‘How will I know which is which?’
‘By the taste. You can only know a good wine if you have first tasted a bad one."
I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to answer you second question first!
Why does it matter?
A lot of people don’t realize this but bi erasure is such a prominent issue in every form of media and in everyday life.
Some people that identify (or are deceased and have been identified) as bisexual are Freddie Mercury, Anne Frank, Megan Fox, Kourtney Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Angelina Jolie, Grace Jones, Frank Ocean, Shane Jenek, and a lot more that I’m personally not familiar with so I don’t want to speak on.
Many of these people, like Lady Gaga for instance have explicitly identified as bisexual, but most people in the media and in her fan base see it as “Oh Gaga is so sexy! But I’m sure she’s actually straight.” or “It’s just a publicity stunt to try and shock people.” etc.
Frank Ocean, after coming out as bisexual has been labeled as gay by every media outlet that I have seen talk about it.
Angelina Jolie and Kourtney Kardashian are both openly and bluntly bisexual but since they’re married to men that part of their identity gets stripped away.
Television shows like Orange is the New Black, while having an openly bisexual protagonist, has not once, in 26 episodes, said “bisexual”. They do everything they can to skip around that word! By piper replying to her family by saying “actually [sexuality isn’t one thing or another] its kind of on a spectrum.” or “What can I say, I like hot boys, I like hot girls. I’m shallow.” But as you can see she never came outright and identified herself. This can lead to teenagers watching the show that aren’t sure about their sexuality yet to even more confusion. “Wait…so am I straight when I’m with a girl but gay when I’m with a boy?”
Bi erasure comes in many different forms. The main ones are as follows:
Mislabeling people as gay or straight when they are out as bi. (ex. Lady Gaga or Frank Ocean)
Using non-inclusive language. (ex. Gay couples, Gay marriage, even when the relationship involves one or more bisexual people. It’s always better to opt for the phrase “Same sex” ie. Same sex marriage, Same sex couple. Or even better, “Marriage” and “Couple”)
Denying that Bisexuality exists. (ex. saying, “If you’re with someone of the same sex you’re gay ad if you’re with someone of the opposite sex your straight!”)
Bi erasure is so much of a problem. You can see the effects such as how bisexual people are more likely to be abused, raped, or stalked by their partner. (61% of bisexual women in comparison to 44% of lesbians and 35% of heterosexual women. 37% of bisexual men in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men and 26% of gay men) Those statistics are even more shocking when you realize that bisexuals are also less likely to report sexual violence due to the fact that they are often labeled “promiscuous”.
Bisexuals have higher rates of anxiety, depression, STI diagnoses, heart disease, cancer risk factors, and tobacco usage in comparison to gays and straights. (http://biresource.net/)
Most of these are related to stress of not fitting in in the straight community nor in the LGBTQ community.
Xena is one of the only well known characters I have seen that has been portrayed as having both male and female romantic and sexual partners. She is canonically bisexual having had sex with and been attracted to both women and men. Yet the fanbase still labels her as a lesbian because she ended up with a woman. Her bisexuality does not go away when she settle in to a relationship. Just like I don’t suddenly become unemployed when I come home from work.
I made this blog so people like you would ask questions like this. In hope of better educating people about bisexuality. I mean I personally don’t think Xena would label herself as anything, but that does not change the fact that she is bisexual presenting at the very least. Bisexuality is the attraction to two or more genders and Xena definitely was attracted to people of two or more genders.
Was this blog really needed?