Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD
Previous new york Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the web in to 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 dedicated to the salaciousness of governmental infighting between two women that are queer. Nonetheless, whatвЂ™s lacking is a critique of Quinn for mislabeling Nixon as being a lesbian. Nixon has known by by herself as bisexual, and glossing over this huge difference is an obvious illustration of bi erasure, or the presumption that bisexuality just isn’t a genuine identification, but simply an intermediate end in the intimate orientation train which has just two feasible locations: gay/lesbian and right. The apology did not relate to mislabeling NixonвЂ™s stated sexual identity although Quinn later apologized for her comment.
While bisexuality is becoming even more noticeable in popular tradition in past times several years having a crucial upsurge in bisexual figures on TV 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 individuals. 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 definitely an authentic identification.
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 to this of Oregon Governor Kate Brown: whenever she ended up being elected the media identified her as bisexual, that I assume ended up being because of duplicated efforts on the part to help make her identity that is sexual understood. Nixon hasnвЂ™t always been as clear about her chosen labels; yet, she’s got been clear about her intimate and history that is romantic the truth that sheвЂ™s enjoyed both women and men. One major distinction between both of these ladies is Brown is hitched to a person while Nixon is hitched to a lady. Although this may well not look like a appropriate huge difference, when it comes to queer identification politics, it really is.
Bi ladies hitched to guys are thought to be right, and because itвЂ™s not obvious from their choice of partner if they are interested in claiming their queerness publicly, must repeatedly come out to people who donвЂ™t know how they identify. Although the presumption of heterosexuality isn’t astonishing, it should not be used for issued that a stand set for their sexual orientation. Bi individuals donвЂ™t have actually to be doing romantic or intimate relationships with both genders at exactly the same time so that you can determine as bi; in reality, I would personally reckon that most bi individuals come in monogamous relationships at any time. (Incidentally, the theory that most bi people are polyamorous is another major myth; non monogamy is practiced by folks of all intimate orientations.) Therefore, I am able to just assume Brown publicly identifies as bisexual given that itвЂ™s the best way 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 thick latina masturbation a lesbian. As bi ladies have actually very long stated, there clearly was usually a specific stigma to pinpointing as bi in the lesbian community: вЂњsheвЂ™ll make you for the manвЂќ the most typical stereotypes about bi females among lesbians, and reasons why numerous wonвЂ™t consider dating bi females. In the LGBT community, then, Nixon has less explanation to desire 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 in regards to the words that are specific makes use of to spot by herself. Most likely, numerous bi people prefer the word вЂњqueerвЂќ with regards to their self identification because it emphasizes their connections because of the bigger LGBT community; other people utilize various identification labels within various contexts. Nevertheless, explicitly mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian, as Quinn did, is a type of erasure which also reinforces binary notions about sex. ItвЂ™s high time we stopped considering sex as an either/or occurrence and started using bi individuals at their word, once we compensate undoubtedly the group that is largest inside the LGBT community.