Identifying as a College-Age Bisexual Woman in 2021: Stigmas and Biases
The LGBTQ+ community is widely accepted in most places, but some stereotypes and microaggressions still remain. Alexandra Rush reports about some of the women at the University of Nevada, Reno, who identify as bisexual– and how they have been affected by harmful homophobic myths.
Facing Fears on Coming Out
“I’ve been told many times that I’m straight because I have relations with a man. Also, when I bring up my sexuality around most people, they insist that must mean I’m okay with having a threesome,” said Meghan Frasier, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, explaining some of the many stigmas she faces as a bisexual woman.
She says that she flips between the term ‘bisexual’ and ‘pansexual,’ mostly because she is still confused about the connotations of both because of different stereotypes and biases. Frasier still struggles to come to terms with letting her family know about her sexuality because she is not sure how they will react. She only recently started to come out to her friends once she entered college.
It is difficult to believe after years of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights, the battle still continues for many. Frasier says that the amount of hate comments from others after coming out can be awful.
“Once I was told that being gay in any way wasn’t valid. I wasn’t even sure how to react because it’s never been a choice for me,” Frasier said.
However, she does say that there is an overwhelming amount of support that she receives from those who accept her for who she is. Though the fear of approval can be nerve wracking, she says there are those who will accept her without any thought or bias.
Educating others on these stigmas can help to create a more caring and open-minded society, where differences make each other learn and grow.
Stigmas Surrounding Sexual Habits
One of the often circulated stereotypes surrounding bisexual women is the idea of ‘hypersexuality.’ Being able to be attracted to more than one gender– many people come to believe that they are more likely to cheat in a relationship or to be highly sexual in nature.
“That’s such a common misconception and it can really damage how someone views their sexuality and their decision to come out,” Frasier said.
She also has been told by others that her identity implies that she will have sex with anyone and that she is addicted to sex.
Cassie Ramirez, a senior majoring in Business and Psychology at UNR, has also experienced her fair share of encounters with this bias. Ramirez identifies as a bisexual woman and only came to terms with sharing it to others after entering college.
Some of the stereotypes and misconceptions she’s faced after coming out include: acting hypersexual, always willing to have a threesome, not actually bisexual, ‘daddy issues’, and she just hasn’t met the right guy.
“One thing that has always made me really upset is when I’m in a monogamous relationship and a man I’m dating asks for a threesome. I feel like it belittles my sexuality and our relationship. They don’t see me being into women as an actual thing and see it as something more for their pleasure,” Ramirez said.
She also explains when she counteracts that question by asking for another man instead of a woman, they almost instantly become angry and ask her why she would want another guy. They don’t understand why she gets upset that they are asking for a girl. They claim that if she is attracted to girls, then she should want to have a threesome with one.
When she is in a relationship, she soley wants to be with them, hence her strict stance on monogamy.
“It’s the same with straight relationships, if someone is going to cheat, then someone is going to cheat. It’s hurtful when I feel comfortable mentioning my sexuality and they instantly think differently of me and the relationship. They think being bi means you want to hook up with every human being that walks past you. It also makes it hard when they get jealous of my female friends. I feel like I have to act differently around my friends to protect their fragile ego that over-sexualizes women.”
Validating Sexual Identity in a World of Invalidation
Ramirez emphasizes how she is questioned about her sexual past and identity by many of the men that she has talked to. They ask her about the validity of her sexuality and pass it off as a ‘college phase’. She wishes she would have reacted differently in the past towards these questions, but it is difficult to answer why her sexuality is valid and shouldn’t even be questioned.
Invasive questions about sexuality and personal, intimate details seem to be normalized by a lot of men uneducated about bisexuality.
Being in college, it seems to be that some believe bisexuality is again a ‘college phase’ and not a legitimate sexual identity. Both Frasier and Ramirez have been invalidated by this belief. They say it makes coming out in college much more difficult because of thoughts like this.
“Another part is the LGBTQ+ community tends to exclude bisexual people. It makes it hard to have a conversation because they belittle bisexuality. It is one of the easier passing sexualities, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t feel scared to come out or deal with their own obstacles,” Ramirez said.
She explains some lesbian and gay people refuse to date bisexual people because they aren’t ‘real members of the LGBTQ+ community’ due to the fact they can sometimes pass as heterosexual. Some straight people also won’t date bisexual people because they do like the same gender. It’s hard for her to feel actually a part of and protected by the community when her identity is erased by all groups.
Ramirez leaves off with a few words of wisdom for anyone concerned about their own sexuality.
“Bisexuality is fluid. It’s not just 50/50. You can like women more than men for a few months and visa versa. You can be into men more sexually and women more romantically. You can like men but be happily in a monogamous relationship with a woman and never think about it. It’s a broad spectrum that people shouldn’t have to explain themselves to feel valid.”