While LGBT figures have in recent years gotten representation in the media, it seems that the bisexual identity, those who refuse to choose, is being marginalized and often evokes stereotypes and negative connotations. “Experimenting and confused”, “It doesn’t really exist”, “it will pass”. These are comments that reach the bisexual space, from the community and society alike. The difficulty to accept the complexity that exceeds the boundaries of black and white and judgment according to sexual practice, leads in turn to the misconception that bisexuality is a passing fad.
“Bisexuality is still seen as something that doesn’t stand on its own,” says Yael Nudelman, 22, a counselor at IGY. “I’ve experienced too many stereotypes about infidelity among bisexual people: that they can’t manage a monogamous relationship because for sure something will always be missing. It’s unclear to me why the stigma exists about us despite that the phenomenon is also widespread among gay and straight people. People miss things sexually while in relationships; nothing is perfect. People make concessions in relationships and it is healthy and normal. In the end if I have a good relationship, I will probably stay there.”
“The most violent reactions come from gay men,” says Nizar, 28, a queer bisexual man. It seems that the bisexual identity is “under attack,” so to speak, from several fronts. Nizar explains that the contempt is expressed among men. “They chuckle about bi identity,” he says. “When someone says, for example, that bisexuality does not exist, at least I can confront his argument. But when someone chuckles about it, I have no way of dealing with him, and this phenomenon is, unfortunately, very common in the community.”
“There’s a perception that men are what bisexual women and men initially want, and I think it’s because of the social perception that men are powerful and dominant,” adds May, 24, from Beersheva. “Women find it difficult to grasp the fact that I’m a bisexual who’s going out only with women, and fear dating men. Straight men, however, don’t fear being left for a woman, because according to their perception a man supposedly gives something that a woman can’t. Even colleagues at work asked during a discourse on sex and sexuality if when I’m with a woman I don’t feel something missing. No one asks this question to someone who dates men.”
Even to the dating world, we often come with expectations, orientations and sometimes also a list of strict and uncompromising criteria of what we want. Even in the dating world, the bisexual identity is questioned and often accompanied by a negative stigma.
“Someone once said to me that she found me very attractive, but she would never go out with me because I was with a man; it disgusted her,” says Nudelman. “Ninety per cent of the biphobia I experienced was specifically from lesbians. If I go out with a girl and suddenly there’d be a guy I like, she would think to herself, ‘why would I stay with her if I could choose to be ‘normal’ ? Why would I choose to be part of a minority if I can live another life. There is always a fear to be left in favor of something ‘easier.'”
“I was once asked questions such as ‘how does it work?'”says Nizar. “In the meetings themselves there were biphobic talks and I didn’t like it, so I saw fit to mention that I’m bi in all the dating apps in order to save myself insulting comments.”
The discriminatory discourse also floats within the framework of applications that designate themselves for men only. “Grindr is supposedly an app for gay bi and transgender men, but there I meet even greater biphobia.”
“I put my bisexual identity up front, it’s an essential part of my identity,” stresses Nudelman. “My profile picture on Tinder includes a logo of the bi party line. It’s kind of a natural filter, so I assume that someone who’s anti won’t write me.”
Discriminatory expressions are sometimes undeclared and not only reserved for the world of dating. Facebook pages and online titles contain messages that could be interpreted as discrimination even if not specifically stated. “I remember seeing an invitation for a women’s party on Facebook” recalls Nudelman. “The party was not defined as a lesbian party and therefore I didn’t feel like a guest. In the details of the event itself there was the star leading to the comment: ‘gay trans and bi friends are also welcome.’ While this was an asterisk, it reflects a biphobic and transphobic notion. A cynical meme that surfaces on Facebook groups with bisexual characters, all of which are part of this discourse. ”
(Photo: We have not been able to verify the authorship of this photograph)