[Abridged Version]

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Source: Freepik

(For the longer, more detailed version of this article, click here.)

Nonbinary identities have complicated many people’s understandings of sexuality. “If I get a crush on a nonbinary person,” some ask, “does that mean I’m no longer straight/gay/bi?” While it seems many answer with “yes,” this arises from ignorance about nonbinarity.

Nonbinarity: A Primer

“Nonbinary” is a catch-all for those who do not fully and exclusively identify as male or female. Like “transgender,” it simply describes how we experience gender. Some nonbinary folks lack a gender entirely, others’ genders are neutral, while some of us are partially — or both — male and female. While for some, “nonbinary” is their gender, this is not universal; being nonbinary and male does not make me bigender. …


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As pansexuality is seemingly a fresh sexual identity to the mainstream, article upon article scrambles to explain it to audiences that may have never heard of it before. This is obviously a natural and good response to learning about relatively new terminology.

An issue here, however, is that almost all of these articles rely on comparisons to other identities — especially bisexuality — which actually spread misinformation and hurtful ideas in the process. Sometimes, they’re not even accurate to all pansexuals. …


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Source: Wikimedia Commons

For the umpteenth time, cisgender straight men engaging in gender-nonconformity is becoming a heated debate. It isn’t just homophobes demeaning who they find degenerately effeminate, though — LGBTQ folks and “allies” hopped on the bandwagon, too. Coincidentally, this round of criticism seems to be happening at the same time conservatives are once again rallying to “bring back manly men,” this time in response to Harry Style’s recent Vogue photoshoot. The “queer” retaliation reveals some disturbing beliefs about other members of our demographic.

Say What?

A now-deleted tweet showcased a TikTok of a (presumably) cisgender straight teenager dancing to music in a skirt. …


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Source: Needpix

The labels “bisexual” and “pansexual” have extensive backgrounds in the realm of sexuality that most people aren’t aware of. Examining them as terms describing attraction, specifically (both words have contexts outside of this), it becomes evident that many texts describing pansexual orientation feel the need to distinguish it from bisexual orientation by defining the two terms in virtually mutually exclusive ways. But how accurate is this practice when looking at the various ways both terms have been defined in the past — or even currently?

Looking at the histories of the “bisexual” and “pansexual” labels in full, we find few definitions of pansexual orientation that haven’t already been either 1) used to define bisexuality or 2) otherwise exhibited by bisexuals ourselves. Not only that, but in a handful of instances, pansexuality is explained in ways that other works define bisexuality to separate it from pansexuality. …


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When people write and talk about pansexual orientation, a common emerging pattern is claiming that “pansexual” is a new term, some folks even claiming that it didn’t exist until the 2000s. This, however, is simply misinformation. The word “pansexual” itself has been around for almost a century now, and people have adopted it as a sexual identity for decades in various ways.

Since few people know much — if anything — about the origins and evolution of this term, a compilation of its uses felt in order. …


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LGBTQ folks comprise a unique minority group. Unlike race or ethnicity, where one is born into a family that often teaches them their culture, native tongue, and history, LGBTQ people don’t usually have relatives to learn from. We have to search for this knowledge ourselves.

The internet and the subsequent information age made this process far easier — unfortunately, it also made it less common and less effective. With the influx of information, much of it becomes shallow. The nature of online articles dictates quick, easy digestion, thus they focus more on compactness than accuracy and correctness. A concerning number of LGBTQ youth, especially, seem under the impression that our history and politics began with the Stonewall Riots (which in itself is surrounded by myths — according to Marsha P. …


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CONTINUED FROM THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE OF THIS ARTICLE: They see “bisexual” and go, “well, this clearly isn’t for me,” as if the words we use override the experience of multi-gender attraction that we all share.

While I often discuss biphobia, I sometimes wish, if people insist on treating sexual orientations as optional to give oneself, that we could think in different terms than “phobias” attached to specific identities. While some forms of stigma are tied to the labels themselves, the general oppression we refer to doesn’t exclusively harm people who specifically identify one way or another. …


Labels as bandaids for — and reinforcers of — internalized biphobia

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Source: Chris Allan, Shutterstock

Many new words have popped up in the past few decades to describe bisexuality, such as “fluid,” “heteroflexible,” and “pansexual.” There are some I enjoy (e.g., “equal-opportunity lover”), some I’m indifferent to, and others I find troublesome — but that’s neither here nor there. Here, I want to discuss how internalized biphobia may influence how people who experience both similar- and different-gender attraction choose (or refuse) to identify themselves.

Definitions of Bisexuality: A Refresher

From the American Institute of Bisexuality:

Bisexuality is a broad and inclusive term that describes physical attraction, romantic attraction, or sexual behavior that is not limited to one sex… In everyday language, depending on the speaker’s culture, background, and politics, that translates into a variety of everyday definitions such…


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Credit: 123RF

There are countless biphobic stereotypes, some of which we know like the back of their hand — we’re more likely to cheat, we’re lying, we’re all down for threesomes. There’s already a slew of articles dedicated to debunking these, and it’s easy to realize that they’re unfair to believe as they make judgments about individuals. However, there are many other myths, not only about bisexual-identified people but bisexual identity itself.

These misconceptions severely warp the public understandings of bisexuality, especially in LGBTQ circles. They largely go unchecked because bisexual history and activism are so feverishly buried. People find us baffling enough, but when myths float around about what bisexuality even is, not even all bisexuals can sort out the facts from the fiction. …


Contrary to popular belief, we really don’t have it easier

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Source: iStock

While biphobia undoubtedly overlaps with homophobia, quite a few gay people brush it off or insist it isn’t real. To them, biphobia is nothing more than homophobia that bisexuals “just so happen to” experience. Others insist that bisexuals hold privilege over them or generally have less to deal with. Now, do these claims have any basis, or do they merely assume that our different-gender attraction would soften the consequences of our same-gender attraction?

I’d have to go with the latter.

Biphobia: More Than Just “Negative Attitudes”

While bisexuals arguably make up half of the LGBTQ community, our erasure is rampant. Biphobia creeps into nearly every part of our lives. Compared to straight and gay people, we have glaringly higher rates of employment discrimination, poverty, difficulty seeking immigration relief, and mental health disparities. We’re much more likely to be victims of rape, stalking, domestic violence, poverty, and unemployment. We’re most likely to be closeted (especially when seeking medical care) and suicidal. Bisexual teens are at the highest risk for bullying, truancy, and suicide. Wherever there are numbers, there’s virtually always a significant spike or drop for us. …

About

Kravitz M.

A black, bisexual, nonbinary, transgender, pseudonymous “man.” He/him.

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