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Pavelko: Bisexuality is an identity, not a phase

Pavelko%3A+Bisexuality+is+an+identity%2C+not+a+phase
Collegian | Trin Bonner

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Pride flags allow people to express themselves, find a piece of who they are and discover a community of people who support them. These flags can help people be their true selves. However, there is a strong amount of judgment concerning a certain pink, purple and blue flag.

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Bisexuality is defined as attraction to more than one gender and can be physical, romantic or emotional attraction, according to the Bisexual Resource Center.

But with celebrities such as Dove Cameron and Kit Connor coming out as bisexual, those who are bisexual are often accused of doing it just to be trendy or because they are seeking attention. Accusations like these are a big component of biphobia.

“When a man who identifies as bisexual is dating a woman, he is not straight. When a man who identifies as bisexual is dating a man, he is not gay. His sexuality does not change with who he is dating. He is bisexual, and trying to diminish that only contributes to bi-erasure.”

Similar to homophobia, biphobia is when people who believe monosexuality is superior are prejudiced against those who are attracted to more than one gender. Biphobia has a lot of overlap with panphobia, but because some people view bisexuality as gender-binary, people are sometimes under the impression that it is transphobic. This leads to those who identify as bisexual being accused of being transphobic.

Biphobia can take many shapes and forms, but a very common form of biphobia is bisexual erasure. Bi-erasure is when people try to deny the existence of bisexuality. Phrases like, “Oh, so you’re back to women,” or, “You’re just confused,” are subtle jabs that contribute to the phenomenon of bi-erasure. 

“I was never questioned when I had girlfriends in the past, but the minute I started dating a man, everyone asked if I was straight now or if everything was just a phase,” said Morgan Wylie, a bisexual student at Boston University. “I was told by one person that (my boyfriend) had finally ‘straightened me out,’ but that’s not true.”

When a man who identifies as bisexual is dating a woman, he is not straight. When a man who identifies as bisexual is dating a man, he is not gay. His sexuality does not change with who he is dating. He is bisexual, and trying to diminish that only contributes to bi-erasure. 

“I am still bisexual, and just because I’m dating a man, I’m not any less bisexual,” Wylie said.

It is not just the straight community that can contribute to this phenomenon; sometimes even those in the LGBTQIA+ community participate in bi-erasure. It can hurt when this kind of dismissal comes from within a community. Bi-erasure can be detrimental to the mental health of individuals who identify as bisexual. Research shows that those who identify as bisexual are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety compared to those who are monosexual. 

The Bisexual Resource Center has released tips on how to be an ally to someone in this community. Among these tips are believing that bisexuality exists, respecting all relationships equally and accepting the labels people choose to identify themselves. Yet the most important aspect of supporting bisexual people is doing it in a way that makes them feel comfortable. If someone you know identifies with some form of multisexuality, talk with them to make sure you are supporting them the way they need. 

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All sexualities deserve respect, and all members of the LGBTQIA+ community deserve to be supported and legitimized in their identities.

Reach Hana Pavelko at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @hanasolo13.

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner, Illustration Editor
Trin Bonner is the illustration editor for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration editor, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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