AKA, Things not to say to bisexuals Level 2.
Sometimes one of the hardest things to deal with can be sweet people who are, completely unintentionally, really insulting. With outright queerphobia it’s easy to point out. With things like this, not so much. But let me make one thing clear: people don’t deserve to be put on a pedestal because they are an LGBTQ ally. Everyone should be an ally. So if someone is calling themselves an ally, but is really being ignorant or bigoted in some ways, it is totally okay and appropriate to call them out on it, and teach them otherwise.
Oh, so it’s like you’re genderblind! Nope, not really. We just have a wider range of preferences than monosexuals do when it comes to body types. Genderblind is a term more often associated with pansexuality- but even so, don’t assume this; it’s always better to ask.
You love everyone equally! That’s great! First, we don’t like everyone. Second, only some of us like various genders equally. We have preferences and standards just like everyone else. See the Kinsey Scale for a good visual on the spectrum of attraction.
So you can tell me what [opposite gender] really thinks! We can tell you what we think. We’re not here to be the undercover gender-stereotyping police.
I love bisexuals- one of my best friends is bi! You can be biphobic even if all of your friends are bi. Furthermore, everybody is different. Yep, even bisexuals are different from each other. It’s demeaning to say you love somebody purely because of their sexual orientation and disregard all the other aspects of their personality. It’s also insulting to assume that things one bisexual is okay with all bisexuals will therefore be okay with.
It’s so great that you can date everyone! We can’t date everyone. We can date those genders we are attracted to provided their orientation is such that they have the potential to be attracted to us as well. We can’t date people who are biphobic, which is a significant amount of people, especially when it comes to relationships with bisexuals. We also don’t know everyone. We also have other things besides gender which play into who we like, such as personality, age, looks, chemistry, location, and more. How do you think it makes someone who hasn’t met “the one” yet feel when they’re told that they can date everyone, as though being bisexual is this great advantage over others which they just haven’t utilized properly? Probably not too great.
If person is same gender: So, be honest: do you think I’m hot? How hot am I? Our potential to be attracted to multiple genders is not related to our ability to recognize societal expectations of beauty in someone. If you didn’t ask us this question before we came out to you, don’t ask us after. Also, it puts us in an awkward place in which it becomes clear that us being bi has changed the dynamics of this relationship where it shouldn’t have.
Do you have a crush on me? If we do, we’ll tell you. If we do and we’re too shy to tell you, respect it. Again, because bi people have types and standards as well, there is a high chance that we don’t. You don’t ask every person of the opposite gender who you hang out with if they have a crush on you; don’t make us into a special case.
If person is opposite gender: So, can I, like, watch you make out with [same gender]? Our orientation is not your plaything. We are not your plaything. If you wouldn’t ask this to a straight couple, don’t ask us.
I don’t get why people make such a big deal out of it, everyone is a little bit bisexual after all. This completely diminishes the bisexual experience. If everyone is bi, why should those who identify as bisexual go through any individual hardships? Why are they complaining about it? Why are they making such a big deal about it? If someone identifies as bisexual, chances are they have a significant potential to like multiple genders, enough so that it is highly relevant in their life and lifestyle. By saying everyone is bi, you are twisting the meaning into something much more general than it actually is, which creates a lot of misconceptions and problems for actual bisexuals. Bisexuality is not “everyone liking everything”.
So, how many people have you done it with? How many girls? How many boys? Again, if you didn’t ask us before we came out to you, don’t ask us after. You don’t get special access to our private lives simply because our orientation isn’t heteronormative. Also, being bisexual doesn’t automatically mean we have sex with more people than straight people do, and this is a leading question implying just that.
How many threesomes have you had? To quote 13 from House, “Do you know what bisexual is? It doesn’t mean you have sex with two people at once.”
Can you be my gay best friend? First of all, we’re not gay. Second of all, even if we were, we’re not reducible to an offensive and reductive social stereotype, so don’t act like we are.
This is so exciting, you’re the first bisexual I’ve ever met! I don’t know any bisexuals besides you! Statistically, unless you are an individual isolationist, we are not the first bisexual you’ve met. We’re just the first one to share it with you. Also, this just serves to make us feel really alone and as though it is our entire responsibility to educate you on bisexuality, since you have no other outlets, when, in reality, it is never the responsibility of the oppressed to educate the privileged.
If you want to avoid being one of these people (note: this applies to LGBTQ people as well; know ALL the identities, not just yours!), then check with every person you meet about what is okay and what isn’t. Take the time to research issues and terminology even if it may not seem directly related to you, because it may be relevant to those you interact with. And overall, don’t treat anybody differently based on their orientation or gender identity. If you need to treat a specific person differently than others, they can tell you. Otherwise it is demeaning, hierarchical, and embarrassing to everyone involved.
Note: this is from the perspective of a female-bodied individual. Societal expectations of male-bodied bisexuals has its own set of inappropriate questions as well.
Thoughts, questions, suggestions?