How annoyed would you be if you had finally found the courage to come out and tell your closest friends and family your true identity, and when you do, you are mocked or just point blank not believed?
What’s more, when you meet people who are meant to be in the same community as you, who probably should understand you the most, they instead make fun of you and tell you just to “pick one”. Some may even say that you are just gay and don’t know it yet?
That behaviour, amongst others, is known as Bisexual Erasure, or Bi-Erasure and happens daily to millions of human beings. But why does it happen, and how can we be more aware of stopping it?
Why Does Bi-Erasure Happen?
GLAAD categorises Bi-erasure as when “the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality is questioned or denied outright”. Bi-erasure is when people outside of the world of bisexuality, whether people in the LGBTQ+ community or outside, believe entirely that bisexuality is just someone who is confused about who they like, that they are “greedy”, or that they will eventually “pick a side”.
Bi-erasure also happens when people assume that if you are bisexual but you happen to be in a same-sex relationship, you are now gay or lesbian. The same goes for if you are in a relationship with the opposite sex, you are either now straight or your being bisexual is some kink that can be exploited.
All of these opinions and beliefs are not only harmful to all of our bisexual brothers and sisters but are just misconceptions, myths and stereotypes that need to be eradicated.
What Are The Effects of Bi-Erasure?
Being alienated for who you are and who you are attracted to can be highly damaging to the person, their mental well-being, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Just imagine you go to a community made up of misfits, queers and everything in between that, at its core, is supposed to love and accept everybody with no judgement and then be told you don’t exist or that you are not valid? The effects of that can be detrimental.
Scientific studies have shown that bisexual people suffer from higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders than anyone else in the community, including straight people. Not only that, but the rates of heavy drinking and drug use are also higher in people who identify as bisexual. The main reason for this behaviour is bi-erasure and biphobia.
We should never make someone feel ashamed or alone just because of how they identify. We are all human beings with real thoughts, feelings and emotions, and it is essential that we know how to fight back against bi-erasure and biphobia and how to support bisexual kings and queens!
How To Be More Aware and Help Stop Bi-Erasure?
Being more aware starts with educating yourself on all the issues that bisexual people face daily. Talking to them face to face and seeing how these behaviours genuinely affect a person instead of just learning statistics.
If you are someone who wants to learn how to be more aware and how to be an ally towards your bisexual friends and family, then reading this article is an excellent step towards that; thank you for taking the time to learn and educate yourself!
There are many ways you can help stop bi-erasure, and although it is going to be an upward battle, the more that people can:
- Dispel any misconceptions about being bisexual
- Correcting any biphobic behaviour that you hear from friends or family
- Educating others on the importance of being aware of bi-erasure and what it means
- Promoting Bi-visibility and openly engaging with and supporting bisexual creators, shop owners, writers, friends and family.
By some or all of these things, you will be part of the movement to stop bi-erasure and help create the change that is desperately needed inside and outside the community.
Are you a Victim of Bi-Erasure?
If you are reading this and you have experienced bi-erasure or biphobia, first of let us just say that we are sorry that you have had to or are still going through that. But there is help out there for you.
Centres like The Bisexual Resource Center can guide you through looking after yourself and your mental health and give you the tools and techniques you need to combat or deal with the after-effects of bi-erasure. They can help people understand you and the bisexual community in a healthy, safe environment.
If you are struggling and want to find a way to release all of your emotions, there are Bi-positive therapists out there who can help give you that comforting support you need.
But if you don’t know where to look for help or just need a friendly voice to get you through, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be that ear for you and help find you resources.
No matter how they identify, people should be able to live their lives openly, freely and without discrimination, including you.