‘The pie or the chocolate cake madam?’

‘Both please’.

‘What?!’

 

Bisexuality, a sexual identity surrounded by such terminology as ‘confusion’, ‘indecision’ and ‘greediness’. Scientists, LGBT campaigners and passionate members of the public frequently campaign for the idea that bisexuality does exist, and fight against those who dismiss the bi agenda.

The amount of misunderstanding towards the bisexual community has been on the rise. One study shows that the number of ‘out and proud’ bisexuals is at a mere 28 per cent compared to 77 per cent of gay men and 71 per cent of lesbians. [1] Labelled by the media as ‘sex crazed’ and ‘confused’ it is no wonder bisexuals stay in the closet.

This leads us to the question of why bisexuality in particular is so uneasily received by the public? Whereas lesbian and gay individuals seem to have gained much greater social acceptance and enjoy a certain status within the media, bisexuals are still largely left out from this progression of the LGBT society.

Michael Du Plessis in his chapter, ‘Blatantly Bisexual: or, Unthinking Queer Theory’ states: ‘Bisexuality carries extreme values, so that it can be extolled as progressive, “chic”, as a panacea, a fantasy, a promised land, regressive, a red herring, a cop-out, a lie, a dead-end street’. This quotation aptly describes the common misconceptions surrounding bisexuality and explains the public’s association of bisexuality with indecision.

This leads to the basic argument surrounding bisexual representation as the public asks: Aren’t you one or the other?

The bisexual community however has one main objective and that is to be recognised as an integral but independent part of the LGBT scene.

It is largely assumed that a bisexual man or woman will have a preference to one gender over the other. We the public often find ourselves giving in to easy labels where two men together are automatically assumed as ‘gay’ just as we think that a man and a women together are ‘straight’.  These labels are consistently used by the media and ultimately fail to recognised the important aspect to a bisexual’s identity: equal attraction to both sexes.

A recent study [2] has shown that 49 per cent of young adults consider themselves not fully heterosexual, yet this statistic is hardly represented in the media. The popular hash tag #StillBisexual expresses the frustration with bisexual characters featured in TV shows such as, Orange is the New Black, Glee and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Emily Dievendorf, in her article [3]Bisexual Invisibility Has Dangerous Consequences‘  expresses that ‘There is an acute stress that comes from feeling like you are not a legitimate member of a community’ — likely reflecting on the lack of adequate representation for bisexuals within the media. It seems that the misrepresentation of bisexuals on television reflects the lack of recognition from the general public. And this is an issue which the LGBT community is desperately trying to tackle through social media campaigns.

The bisexual community is struggling to gain recognition. The hugely controversial article in the New York Times ‘Gay, Straight or lying?’ [4] founded by Dr Bailey, caused a popular debate over this subject back in 2005. Bailey concludes: ‘I’m not denying that bisexual behaviour exists, but I am saying that in men there’s no hint that true bisexual arousal exists, and that for men arousal is orientation’.  The Channel 4 documentary The sex researchers involving a penile plethysmograph to measure sexual arousal, was found to be hideously old-fashioned and caused a large wave of official complaints due to the misleading and inaccurate nature of its ‘research’. The series began and ended with the ridiculously oppressive idea that most women are bisexual while hardly any men are. The study offered an insight into the research dealing with bisexual inclinations and in this instance found that some studies into sexuality do not always fall within favour of the LGBT society.

Bisexuality is simply the name for the sexual orientation in which there is attraction to more than one sex and it holds just as much significance as lesbian or gay sexualities. Members of the public and the media should aim to overcome misconceptions surrounding bisexuality. It not only represents a distinct sexual identity but also forms a core part of the LGBT society.

 

Sources:

Title Quote  Sitcker, Queer Terrorist Network c.1993

[1] Study showing ‘out and proud’ bisexuals — http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/14/local/la-me-bisexuality-20130715

[2] Percentage of bisexual young adults — http://www.advocate.com/bisexuality/2015/08/18/study-half-british-young-adults-not-100-percent-heterosexual

[3] Why it’s important that bisexuality is represented — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emily-dievendorf/bisexual-invisibility-has_b_1370079.html

[4] Dr Bailey’s study — http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/health/straight-gay-or-lying-bisexuality-revisited.html?_r=0&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Health&action=keypress&region=FixedLeft&pgtype=article