Tag Archives: desire

Biphobia in the Queer Community

9 May

This post is a response and an expansion to an article I found on a British lesbian website, whose provocative title “Why Do Lesbians Hate Bisexuals?” is way harsher than its content. The article actually works to debunk a lot of myths lesbians might have toward bisexual women, and seeks to unpack some biphobia coming from the queer lesbian community. Finally, I plan to explore some of my own internalized biphobia that led me to claim “queer” instead of “bisexual.”

“She’s not strong enough to be a dyke.”

The article is pretty clever in explaining lesbian subculture, and how queer women need that space and claim that identity in order to feel kinship and community. The bi world just doesn’t have that. Once an individual commits to a lesbian identity, she risks losing a lot (a job, her family, services and rights, getting gay-bashed on the street) and the lesbian community is there to respect that: you lose a lot, but you gain a family, who understands and supports you (in an ideal world). If you look queer enough, you might get a dyke nod from a stranger. You might get a discount on a latte from a lesbian barista. You might find community because other lesbians know you’re strong enough to be a dyke.

Bisexual women are not included in this. There is no bi-girl nod. There is no bi-girl softball team. There is no way to look bi (readers, challenge me on this). The reasoning behind this is that bi women, according to myth, do not lose much by coming out as bi. There’s not as much risk to danger or harassment. They might look straight enough not to get hassled on the street. Their parents aren’t worried. They don’t have to come out at work, and if they do, it might just come off as a charming peculiarity, or a certain open-mindedness. Being bi never comes off as a militant, political statement, like it reads for lesbians. They are still safe, with one foot in the straight world. They might date men and get married and have babies one day. Even worse, they might date you for the good sex and then leave you to marry a man, or experiment with you in order to look more world-traveled and sexually adventurous to a man. Oh, the indignation!

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