Bisexual people are torn between the straight and the gay community, being told by both straight and gay people to “pick a side.” Bisexual individuals face a number of serious issues, including discrimination, stereotypes, wage imparity, and poorer health.
Bisexual women are often told that they are actually straight and are just vying for men’s attention. Bisexual guys are told they are simply too scared to come out of the closet. Other things bi people have to hear, unfortunately for them, are that they’re just “going through a phase”, that they’re slutty, indecisive, greedy, and more. They’re bombarded with offers for threesomes, especially bi women.
Sadly, many straight and gay people have yet to grasp the notion of nuance. Human sexuality is a continuum, with strictly straight on one end and strictly gay on the other. The vast majority of people are somewhere along the continuum between the two extremes. Very few people are 100% straight or 100% gay. To an extent, you could say we’re all bi.
Apart from those above (slutty, greedy, lascivious, indecisive), it is assumed bi people are into kink or promiscuous. Objectively, many bi people are looking for traditional, monogamous relationships. It’s sad how much denial, misunderstanding, and hostility continue to plague bisexuals, considering that they comprise 50% of the LGBT population in America.
Bisexuals face unique obstacles and outcomes that homophobia alone cannot explain. For example, gay and lesbian people are much more likely to be “out” than bisexuals. Bisexual men earn the lowest income of all men, and bi women earn the least of all women. Bisexuals face higher poverty rates than both gay and straight. Of all women, bisexualsface the highest risk of getting cancer, while bisexual men are more likely to smoke and abuse alcohol and drugs. Finally, bisexuals are more likely to consider or attempt suicide than gays and lesbians, who are themselves more likely to do so than heterosexuals.
The Role of Pop Culture
Pop culture does nothing more than perpetuate stereotypes of bi people. On Millionaire Matchmaker, someone said that bi men were gay and bi women made unfit mothers. Actress Anna Paquin, who is bi and married, was asked if she was a “non-practicing bisexual” by Larry King on his show. On Dear Prudence, it was stated that bi women married to men shouldn’t “out” themselves because it would make everyone uncomfortable. These and more are the issues bisexuals face today.