Correcting myths about bisexuality

As we celeberate Bisexuality Visibility Day, it is important to remember that all bisexuality refers to is a sexual orientation in which a person is not limited to one gender in their attraction. We need to do better in reminding those in our community that all identities are equally legitimate and should be respected as such.

Happy Bisexuality Visibility Day!

Below, please find some myths about bisexuality along with the facts.

MYTH: “Bisexuality is just a phase before someone comes out as gay or lesbian.”
FACT: It’s true that some people identify as bisexual before later identifying as something different, just as some people identify as straight before coming out as LGBTQ. Other people identify as gay or lesbian before coming out as bisexual. Bisexuality is unique because it recognizes the often fluid nature of romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction, but this does not make it any less legitimate than other sexual orientations. For the vast majority of people, it is not a phase.

MYTH: “People who consider themselves to be bisexual are actually heterosexual, but they are simply experimenting or trying to be trendy.
FACT:This is a common form of prejudice that bi people face. People are free to experiment with their sexuality and dismissing this as attempting to be “cool” is a way of invalidating their experience. Even if some people who experiment come to identify as heterosexual, this does not invalidate the people who have come to accept their bisexual identity.

MYTH: “One cannot identify as bisexual unless they have been in a relationship with both a man and a woman.”
FACT: Many people know they are bisexual before they are ever in a relationship, just as many people know they are gay or straight at young ages. It is not necessary to have romantic experience with both genders or either gender before identifying as bisexual. Moreover, when a bisexual person gets married, their orientation does not change.

MYTH: “Bisexuals aren’t as oppressed as gay men and lesbians because they have heterosexual privilege/they are ‘half-straight.’”
FACT: Bisexuals struggle to be visible in both the straight and gay communities. Bisexuals often encounter both the discrimination that gay men and lesbians face in addition to discrimination rooted in biphobia. Bisexuals do not attempt to hide their identities under a guise of heterosexuality any more than gay men or lesbians might.

MYTH: “Bi people are equally attracted to men and women.”
FACT: Some bisexuals do experience a ’50/50 attraction’ to different gender identities but many do not have preferences that fit into a neatly split percentage or a set percentage in who they choose. Preferences may change over time and a percentage split is a really poor way of examining something as complex as sexual attraction.

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