You Need Help: 7 Highly Effective Habits of Dealing with Biphobes

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Q: I am a person who dates both ladies and non-lady persons, and my person of choice right now is a young man who I met through a girl I used to date. As in, we went on 4-5 dates. And then fell comfortably into acquaintances. We have dated multiple people since each other, and she is dating a young woman who is friendly with me and my partner. So lady person a (that I used to date) and girlfriend were invited over to the apartment where I live with my partner. Lady person A is a lesbian identified person, but she has a lot of opinions on bisexuality. Cliff notes: “Make up your mind. “Queer” as an identity is a copout. People who alternate between men and women are just bored.” Any perceived pattern in my dating life is because bisexual persons are skanky. Or slutty. She liked both those words.

So I tried to brush that shit under the rug — it happened a long time ago and she was drunk. But while in my home, Lady person A made disparaging comments about me. I am not ashamed of my choices — I have had amazing experiences with wonderful people. I do resent feeling like a joke because of bisexuality hate. I reject the idea of sluttiness as a character flaw, but I can’t help feel the sting when it’s used as an insult against me. Even if I don’t think it’s wrong, it sucks for someone to pass judgment like that. I still consider her my friend, so I’m having difficulty understanding why she would say something meant to be hurtful like that. How do I react next time I hear something like that? What do I say to her next time she says something like that? I spoke to my partner and he was supportive, but didn’t have much input. Why must I defend my sexuality?

A: Well this person seems like a real charmer! Very fun at parties. I’m so sorry you had this experience! Let’s figure out how you can try to not have it again.

Okay, so: this girl you dated clearly has issues. If she’s dating people whose identity she fundamentally objects to, it either means she is the kind of person who enjoys dating people she feels superior to and/or she has lots of issues with self-loathing, both of which are her own problem. Either way, she has something going on: having weird opinions about bisexuality is one thing, needing to share them with you when you’re in your home points to something else, a desire to specifically needle you because it makes her feel better about something, somehow. Does this have to do with somehow resenting you for dating a dude after having dated her? I don’t know! That is also ultimately her own problem, not yours. I know it’s tempting to try to reverse engineer her thinking and try to find out why on earth she would be like this, but the job of figuring out why someone is biphobic and feels the need to rub your face in it shouldn’t be yours; it should be hers.

So we’ve established it’s her problem, but it seems like she’s trying to make it your problem by bringing it up constantly. What are your options?

First of all, I think it would be helpful to really and truly ask yourself this question: how much do you really want this person in your life? Is there anything about spending time with her that’s positive or redemptive, outside of the fact that you consider her a friend and have mutual friends? If you know deep down that you don’t really get much out of this friendship, or that its positives are outweighed by having to listen to her be incredibly rude to you, I fully recommend just letting her go, like a goldfish into the sea. You don’t have to invite her places, make a point of saying hi to her if you see her, respond to her facebook events, anything. If she asks, you can either play dumb — “Ohmigod I totally miss you too! Let’s definitely get coffee sometime soon!” — or be honest and say “Hanging out with you wasn’t really fun anymore because you kept calling me slutty and making fun of me. If you’re done doing that, let me know and we can hang out again.” I realize the social universe you and this girl inhabit may be small, and it may feel impossible to really avoid anyone, but have faith! I went to a very small MFA program of about a dozen people, and by the end of it I had managed to completely stop talking to the one person who turned every conversation into an explanation of why you didn’t know as much about Marxism and/or RuPaul’s Drag Race as them. The key is to engage as little as possible, and to politely deploy monosyllables until you can exit the situation. Eventually they’ll take the hint.

Okay, that’s all fine, but what if you actually want to be friends with this person? Maybe she is somehow pretty stellar when she’s not telling you that you’re a slutty greedy jerk who is both bored too easily and incapable of choosing a side, I don’t know. If that’s the case, and you want to salvage this relationship and turn it into something that doesn’t make you want to flee civilization and join a family of voles, then you’ll have to change the dynamic of this interaction.

Right now, this girl is making you feel like you have to defend your sexuality — I can tell because you asked “Why must I defend my sexuality?”. The key here is to remember that you don’t have anything to be defensive about; your sexuality is totally normal and fine. The only person who should be on the defensive is her, because her attitudes are ridiculous and poisonous. So with that established, that’s the dynamic to push for: don’t let the conversation center around your identity and choices, but hers. Put the spotlight on her behavior, and push her to be the one providing explanations. Next time she says something like that, here are some possibilities to respond with:

“Wow, so you’re just super uncomfortable with bisexual people, huh?”

“So you just really can’t get over who I’ve slept with? Like, you’re still thinking about it?”

“You sure talk about this a lot. It’s like a really big deal to you, isn’t it?”

“Do you ever worry about how you sound when you just go on and on about bisexuality like this?”

“Why do you think you can’t let go of this stuff for even just one evening while we all hang out? What’s going on there?”

“Do you do this to other bisexual people, or just me?”

“Do you ever feel like you should have warned me about how you feel about bisexual girls before we dated?”

If these things sound uncomfortable to say out loud, especially in front of other people, I get that, but I also promise the moment will be way more uncomfortable for her. (If actually asking her a question or opening up a conversation is too scary, you can also use my other tried and true line: “Wow, this seems really hard for you, that you have to [be in the same room as a bisexual person].” This has pretty successful rates of shutting the person up and ending the conversation for the time being.)

To employ some playground psychology for a second, the reason this person is pulling this shit to your face and in front of other people, instead of behind your back like a normal jerk, is because it makes her feel good in some way. She feels powerful, or like a Better Queer Person, or in control of the situation. If your response instead puts her in the hot seat and makes her feel uncomfortable, she won’t get that emotional payoff anymore. Harassing you will become way less appealing, and she will likely find another hobby, like taxidermy. Will this successfully educate her about the validity of bisexual identity? Probably not, but you know the old adage about the lightbulb wanting to be changed. Also it sounds like educating this girl would be a full-time job, and you have a life to live — if she really wants to learn about why she’s wrong, there are plenty of free resources she can turn to on her own time.

The bottom line is there are so many great people on earth you could be spending time with — or at least people who can sit through a single episode of Adventure Time with you without having to spout vile accusations about your character and sexual orientation. You deserve that experience; having your social interactions not make you feel actively shitty should not be too much to ask. Next time somebody wants to goad you into providing an explanation of your entire sexual orientation, make it clear that you’ll be happy to, right after they explain why they’re such an asshole.

In order to make sure that the comments section on this article is a healthy and welcoming place for our bisexual readers, please note that any comments that question the validity of bisexuality or sexual fluidity as a sexual orientation, question Autostraddle’s decision to publish pieces discussing bisexuality, or make essentialist claims about bisexual people (ex. bisexuals are cheaters, bisexuals turn out to be gay) will be swiftly deleted.

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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. Thank you for this, Rachel! I recently left a group because of the biphobia of many of the members, and it’s been great not having to listen to their crap. But I will definitely keep these lines in mind for the future.

  2. Deciding that biphobes aren’t worth my time was the best decision I’ve made these past months. I’m still working on it actually, but I’m getting there. If I have to “defend” my sexuality with you more than once I don’t think I need you in my life.
    And then how could we keep faith to our sluttiness if we were to spend all of our time defending ourselves?!

  3. I feel totally shat on and utterly rejected by the gay/lesbian community because I’m not whatever kind of Super Duper Queer is considered acceptable. I’m not trying to be a Super Duper Queer, i’m trying to be myself- a bisexual woman- and oddly I feel way more comfortable expressing that round straight people. It’s not cool feeling that I’m gonna be rejected from LGBTQ spaces whenever I enter them for not being whatever constitutes ‘gay enough’ /endrant

    • WOMEN MAKE ME WET, WHAT MORE PROOF DO BIPHOBES NEED that I’m allowed to be here?
      Also, my entire vocabulary for discussing my feelings about women I learned from straight men…I don’t know how to feel about that

    • It took me a really long time from identifying as a bisexual to start actually considering myself as something other than an ally. I mean, I knew there was a B but I still mostly considered myself as an ally to the community rather than part of it.

      Yay internalized biphobia!

    • yesss I oddly feel way more comfortable with my bi-ness around straight people too. It’s very strange because I want to connect with other ladies who like ladies/ queers who like queers but it can be really hostile.

    • the whole best queer thing also happens with the whole idea of “gold star.” I love getting shat on because it took me til I was 22 to realize I was gay. not.

      • Urgh sometimes it feels like there are too many internal divisions within the queer world for there to be any kind of unity or complete acceptance of all kinds of individuals…but like, why should there be? I imagine that being trans and hetero is very very different from being a cis lesbian; is ‘not being straight’ enough to base an entire community around, in a way that everyone feels included and valued?
        I mean, look at the history of religion- Christians were persecuted and discriminated against at one time, as were the Irish, but there have been many internal divisions within those groups that led to wars…
        Forgive me if I’m being overly pessimistic, I don’t really believe that biphobia is going to start wars, I’m just not sure if the LGBTQIA etc umbrella is sustainable. I mean, I hope it will be, but humans being humans and all…movements have fractured before. And when they do it never seems to help anyone

      • Also whoops sorry that comment was supposed to be something along the lines of ‘that gold star stuff is bullshit, I’m really sorry that people have been shitty to you about it’ but then i got distracted :p

    • Yeah, I’ve had zero negative reactions to being bi by straight people. Granted, I haven’t exactly been open to people who I know would be openly hostile, but still, they all take it in stride and seem supportive, without the whole good enough to be included bit.

      Maybe it’s because we’re included in the straight circles but seen by them as dabbling which is a part of the larger heteronormative landscape? I’m not educated enough on these things.

      • TW: Biphobic & Ableist Slurs

        Yeah, I’ve gotten more negative reactions (on being bi/pan, that is) from LG people as well. I’ve seen and heard some lesbians use a bunch of absolutely vile slurs against bi/pan women: “sexually confused,” “sexually r*tard*d,” “sexually dysl*xic,” “bih*t,” “bisl*t,” and “br**der,” among others. I’ve even (seriously) heard one lesbian insist that bisexuality is a “mental disorder.” Then these lesbians will turn around and get angry when bi/pan women call themselves lesbians, not realizing that they themselves contribute to that happening. It’s really disheartening and frustrating.

  4. Ah, mirror , mirror on the wall who is most brilliant of all on Autostraddle?
    “Rachael, you doofus!…. everyone knows that!”

  5. Thanks from a fellow Rachel! Reading this made me cry. I’ve been actively following Autostraddle for a few years now but have never let myself get too involved. Although I identify as queer in both gender and sexuality, I am a person born with a vulva married to a person born with a penis. I’ve so often absorbed the foolishness that my choice of a partner does and should exclude me from queer spaces that I’ve sometimes felt like an intruder. That isn’t to say I’ve not felt welcome at Autostraddle, merely that I felt I was being kind to a wonderful community by keeping my distance. This post, your response, and the explicit safe space you’ve created in the comments gave me the ah-ha moment that the people who I’ve admired from a distance would gladly accept me for me.

    • Rachael, please explain your comment a bit…..about feeling “queer in gender and sexuality”…..and having a vulva and married to a mate who has a penis.
      I have a penis, but am female….and I fell for a cis female who was my gf….but she had a male gender identity. But my feelings for her/ him…were female to female. And still are as she/he is transitioning! ??????

      • Thanks for asking. I think I don’t know how to express our gender/sexuality adequately, but maybe unpacking it would help? My partner was born with a penis and uses male pronouns but is not strictly speaking male gendered. I would describe it as having more male than female gendered-ness, if I had to give a description. He is sexually attracted to vulvas but not necessarily female gendered people (myself included.) I currently use female pronouns due to my geographic and educational location (and perhaps because I am a coward) but I would like to be in a place where I felt comfortable beginning to use neutral pronouns for myself and asking others to use them when referring to me. I probably appear female to most people, but I appreciate being identified as male because it feels more accurate than female, at least, even when I’m wearing a dress, tights, and glitter makeup. I prefer vulvas sexually, if I had to choose, but I’m aroused by all sorts of genitals and gender expressions.

        I feel terribly if the way I phrased things seemed like I was being demeaning/belittling as that was not my intent. Also, if you or anyone has suggestions for how I might clean up my language to be more clear/appropriate, I do want to learn. I’ve been annexed in a mostly straight world for years, but over the past few months I’ve finally been moving towards trying to find and interact in queer spaces again, and I’d hate for my language ignorance to unintentionally hurt others.

        • Is it as simple as calling him a cis male – I wonder? It doesn’t feel entirely accurate, but it fits well enough and it certainly alleviates the problem of potentially mis-identifying him as trans or belittling trans experience, I think?

          • Finding the language to accurately describe gender is so difficult. I usually call myself a cis woman, for the reasons you just gave plus unwillingness to constantly be arguing with other people and myself that my gender identity is valid, but it never feels right. The way you phrased it here made sense and was polite, but I’m not sure what to say when you can’t spend a couple paragraphs on the topic. For this context here, “I’m perceived as female and married to a sort of cis man” might work, since it’s part of a discussion of the queer community excluding members who don’t look the part.

        • Oh, Rachael…I did not mean any criticism of what you wrote… I was only needing a little more info for me to understand your situation. Ok?
          And thanks for replying.
          AS is full of a whole array of different queer folks! hehe And is a breath of fresh intelligent air for many of us …. to have a safe space to talk!
          You were sweet to reply!

          • Definitely okay – glad I didn’t cause offense!

            It is such a delight to have an intelligent safe space that feels so inclusive.

  6. Brilliant Rachel. Excellent. And kudos to Autostraddle and the writers for this awesome moderation of the comment section.

    “In order to make sure that the comments section on this article is a healthy and welcoming place for our bisexual readers, please note that any comments that question the validity of bisexuality or sexual fluidity as a sexual orientation, question Autostraddle’s decision to publish pieces discussing bisexuality, or make essentialist claims about bisexual people (ex. bisexuals are cheaters, bisexuals turn out to be gay) will be swiftly deleted.”

    • I logged in just to comment on that and say how happy it made me to see it. I had this sinking feeling when I saw the article that the comment section would degrade into biphobic flamewars of the sadly usual kind. But then I saw that policy at the bottom and decided reading the comments might not suck so much.

      I second Lynette’s kudos!

    • I’m glad to see this kind of support here, and I’m really appreciative of the inclusion by AS as well. Looking forward to the day when articles about bi-sexuality don’t have to be followed by a reminder to be a decent human being.

  7. I am obssessed with all the bi-love going around on Austostraddle lately.

    Fuck yes.

  8. My tagline for a taxidermy course for biphobes — “Make Some Things That Are As Scratchy, Old and Frightening As Your Ideas”

  9. Excellent article. It gets pretty old hearing the whole “are you actually gay or just indecisive” questionnaire with ignorant family members; yhe mentality of being seen as unclean or lesser because you’ve been ~tainted by another person’s cock~ is the same bullshit we get from cismen. If you’re a bi-/pansexual woman, you kinda get used to hearing both things.

    But hearing the same rhetoric within your own LGBT community (which you would hope knows better since you’re the “B” in it) tends to feel particularly painful. It makes it hard to feel like you belong anywhere.

    • Yep, I felt like I didn’t belong in the straight world for ages, was terrified of being outed cos I thought ppl would hate me, I finally get the confidence to be all ‘i’m here, I’m queer’, and wait nope it’s the SAME DAMN SHIT… Definitely have that ‘i don’t belong anywhere’ thing going on too. It’s easier to exist among straight ppl for me at least; but it leaves me essentially back in the closet as I’m in a relationship with a man. I do still tell people I’m bi (cos I am bi, dammit) but sometimes it’s too much hassle/leads to awkward personal questions that I cba to deal with most of the time. Particularly when they relate to my boyfriend’s genitalia. I don’t want to be in the closet right now, it’s dark in there, and I got used to the sunshine.

  10. “If she’s dating people whose identity she fundamentally objects to, it either means she is the kind of person who enjoys dating people she feels superior to and/or she has lots of issues with self-loathing, both of which are her own problem.” TRUE.

  11. Thank you Rachel! <3 I for real had not realized that other bi-type people get told that they are just bored. I've been told that by not a small number of penis-having humans and I just internalized it and felt like I must be a kind of a bad person for getting bored like that. Ugh! I'm not bored, I am attracted to women. How do you get past internalized homo/biphobia?

    • Actually, don’t answer that–just excise that phrase from your vocabulary. Unless you are talking about penile cancer or penis piercings or something like that, there is no need to ever reference “penis-having humans.” This phrase either ignores that most trans women exist, implying that maybe we aren’t human, or it lumps most trans women in this category with cis men based off of of genitals. Don’t do this. Trans women are the opposite of cis men–unlike cis women who share with cis men the trait of being cis. One’s genitals, however, say a total of nothing about who you are or what your relative position is in society. To claim otherwise puts you on the same page as the Religious Right and other unsavory characters and you don’t want that.

  12. This is going in the mental autoreply bin: “Wow, this seems really hard for you, that you have to [be in the same room as a bisexual person].” LOL love it!

    … and my comment here is, why isn’t anyone around her speaking up about this? Why isn’t Lady A’s date going, “Hey, that’s not cool. STFU with that stuff?” I understand why the writer’s bf might not want to directly intervene, given the potential for escalating the situation, but why isn’t he pulling Lady A’s date aside and saying, “Can you please ask her to stop with the biphobic crap? It is making my partner really uncomfortable and I’m really not o.k. with it myself.” Or calling her afterwards to say essentially the same thing? We really shouldn’t be left to defend ourselves on our own.

    • I actually wondered the same thing. I think the answer lies somewhere between not wanting to escalate and not being sure how to.

  13. I don’t know how lesbians would be able to keep up their biphobia. I’m a lesbian, but almost all of my queer female friends are bisexuals, my partner is bisexual. I would have an extremely frustrating life were I to be constantly questioning their identity. You wonder if the gay people who are adamant that bisexuality doesn’t exist are really just bisexual themselves and fighting it. Why else would someone think that a person would change sexual preferences because they were bored or ‘slutty.’ This concept is true of homophobia, so why wouldn’t it be for biphobia.

    I also find it interesting that she labels bisexuals as just being ‘bored.’ Is she saying that you were bored, and so got in a relationship with her just for kicks, or that you were bored with your relationship with her and then sought out a guy? Either way it speaks to her own huge insecurities.

    I know that we, as queer women, have this compulsive need to be friends with our exes the minute we break up. But, this one seems like she’s either an total asshole or has some serious processing of your relationship/break up to do.

  14. Thank you for this.

    This is also very solid advice on how to deal with any idiots in a friend or relative group. Very useful.

    And yes, internalized biphobia… Maybe a separate article on how to beat that/people’s experiences of that would be in order? I’d love to read it!

    • I’d love to read an article like that, Blanche! I know for me I had a lot of mentally and physically unhealthy sexual encounters throughout my early twenties because I’d totally internalized the notion that my ability to be attracted to all sorts of people must mean that I wanted to sleep with them all. I’m all for people having as much sex as they want to have, but I had a lot of sex that I didn’t really want because I thought that I was supposed to want it due to my sexuality.

    • Yes! I would love to see an article about dealing with internalized biphobia here.

      Honestly I feel really sucky as a bi woman whenever I doubt other bi people’s sexualities, and I’d love advice on fighting that or solidarity from others who’ve gone through the same stuff.

      • Let’s hope for that article!

        I notice for myself that even though I am married to a woman now, I still feel like I don’t belong in queer spaces. I had a long-term relationship with a man before, so I think it’s a leftover from that time. I’ve also lost my (not unproblematic!) place in straight spaces now, so…somehow I end up spending most of my time with gay male friends, who are wonderful people, but not all the community I would like. Definetly a lot to think about there.

  15. This was an amazing article, like lots of the other commentators I often feel rejected from the LGBT community because my partner is a penis-haver. If I go to queer events then I worry that I’m a ‘fraud’ or not gay enough but this is definitely internalised biphobic nonsense. These are some excellent tips for dealing with people’s poisonous views on this topic. Thank you for this, Rachel.

  16. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have such a supportive community. My best friends from high school identify as bisexual, and my current friend group consists of really awesome non-biphobic lesbians (I wish I didn’t have to qualify that) and queer allies. Occasionally I’ve gotten stupid drunken comments from my fraternity, but I’ve gotten pretty good at telling the drunk guys that they’re being assholes or just glaring and walking away.

    And when in doubt, use the face.(actual face starts around 1:05)

  17. I guess I have been lucky in real life and have mostly avoided biphobia. Online, I’ve learned to simply avoid many many LGBT sites; it’s just too depressing sometimes.

  18. Aw yeah Rachel! I really love how AS has upped their bi-specific content over the last couple of months. I don’t know if its intentional, but I like it. About a year ago I stopped reading regularly for a while because I didn’t really see myself reflected anywhere, and a lot of reductive “ladies who like ladiesare all lesbians

    • Damn my thumb slipped.

      I was saying, that bi-erasure and monosexism was flying around, and im glad to sée that its gotten better because I love Autostraddle and now I feel welcome here again!

  19. Does anyone have any good tips on navigating that thing where you mention your oppussite sex purrtner, but then end up locking yourself down as monosexual and straight? I mean, it was annoying enough being put in a gay box (heh heh) but at least them I wasn’t in heteroland (I imagine that being a terrifyingly normative theme park). It would make my life so much less exhausting if I didn’t have to care / worry about erasure…

    • I have started a practice of identifying the questions (having stopped believing in answers of any kind)– and I think you got one! How do we as bi-folk signify who we are without having a whole very direct coming out conversation? I wish there was a way!

  20. I <3 you so much Rachel. Yay for Autostraddle never making me feel like I'm Not Queer Enough.

    I've found that people tend to define my sexuality for me based on their perceived gender of my current partner. At the moment for example, a lot of straight friends are very quick to call me a lesbian and dismiss anything to the contrary. I don't know if this is them trying to say how SUPER FINE THEY ARE WITH EVERYTHING, or because they just don't know much about Queer theory, or because they are trying to Other me with microaggressions.

    I've found in those moments, rather than attempt to 'defend' myself- merely being silent and letting them sit with the awkwardness of their words makes me feel better.

  21. I like a lot of Rachel’s suggested responses :) may I also offer the advice columnist standbys “wow.” And “what an ignorant thing to say! You must feel pretty embarrassed right now.” Both delivered in a totally neutral tone, as if you were commenting on the weather.

    I’ve stopped hanging out with people for biphobia much less aggressive than the kind you described there (usually something of the “bisexuals don’t really exist, because I Said So and This One Person I Met Once” flavor) so I totally support either stopping hanging out with this person or making it crystal clear that her comments are simply not acceptable, full stop.

  22. Question writer, you are obviously a very lovely human and I wish you the best. <3

    I'm bi and have only ever been with men, but I'm still TOTALLY FUCKING GAY. It took me a long time to be okay with that! Now I (thankfully!) know that it doesn't make me any less queer than anyone else because there's no 'right' way to be queer. Loving yourself is hard, but it makes things so much easier.

  23. I find this article and the comments highly interesting. I’m a cis-female and a lesbian. I’m 29 years old now and I want to preface this by saying that the LGBT+ community has come a long way since I came out in high school. However, some very terrible and hateful, discriminatory things happened that scared me so badly that I quickly retreated back into the safety of the closet, explaining the whole thing as a phase. Completely acceptable to anyone not in the LGBT+ community, btw, but not to the community which, I felt, somehow knew I was putting on a show. After several years (and I don’t regret it because now I have 3 lovely children) I came back out. I just couldn’t take it any longer. That’s when I became aware of how serious biphobia is. I am not bisexual, I am homosexual. Without a doubt in my mind. However, it’s not as simple as that to a large amount of *our* community. It should be. I have been told a million times (and I doubt that’s much of an exaggeration) that I am bisexual. I have even had other lesbians tell me that they couldn’t date me, if I were. I’ve lost my temper more than once. What difference would it make if I were? I can’t wrap my mind around what the problem is. If I were bisexual, that’s what I would say. And as far as gold stars go, do you realize how many women of the lesbian community have slept with men at some point? I have nothing against gold stars, I’m dating one. But even she realizes how rare a gold star really is. Bisexuals and anyone else who sometimes feel like they don’t fit in, here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: every community and group of human beings has a**holes. That’s life. We’re not all like that, you’ve just found one in particular. Ignore them and keep trying. It always gets better.

    • I’m a gold star, but I regularly get pegged as bisexual. It actually impeded my coming out, because I tried to get connected to a local LGBT resource center and they told me I should go to their bisexual support group…I’m not even a little bit bisexual. NOT. EVEN. A. LITTLE. And so then it made me question myself and the conclusion I’d come to after an entire life of only liking women. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to them and found an unrelated gay support system who didn’t care that I was “too femme” to be a raging homosexual (I don’t subscribe to a femme/butch dichotomy so that’s frustrating in and of itself. UGH.)
      I think the gay community takes a cue from the straight world and engages in compulsory heterosexuality all the time, which manifests in judging lesbians who previously dated dudes pre-coming out and labeling people who don’t “look gay” enough as not-gay. It’s frustrating for those of us who aren’t gold star super stone butches. Such is life, I suppose.

      • It’s fascinating to think about, all of it is, from a psychological point of view. I’m femme and I think that partially causes it as well. Now, I’m all for people choosing what they can and can not handle when dating someone but there appears to be a lot of slut shaming towards bisexuals, calling them confused, etc. The women I referenced above weren’t merely choosing a preference. I was so confused by all of it that I asked them. They didn’t think bisexuals were real, like they’re unicorns! They think all bisexuals are straight girls who are just out to somehow “get” the lesbian community. I feel you so much on being femme. I always have been, making it easier for me to hide amongst the heterosexual community. Another thing i can’t wrap my head around is the reason I felt the need to go back into the closet. Biphobia and homophobia are real things that can sometimes be dangerous. In the situation in question, a gay boy needed reconstructive surgery and several of us were in real physical danger. The people I’ve tried explaining it to act as though they wouldn’t have been scared. Like it doesn’t happen anymore.

  24. It’s nice to find a site that doesn’t tolerate intolerance against bisexuals. I’ve found it nearly impossible to discuss my own. I can understand why a lesbian might have reservations about getting involved with a woman who is bi; each person is entitled to decide what it takes for her to feel emotionally safe in a relationship. That’s very different from refusing to allow another person the dignity of her sexual identity–and from refusing to accept that it’s even possible for a woman acting in good faith to be indifferent to what I think of as “mere genitalia.” P.S. I am over 50, so I am fairly certain it is not a passing phase. I just do not have a sexual preference. I never have done. I do see that this gives me the theoretical option to benefit from heterosexual privilege, but the point of coming out as bisexual is to reject such privilege as an act of solidarity with the LBGT community.

  25. I can’t even tell you how healing and comforting it is to read this and other Autostraddle articles. As I go through my own coming out process, its so helpful and empowering to know I’m not the only one!

  26. This rang very true to me. I still go through dilemmas sometimes – I’m dating a girl right now, and the last few people I fell for were girls, and that was what got me started in the queer community. Unfortunately, the biphobia is so up in your face that it makes me feel like I’m not queer enough, and sometimes I say I’m gay even though I’m sexually and romantically attracted to men as well, just not to have to deal with the fact that my identity may be invalid. It’s a cop out, but – for example, many videos in the queer community of youtube are titled ‘lesbians’ instead of ‘queer women’, and it’s like I’m not welcome there because I’m not a lesbian. For someone who really wants to be involved in the queer community, it’s such a disappointment. Reading this made me feel better.

  27. Thank you for the post & thank you all for your comments!!
    I must admit that, at first, I passed over this one thinking that, since I don’t currently struggle with the issue of identifying myself as bisexual, there was nothing for me to learn or ponder.
    I came out at first as ‘gay’ in 1977, when I was 18 yo. Before that, I ‘assumed’ I was straight, & had been sexual with men (usually while very drunk & high). For a few years, I had sex with both men and women (also usually while drunk & high).
    In 1987, I got sober. I thought I had slept with women because, you guessed it, I was usually drunk & high. I was even going to take the sober ‘heterosexual challenge’. I spoke to my AA sponsor, who identified as ‘lesbian’ but had been married and had a 4 yo daughter, about it. I told her how I felt like now I had to ‘really see if I was straight.’ She suggested I just get my act together stay sober & stay out of relationships altogether for 6 months to a year. I was 27 yo & said to myself, ‘like hell I will’. Looking for a way to avoid complete celibacy, a fate worse than death, I asked ‘what if I just have sex?’. She said, if I could ‘just have sex’ without relapsing & without (intentionally) hurting myself or any other person, then I could ‘go for it’. Without ever having the intention of being single for so long, I ended up in an ill-fated affair almost 4 yrs later (still sober) with this very femme & gorgeous woman who left me for a person of the male persuasion. My heart was broken. I vowed to ‘never fall in love again’. I thought of various ways to avoid commitment. A rolling stone gathers no moss & all.
    I’m happy to say, I recovered from my heart ache & realized I had also wounded my butch ego, which it pains me to admit I ever had.
    I fell for another feminine woman about a year and a half later. We ended up staying together for 12 years. She had adopted two girls which I helped to raise. We have since broken up. I have dated since but not really come completely undone over anyone as yet.
    All this is to say, I have evolved as a person, as a loving human, as a sexual being (alone & in relationships), and, if I give myself permission to grow and change, & to sometimes really f*** things up, then I am going to have to accept that other humans grow & change & sometimes f*** things up too.
    I have also had some constants in my life, which I have come to recognize as ‘me’ – I am a total loss when it comes to some feminine women & I have no desire what so ever to be straight today. I am not sure I have ever fit any politically correct LGBTQ mold – I seem to surprise even myself.
    I realize that loving another human being has many layers. When I/we decide to include romance & sex, that ups the anti for me – in fact, sometimes, it just scares the hell out of me, but love being love & humans being human, well, I think we will somehow perservere.
    Long live lady love in all its many guises!

  28. My most recent partner is a constant shitstream of uncalled for random opinions about bisexual people. It’s one thing I will not miss.

    I refuse to defend or even define my sexuality to anyone. It’s wild that I get acceptance for being non-binary but still have to endure sexual rigidity.

    ps. Like someone said above I think a lot of biphobes are people with personal hang-ups about it. Maybe they want to explore their own fluidity but feel like they can’t. Maybe they’ve been hurt by someone who just happens to be bisexual and it really scares them. Either way tho you not gon insult me in front of my face.

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