Bi Erasure: Erasing Between the Lines
by Nicholaus James Jodlowski | published Dec. 10th, 2015
The idea of being attracted to both genders is still so abnormal to some people that they can’t even grasp the concept, erasing an entire spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community and someone’s identity in the process. While the LGBTQIA+ community faces discrimination and issues with equal rights on a daily basis, there is one community within the spectrum that deals with discrimination from within the LGBTQIA+ community itself.
Being bisexual is possessing a sexual attraction to both males and females. Since bisexual people are in-between the spectrum of heterosexuality and homosexuality, they get criticized by both sides of the spectrum, causing bisexual erasure to happen. Bi-erasure is the tendency to ignore or falsify the existence of bisexuality in history or the media as well as flat-out denying that bisexuality even exists.
“I know that it's something the Bi community struggles with,” says Richard Loya, a 4th year Sign Language Interpreting Major who identifies as gay. “I feel like it's because so many people use it as kind of a safety net when they're coming out; they come out first as bi, then gay.”
People have a hard time believing bisexuality is real because people use it as a gateway to come out without actually saying they're gay. This causes a problem because as more people do this, it gives the bi community a reputation that they simply exist as a transition phase to becoming gay, which isn't true at all. When we do this, it makes bisexual people feel as if their identity is false and it makes them scared to come out as bisexual because many people will assume it's a phase.
“I feel like its not fair to the bi community," Richard continues. "It's degrading them and looking down on them when they don’t really deserve that; they’re just trying much like everyone else to fit in. I think that a lot of discrimination against the Bi community comes from the LGBT community, which is bizarre because the B in LGBT stands for bisexual."
What makes the LGBTQIA+ community potentially rally against bisexuality is that they feel as if people who are bi have it easier than them because they can "choose" to be straight and "fit in," or be gay whenever they want to be. It ruins the sense of community that members of the LGBTQIA+ identity have if they discriminate against bi people. Even though this isn't true for entire LGBTQIA+ community, it is still present within it to a significant degree, which really makes living much harder for the bi community. Like everyone else, bi individuals just want to belong.
“I think people aren’t accepting of the truth in them," Richard adds. "I think people are against the idea of bisexuality, of somebody literally being attracted to both genders. I think that people also just don’t understand it."
The whole idea of bi-erasure truly erases a part of who bisexual people are and leaves them feeling like they're missing something. We all should support what makes them who they are and allow them to take back what we're currently taking from them.