The constant misconception surrounding bisexuals is perpetuated by a fundamental prejudice that exists in both heterosexual and queer communities.
Bisexuality is the sexual attraction to both men and woman yet often bisexuals are made to feel their sexual orientation is illegitimate by defamatory statements made out of ignorance.
Within the LGBT community the line “bisexuals are just greedy,” or “they just don’t want to identify as gay,” is said with little regard for the turmoil a bisexual may feel. The queer community prides itself on inclusivity but the lack of understanding some Gay and Lesbians articulate are causing bisexuality to be perceived by heterosexual communities as a “lesser” sexual preference.
Psychologists who study the origins of sexuality continue to rely on Sigmund Freud’s theory of ‘innate bisexuality.’ His hypothesis stated we are all born bisexual until we develop a monosexual orientation. This theory is still used to denigrate bisexual adults, with some psychologists claiming an immaturity in sexual development. In 2005 a study by a team of psychologists in Chicago and Toronto concluded “bisexuals are simply closeted gays.” The study examined male responses to sexual stimuli and gauged their mental desire using the Kinsey Scale. The results continue to be used to validate heteronormative theories among psychologists.
Heterosexual misconception is perpetuated by societal norms, which attempt to legitimise bisexuality as “just a phase.” Another slanderous argument often uttered among misunderstanding communities is “they are just overly sexual” or “a slut.” This defaming forces bisexuals to feel inadequate and often misunderstood. The confusion associated with all of these misconceptions can transfer onto those who are legitimately bisexual.
La Trobe University conducted a study into sexual health and relationships within Australia. The survey was the most comprehensive ever conducted and the results conclude: 97.4% of men identified as heterosexual, 1.6% as gay and 0.9% as bisexual. For women 97.7% identified as heterosexual, 0.8% as gay and 1.4% as bisexual. Nevertheless, 8.6% of men and 15.1% of women reported either feelings of attraction to the same sex or some sexual experience with the same sex. Half the men and two thirds of the women who had same sex sexual experience regarded themselves as heterosexual rather than homosexual.
These statistics prove that the fallacies sub-communities germinate force bisexual and bi-curious people to deny their sexual identity, or at very least feel uncomfortable about it. It would appear bi-curious Australians are more common than generally perceived. For this reason the misconceptions that force bisexuals to defend their sexuality needs to be addressed if we are to create an inclusive society. The truth is bisexuality should be embraced, this minority group has the potential to act as a bridge between the two ends of the spectrum, they can provide alternative perspectives through life experience and understanding to monosexual orientations. Their sexual orientation needs to be treated with the same value we who sit on one side or the other expect for ourselves.