I ran into an article today, from a woman looking at the term ‘bisexual’ and the connotations it has. Bisexual is a bit of a dirty word, conjuring up sordid ideas of promiscuity, unfaithfulness, and the mad desire for threesomes or orgies. The writer suggests creating a new name for bisexual orientation, to rid people of the stigma of bisexuality.
I understand the idea behind creating a new word, but I don’t think it would work. The stigma would just transfer to the new word, as it has in the intellectually challenged. Words like cretin and retard were once correct, but they became insults soon enough. I think that renaming bisexuality is just shifting the problem to a new place.
Perhaps we can reclaim the word ‘bisexual’ the way we reclaimed ‘slut’ and ‘queer’. That would be good, as it entails a shift in the way people think about bisexuality. Currently, bisexuality live in a no man’s land between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Gay people often see them as traitors, greedy, unfaithful, and generally not people you want a relationship with. Straight people write bisexuals off as queers, as not straight and therefore not normal enough. There’s no real place for in-betweeners.
I worked out that I was bisexual in my early teens. This was completely unacceptable in my fundamentalist/evangelical church, and so I suppressed it as much as I could. I threw myself into straight relationships to try and be normal, and it worked fairly well. But the reaction of ‘that’s not normal, and you need to just stop it’ will stay with me forever, as it does with many bi people. It suppressed a part of me that I miss and regret, and made me feel ashamed of what I was. But I’m in a stable straight relationship, so I can pretend to be straight and not experience the rejection that people like me get from the queer scene and the straight society.
There must be more bi people out there, but I would suspect they suppress it in order to fit in. It’s not fair. LGBTQ – that B is for bisexual, but it gets forgotten in the mess of fighting for gay rights.