At the End of the Day: Looking at Biphobia

Seeds of Peace Participants

It was a sentence that would leave me confused for a very long time. When we met she asked, "Why would someone ever be with a man after having been with a woman?"

I asked, "Is that an invitation?" It was.

Sex eventually became Relationship. It was the best of either I'd ever had. So I moved my appliances into her apartment, along with myself. When we were good, we were amazing. But when things were bad, they hurt like hell.

Her tattoo meant life. So did her name. Vita was an actor. She had piercings in places I didn't know were legal. She oozed urban cool.

Our relationship was her exclusively lesbian departure from a long-standing tradition of bi-sexuality. Her dating history read like she'd been flipping a coin. Heads or tails. Vagina or penis.

With boys, I had always desperately tried to give a damn when naked. But I never did and I never could. Vita had once nevertheless asked, "Can you stay with me, knowing you might never have another man?" Until months later, when things fell apart and away, I'd thought the question was directed at me. When really, the whole time, she'd been asking herself.

Vita's orientation had tortured me. Men would offer her sex while she held my hand at parties. So would women. She would flirt shamelessly with waiters to get the best tables at the trendiest clubs during their busiest nights. Everything about her dripped sex, and she knew how to make it flow in the right direction. But my confidence would pick up and go with it. I never appreciated that I was sitting at those tables with Vita. Her hand was on my thigh and her breath on my neck. At the end of the day, I was the one in her bed.

We never should have been about gender. But I had made her sexuality an issue every time there was an argument.

"Differences" -- Perpich Center for Arts Education

Heartbroken and ego wounded, I came across the term bi-phobia in a textbook. The expression is used to label the fear and hatred that bisexuals experience in both heterosexual and homosexual communities.

I didn't abhor bisexuals. But I never thought I might not adore them either -- until I realized that I was afraid to date girls who weren't exclusively attracted to girls. As though being left for another woman would be any less painful than for a man; I was being left all the same.

Vita loved everything about straight sex. And I had suggested to myself that maybe what she loved most was the approval.
Biphobia: The fear or hatred of bisexual people. This term addresses the ways that prejudice against bisexuals differs from prejudice against other queer people. There is often biphobia in gay, lesbian, and trans communities, as well as straight communities.

It was quite one thing, I rationalized, to be with another woman. But a bisexual girl could always turn back to heterosexuality. And, in so doing, avoid the questions and the discrimination faced by lesbians every single day. Vita always had the option of passing as completely straight. She never really had to come out because there was always another place to go, I thought.

But after a while, I grew up.

I learned that, in a sense, Vita will always be coming out. Bi-phobia ricochets from one community to the other because bisexuality is arguably the most confusing orientation out there. For many people, myself once included, it is difficult to understand and not be threatened by a person who loves someone regardless of their gender.

I never understood that our relationship might have ended because I didn't love her properly, and not because I didn't provide sex properly in our relationship. It was never about the penis I didn't have. I was so consumed by inferiority, at once wanting to be with her and to be her, that I tried too hard to make her love me back. I should have stopped at just loving her.

Julia Alarie, 21, is a sociology student at Carleton University in Canada. She is an amateur everything. Her other writings can be found on Oasis, a writing community for Queer Youth at Slow Ambition

Also check out:
Being Bi in a Binary World by Heather, Youth Resource

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