Bi-erasure is a serious problem, everywhere
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
A recent meme has turned the Babadook, a ghost-like metaphor for depression from the movie of the same title, into a flamboyant gay pride icon. Instead of haunting settlements, he’s now at peace with his identity and preparing the world to be Baba-shook!
One aspect of the meme suggests that the “B” in “LGBT” stands for Babadook. While the image of a spectre in rainbows is hilarious, it feels a little like yet another example of erasing the bisexuals in the LGBTQ+ community. Bisexual erasure is the systematic practice of removing bisexuals from inclusion, including ignoring their presence or even denying their existence.
Bisexuals frequently find themselves ostracized by both the LGBTQ+ and straight community. They are minorities and face the same prejudice gays/lesbians do, but still have differences that alienate from the LGBTQ+. A bisexual woman with her male partner will stick out amongst a group of lesbians with their female partners, and it can lead to resentment and internalized prejudice. When bisexual people are in an opposite-gender relationship, their LGBTQ+ identity is seen as hidden.
Despite bisexuals obviously existing in society, there’s a disturbing trend to discredit their existence entirely. Many feel they are just confused about their identity and are really just deviating from their true homosexual or heterosexual preference. I will never understand why so many continue to question the existence and truth of bisexual people’s preferences. Do you really think every single bisexual person is faking it? Is it really that impossible to believe that someone can like two different things?
Media representation greatly contributes to bi-erasure. So many TV shows feature characters that have dated members of both sexes, but are later clarified to actually be gay or straight. A female character may have dated a woman at some point, but goes on to be with men and her bisexuality is never referenced again. Sometimes lines even indicate the character was just “confused,” or otherwise not bisexual.
A woman who has only been involved with men in her life but identifies as bisexual is still a bisexual. A man who has only dated other men in his life but still identifies as bi is not gay, he’s bi. An opposite-sex relationship does not make someone any less a member of the community.
As we become more open and diverse with gender and sexual identity, bisexuality continues to be an afterthought, or removed entirely from the spectrum. An inclusive LGBTQ+ community should be open to the sexualities of all who do not experience heterosexuality, no matter how they identify.
Stop questioning and denying the sexuality of bisexuals. Stop pretending you know more about their own identities and preferences than they do. It would be unacceptable to suggest to a gay person that they’re just confused about who they prefer. Why are bisexuals faced with such treatment, particularly among their own queer communities?