Diva magazine posted on their Facebook wall asking for lesbians who don’t date bisexual women to get in touch, because they want to run an article on why some lesbians remove bisexual women from their “dating pool”. So began a torrent of biphobia underneath the opening post, which included such gems as “you can’t trust that they won’t leave you for a bloke”, “it seems eventually they all go back to men. I guess it’s because it’s an easier, more accepted lifestyle” and even, “I don’t want to be with a woman who sleeps with or has slept with men”.
Bisexual women are regularly branded as experimenting straight girls, lesbians in denial (apparently it’s possible to be both), promiscuous (like there’s anything wrong with that if it’s the individual’s choice), confused, greedy, riddled with STI’s, cock hungry, flakey and dishonest.
These stereotypes have been born out of heteronormative societal pressures (monogamy, fidelity, marriage, pro-creation, existence in a nuclear family) coupled with the bombardment of images of threesomes involving two women and one man in crap pornography, complete bi-erasure and the glamorisation in popular culture of women being sent out to catch unsuspecting lesbians to bring home to their waiting boyfriend.
I’d like to challenge some stereotypes now using my experiences and observations, because I’ve never seen any representation in straight or gay culture of bi women like me. (And very little of bi people at all, for that matter.)
I’m 22, boyish and bisexual. I prefer queer actually because I recognise things other than the two binary genders, but for the sake of talking about oppression and the insult I’ve faced in the last couple of days we’ll stick with bisexual.
Most people assume I’m a lesbian because they can’t seem to get their head around the idea of a boyish girl liking boys. I’ve had two long term relationships, both with women. I lost my virginity to a woman in my teens; most of my dating experiences have been with women, although there’ve been a few with people who don’t consider themselves either gender. I didn’t date a man until I was 20, because I didn’t meet one I liked enough until then. I’ve never cheated, or left a female partner for a man, or even considered doing so. If I did, it wouldn’t be caused by my sexuality.
I’ve never once felt that it would be easier to be in a heterosexual relationship with a man for the sake of enjoying heterosexual privileges. I would never entertain the idea of leaving a woman/third gender/non-gender person I love to be with a man I didn’t love for the sake of social acceptance.
I’m not particularly greedy when it comes to intimate relationships. An ex who is bisexual told me once: “yeah, I am greedy. But I’m greedy cos I’m greedy, not cos I’m bi!”
A lot of my friends who define as lesbian have admitted to me that they feel attraction towards men but choose not to pursue such attractions, for whatever reason. This is of course their choice, but is surely and indication that bisexuality or bisexual patterns of attraction are way more common than people think. Women are simply keeping it quiet because of the inordinate amount of biphobia there is amongst the lesbian community. The culture of making queer women who find themselves interested in a man feel like they are betraying the community really has to stop.
Lesbians who don’t date bi women because they think they’ll run off with a guy to make up this mythical “cock deficit” so many people seem to be obsessed with, should ask themselves why they are so insecure that they think a partner would leave them for five and a half inches of erectile tissue. the idea that someone would leave a healthy relationship purely because they miss cisgender male cock is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.
Society, straight and gay, need to stop seeing vagina as the absence of a penis. Why doesn’t anyone entertain the idea that someone might leave a man to make up for the lack of vagina in their life? It’s an example of how patriarchy permeates.
Should we all start to be suspicious of the straight and bisexual women/female identified partners of transmen? What’s their game eh?
No! How bloody insulting and idiotic.
Lesbians who would be more hurt by a partner leaving them for a man than they would if they were left for another woman should ask themselves why they see heterosexual sex as more legitimate than lesbian sex. It’s devaluing the connection made between two women. Pretty sad, and as bad, inaccurate and offensive as the heternormative society you keep accusing bisexual women of pandering to.
If someone cheats on you it’s because they’re dishonest, or cowardly, or selfish. Or drunk. Or because there isn’t enough trust in the relationship for them to approach you to discuss their attraction to someone else and what can be done about it. Or maybe you don’t treat them well and they’re looking for love elsewhere. People cheat for all sorts of reasons. They do not cheat because of their sexuality any more than they cheat because their hair is brown and their eyes are blue.
It’s so upsetting and downright wrong that there are lesbians who are willing to be so prejudiced towards an entire group of people who are only linked by one thing; who they are attracted to. Surely the years of fighting for our right to love who we love should mean that such attitudes are not welcome in the LGBT community? Bisexual people stand side by side with lesbians, gay men, queers and trans people in the fight for equal rights, and the last thing we need is our own community turning on us, or treating us like we have a disease.