IN THIS SNEAK PEAK FROM THE UPCOMING 1ST EDITION OF OUR GUIDELINES, MISTY FARQUHAR, A PROUD NON-BINARY BISEXUAL PERSON, EXPLAINS WHY BISEXUAL VISIBILITY MATTERS AND HOW JOURNALISTS, CREATORS AND AUDIENCES ALIKE CAN TACKLE STEREOTYPES AND BIPHOBIA.
For a long time, I thought self-acceptance of my bisexuality was enough. No one asked me for a label and I experienced very little overt discrimination. I toyed with the idea of telling my folks early on, but an older lesbian friend of mine advised against it. She knew that coming out to family could be difficult at the best of times, but the limited awareness and stigma associated with bisexuality in the 90s made it even harder.
Thanks to the increasing profile of bisexual+ celebrities, such as Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming, bisexuality has become far more visible in recent times. As a result, an increasing number of people feel comfortable coming out as bisexual+ (or as simply neither straight nor gay). But acceptance of bisexuality has been slow, both in mainstream society and the LGBTI communities, despite evidence suggesting that there are more bisexual+ people than lesbians and gay men combined.
Bisexuality is simply an attraction to more than one gender / regardless of gender. However, society is most comfortable with binary categorisations when it comes to sexuality and gender, and it is often rigidly policed. This gives rise to misconceptions about bisexual+ authenticity, which threatens our visibility and excludes us from the community. The most common harmful stereotypes are of indecision, confusion, and immorality, but the list is long and often perpetuated by the media.
Invalidation and disapproval complicates the coming out process for bisexual+ people, who may choose to remain in the closet or mislabelled. Read more via Australian LGBTI Media Centre