March 30, 2016
By Matt Petras
One day I was speaking to a friend of mine who is absolutely liberal-minded, but said something alarmingly not liberal-minded. It was certainly said with the best intentions. She identifies as bisexual, but doesn’t think that she receives any prejudice or discrimination because of it. This came up during a conversation about privilege, in which she would not allow herself to say she has less privilege than a straight woman.
Prejudice against bisexuals, biphobia, is real, folks.
The statistical degree to which bisexuals are suffering is shocking. In a report authored by the Movement Advancement Project, it is shown that bisexuals really do have it rough.
“LGBT Americans face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and negative health outcomes than straight Americans, but among LGB people, bisexuals face disproportionately higher rates of these negative outcomes than lesbians and gay men,” according to the report. “This may be because bisexual people face discrimination from within the LGBT community as well as from non-LGBT people.”
The report goes on to list several issues associated with poverty, employment, violence and health in which bisexuals face adversity disproportionate to not just straight people but also gays and lesbians.
Often, the adversity faced by bisexuals is different than that of gays and lesbians. For example, bisexuals are constantly quizzed by peers to find out if they are really bisexual rather than a closeted homosexual, or, a worse accusation, a heterosexual looking for attention. There is also frustrating misunderstandings of bisexuality, like the notion that they are more sexually devious than others, since they “want to have sex with everyone” or some such nonsense.
This issue becomes further complicated when gender is thrown into the mix. Bisexual women are often fetishized as a holy grail for straight men, something bisexual men don’t have to deal with.
The truth is that privilege and prejudice are much more complicated than many understand them to be. Do not discount the hardships of bisexual people or anyone else because of preconceived notions.