/different” not realize that they’re the ones reinforcing the gender binary or..?
I am so tired of hearing about how I am supposedly privileged as a bisexual, and of having my sexuality outright invalidated by both the queer and straight communities.
I knew I was bi when I was fifteen, but I didn’t come out until I was nineteen. At that point, I was in the beginning of a long term relationship with a straight man. He reacted, initially, in a bad way, but in an hour or so, he was alright again. The people around us were not. To my face, the people we knew were open and accepting. Behind my back, they asked him if he was afraid I’d leave him for a woman.
My own family, when I finally came out to them, asked me the most ridiculous questions. How could I live with a female roommate? As if I was inherently attracted to everyone and everything and unable to control my raging sexuality (she was so not my type). Was I leaving my boyfriend for a girl? They assumed it was impossible for me to be monogamous, because I’d always want something else. I’d never be satisfied. Why couldn’t I just pick one? Hadn’t I always had a hard time getting along with women anyway (internalized girl-hate in me and in the women around me)? My younger sister reacted with horror, afraid of being seen as “gay by association”. Later, when I dated a woman, my mother reacted with surprise - “I know you said you were bisexual, but I always thought you’d end up with a man.”
That’s the thing about being bisexual, is that after so many years of being treated this way, you start to internalize biphobia. I have often questioned my sexuality, because I have been in relationships with men, but not really women. There are a lot of factors in this - mostly that straight men approach me all the time, but conversely, I am shy and can’t readily tell which women around me are even queer in the first place. Finding straight men to date is a helluva lot easier than finding queer women. But even so, I find myself justifying my sexuality to myself, and to others, when I’ve never had a real relationship with a woman - sexually or otherwise. As if that lack of experience negates my feelings.
Sometimes I FEEL like I’m not really bi, like I’m just being a “special snowflake”; but those feelings of uncertainty have nothing to do with my sexuality, and everything to do with my supposed failure to meet the expectations that society has of a bisexual woman.
My sexuality is fetishized by most of the people with whom I engage in a relationship. Its true validity is negated by nearly everyone who expects me to just end up with a hetero man (and if I do, then I was never bisexual at all!). It is erased by straight and queer people alike. I’m “too straight”, never queer enough.
And that’s bisexual privilege - always having to defend my sexuality, even to other queers. Never being queer enough. If I’m with a hetero man then I supposedly experience “straight passing privilege”, which really just means further erasure of my identity.
It’s all garbage, and anyone who buys into this crap should stop it immediately.
Bisexual women seem to be portrayed as particularly villainous in the media, always running around cheating on their partners and killing people and whatnot, and it’s so fucking weird.
Like I don’t know about the rest of you bi ladies but when I have free time I don’t have affairs and commit murder, I just sit on my ass and eat doritos
Can I just say one thing that really irritates me?
When people misdefine bisexual as attraction to two genders or something and then say, “oh, some people argue that bisexual means attraction to more than one gender but I don’t know enough about that so I’m not going to say it.”
I’ve seen this several times now, and just — no. No.
Look it up. Look at how bisexual organizations define bisexuality. Here, I’ll do it for you.
Biresource.net: The BRC uses bisexual as an umbrella term for people who recognize and honor their potential for sexual and emotional attraction to more than one gender (pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, queer, and all other free-identifiers). We celebrate and affirm the diversity of identity and expression regardless of labels.
American Institute of Bisexuality: A bisexual has the capacity for romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one gender.
New York Area Bisexual Network:Bisexuals = people who can ♥ people of same gender as themselves + can ♥ people of different genders/gender presentations from themselves
The Bisexual Index: Here at the Bisexual Index, we believe that a bisexual is someone who is attracted to more than one gender.
Click the links to see the sources. This was just one google search. I could have found more.
There, now you’re educated. You’ve got the information right from the source. You can stop repeating the other definitions. They are misleading and actually hurtful to those of us who are struggling to be understood. The way we define our identity is not an “argument,” not something with two sides to be debated, and calling it such is giving validity to the people who misrepresent us.