From the heterosexual community, there have been many examples of an effort to diminish the merit of the bisexual identity. In an era where media has become integral to forming and maintaining one's identity, it is imperative to understand that sexuality is a fluid thing. Gender and sexuality do not rely on each other. However, both are spectrums that humans perform and exist in. A disgusting trend in media, that has influenced this post, is the appropriation of the bisexual identity to boost ratings and overall increase revenue. From film, to television, and music, it is difficult to find an example of someone who is truly bisexual. Even worse, is that bisexuality remains seen as a "phase" by many because of the way this identity is represented in popular media. People who identify as bisexual are seen as either experimenting or buying time before they come out as gay.
What's infuriating is that I have seen this phenomena happen first hand.
As discussed in the book You Can Tell Just By Looking, popular television, such as Gossip Girl, has used the image of two cis gender females kissing in order to garner in ratings as well as potential advertisers (Bronski, Pellegrini, Amico, 2013, 110). The importance of this incident is that as a writer who has seen this particular show, I can firmly say that this episode used a typical bisexual experience and exploited it for capital. In the context of this episode the two girls kiss while in a three some, in an effort to arouse the cis gender male protagonist. Rather than treating it like a real lifestyle, independent of outside forces, this depiction suggests that bisexuality can be influenced into someone. Also, as revealed in my studies across media, the idea of bisexuality becoming a capital trope exists even outside of popular media, it also finds use in the adult film industry.
To be specific, a popular porn category geared to the cis gender male community is lesbian porn. The reason this point is important is because these films will portray two females engaged in intercourse, as directed by a cis gender male, and will further solidify the idea that the bisexual experience is simply an economic gimmick, something made for shock value. After the film, the actresses may star in other films with male actors, yet the porn will be labeled straight, and these women can return to society as cis gender heterosexual women. Both portrayals present the idea that one can undergo a bisexual experience and then return back into typical heterosexual life. This however creates a problem. It creates the “passing privilege” phenomena, which is a prime reason the homosexual community seeks to erase the solidity of the bisexual identity
The homophile movement was created when self identified homosexuals sought to join mainstream society, or to be precise assimilate into it. Candidly, it was a movement unique that required an extreme amount of work and support. Thus, many in the homosexual community are often bitter to those who identify as bisexual because they possess the “passing privilege.” This is the belief that because bisexuals are able to indulge in, as stated in “sexuality [that is] intended for procreation,” as stated in the article “The Social Construction of Sexuality,” meaning heteronormative relationships and intercourse, they are able to easily assimilate into mainstream heterosexual society (Hubbard, 1991, 65). Thus, many in the homosexual community see bisexuality as a “cop out” method used by individuals who are not fully committed to the LGBT+ cause and movement. They see bisexuals as care free individuals who see sexuality as a joke. Furthermore, also revealed in YCTJBL is the fact that in the 1970s when bisexuality arose it was promoted by individuals who sought out an edgy care free life, and was further portrayed by individuals who used bisexuality as an excuse to date both males and females. Thus, the homosexual community has sought to erase bisexuality as a serious sexuality because they see it a threat to their own assimilation into mainstream society. They believe that bisexuals are playing in both realms and make “gayness” seem like a mask one can dawn for a set amount of time.
In a more conjoined effort, both heterosexuals and homosexuals see bisexuality as an excuse to be promiscuous. Both parties believe that because a bisexual individual is attracted to members from both parties the bisexual individual can never settle down. Someone dating a bisexual believes that they have twice the competition. When in reality this is not the case, because just as someone who is gay or straight has their own preferred types, so do bisexuals. I believe that bisexuality is as real as any other sexuality, and deserves to be portrayed as seriously as all other members of the LGBT+ soup.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.