What does it mean to be biphobic? Many people are familiar with homophobia, but is there a specific difference between the two? Do bisexuals suffer from homophobia too?
Biphobia is when people do not like bisexuality and bisexual people as a social group or as individuals. People of any sexual orientation can experience such feelings of aversion. Biphobia is a kind of discrimination against bisexuals, and it may be based on negative bisexual stereotypes or irrational fears. In other words, biphobia is a term used to describe the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against a bisexual or gay person who perceives themselves as bisexual. It can also mean hatred, hostility, disapproval, or prejudice against LGBT people, sexual behavior, or cultures. No need to include or exclude homophobia, heterophobia, or lesbophobia, because there are stereotypes that are specific to sexualities.
Bisexual people suffer from homophobia too. There is a myth that identifying a person as bisexual is a way to avoid homophobia or an easier/safer way of coming out.
There’s an International Day Against Homophobia every May 17th.
How is Biphobia Different?
Bisexual individuals face biphobia from both people that are homophobic and from ones who aren’t. It’s possible to be biphobic without being homophobic, as with sayings such as “you’re either straight, gay, or lying”.
For example, if a bisexual person is incapable of saying they are ‘straight’ or ‘gay’, then how can we be sure they’re certain about their sexuality? If someone is in denial it might be hard to determine what else they might be lying about in their life.
The attempt to eradicate bisexuality is everywhere. A person is gay when they have same-sex partners or straight when they have heterosexual partners.
Some gay or lesbian people have negative attitudes towards bisexual, which in turn might make them pretend to be gay or lesbian.
Bisexual people have always been a part of the LGBT community; however the assumption that everybody is homosexual along with attitudes towards bisexuals, keep our achievements silenced and pushed down.
When we speak about fighting against biphobia, it’s important to understand that we need to fight homophobia too. It’s not good to hear someone being homophobic and then asking them not to include someone because they are “only bisexual”.
I’m Facing Biphobia, What Next?
If you are a victim of harassment at work or school, please tell other people. At work you should tell your manager, union representative, or human resources department.
If you are victim of harassment at school, then the best thing to do is to talk to your teacher. You should also discuss this issue with your parents and friends if you have come out to them. Don’t allow this behavior…speak up.
In your family, find a member that you can trust and tell them.
Stonewall has a good summary of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 which we recommend reading if you find yourself being bullied or harassed at work. ACAS has some really good advice and information as well.
In any case, there is support for those who need it. Please don’t suffer in silence.