Bi-negativity of LGBT

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Switch hitters, fence post sitters, AC/DC, confused, and straggot are just a few terms that are thrown out by people when the term bisexual comes up. Even more sad is that a lot of these terms are still being said by our own community. It seems that when it comes to judging others, we are often harder on our fellow brothers and sisters. Why do we have such strong emotions against bisexuals when we are so adamant for fighting for our own rights and acceptance? What is it that we feel is an attack to us or an insult?

When I was a young gay, I remember hearing many of the terms listed above. I remember hearing that bisexual men were merely confused and just hiding that they were gay. There would be anger towards bisexuals, saying they were holding our struggle back by being able to easily go back into the closet for safety. Many felt anger that bisexuals were decreasing dating options we had under an illusion of being something they were not. The truth is, any of us could, and even sometimes do, hide our very natures out of reasons of protection. So why does this create a feeling of animosity to those that identify as bisexual? There was even a time in which I thought and said similar things. Here I was going through this deep struggle of trying to accept that I was different and the fear of being physically hurt for what I was on the inside and they could easily hide by dating members of the opposite sex. It angered me that someone would be able to flip who they slept with, at what seemed a whim, and not have to worry about anyone judging them. What I failed to realize is that their struggle was the same and, in many cases, worse than my own. Not only do you have to rationalize being attracted to members of the same sex but that is doubled by also still being attracted to the opposite sex. Leaving you with a feeling of what are you doing wrong to have these feelings that so many say is wrong and sinful.

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The fact is binary concepts of sexuality still pervade into our own LGBT mindset. For many gays and lesbians, we see sexuality as an either-or condition, either you are heterosexual, or you are homosexual. We still believe that at some point they will have to decide to be one or the other, if they ever hope to truly have a relationship. Beyond that we still view them as a group that may be incapable of carrying on a relationship or are solely driven by sexual impulses, seeing them as sleeping with everyone because they don’t have to fall into one category or another. Perhaps this is rooted in some form of jealousy for a freedom we do not, ourselves, seem to have. Even heterosexuals have weird grasps of bisexuality. Many think that once a bisexual marries someone that they are no longer bisexual, like when Larry King interviewed Anna Paquin. That somehow you can only be bisexual if you are single and sleeping around.

Gay and lesbians know all too well the struggles we go through trying to accept we are, just imagine the added issues of being bisexual. Also imagine the pain we go through from constantly coming out in new situations, now think of how much harder that is for bisexuals. They are often told they are lying about their true natures or simply confused. They are often judged harshly for sleeping with members of their own gender and can be rejected by both potential partners because of their past romantic involvements. Gay and Lesbian Alliances have turned away bisexuals because they do not fit the molds of how they feel their services are designed to help. They need the same support systems we do, when we are facing dark times. Here we are claiming we are safe zones when, in fact, they are only safe places for a narrow view of what we think our community should be.

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According to Bustle.com  they reported a 2013 survey done by Pew Research Center that states, “While 71 percent of lesbians and 77 percent of gay men are out to the people close to them, only 28 percent of bi people can say the same. The numbers were even lower for bisexual men, only 12 percent of whom are out.” Numerous other surveys report that 45 – 50% of the LGBT population identify as bisexual, that is half of our community, but only about 28% of those numbers openly identify as bisexual. Often many prominent figures that have identified as bisexual throughout their lives are often remembered as gay icons after their passing. Take for instance Freddie Mercury, front man for the iconic band Queen. Throughout his life he had male and female partners, but history instead portrays him as gay.  Our own LGBTQ history forgets many bisexual leaders that were there throughout the movement. We see the focus on Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, Audre Lorde, and Barbara Gittings, all of which identify as lesbian or gay. Less is known and even shown of bisexual leaders like James Baldwin and Brenda Howard, who were instrumental in the early rights movements and key in bringing spotlight to bisexuals. Even bisexual organizations are less talked about, take for instance the Boston Bisexual Women’s Network founded in 1983. They still publish their quarterly newsletter called BiWomen and is the oldest bisexual publication in the world.

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Eliel Cruz, historian of AIDS and HIV activism was quoted as saying: “Not only was the bi community suffering because of the HIV/AIDS, they were fighting it. While the media was busy scapegoating bi men for spreading the disease to women, bi activists like Dr. David Lourea and Cynthia Slater were out raising awareness and offering sex education in the same sex spaces of San Francisco. In fact, throughout the history of ‘gay rights’ bi activists and allies have been consistently erased…” Even today, healthcare workers are more apt to judge bisexuals more harshly in STI situations than they would lesbians and gay men. Biphobia hasn’t diminished as LGBT rights have expanded, in fact many times they are left as the invisible minority. According to thinkprogress.org (https://thinkprogress.org/media-ignoring-bisexual-community-3a46e7081bb1/) “Compared to peers who identify as gay or lesbian, bi+ youth and adults report higher levels of mental illness and suicidality, and lower levels of social support; bisexual youth report higher rates of bullying and harassment; and bisexual people face disproportionately high rates of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”

What we, as a community, need to fully realize is that their sexuality is as valid as ours. Who they are as people and choose to love is as fundamental as it is to deal with being transgender. We need to embrace each of us as equals. Reshape our mindset to remove the stigmatism we have about our bisexual brothers and sisters. The gaps we have in inclusion in our community is what keeps us from organizing to erase the hatred and violence towards us. We must be strong together for each other, after all no one else, but ourselves, will look out for us. If you see bisexuals being judged or mistreated, be sure to stand up just as you would for any gay, lesbian, or transgender. Let us validate their choices as genuine as our own, realize that their sexuality does not change, regardless of their relationship status. They are not pretending to be straight if they are dating members of the opposite sex or short-term gay if they are dating members of the same sex. Their contributions to our history are as important as anyone else’s for getting us to where we are now.

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Hey quick, look over there…

***As an addendum to this post, it needs a little clarification so that you may understand the scope of what is being said. The funds that are being redistributed are labeled as “unused” or “left over” funds. These are funds that are not allocated for any treatment program, currently. This was as of fiscal year 2016. Elizabeth Senerchia, spokesperson of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was quoted as saying “These funds were unused and unobligated and had no impact on operation of the Ryan White Program or future scheduled distribution of funds for recipients for FY 2018.” Instead of these funds being used inside of the agency that supports the Ryan White Fund, they were redistributed outside of that agency. Update added August 23, 2018***

Washington Blade Report    Snopes.com Fact Check for Ryan White Funds

‘This administration, really, never ceases to amaze me to the depths in which it sinks. This country has advanced so far in civil rights since the 50s and it seems that this president is hell bent on taking us back to where it all started. We have seen a rise in hate crimes and hate groups. We have watched in horror as children have been ripped from the arms of their parents and thrown into internment camps. Even seen him start reversing rulings that were set forth by previous presidents, such as not allowing Transgender People into the military, pushing to remove marriage rights and even supporting companies that will not serve the LGBTQ community.

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As if any of this was acceptable, we now find out that he is removing funds from the Ryan White Fund to support the very internment camps he set up. Camps that were a travesty to have even started are to be supported by a fund that was designed to help those who are uninsured and underinsured and living with HIV/AIDS. Pence was even quoted saying before he was elected that he wanted to drain the Ryan White fund and take the money to fund Gay Conversion Therapy. Ryan White was a kid who was infected with HIV due to a blood transfusion. The Fund was set in place to help those who couldn’t afford the cost of treatment, still receive help. This is already happening. Money is being diverted from needed healthcare to support a 1950s mindset.

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A Congressional campaign website from 2000, Pence was reported saying, “Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”

Let’s talk numbers for a minute. By the end of the year, 26000 beds will be needed for the minors we are detaining. That will turn out to be roughly 586 million needed for this to happen. This will remove any possibility for training staff in HIV/AIDS care, needed medicine for patients, funds to offset medical coverage for those who cannot afford it, and needed funds to help in prevention and education about HIV/AIDS. The scope of people that the Ryan White fund covers goes far beyond the LGBTQ community. You can see here the scope of this fund and who it benefits Ryan White Fund.

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Having watched loved one go through the effects of HIV/AIDs and being there when they died, I fully understand the importance of this fund. And to see someone who was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United State of America, so callously throw the needs of the people he serves to the wolves is heart wrenching. When will we finally say that enough is enough? When will we Unite and fight this? We can cut the legs from under him by contacting our Senators and Congress people and telling them how ashamed we are of how the government is abusing their citizens. #Civildisobedience This is important to our very way of lives.