OPINION: Putting the ‘B’ in LGBT

Eric Casey, Staff Writer

It’s great that support for lesbian, gay and transgender groups have accomplished many incredible things.  Recognition in the media has been a huge factor in the way Americans and the rest of the world have come around to respecting those who are different from them. 

With that being said I just have some basic questions.  Where in the world is the support for bisexuals?   

It’s just something I have noticed very recently, but I’m sure the lack of recognition of bisexuals has always been high.

It’s tiring to see news reports of a high school student coming out as gay to his or her entire class at graduation, or a vine celebrity coming out of the closet on YouTube, which suddenly causes a parade around them for days on end.

There are even gay folks out there who seem to have apathy toward bisexuals by saying things like “oh you’re just going through a phase” or “come out as gay and join our side.” 

Ian Valles is a freshman secondary education major and part of Wilkes’ GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). He’s openly bisexual and had a lot to say on the issue.  In regard to gays and lesbians Valles said, “They feel we can’t pick a side and we’re a detriment to their message.  How can you oppress someone when you yourself are being oppressed the same way?” 

However, Valles thinks there has been small progress.   

“We’ve made strides in the general community and we’re much more accepted then we were ten years ago.” 

The worst attitude comes from straight people who say things like “batting for the other team I see?”, “pick a side already!” or even “so you get action twice as much?”

It’s not that those are side-effects of bisexual people, rather they are personality traits seen in all genders.

Em Leonick, a senior English major, had thoughts about those who ignore bisexuals.     

“I think it’s really counterproductive to the movement because I know there are people who don’t think they belong in the community as long as they’re dating someone who isn’t the same sex as them.”

There is a lot of shame and negative stigmas that surround the bisexual community.  We as a country talk about equality for gays and even recently transgender people.  What about people who identify as bisexual? It’s almost like those spreading equality messages are only for equality when it suits them or when it’s for their own cause. 

According to You Gov UK, one in two young adults in the UK ages 18-24 are not 100 percent heterosexual.  That’s 43 percent of young people who do not register as a zero or six on the Kinsey Scale,  where zero is completely heterosexual and a six is completely homosexual.  The amount who did fall on either a zero or six was 52% of the 18-24 year olds. 

The study also points out that with every passing generation, they seem to see their sexuality less fixed in stone like the previous generation. 

It’s not like bisexuals choose to like both sexes, just like you didn’t decide that when you were born that you were going to be straight whether you liked it or not.

It’s time to stop pretending that bisexual people are invisible and some sort of myth.  Brenda Howard was one of the most important figures in the gay rights movement. Did you know she was a bisexual individual who helped organize the first gay pride week after the Stonewall riots in our country?

The media is to blame for the negative stereotypes surrounding the bisexual community.     

The few times that I do see bi character portrayals on television usually exasperates me.  They are always portrayed as “sluts” and overly dramatic flirtatious people who just want sex. 

There’s almost never a character who identifies as bi portrayed as going through a rough time in their life with a serious storyline.

“In the entertainment industry we’re ignored because they like to marginalize the LGBT community into just the gay and lesbian community because they make up a majority of it.  We’re pretty much obscure and rarely mentioned”, Valles said.

Junior English major Josephine Latimer also adds, “bisexual people are never really taken seriously.  Their identities are always invalidated because of the fact they are attracted to both males and females, they’re not seen as queer enough to be part of the LGBT community.” 

She went on to say, “There’s this skepticism into whether they should be part of the community because they may be ‘straight passing’ since at the moment they happen to be in a heterosexual relationship.”

Who knows if the future will be better for those who are bisexual? 

It’s hard enough being bisexual in the real world, but it’s worse not seeing fair portrayals in the media. 

Unfortunately people take what they see in their daily content viewing habits as 100% fact, when in reality it’s just fabricated. As time goes by the LGBT movement to acceptance looks promising to all who identify in this community. To me though, bisexuals seem to be the last part of LGBT that’s left outside looking in.

To further that idea of bisexuals waiting to get their “acceptance,” Valles had the following to say about what he hears throughout campus and everywhere else in general. 

“There’s still naysayers and I’ve heard it on campus too.  I’ve heard people who identify as bisexual say negative things about other bisexual people.  It goes down the line because I also heard bisexual people say negative things about pansexuals and transgenders saying negative things about non-binary people,” Valles said.

“It’s the mentality that you pick on people smaller than you which is a natural human thing as sad as that is.”