A Quick #BiWeek Refresher for 20biteen

Welcome to the start of Bisexual+ Awareness Week! In preparation for the content coming out of GLAAD around the experiences of the bi+ community, below is a (non-exhaustive) list of common terms frequently used within the bi+ community as well as some common myths and ways to confront them.

TERMS

Bisexual/Bi

A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience their attractions in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Some bi+ people are attracted to people of all genders equally. Others may have attractions that are predominantly towards one gender over others.

Bi Erasure

A pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality+ (either in regard to an individual or as an identity) is questioned or denied outright.

Biphobia

Fear of bisexuals+, often based on stereotypes, including inaccurate associations with infidelity, promiscuity, and transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

Bisexual+ Umbrella/Bi+

An encompassing term for people with the capacity to be attracted to more than once gender. Includes people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and more.

Pansexual/Pan

A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to people of all genders or to people regardless of gender.

Polysexual

An individual who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to a range of people of various - but not necesarily all - genders. For example, a woman may identify as polysexual if she is attracted to other women (cis and trans) as well as nonbinary individuals.

Queer

Once a pejorative term, now reclaimed by some LGBTQ people to describe themselves. Typically used as an umbrella term to describe someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity falls outside of cisgender and heterosexual. It is important to note that you should only describe someone as "Queer" if they use that as a label for themself. 

Fluid

Attraction that changes or might change over time to people of various genders.

 

MYTHS

Below are some common myths about identifying within the bi+ community. In order to avoid them, it is best not to assume a person’s identity or their specific motivations for or experiences related to the identities they use. One must also avoid conflating or interchanging these terms despite the similarities one might observe.

Myth 1: Identifying as bisexual is inherently trans-exclusive or excludes non-binary individuals.

Bisexuality+ is no more inherently transphobic than being straight or gay/lesbian. In fact, a majority of Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming people identify as Bisexual+. Telling stories about Trans/Gender-nonconforming people who identify as bi+ is a helpful way to counter this myth.

Myth 2: Bi+ people have to pick only one identity and stick with it forever.

It is important to respect the terminology that a bi+ person uses at different points in their life, and to understand that people may identify with different terminology at different times. Additionally, identities can be held together and change over time. For example, some people may identify as both “bi” and “pan” because they believe their orientation matches both definitions. Some individuals may identify as “polysexual,” “homoflexible,” and “bisexual” at the same time to describe their attraction that is predominantly but not exclusively oriented to people of the same gender.

Myth 3: All bi+ people are gay or straight.

Many bi+ individuals do not identify as “gay/lesbian” or "straight" often because those terms do not accurately describe their orientation or experiences. It is important to use the terminology that a bi+ person uses to describe themselves, even if describing someone as gay/lesbian or straight seems easier. Bisexual+ identities will only be understood better if they are represented more accurately.

Myth 4: Bisexual+ people are more promiscuous than gay/lesbian or straight people.

Bisexual+ people have the same capability to choose or not choose monogamy as gay/lesbian or straight people. There is no reason to perpetuate the myth that bisexual+ people are less likely to be monogamous than people with other identities.

Myth 5: Bisexual+ people can be "straight passing" or have "straight privilege."

A bi+ person can be discriminated against at any point, regardless of their partner’s gender. Arguing that a bi+ person is “straight passing” is bi+ erasure. In fact, bi+ people face life-threatening challenges at greater rates than gay & straight peers, and have less access to resources due to discriminatory attitudes towards bisexual+ identities.

 

About BiWeek

From September 16-23, join GLAAD, the Bisexual Resource Center, and Still Bisexual in recognizing the bisexual+ community for Bisexual+ Awareness Week, culminating in Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day on September 23.

Co-founded by GLAAD and BiNet USA, Bisexual+ Awareness Week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ (pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc.) community. #BiWeek draws attention to the experiences, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual+ community. Starting this year, Bisexual+ Awareness Week will take place every September 16th – 23rd. 

Throughout #BiWeek, allies and bi+ people learn about the history, culture, community, and current policy priorities of bi+ communities.

Issues: