In my experience as a young bisexual woman with many friends in the LGBT+ community, I’ve found that it is harder to be a bisexual man than it is to be a bisexual woman. Before I delve into this topic, I feel it is important to answer the question of what it means to be bisexual. Some may find this to be an arbitrary question, but I feel that it is essential to keep in mind that many people still don’t believe that bisexuality exists.
Bisexual woman and close friend of mine Maggie Brekka says that “Being bisexual allows me to love people no matter what gender. Guys are cute, girls are cute, everyone is cute.” Bisexuality is typically understood as being sexually attracted to two genders, and those two genders are traditionally male and female, but can apply to any set of genders.
So, in hopes of gaining information to support my claim, I asked Brekka and another one of my close friends, who is male, the following question: “What trials have you faced as being a bisexual person?” Brekka, who is a twenty-year-old female Communications major at Flagler College, says, “I worry that whoever I’m dating will think that I won’t be able to be monogamous because I’m bi[sexual]. Also, I fear that when I come out to people, they will say that I am confused or that I’m going through a phase.”
Being accused of “going through a phase” is a common fear of many LGBT+ youths, not just bisexual people. I myself have never been told that I am “going through a phase,” so evidently given my experience, this isn’t a fear held by all bisexual people.
The second friend I questioned, Emory Mulick, is a twenty-four-year-old bisexual male and recent graduate of Florida State University’s College of Music. Mulick answers, “In my experience, people who are getting to know me tend to think I’m gay until I ‘prove’ otherwise. Also, being bi[sexual] for me is tough, because I’m not ‘masculine’ enough for some and not gay enough for others, so finding friends can be weird. People want to put you in a box that you don’t fit in very well.”
The common misconception that certain people fit in certain boxes is the kind of thinking that leads to fear of the “other.” LGBT+ persons find themselves treated as “other” because they often don’t fit traditional societal norms, but it’s this way of reasoning that will keep society from growing to accept LGBT+ person’s lifestyles.
Considering my own experience as a bisexual woman, the challenge that I’ve experienced has been the constant request to partake in a three-way. I’ve learned from experience that people often take a woman’s bisexuality as an excuse to treat us as objects for their sexual pleasure, just as women are too often oversimplified and boiled down to mere objects for men’s entertainment in today’s society.
The badgering requests to participate in group sex are mere annoyances compared to the adversity bisexual men face. For bisexual women, sexuality is not a question of “if you are woman enough.” As long as you have breasts and a derrière, people won’t question if you are woman enough. Too often ideals of uber-masculinity are forced upon boys who later grow up to experience internalized homophobia. It’s considered sexy to be female and bisexual because, and I’m making another generalization here, it is every young man’s dream to have sex with two beautiful women. If a man is bisexual, he is just “not masculine/gay/straight/etc.” enough.
I blame this stereotype on the lack of bisexual male representation. Nathan Lane, Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Parsons are all three well-known openly gay actors. Ellen DeGeneres is an established openly lesbian TV personality. Although this is probably more lesser known, actresses Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore are on record as being openly bisexual.
Despite all of these notable public figures, I myself could not name one well-known, bisexual, male public figure. Maybe I am ignorant to the bisexual male celebrities of today, or maybe there is some truth to what I’m saying. There are no well know bisexual males that can be looked to as role models or examples of just how normal it is to be bisexual.
You may be reading this and wondering why, as a woman, do I care how bisexual men are being treated? The discrimination they face does not affect my life whatsoever. To whomever may have this question on their minds, I care about the treatment of bisexual men because I have guy friends who are bisexual and gay. Just as any person would be pained to see their friends go through trouble, I feel for my friends when I hear they are being bullied or spoken to rudely. I want all bisexual men reading this to know that they are enough.
Being bisexual and a male is just as valid as being bisexual and female, or gay and male, or female and so on for that matter. To say otherwise would be to treat the male gender as unequals, and in the end this problem boils down to basic feminism. Feminism at its core is “the equality of the sexes,” and that should apply to all sexes and sexual orientations.