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Greed: An Exploration Into Bisexuality as a Stereotype

Bisexual flag art

"Am I gay or am I straight?" is a common question bisexuals have asked themselves throughout their lives. More often than not, people who identify as bisexual have at one point in their life either questioned themselves or been questioned on if they are "really" bisexual. This leads to harmful stereotypes.

What is bisexuality?

Before diving into stereotypes, it is important to note what exactly bisexuality is.

Some other sexualities which are linked with bisexuality are pansexual, queer and polysexual, to name a few. All in all, bisexual people are attracted to more than one gender. They are not homosexual nor heterosexual. The aforementioned meaning that they are attracted to one gender. However, this does not mean that bi-people are attracted to everyone. This leads to the first harmful stereotype to be discussed.

Bisexuals are attracted to everyone

This stereotype can, and have, lead to bi-people being sexually harassed/ assaulted.

This harmful stereotype is grossly inaccurate. It is important for people to understand that regardless of someones sexuality, no one is attracted to everyone and consent is important. By believing that bi-people are attracted to everyone, those attracted to multiple genders can be targeted from unwanted advances and much worse. People must be further educated on the differences between sexualities and come to an understanding that regardless of what gender people are attracted to, no one is attracted to everyone.

You are just pretending to be bisexual

Another common phrase many bi-people have most likely heard is, "you are just pretending" or similarly, "you are saying you are bisexual for attention". This belief can lead to an individual feeling isolated and disregarded. Furthermore, these harmful phrases can leave an individual feeling unable to express themselves and be ashamed. This is not healthy.

The author of this article, whom also identifies as bisexual, felt affected by these phrases as a teenager. First identifying as lesbian for 3 years before realising they were attracted to both males and females, it was not uncommon for them to be told that they were 'pretending' and just doing it to get 'attention from guys'. This meant the author no longer told anyone how they identified and stopped correcting when was mislabelled. This is no longer the case.

No one should feel ashamed of who they are. By erasing harmful stereotypes and properly educating people on sexualities, this can help end bi-people feeling isolated and misjudged.

Bisexuals are greedy

Another stereotype associated with those attracted to multiple genders revolves around bi-people being perceived as greedy. A survey conducted in 2016, Australia, about the perceptions of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ found:

The assumption that bi-people are disregarded by only people who identify as heterosexual is inaccurate as evidence suggests that LGBTQ+ spaces also hold negative perceptions. This stereotype can lead to individuals feeling unable to actively seek out people they are attracted to and instead more likely to just seek out one gender. Bisexuality is not greed. It is important to know that what gender/s you are attracted to does not mean you are greedy or 'hypersexual'. Bisexuals are just like everyone else, they are just attracted to more than one gender.

Mental health, social media and bisexuality

Harmful stereotypes can cause poor mental health and a lot of bi-people are no stranger to this.

Stereotypes can have a detrimental effect on individuals and as evidence suggests, give them poor mental health. Social media is a tool in which harmful stereotypes are spread. Bi-people are also subjected to this. In the 2016 survey, a key finding authors of the 2021 article, 'social media use among bisexuals and pansexuals: connection, harassment and mental health' found:

Such platforms included Facebook, snapchat, instagram and tinder. Social media is a modern tool which is used more and more today, especially by young people. As social media is used globally, this means that information can spread more and so can stereotypes. To reinstate, by properly educating people on sexualities, including bisexuality this can help stop harmful stereotypes. Using social media as a tool to spread awareness instead could show a decrease in poor mental health.


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