Queer Imposter Syndrome And Forced Masculinity Are Discrimination Based On Binaries
Politics and Activism

Queer Imposter Syndrome And Forced Masculinity Are Discrimination Based On Binaries

Even as a pansexual/bisexual person I subconsciously participate in stereotyping bisexuals.


To live in a world in which even the fight for full integration of outcasted communities is done through outcasted populations needing to first further separate themselves, imagining the same world as foreign to discrimination seems unearthly. Discrimination toward bisexuals is not limited to greater cisgendered and heterosexual society but, perhaps surprisingly, comes from the LGBTQ community itself. The unsettled feeling caused by bisexuals' riddance from binary romances, neither completely gay nor totally straight, stems from cultural positioning towards the all-straight-or-nothing binary and leads to Queer Imposter Syndrome. Bi Erasure is only the aperitif in the context of a gender-bending, romance-queer cluster-confusion dinner table in the house of intensely lacking queer self assurance and discrimination, whereas, for bisexuals, Queer Imposter Syndrome, which drives many to believe their identities are lacking any sort of legitimacy or proper place in either queer or straight society, serves as the main course that leaves them with a stomach ache. Separate, but not completely unattached from topics of imposter syndrome and the like, is the topic of masculinity.

Media marketing towards men has created a binary of masculinity in which a man is either a sexually voyeuristic, heavy consumer of alcohol whose only attachment to women is their sex and lack of power, or, the loser man. The loser man is not played up by women in excess nor satisfied in his masculinity by drinking and talking sports with his buddies but is disqualified as a man because he falls into feminine stereotypes of being self-conscious and demure. The queers are ousted by queers and men are outcasted by other men, but this is not an essential part of human existence, it is not cyclical and it is not innate. To live in a world without discrimination, where gender and sexuality do not exist, is a flowery assumption of possibility because of mankind's nature to do away with difference. However, if it were possible, to live in a world without discrimination, LGBTQ folk need to serve as safety nets for their kind more readily and men must take charge in widening the scope of what is accepted as masculinity, most essentially, to stop defining masculinity in terms of what femininity is not.

Discrimination based on minuscule understandings of sexual orientation need to be approached from within the community before greater society can shift. As a pansexual woman myself, I am a close friend of the question "Am I gay enough?" especially working at NYC Pride, where very few bisexual or pansexual people feel comfortable to be involved. Though I am a sinister partner of name Queer Imposter Syndrome, I am not innocent in my participation of its continuance. Even as a pansexual/bisexual person I subconsciously participate in stereotyping bisexuals. I wonder if my boyfriend will cheat on me with a man because he, too, is bisexual. I wonder if I am just a year and stone throw's away from realizing I'm a lesbian. And that undermines the identities falling under the bisexual umbrella completely, a form of erasure. If bisexuals are conditioned to stereotype themselves, it is not at all surprising that these members of the LGBTQ community (termed loosely) feel only next-to-human when positioned next to a straight person or a gay person.

It is the courage and responsibility of bisexual people to be open with themselves and remind themselves of who they are, and, within that, ensure they do not make habit of allowing members within their own communities to mis-sexualise them. Within that frame, however, it is not the sole responsibility of bisexual people to be their own fighters. The LGBTQ community is considered a "community" for that the sexual minorities of society were, in theory, but less so in practice, meant to be each others' strongholds. Because of the presence of this community, it falls on the shoulders of Ls, Gs, Ts, and Qs to make sure they are giving the respect they expect from bisexuals to bisexuals. In doing this, the community bisexuals live in becomes tighter and offers security, and creating a space that is more prone to educating those outside of the LGBTQ community.

Historically, masculinity has been defined as whatever femininity is not. By defeating this way of thinking masculinity, men are able to define masculinity for themselves as individuals rather than adhering to a patriarchal and anti-women status quo. In advertising, male consumers are pressed on the idea that, to be a man, masculinity must be defined by external distractions (i.e. beer, sex, women, self-deprecation, workplace hierarchies) above internal complexity. The resolution to men lacking the "manly man" standard is to broach with the greater and historical understanding of where masculinity stems from, however impractical or falsified: the maintenance of stoicism and dignity through the lack of basic human emotion and engagement. Defining masculinity through sex and alcohol use both defines men through what women are expected to be (i.e. sexual objects, submissive to violence) and erases the presence of gay men, gay women, masculine women, and feminine men while also gendering non-genderbound splices of life like necessity or emotion. Men, who happen to make up the majority of marketing firms, need to be responsible for themselves and their counterparts. By, not necessarily decreasing the amount of stale, historical masculinity, but rather increasing varied versions of masculinity through media and marketing, the term "masculinity" becomes purely subjective to its owner.

While I personally am not of the idealistic belief that there can be a world completely without gender or discrimination based on sexuality, I do believe that the integration of concepts of identity can lessen prejudice. Members of the LGBTQ community and men who are unsatisfied by outdated definitions of masculinity should feel encouraged to shift their thinking for the safety of future generations and their own security. Everyday queer people commit suicide and men experience rape, every day a bisexual person comes out of the closet and a man feels the only way to live is without intense emotion, every scenario posing a challenge to their physical and mental health and to that of those who surround them.

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