GUEST POST: For Celebrate Bisexuality Day, bridge the divide, don't widen it

This guest post was written by Katy Butler. Katy is a former GLAAD intern and the receipent of a GLAAD Media Special Recognition Award for her petition to change the rating of the documentary film BULLY from an R rating to PG-13. She continues to be active in educating people about bullying.

The divide between lesbians and bisexuals is not a new issue in the LGBT community. Ignorance, fear and lack of acceptance are all issues the LGBT community faces as a whole when advocating for equality but they are also issues that present themselves among each of the letters that make up the LGBT community. Bi-phobic attitudes and actions are something I have personally struggled with. 

I had identified as a lesbian for years but recently I fell for a guy.  I struggled with not knowing what that meant for my lesbian identity internally but I was also concerned with how this would affect my place in the lesbian community.  I was afraid people would view me as a "traitor" - something I had heard a few of my lesbian friends use to describe other people in my situation. 

When I finally did tell a few of my friends, I did get accepting responses, but others were exactly was I feared.  One person told me I would never be happy with a man.  Another person said that I was confused. I expected to hear phrases like that when I told people I liked girls but not when I liked a boy.  I feared being ostracized from the community I loved so much because the bisexual label created an artificial divide. 

Recently, HuffPost Live explored the divide between lesbians and bisexuals in “Is There a Rift between Lesbians and Bi Women?

This panel discussion was in response to a YouTube video entitled, “What Lesbians Think about Bisexuals” (the video is included in the HuffPost Live discussion). The creator of the video, Arielle Scarella, asked a group of lesbians their opinions on bisexual women.  The responses named all of the myths and stereotypes that bisexual people face. The response in the video hurt and alienated many bisexual women.  In the end of the video Arielle attempts to explain that her goal was not to be mean but to show people this divide. 

The divide between lesbians and bisexuals is an important issue, but creating an offensive and demeaning video that alienates bisexual people is not the way to start that conversation.  All Scarella did was give a platform to the myths and stereotypes without dismantling them.  Instead of helping to solve a problem, she simply heightened the tension. 

Today is Celebrate Bisexuality Day. We should be celebrating our identities and learning more about the identities of each other.  The only way to truly bridge the divide between lesbian and bisexual women is to have an honest conversation where everyone is willing to admit mistakes, learn from each other and have an open mind.