What do bottlenose dolphins and bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) have in common?
One could potentially note both species’ exceptional intelligence, communication skills, memorization abilities, and self-awareness. Perhaps one would draw attention to the fact that both species have had a significant influence on modern culture, both having been the focus of many popular television shows, movie franchises, and novels. One could point out simply that both are mammals whose English name begins with the letter “B.”
A lesser-known similarity of bottlenose dolphins and bonobos, coincidentally also beginning with the letter “B,” is bisexuality. Both of these species are known for exhibiting bisexual behavior, both in captivity and in the wild. If that comes as a surprise to you, according to an article published in Yale Scientific, currently animals in more than 10% of prevailing species throughout the world have been confirmed to exhibit forms of homosexual behavior. Despite this, among humans and across many cultures, bisexuality is viewed as unnatural, along with fictional, optional, and greedy.
Bisexuality has even become the black sheep of the LGBTQA movement, with many members of the queer community referring to bisexuals as “bi-sluts.” Bisexuals are more often than not thought to be either a straight individual going through an experimental phase or a gay individual who is making a slow transition to settling on an identity of either gay or straight. Bisexual men seemingly get the brunt of this “pick a side” pestering, with many queer individuals stating simply that bisexual men are a myth. Contrastingly, bisexual women are often seen as slutty straight girls going through a phase and lesser individuals in the lesbian community because of our potential attraction to members of the opposite sex.
I find it so difficult to grasp why people who are part of a minority, who have fought and continue to fight for their rights and know how cruel the world can be to people who are different, would harbor these toxic opinions and spend their energy berating and spreading falsities about members of their own minority. Possibly the worst part of this all is that many members of the LGBTQA community realize how difficult it is to live life as a bisexual. Many queer individuals have stated that if they were bisexual, they would identify as gay or lesbian to avoid the harassment from the rest of the LGBTQA community and society as a whole. Despite this, many of the individuals saying this have contributed and continue to contribute to the judgment against bisexuals.
In the premier of the second season of Girls on HBO, Elijah, the bisexual ex-boyfriend of Hannah, states, “People are so prejudiced against bisexuals, though. It’s like the only group of people you can still make fun of.” Why is this the case? Perhaps it’s the threat of sexual fluidity that bisexuals are thought to possess and how it contrasts with the argument of sexuality being a genetic predisposition rather than a choice, which causes this bashing within the LGBTQA community.
Bisexuality, however, is not a choice. As a bisexual woman, I have the potential of being attracted to both men and women, but I didn’t choose to be this way and I definitely can’t choose who I am attracted to or who I end up falling for. So yeah, I suppose I could marry a man and appear outwardly to have an easy life from the perspective of the LGBTQA community, but if I marry that man to avoid society’s judgment when I’m in love and want to be with a woman, I’m just as closeted as a gay individual forcing themselves into a straight person’s role.
Bisexuality is also seen as greedy by many, since bisexuals seemingly have “double the options” of people to date. Yes, I can be attracted to people from two different genders, but I’m not attracted to everyone I see. I still have standards and there’s still the possibility that the other person feels differently than I do, which is common since many people refuse to date bisexuals. I don’t sit back and play Eenie Meenie Miney Mo with potential suitors, and I doubt many bisexuals do. I have a fairly normal dating life (if not a less eventful one) compared to my straight and gay counterparts; the only difference is that sometimes I go for men and sometimes I go for women.
There’s another misconception that when a bisexual person enters a relationship, they now assume the identity of gay or straight, depending on who they’re dating. Regardless of whether I’m dating or married to someone, my identity will always be bisexual; it doesn’t change according to who your partner is.
Finally, I’d like to draw attention to possibly the biggest fabrication surrounding bisexuality, and this is that we are all ‘bisluts’. The belief that all bisexuals are sluts is a massive generalization and an untrue one at that. Lesbian YouTuber Stevie Boebi had this to say about the struggle of bisexual women in the world of lesbians, “Bisexual women are not more accepted than straight men and lesbians – they are more sexualized. This does not make life easier for them, and it sure as fuck doesn’t help when you have lesbians constantly degrading them and saying they’re less than pure, or some even saying they don’t exist.” True, I am bisexual, but I will not steal your girlfriend or boyfriend or sleep with everyone you know. And no, I’m not interested in joining in on a threesome with you and your partner. Granted, some bisexuals are sluts, however, so are some gay and straight women and men. To make a generalization that all bisexuals are sluts is just as asinine as making the generalization that all lesbians have short hair and scissor and all gay men are effeminate and work in the fashion industry.
If you are a member of the LGBTQA community, open your eyes and realize that we are in this together. Regardless of what letter in the acronym represents your minority, there is strength in numbers and I’m asking for your help in breaking the stigma surrounding bisexuality. Let’s put a stop to the discrimination within our own community and realize that we are all fighting for the same cause. If nothing else, let’s stop spreading these false ideas regarding bisexuals, because if these lies are coming from the LGBTQA community, it provides the notion outside our community that they must be valid.
Bisexuality is not a choice. It is not unnatural, greedy, or slutty, and it’s definitely not a myth. Your view of an individual should not be tainted according to the minority they belong to. Just as you should not view someone as a lesser person because of their skin color, religion or gender, you should not view someone as lesser because they are bisexual.
September 23rd was Bisexual Visibility Day and I hope I’ve done my part to raise awareness about some of the misconceptions surrounding bisexuality. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought on the topic of bisexuality and the acceptance of bisexuals in society, both inside and outside of the LGBTQA community.