Tumblr Posts That Describe Realities Bisexuals Face

June 10th 2016

Laura Donovan

An increasing number of people in the U.S. consider themselves sexually fluid. But bisexuality still carries a stigma in our culture.

Take the ongoing controversy over Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's divorce as an example: Some people have used the couple's marital troubles as an opportunity to comment on Heard's bisexuality.

Many people have condemned the judgment surrounding Heard's sexuality and annoying comments about bisexuality in general on the social media platform Tumblr. Here are five Tumblr posts that highlight some of the struggles that bisexuals regularly face.

1. Some bisexuals have voiced that they feel unwelcome in the larger LGBT movement.

Last year, Advocate writer Beth Sherouse wrote that biphobia is a major problem within the community. A bisexual woman herself, she has been questioned for being not just a lesbian. Others have said that she has the "privilege" of "passing as straight":

"The first woman I ever fell in love with routinely asked me why I couldn’t 'just be a lesbian,' and I’ve had community members question my commitment to the cause because I could partner with a man and enjoy the 'privilege' of passing as straight — as if lying about who you are is a privilege."

YouTube star Shane Dawson made similar remarks when he came out as bisexual in a video last year:

"You know, I've always wished that I was gay, that I was just 100 percent gay, for so many reasons," Dawson said. "Number one, that means I would know who I was. Number two, it would be a lot easier for me to be accepted by people, because, you know, I wear wigs and dresses on the internet, and I'm feminine, and all of these things, and it'd be so much easier to just be like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm gay.' But I'm not. I mean, I'm not completely gay."

2. Bisexuals are often questioned.

Anyone who assumes that a bisexual person is probably just gay doesn't consider that sexuality is often viewed as a spectrum. Half of people aged 18 to 24 surveyed in the United Kingdom didn't consider themselves 100 percent straight, according to a YouGov report released last year. Only about 48 percent of Americans aged 13 to 20 identified as totally straight in a separate report this spring by J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group.

bisexuality stigma

Members of Gen Z are even more open about sexuality than Millennials because they had earlier exposure to sites like Tumblr, which encourage discussion about a broad range of topics, Shepherd Laughlin, J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group's trend-spotting director, told Broadly in March.

"Millennials are quite open when it comes to gender identity generally, but they haven't been exposed to the range of vocabulary and nuance around this that Gen Z has become accustomed to, especially when it comes to discussions on online platforms like Tumblr," Laughlin told Broadly. "I think that as Gen Z'ers eventually enter the workplace and interact more with Millennials as adults, Millennials will gain a better understanding of these issues, and the gap will narrow."

3. Some bisexuals are unfairly viewed as promiscuous.

Some people unfairly assign the label "slutty" to bisexuals because they want to have sex with men and women. "Just because bisexuals technically have more options for sexual partners doesn’t mean they are more promiscuous," wrote Anna Pulley in AlterNet in 2011:

"As a friend wrote to me in an email recently, 'I'm glad I'm not bisexual, because then I'd be rejected by men and women.' Naturally, there are bisexuals who are nonmonogamous and who want to sow their oats into as many Quakers as possible, but the same could be said for every sexual orientation. Perhaps the truer statement is we all have the potential to be slutty, regardless of which way we swing."

4. Some people say that bisexuality is "just a phase."

Last June, bisexual actress and model Cara Delevingne faced this unfair stereotype when Vogue writer Rob Haskell wrote that the celebrity's parents "may be correct" in their assumption that her bisexuality is only a passing phase. Delevingne told The New York Times a month later, "My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am."

Cara Delevingne on bisexuality

In October, the popular Facebook page Have a Gay Day offered a similar take on this common idea about bisexuals in the form of a funny image:

5. Some people assume that bisexuals become "straight" after dating a member of the opposite sex.

When openly bisexual actress Evan Rachel Wood married actor Jamie Bell several years ago, one fan asked on Twitter if that meant she was no longer bisexual.

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