Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD
Previous new york Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the world wide web as a tailspin previously this w eek whenever she labeled actress and newly established gubernatorial prospect Cynthia Nixon a lesbianвЂќ that isвЂњunqualified. The uproar so far has primarily centered on the salaciousness of governmental infighting between two women that are queer. Nonetheless, whatвЂ™s lacking is a critique of Quinn for mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian. Nixon has known herself as bisexual, and glossing over this distinction is an obvious exemplory instance of bi erasure, or the presumption that bisexuality just isn’t an identity that is real but quite simply an intermediate end in the intimate orientation train which has had only two feasible locations: gay/lesbian and right. Although Quinn later apologized on her remark, the apology would not relate with mislabeling NixonвЂ™s reported sexual identity.
While bisexuality has grown to become way more noticeable in popular tradition in past times couple of years with an increase that is important bisexual figures on television in specific you may still find numerous stereotypes connected to the label. вЂњOn the fence,вЂќ вЂњwishy washy,вЂќ вЂњgoing through a phaseвЂќ: they are all misconceptions that are common bi people. Unfortunately, a number of the stigma and bi erasure originates from the queer community, from self identified homosexual males and lesbians whom donвЂ™t believe bisexuality is an identity that is authentic.
They continue to reinforce the heteronormative idea that sexuality is binary, that one must either be gay or straight while they are marginalized for their sexual orientation.
ItвЂ™s interesting to compare the narrative about Nixon compared to that of Oregon Governor Kate Brown: whenever she had been elected the media identified her as bisexual, that I assume was as a result of duplicated efforts on her behalf component to help make her sexual identity understood. Nixon hasnвЂ™t been as clear about her chosen labels; yet, she’s got been clear about her intimate and intimate history and the fact sheвЂ™s enjoyed men and women. One difference that is major those two females is the fact that Brown is hitched to a guy while Nixon is hitched to a lady. While this might not look like a difference that is relevant when it comes to queer identification politics, it’s.
Bi ladies hitched to guys are thought to be straight, and if they’re enthusiastic about claiming their queerness publicly, must repeatedly turn out to individuals who donвЂ™t understand how they identify given that itвЂ™s perhaps not obvious from their selection of partner. As the presumption of heterosexuality isn’t astonishing, it shouldnвЂ™t be used for provided that a stand set for their intimate orientation. Bi individuals hop over to this site donвЂ™t have actually to be participating in romantic or intimate relationships with both genders on top of that to be able to determine as bi; in reality, i might reckon that most bi individuals are in monogamous relationships at any time. (Incidentally, the theory that most bi people are polyamorous is another major myth; non monogamy is practiced by individuals of all intimate orientations.) Therefore, I’m able to just assume Brown publicly identifies as bisexual as itвЂ™s the only means for her to claim her queerness.
Nixon, having said that, is hitched to a female and it is consequently thought by many people to become a lesbian. As bi ladies have actually very long stated, there is certainly ordinarily a stigma that is particular distinguishing as bi in the lesbian community: вЂњsheвЂ™ll make you for the manвЂќ the most typical stereotypes about bi females among lesbians, and grounds why numerous wonвЂ™t consider dating bi ladies. In the LGBT community, then, Nixon has less explanation to want to loudly claim her bisexuality, she has been) derided by some lesbians as wanting to retain some element of heterosexual privilege by not вЂњfully committingвЂќ to the label of lesbian as she would almost certainly be (and IвЂ™m sure.
In the long run, it is not necessarily concerning the words that are specific utilizes to determine by herself. All things considered, numerous bi people prefer the word вЂњqueerвЂќ due to their self identification since it emphasizes their connections because of the bigger LGBT community; other people utilize various identification labels within various contexts. Nonetheless, clearly mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian, as Quinn did, is a form of erasure which also reinforces binary notions about sex. ItвЂ™s high time we stopped thinking about sex being an either/or occurrence and started using bi individuals at their word, once we constitute undoubtedly the group that is largest inside the LGBT community.