Ten Truly Terrible Pieces of Advice Offered To and About Bisexuals

Today Dear Prudence/Emily Yoffe of internet website Slate wrote some real unhelpful advice to a beleaguered bisexual lady out there. GLAAD agrees that advising bisexuals does not seem to be her strong point. Lucky for Prudence and unlucky for us, she is in pretty good company in that regard. Sometimes it’s telling bisexuals to definitely never come out ever; sometimes it’s telling them they HAVE to come out. Sometimes it’s telling them there’s no need to get all bogged down in actually calling yourself bisexual specifically because ew, labels, advice which seems offered much more frequently when the label in question is “bisexual.” Also, man, they definitely love talking about what team everyone is on! I dunno about them but I haven’t played softball since high school, so. These people sure know how to help a queer out! Here’s the lowlights of some of the worst advice given both to and about bisexuals via the internet far and wide.

1. “To announce that you are bisexual and/or put it on the Internet would be a mistake, in my opinion, because it might seem like you were advertising that you are “available.”” (Dear Abby)

mila kunis no

2. “If your current partner is a man, they’ll assume you’re straight. In that case, to clarify things with a friendly colleague you could mention a past love, working a simple “I’m bi” or a humorous “I play for both teams” into the conversation (although a friend of mine notes that someone might want to add, “I only play for one team at a time.”)” (Civil Behavior)

disgusted no

3. “Finally, whether you call yourself bi, fluid, queer or something else, don’t get bogged down in the verbiage; choose instead to embrace your life as it is.” (Civil Behavior)

judge judy eye roll

b word

4. “Get yourself a refillable Xanax prescription, or get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend.” (The Stranger)

better britney

5. “Bisexual activists like to complain that they’re the most oppressed because (1) it’s a contest, and (2) it’s a good excuse. …I’m sorry, bisexual activists, but you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia — and if I’m the enemy, you’re in real trouble — berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it.” (The Stranger)


6. “If your boyfriend hasn’t yet decided what sex to go for, let alone an individual to direct his passion towards, he shouldn’t be attempting a long-term union.” (Dear Mariella)

honey boo boo no

7.Let’s say you discovered a late breaking interest in plushophilia, or you now realized you were turned on by being a dominatrix. This would not be news you’d be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering… I agree with your husband that making a public announcement about something so private will not be illuminating but discomfiting.” (Dear Prudence)

rihanna window

8. “At your young age, this shouldn’t be your main concern. You shouldn’t be telling anybody at school. Nobody needs to know about your private life right now.” (Dear Lizzie)


9.If there ever was a rational argument for polyamory and plural marriage it is bisexuality. If we accept bisexuality as an innocent state of being, as we accept other kinds of sexual orientation, and if we wish for every individual to fulfill his and her natural gift of sexuality, then what other conclusion can be reached? If you are bisexual, you cannot be fulfilled by just one person, right? Because one person cannot be two genders, right? To have a fulfilling sex life, you will need a second intimate partner of your own gender. Now here is a personal plea: With your choice, if you struggle to express your full being within your marriage, you can not only give yourself the best chance of being happy within that marriage but actually help change the institution of marriage itself.” (Since You Asked)


10.If being lesbian means one wants the right to be partners with women, and being gay means one wants the right to be partners with men, what does being bisexual mean if not that one wants the right to be partners with both sexes? Does that mean just one at a time?… There may be a politically strategic reason that in this period of public attitude adjustment bisexual people do not want to raise the logical implications of their status. The specter of polyamory and plural marriage makes the public a little crazy. …It seems only logical that a bisexual person is capable of having equal and simultaneously deep, committed relationships with more than one person. …There is a spectrum of bisexuality in which some people are only mildly so. But should only the mildly bisexual be protected under the law? …For instance, we all agree that no people should be slaves. We don’t say only black people from Africa should not be slaves. No people should be slaves. Similarly, no people should be forced to live lives that contradict their deepest nature. Not just certain people. No people.” (Since You Asked)

skeptical oprah

taystee no


amy poehler

megan fox

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. This is so timely and relevant to my interests as I read that Dear Prudence post earlier today and promptly threw up. It’s basically like “hey you’re bisexual so that means you just wanna fuck everyone, so don’t tell your family about it or they’ll question your marriage.” Fuck that shit. I knew Autostraddle would be on my side.

  2. It’s just plain sexist to think that a same-sex relationship is “a different kind of thing” from an opposite sex one and so it “makes more sense” to have one of each, or that one or the other has got to be what you “really want.” Because men and women are sooooo different.

    I’m really glad y’all are calling people out on their bullshit.

  3. Thank you so so so much! I read that Dear Prudence today just as I was confronting these issues, and it really threw me. I feel so much better!

  4. Oh Lord, a friend of mine linked me to this awful Dear Prudence article this morning, and I about threw my computer across the room. Which I shouldn’t do, because I make my living with it and cannot afford a new one.

    Anyway, I sent an email to the columnist about how wrong wrong wrong she was (in really nice, intelligent terms–I swear!) and just got a “Thanks for your note” response.


    If you scroll down on the original article, too, she responds to someone calling her out for the initial terrible advice by suggesting that bisexuality is equivalent to promiscuity/being non-monogamous, so she really did hit all of the Bisexual Stereotype Bingo Card Points. :\

  5. Dan Savage did make one good point… we (by “we” I mean all queer people who don’t suck) really should “take over the LGBT movement” and kick his ass out of it. Dude should not be one of the most listened to voices of a movement when he’s very clearly not in solidarity with anyone but white gay cis men.

    • I second the motion. Everytime someone says they love Dan Savage, I feel irresistible urge to throw things and incite a violent trans/bi mob.

    • Moreover he justifies it saying that as a teenager he thought he was bisexual but he was not so he doesn’t believe they exist. What kind of argumentation is that? Seriously? So in a period of my life I thought I was a lesbian now I actually think I’m bisexual should I say lesbians don’t exist at all? Like his experience is the only one he uses to define the world. Seriously I’m appalled that someone could event think to use that as an excuse.

    • Just like any individual on this planet I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do like him and would have zero desire to kick him out.

      But I don’t understand the queer thing, so maybe I don’t count anyway.

      • Oddly I also don’t hate him? I realize this is not an opinion I’m supposed to have — and I do ID as queer. I disagree with him an awful lot but I wouldn’t kick him out either

        • I don’t think the solution is to kick him out, but I think the whole “If you don’t like me then kick me out” is undeniably childish. If someone makes you notice that your opinion might be offensive you should reflect and ask people who actually feel offended what was wroong and how can you make it better. The problem is not being offensive. Ok it’s part of the problem, still nobody’s perfect and we have all some kind of privilege that makes us unaware of the impact our words might have. The problem is never questioning yourself and perpetrating those insults. I think the solution would be to have more and more people that actually criticizes what he says(when he says something problematic), not to have him “censored”.

        • I’m another in the camp of disagrees-with-him-a-lot-but-doesn’t-hate-him (also an angry bisexual). Glad it is ok to say that here.

          Also, thanks Autostraddle for this article.

          Also, does anyone else find Dan Savage to be pretty different in the attitudes he expresses currently versus some of the really gross ones he’s held in the past? I’m not commenting on the sincerity of the shift, but it does seem to have occurred.

        • If he has gotten less horrible lately, I’m glad. I stopped reading after he told a rape survivor that he didn’t believe she’d been raped and that continuing to read his column without his consent would be rape.

      • I’m curious what you mean by “I don’t understand the queer thing.” Do you not personally understand identifying as queer? I know people who find that queer has been used as slur against them so much that they don’t want to identify as queer or have the label applied to them. Is that it, or something else?

      • I like Dan Savage in general & his advice has definitely helped me with some of my own shit (especially re: communication, jealousy, open-mindedness, et al.) I really like his books, actually.

        But this is one of those times where he just gets it so, so wrong. I made my girlfriend skip this chapter of the audiobook because it was driving me up the wall. He needs to stfu about bi & trans people. This was such a terrible excuse for an apology. “I know bi guys exist now, so leave me alone, but hey here’s twenty other wrongheaded statements I can make about bi people!” Just stop, Dan. And you know, most closeted bi people don’t have a platform like his, so…that whole argument was like when people say “why don’t you just make your own movie/book/etc.” Totally missing the point.

    • That was also my question! Like, what makes these people think they are qualified to give harmful advice on subjects they know nothing about?

  6. Auuuugh. Why does everyone* think that bisexuality automatically means that we want to sleep with EVERYONE ALL THE TIME?

    *obviously not everyone-everyone, but “everyone”.

  7. I emailed her because it was such a damaging response on her part. This was her response:

    I ran a response from someone who disagreed with me so that view was
    thoroughly aired. If someone doesn¹t want to take my advice, they are free
    to ignore it.

    • Prudie translated: “I don’t fucking know anything but I have this international platform and the idiots who trust me can suck my left nut.”

    • Holy shit, what a willfully ignorant response. I e-mailed her too, but I won’t hold my breath for a decent reply. Sometimes it’s just the e-mailing (or commenting, or whatever other means of offering feedback) that matters to me – no matter how the other person receives it, at least I know that I acted in a way that promoted my sense of self-respect.

  8. The Mariah Carey gif was my exact reaction to #10. I’m focusing on her face instead of the horrible advice.

  9. What are you trying to say, Rachel? I dislike this post…..it seems obsructionist……..and obtuse! And disappointing for one of your posts. Please explain!

    • Pretty sure the logic behind this post is that it’s sad that this kind of willful ignorance and unabashed bigotry still exists for the bisexual community. Instead of only lauding our forward thinking space at AS it’s important to step back and realize that there’s still lot of ground that can be made in the larger world. Especially when it comes to those who have a public mouthpiece.

      But that’s just my take on it :)

  10. I appreciate this post for SO MANY REASONS. As a bi lady married to a straight dude, the struggle is real. Thanks for helping me feel like I belong, Autostraddle.

      • Yes, yes! So many struggles for queer babes who just happen to regularly get laid with a dude they love. D:

        • Or not even getting laid, for those of us who just prefer to express love in a diversity of other ways!

          So many struggles for queer babes who just happen to regularly cuddle and watch movies with a dude they love.

    • I know – compare the posts and comments here to somewhere like afterellen. It’s great that autostraddle feels truly supportive. I am in the early stages of a relationship with a man, after 5 years of only dating/sleeping with women, and it’s a difficult situation to navigate, even when you are with someone whose completely liberal, sex positive and feminist.

  11. It boggles my mind how people can speak so confidently about subjects they obviously know little to nothing about. Even the responses that weren’t outright hostile to bisexuals (looking at you Dan Savage) were full of generalizations and flawed assumptions. Everything on the list was ridiculous, but # 10 was a special brand of wtf. At least the gifs were hilarious.

  12. “If being lesbian means one wants the right to be partners with women, and being gay means one wants the right to be partners with men, what does being bisexual mean if not that one wants the right to be partners with both sexes”

    What the fuck?
    “wants the right to” What is this the 50’s?
    That phrasing is just OFF.
    The bisexuals must want both at the same time logic that gets segway’d in there is so dumb gifs are the only sensible response.

    • I mean I understand in some places homosexuality is still criminalised or at least strongly frowned upon with the possibility violence. Homophobia still exists yeah, heteronormativity but still that phrase is just OFF.

  13. It is so heartening to see the Autostraddle community siding with us. Just this weekend it was suggested to me that I was only using lesbians as “experiments”. :-( It’s been a rough few days; it’s nice to know there’s a sizable group in the LGBTQ community who don’t view us with scorn.

    • I got that one about lesbian experiments, too. Sucks.

      I also have a friend who once told me I can’t BOTH date my boyfriend AND like women. It’s basically like cheating! It’s like dating your boyfriend and you know, having fantasies about another boy, instead of him.




      • I said we should tip a waitress because I thought she was cute and my friend was really upset because I have a boyfriend now. She didn’t even bother defending her position when I said she wouldn’t bat an eyelid if it had been another guy.

        I was best woman at the wedding of a male friend. His wife said her friends had been asking questions like ‘doesn’t it bother you, him having a close friend who is FEMALE’. But he is bi, I am bi, she is bi – are we all supposed to have NO friends at all, in case we try and sleep with them?

    • I heard that very same sentiment about “Experiments” at A-Camp! (From a camper who didn’t realise I overheard her.) Made me cringe, oyyy.

      That said: I’m not sure the Since You Asked quotes are quite in the same category as the rest of them. Surely there is a way to defeat biphobia without throwing polyamorous people under the bus.

  14. Besides being disgusted at the terrible “advice”–I’m also really upset that the headline for this article doesn’t show for this when I try to share it on Facebook. Is it because it has the word “bisexual” in it? Or a glitch in the article’s coding? The Lauren Morelli/Samira Wiley posted normally…

  15. a) Leslie knope…. the greatest. obviously.
    b) I really appreciate this article. I’ve felt a great deal of ostracism from the lgbtq community, probably more of my own doing than true prejudice – but I have finally accepted that I am bisexual, and I over the last year of trying to discuss this with my friends and family (and, in trying times, random acquaintances) – and I still feel as though this is sort of a “soft” classification. I don’t want it to feel this way. Sexuality is on a fluid spectrum, but finding someone who is willing to agree with me has been a trying expedition. But I still often feel dismissed by those who are more confident in their sexuality.
    c) I am strongly feminist, but in the sense that I embrace my femininity in order to destroy those who don’t believe it can be a weapon. I know tons of women (and men) who embrace femininity in different ways, and I respect them almost (tbh) more than I do myself, because it seems like a much more difficult path than my own. I think we need all of us to be a strong force to enforce change – it’s like an army: you need infantry, and snipers, and air force and seal 6 and every other division!!! – i just wish we would stop bickering with one another about the best way to go about accomplishing victory, and rather appreciate that we all want the same general goal.

  16. I really, really don’t understand why some people think bisexual people need to have one male and one female partner to be satisfied. Just because they can like people of both of these genders doesn’t mean they need to fill some sort of gender quota in their dating lives?? It’s like the people who assume gay/lesbian people must be thirsting after every single person of the same gender, that’s not how it works lmao.

  17. Now I know bi isn’t the same as polyamorous and many don’t like being labeled that way when they are monamorous.

    However as a polyamorous person I would love to get some equality representation from the larger community. (i have a lot of labels mostly because I’m non binary. I’m gender fluid usually androgynous, afab, femme sexual, demi sexual, panromantic, and polyamorous.)

    I would like full equality and people not acting like being compared to me is similar to supporting rape >.>

    • Additionally, cheating is not polyamory, despite everyone’s persistent conflation of the two here.

  18. As a bisexual woman, I do find it practically impossible to get “everything I need” in one person. But you know , I think it has more to do with me and the way I’m configured than it does with my being bi. Some women are strongly feminine no matter what their sexual preference, and they might be looking for someone who is strongly male in expression. Or whatever. i’m kind of in the middle in just about everything. I’m not very feminine, but I’m not masculine either. I really crave an intense emotional close physical relationship with a woman. But I like the wide spaces I have in relationships with men. I like both of those things. i don’t think I could ever have both in one person. I don’t necessarily need both at the same time but I do feel like something is missing if it’s been a long time since I’ve had either the wide spaces or the close emotional kind of relationship. It’s very complicated and has taken me a long time to figure out even this much.

  19. Unfortunately this article has taken sentences or paragraphs from otherwise long posts by the authors, therefore are grotesquely out of context. But if you are trying to get your opinion across you give only the information available that is necessary to support said opinion.

    For instance, your Dan Savage comment about the Xanax. A quick Google search turns-up that this is a comment from a column five years ago where a lesbian was freaking-out because she was dating a bisexual girlfriend and the girlfriend wanted to sleep with men. Dan was supporting the bisexual girlfriend’s right to be bisexual, not disparaging her. It was the advice of “You are dating a bisexual, who told you she is bisexual and wants to sleep with men, and you went ahead with a relationship with her anyway (maybe hoping she’d change) and now your freaking-out because she she wants to do the exact thing she said she’s wanted to do since the very beginning. So your choices are to either learn to deal with it, or find yourself another girlfriend who’s a better fit for you.”

    I also have to stand with Dear Prudence’s answer. Especially after reading her entire answer, not just a line of it. What happens inside someone’s bedroom is their own business and nobody else. I’m sure they aren’t announcing other aspects of their sexuality to people, so why this one? Nobody goes to Thanksgiving and announces “Hey everyone, I’m a hot wife and love anal sex and my husband is wearing a chastity cage on his cock and he’s a cuckold.”

    Unless – and this is the exception to this – they are bringing another person into their relationship in a long-term manner. Then, it is only fair to that person that the couple is out to their friends and family so that their girlfriend/boyfriend isn’t excluded from family and friend functions like holidays and BBQ’s. It would really suck to be the girlfriend of the wife and be dating her for 9 months only to be told she can’t come to Thanksgiving dinner or with them to another friend’s house for a BBQ.

    In this case you have to be out about it. And you have to be prepared if your family and friends disapprove of your lifestyle.

    I’ve been in polyamorous relationships and in and out of the swinger lifestyle for the better part of the last decade. I never told my extended family about my private life. It was none of their business. Until I was in a relationship with a woman and she was married. Then everything changed and I came-out to my family out of respect and acknowledgment of my partner and her importance to me. I was prepared for it to go badly, but fortunately my family welcomed my partner and her husband with open arms.

    • Really? You think being frank about your sexual orientation is the same thing as telling everybody all about what you’re doing in the bedroom? Are straight (or gay) people in relationships supposed to erase all evidence or indication of ever having had a sexuality at all once they become monogamous with someone?

      • No, but I do think that there is a time and a place and an audience that is appropriate. And I did not say anywhere that a gay person “has to erase all evidence or indication of ever having had a sexuality at all”. You are inferring things based on your own biases.

    • I agree that many of these quotes were taken out of context, but I vehemently disagree that Dear Prudence was right. Have you forgotten that being bisexual or straight or gay or whatever is more than just who you have sex with? It’s an identity. It’s a way to mark yourself in a world that assumes you are straight by default. It’s a word to use to find and build community. It doesn’t make any sense to tell someone that “you should only come out as bisexual if you’re having sex with multiple genders”. That’s bullshit!

      But seriously, IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SEX PARTNER. Seriously, when I out myself to people, it’s not because I want them to know I have sex with a woman, it’s because I want them to recognize that I identify as a minority and that this component of my identity is crucial to understanding who I am as a person holistically.

      • Great way of putting that. I’ve been unsure of why I had the compulsion to out myself to certain people at certain times, and I’ve had people question me doing so/wanting to do so. That helps.

      • I’m not sure why generally lefty types who would agree that being closeted can be damaging in a lot of ways for gays and lesbians somehow think that closets don’t hurt bisexuals.

      • Okay, so who do you out yourself to? Family? Friends? Coworkers? And when and how do you tell someone that you are bisexual?

    • Also, the bit about Dan Savage’s comments comes across as: “Well this is what you get for dating a bisexual. You should date a lesbian instead.” He didn’t say “You should date a woman who also wants to be monogamous.” He said “lesbian”. Those are not synonymous, just like “monogamous” and “bisexual” are not antonyms.

      • Agree, though it’s not only just about being monogamous. If her bisexual woman wanted to have threesome with a man with her lesbian girlfriend, it means she didn’t respect her sexuality nor treated it seriously.

        • I’ve been here for a few years – when you’re fully immersed in a brilliant community, it rubs off of you ;) The writers and other commenters have been the best educators.

          (Thank you for the compliment!)

    • Coming out as bisexual had nothing to do with telling people about my sex life. Being queer affects every part of my life, including my relationships with my family, whether I’m dating someone or not.

      As to Dan Savage – but he DIDN’T say find yourself another girlfriend who is a better fit for you. He said “get yourself an actual lesbian girlfriend,” as if bisexual women are inherently incapable of having relationships with people of one gender at a time.

      I’m not into it.

    • Echoing previous comments here, but yeah FUCK THIS COMMENT.

      Dan Savage is a biphobic piece of trash. End of story.

      Secondly, the reason I am not out as bi to my whole family is *precisely* because of bullshit like ‘who needs to know what goes on in your bedroom’. Jesus. I’m dating a guy, and I’m also bisexual. The latter is about my identity. The former is about what’s going on in my bedroom. Fuck you.

    • Pretty much echoing everyone’s sentiment here, but also adding:

      Who are you tell people what they can/can discuss at their private Thanksgiving dinner? lol Some families are THAT open, while others only limit the conversation to “pass the peas”.

      Regardless, it’s not about bringing whatever is in the bedroom, out of it (and again, that’s not for you to dictate), but it’s about the need for affirmation and solidarity. That’s *really* important for a lot of people – just like your partner’s need to bring a public voice to the relationship. It does not matter if they are in a relationship or not. Bringing any aspect of yourself, even if you deem it “minor” is an important part of acceptance and identification.

    • Part of Dan Savage’s public persona is to be blunt. I think he can read 2 ways. He was either telling her not to be surprised her girl He doesn’t put energy into being PC. The

      • * I didn’t intend to press submit there.

        I was trying to say I don’t he intends to insult BI people. He’s trying to be blunt. However the problem is that he can be read very negatively. And he doesn’t take responsibility for perpetuating negative stereotypes.

    • Hi. I’m the girl who wrote in to Dan Savage about my (now) ex.

      It was spot-on to include Dan’s response to me in this article – his answer wasn’t taken out of context at all. When I got into a relationship with my ex I knew she was bisexual, but I didn’t think (and, after a lot of work on myself, still don’t think) that bisexual = wanting to act on desires to sleep with men while dating you. She didn’t ‘tell me from the beginning’ that was what she needed, and I didn’t assume that was what she needed based on her orientation. In fact, even after being confronted about her obvious proclivity toward nonmonogamy, she routinely evaded a straight answer and was predictably extremely jealous & possessive.

      At the time, I appreciated the humor in Dan’s response and he was able to get a smile out of me during a time that I wasn’t smiling very much. But I didn’t appreciate that it threw all bisexual women under the bus and seemed to treat my question with less respect than similar questions from straight/gay (male) couples.

      • Dan Savage many times showed that he doesn’t have much respect for lesbians and that he holds many homophobic views about lesbian sexuality, so next time I would rather seek advice from someone else.

        Anyway, your ex sounds like terrible person who didn’t respect your sexuality either, but obviously it had nothing to do with her being bisexual (though I’ve noticed some rather irritating tendency of many bisexual people to assume that everyone else is to some degree bisexual, which probably comes from inability to imagine that other people could possibly have different feelings than their own).

        • To some extent there might be truth in this although it’s a two way street and explains the biphobia. I can’t understand how you write someone off because of something like gender, how that factors into attraction, and monosexuals just cannot grasp how you CAN go for both.

          But it comes down to being a decent, adult human who acknowledges that their experience is not the ultimate truth, and that other people think, feel and act differently to you.

          So not bis, or monos, just dickbags, usually.

        • Also, keep in mind that a some members of a group of people who have been constantly told that they don’t exist might kick back by saying, “No, YOU don’t exist.” It’s not a good response, because you should never invalidate someone’s identity, but it’s understandable.

    • I’m sorry, but did you create a profile just so that you could post a comment saying that you agree with a biphobic article? As Blanche commented above, “Being a swinger or polyamorous does not give you any expertise in bisexuality.” They way you’re talking about bisexuality right now is ignorant and biphobic. It’s probably not deliberate – misconceptions about bisexuality are the norm. But come on, dude. No.

  20. Oh Mariella!

    I wrote to her once about my poly dilemma and how my relationship with my primary/life partner AND best friend was breaking down, she told me that when I grew up I would realise polyamoury was a very silly idea that should have been left in the 70s: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/08/relationships

    Highlight: “If you want to have relationships with whomever you please, I suggest you try it from the status of a singleton. There’s no point in clinging on to a partner when you aren’t ready to commit”


    • BTW, that wasn’t intended to conflate bisexuality with polyamourousness… merely to share in the Mariella eye-roll!

    • I also love how this type of advice often comes from the same people who will gleefully go on about how our generation is too slow to grow up – we’re at fault for supposedly acting like teenagers well into our twenties, but if we attempt to claim legitimacy for any major life choice besides monogamy-and-babies, we’re little fools who don’t yet know what it’s like to be a *real* adult. Silly us, how precocious, someday we’ll understand!


  21. Bi here. I actually really like this piece of advice: “Finally, whether you call yourself bi, fluid, queer or something else, don’t get bogged down in the verbiage; choose instead to embrace your life as it is.” Can someone explain to me what about this is so inflammatory?

    • For me, for one thing, cause the original letter posed the question “how do I come out as bisexual at work, because I want to but am finding it difficult b/c other people’s assumptions and feels”. Dude’s answer was basically “your problem is you want to be labeled, stop trying to label yourself and you won’t have a problem”. So. Not. the Answer. Not to mention reducing people’s vast and varied identities down to a matter of ‘verbiage’.

    • There’s nothing wrong with people who reject labels. Rock on with your bad selves. But whether it’s advice columns or the creation of characters on tv, rejecting labels seems to be only for multisexual people for reasons that often involve a lot of biphobia. Not wanting to say the big bad “B” word and be associated with THOSE bisexuals or those “only real on tumblr pansexuals.” Or somehow being multisexual is supposed to be more evolved (positive stereotypes are damaging and limiting just like negative ones). Many people find comfort and solidarity in a label, not to mention simple convenience of communicating with people outside the queer community, and they shouldn’t be shamed for wanting to claim one.
      And yes. That advice was extremely unnecessary for someone asking about how to come out at work.

    • As others have said, for those who don’t want labels – that’s great, reject labels. But I’ve had people tell me not to label myself as a reaction to my coming out, and it’s been clear at times that it’s because their were either 1) uncomfortable with me being bi, or 2) skeptical that I’m a “real” bisexual, or that bisexuality is “real” at all. In those cases, encouraging me not to label myself was a way to deny or ignore my bisexual identity. Not happy times.

  22. Ugh, Dear Lizzie was especially bad because it was directed towards a 14 year old. Just terrible advice that doesn’t acknowledge that 14 year olds DO get sexual feelings and want to date people. Seems to be a common response sadly.

    • I remember a local nurse coming to school to talk to us about sex ed, consent and contraception and telling a bunch of 14-16 year olds that “sex is an adult activity you shouldn’t be doing anyway”. Tell that to the fully functioning sex organs that teens generally have!

  23. The final gif makes this post. I was all ready to have a big rant but I think that I would be preaching to a very large choir.

  24. I am struggling to even describe the unpleasant mixture of emotions that Dear Prudence advice is causing me to have. I’m bisexual, I’m in a long-term relationship with a man, and I didn’t start the process of coming out until I was in that relationship. For a very long time, I felt that my sexuality was somehow invalid because I was with a man, and because I had not had a serious relationship with a woman (ironically and sadly, this is the very same perverse logic loop that kept me from ever previously coming out and/or having a relationship with a woman: if I haven’t had a relationship with a woman, I must not have proved that I am “real” enough as a bisexual, therefore I should not seek relationships with women). I finally started overcoming my internalized biphobia and coming out to myself and others about two years ago, and it has radically changed my life for the better.

    That absurd Dear Prudence column made me feel shame again – although I’m now strong enough to disagree with that shame while I experience it. It made me feel invalid again (although, similarly, I can now recognize that my identity is deeply valid). It made my heart ache and ache for anyone who is in a similar situation, and who will read that filth and actually believe it. It made me furious at Emily Yoffe, and at Slate, and at everything that makes it possible for people to be so ignorant.

    I want to agree with everyone who has already expressed gratitude for Autostraddle being a safe and welcoming space for us bisexual folks – even and especially those of us in relationships with men. <3

  25. I am suitably angry for a Thursday morning handling snotty kids now. Though the gifs made it so much better (and were pretty much mirroring my facial expressions while reading)

  26. “I went through a phase in high school where I thought I was Dan Savage and then realized I wasn’t so obviously Dan Savage doesn’t exist.”

    *via fauxmosexualtranstrender.tumblr.com
    (cannot find original post)

  27. ARGHHHHHH. I’m monogamously married to a cis man. One of my friends, whom I came out to recently, just sent me a link to the fucking Dear Prudence column!!!!!!! It wasn’t prefaced with “How stupid is this” so I assume it was supposed to be a hint. Why is it that even some nice progressive people DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING?!?!?!


      • Yeah, I told her that I’d seen it and that I think the lady is wrong and is missing the point, so assuming my friend responds I guess I’ll find out if she was trying to give me a hint or what.

  28. Man, I read this at the perfect time – of life, as a trans man struggling with being not-monosexual (having trouble with the B word these days more than in the past because obv men can’t be bisexual, ergo you are either not really a man, ugh, or you are not really bisexual, ugh – no one has actually said this to me directly, but I’ve heard too many people express opinions like this, so, creeping insecurity all around, thanks y’all)

    and just specifically right now, because I had a conversation with a friend of mine last night, about how she (a lesbian, self-described “gold star lesbian”) isn’t interested in dating bisexuals for various reasons. She’s not against bisexuality in general, she doesn’t doubt it’s real, and she’s not against bi girls in general either, she just doesn’t want to date them. It came down to 2 reasons: one, one of her exes broke up with her for a man (or possibly broke up with her and then dated a man, not sure which), which was more troubling to her than if she’d dated a woman afterward, for reasons she could not articulate and that seem to be very common among lesbians (that was my impression back in my “bi girl days” and it sucked), and two, honestly, and she’s not, like, proud of it or anything, but it just bothers her, the idea that someone she’s dating might’ve had a cock in her mouth at some point. Like, a gross-out thing. And that sounds familiar too.

    I asked her if she’d be cool with dating a trans woman who hadn’t had any genital surgery, although I know that one, trans women don’t necessarily call their genitalia a “cock” or a “penis” or whatever, and two, your genitalia pretty much always change in appearance and function when you’ve been on hormones for a while, whether you’re taking testosterone or anti-androgens and estrogen. But still, it was something I thought might cross a similar irrational line for her – and actually, surprisingly, she said that yeah, she’d be open to that. Which I was really glad to hear!

    So…no conclusions here except that both bisexuals and transgender folks are pretty consistently given reasons to be insecure about what their partners are going to think about them, whether or not they are desirable, etc. And it sucks. And it’s personal too, because I’m both, although I usually say that I’m “mostly gay” to avoid the double whammy. (Sorry, fellow bisexuals, I’m working myself back up to reclaiming that identity and being in solidarity. In the meantime, my own mental health is a little threatened by identifying as bi and trans simultaneously, so I’m weaseling out of one of them for now.)

    • Oh man, I feel you. If I weren’t in a relationship with a man I would be very tempted to round myself up to gay.

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