I hear a lot of talk about bisexual women, like they’re not a real thing – despite there being a definite part of the population that openly identifies as bisexual. Lesbians often think that either they’re “pretending” to like girls, or they’re “afraid” to come out as fully gay, and in certain contexts, that assumption makes sense – but only to the person who’s making the assumption. The bisexual woman will almost never agree with these assumptions, because they rely on stereotypes and misconceptions.
Many people in the gay community feel like coming out as bisexual would be the easier alternative, as opposed to coming out as gay, because “at least the woman would be able to use heterosexual privilege to their benefit” or some other such nonsense.
But, the truth is, bisexual women face their own unique set of complications when they come out. Bi erasure is a real thing, and most gay (and straight) people would rather pretend that it’s not possible to fall somewhere in the middle. Beyond that, many bisexual women face over-sexualization from both sides of the spectrum, and there are often assumptions that it’s all about sex.
The ironic thing is that, as lesbians, we are faced with many of the same types of discrimination that we, in turn, use against bi women. Most people don’t want to hear that they’re a hypocrite, though, so they pretend that it’s different if it’s a bisexual. The rules of common decency somehow don’t apply.
I have collected a list of things that bisexual women are absolutely sick of hearing – so strike them from your vocabulary, ASAP. Don’t even think about saying any of these things to a bi woman, or you deserve every bit of hostility it incites.
1. You only say you’re bi to be more attractive to men.
Yes, some men are attracted to bi girls. But that doesn’t mean that bisexuals are bi for them. The lines are a little fuzzy if the woman says she’s bi-curious, as some girls do question their sexuality in response to a partner’s requests, but generally speaking, if she says she’s bi, it’s because she knows, she’s bisexual. Don’t assume you know her better than she knows herself. She doesn’t have to prove anything to you, or anyone else.
2. You can’t be bi if you’ve never been with a girl.
This is one that we, as lesbians, often face personally: A lesbian virgin is assumed to be straight, and just hasn’t met “the right guy”. Or, a lesbian that’s been with many women (but no men) can’t possibly know that she’s not actually bisexual. Likewise, lesbians who have had sex with men – but maybe not with a woman – couldn’t possibly know that they’re not really bi… Right? Well, it’s just as wrong when it’s said to them as when it’s said to us. It is entirely possible (and quite likely) that she knows who she’s attracted to, whether she has acted on it or not.
3. Are you sure you’re not really gay?
This one is tough, because it’s something most bisexuals ask themselves when they first realize they’re attracted to the same sex. Society has conditioned people to think there are only two options – gay or straight – because most people fall into one of those two categories. But some people are genuinely attracted to both males and females – and this makes them bi. Not gay and in denial. Bi.
4. I bet I can fix that.
Whether this is said by a straight man trying to tip the scales, or a lesbian trying to tip the scales, you can’t fix a bi woman, because there’s nothing wrong with her. And now that you’ve made it sound like you think there’s something wrong with her, she’s definitely not going to let you get into her pants. No one likes having their identity questioned by someone else.
5. You just want to sleep with everyone.
Since bisexual women are attracted to both men and women, there’s an assumption that they’ll be attracted to all men and women – which simply isn’t true. As a lesbian, are you attracted to every female you meet? Chances are, you’re not – and most likely there’s an even smaller portion that you actually want to sleep with. It’s the same for bisexuals, except they’re open to men or women.
6. It’s just a phase.
Sometimes, sexuality is just a phase. But there is literally no way to tell if someone is going to “grow out of it” (not that that’s a very good way to put it), even if that person is yourself. If anything, bisexuals are the one group in the LGBT group that can’t be a phase – once you’ve been attracted to men and women, even those who now identify as straight or gay will be lumped into the bisexual group. (I still struggle with convincing my girlfriend that I am not, in fact, a bisexual, but rather a lesbian who spent some time confused – not that there’s anything wrong with bisexuals, I just know that’s not who I am.)
7. I wish I could be bi! (Wo)men are so annoying.
Well, in the definition that most people take, anyone can “be bi” – simply hook up with someone who is not of your preferred gender. But really, it’s a lot more than that. Just as lesbians can’t be straight (although many of us have tried) and some bi-curious individuals find out that they are, in fact, 100% definitely super straight, you can’t consciously change your sexuality – and to think you can just flip a switch when you’re tired of one gender is insulting and ridiculous. People are annoying – this is not a gender-specific problem.
8. You’re just confused – who you end up marrying will determine your real sexuality.
Fun fact: Marriage does not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Even though most people are faithful in their marriages, that doesn’t mean that a bisexual will magically “become straight” or “become gay” depending on the gender of the person (or people) they eventually marry. A bisexual married to a man is still bisexual, just as a bisexual married to a woman is still bisexual. (Just like a “marriage of convenience” has never once changed a person’s orientation – just let that sink in for a minute.)
9. I don’t date bi girls, because they’ll cheat on me and/or leave me.
If a person is a cheater, you better believe that has nothing to do with their orientation. I’ve dated bi girls, and I’ve dated lesbians, and the number of them who cheated on me is actually about equal. (I think I’ve probably been with more lesbians who cheated on me with their exes – maybe that’s a stereotype we should explore?) The fact of the matter is, if a person is going to stray, they’re going to stray. Just because you perceive a bisexual as having more options with who to stray to doesn’t mean it’s more likely – it means you’re discriminating. (Note: It is okay to have preferences with who you date, but these preferences should not be based on assumptions and stereotypes.)
10. Since you’re bi, would you be interested in a threesome?
Listen. If you’re going to have a threesome, I say, that’s great for you – there’s a chance it could be a totally enjoyable experience for everyone involved. But that doesn’t mean that someone automatically wants to join in just because they’re interested in men and women. There are still factors that influence their attraction, and unless she happens to be attracted to you and your partner (and doesn’t have any moral objections to the idea of threesomes), she’s probably going to say no – and you can count on your friendship being awkward and strained after that.