“It’s a straight! It’s a gay! Wait—it’s a bisexual!”

By Sierra Voorhies

As a bisexual, I have encountered bisexual erasure first hand, but bisexual erasure also affects other identities under the Bi+ umbrella (encompassing anyone who is attracted to two or more different genders). Bisexual erasure or invisibility is when “the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright.”

In the media GLAAD says that “Bi+ characters make up 25 percent of regular and recurring LGBTQ characters [on broadcast television]” despite the fact that “more than half of all non-heterosexual people in the United States identify as bisexual.” If there are more bisexuals than gays or lesbians, why are bisexuals less represented? 

This is tricky because, like the wage gap, there are a lot of factors contributing to bi erasure. First, bisexuals have a list of hurtful stereotypes that are commonly portrayed in media. These include portraying bisexuals as attention-seeking (they are willing to take attention wherever they can get it) or as confused (they just haven’t figured out who they’re attracted to yet, they will have to choose one day). Another is the belief that someone’s bisexuality is revoked as soon as they are in a relationship. As soon as a pansexual woman starts dating a man, for example, the fact that she is still attracted to other genders is ignored and she is seen as straight. This is invalidating and can make bi+ people feel isolated, unseen, or pushed out of the queer community—people are still bi+ no matter who they happen to be with. 

Bisexual erasure is especially destructive to women and foc people because, as you know if you caught Ace’s most recent blog post, feminine relationships are already invalidated, and hypersexualized. Some people still reference Freud in relation to feminine relationships: there must be some masculine centered trauma that would make a FOC person turn to a woman besides a man for a relationship. Discrimination of women compounds with bisexual erasure in order to oppress bisexual foc people. 

People are who they are no matter who they are dating. Sapphic relationships are beautiful and aren’t formed because of trauma. Bisexuals are still bisexual no matter what gender they are currently dating.