"Just a Phase:" The Trouble With Bisexual Erasure

"Just a Phase:" The Trouble With Bisexual Erasure

Bisexual Health Awareness Month calls everyone to remember that bisexuality matters.

The best kept secret of bisexuality is its existence. People who identify as bisexual face a unique, multi-faceted stigma because many simply choose to believe bisexuality cannot possibly exist. Typically, popular culture treats sexuality as a binary—an individual either wants to have sex with men or they want to have sex with women. This reductionist view of human sexuality disregards the “human.” It treats sexuality as a strict set of codes that determine the way people should mate and reproduce.

Actual human experience, however, shows that sexuality looks more like a lava lamp—a flux of illumination and darkness, concealing and revealing an amorphous entity. Bisexuality does not, however, refer to confusion, experimentation or indecision, though these all do take part in sexual embodiment.

Bisexuality is the name given to a legitimate experience of romantic and sexual attraction. March marks National Bisexual Health Awareness Month, which focuses on highlighting the ways that bisexual erasure and biphobia damage the physical and mental health of individuals who identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer and those who prefer not to use a label.

Popular culture completely disregards bisexuality, although it accounts for over half of the LGB population in the United States, according to bihealthmonth.org. The treatment of bisexuality as merely a stepping stone either to coming out as gay or to reaffirming straight identity undermines the relationships of bisexual individuals and infantilizes them.

Bisexual people often experience alienation in a unique manner. Obviously, any sexual orientation that deviates from the “norm” of heterosexuality complicates one’s feeling of belonging in a hetero-normative culture. However, bisexuality leads to an additional problem. Sometimes, groups that focus on gay rights or comfortable, safe spaces for gay people exclude bisexual people.

Even when a community does not actually exclude those who identify as bisexual (or any of the terms that fall under the bisexual+ umbrella), individuals feel as though they are not “gay enough” for the community or “straight enough” for the mainstream.

This circumstance happens frequently among bisexual youths. Bihealthmonth.org reports that only 10 percent of bisexual young people feel as though they “fit in.” The other 90 percent must cope with a perpetual feeling of isolation from peers and adults. The isolation, fear and embarrassment associated with bisexuality leads to myriad psychological problems.

Bisexual erasure proposes many problems but has one particularly tragic consequence: suicide. Rejection and misrepresentation can lead to a sense of alienation and low self-esteem. Without the resources to intervene, this cyclone of depression and hopelessness kills.

The Institute of Medicine reported in 2011 that bisexual people have the highest rates of depression, self-harm and suicide among all sexual orientations. Bisexual youth, in particular, experience the greatest disparity in mental health, abuse and socioeconomic issues.

Bihealthmonth.org provides a number of troubling statistics: “compared with lesbians, bisexual female adolescents are two times more likely to experience dating abuse. Compared with heterosexual males, bisexual males are 3.6 times more likely to have experienced at least one type of dating abuse." Bi+ youth reported the highest levels of being bullied, threatened or harassed over the Internet. To disregard bisexuality is to turn away from people's pain.

Because bigotry against bisexuality tends to manifest itself in the form of disbelief, bisexual issues receive minuscule support. In fact, The Funders for LGBT issues annual report shows that out of $129 million of private funding for LGBT+ groups and organizations in 2013, less than one percent went to bisexual issues. Of that $475,000, most came from a private donor interested in scientific research. That leaves a dismal amount left for actual services to the community.

In addition, people who identify as bisexual are least likely to report their sexual orientation to a physician, likely due to fear of dismissal. Therefore, health risks that impact the bisexual community often go unaddressed. Even personal support resources are often slim for bisexual people.

Because of the perspective that bisexuality is transitory or even an excuse for infidelity, people who identify as bisexual are the least likely group to “come out” to families and friends. In addition, they rarely have access to or awareness of LGBT+ support groups, which often focus on people who identify as gay or lesbian.

Identities that intersect with bisexuality propose myriad different human experiences. Men who identify as bisexual risk being viewed as less of a man. Women have a different experience of bisexuality. Because of the fetishization of female homosexuality, bisexual women face accusations of “going through an experimental period,” seeking male attention or generally behaving in a promiscuous manner.

For trans or genderqueer people, the stereotypes and attacks become more complicated and convoluted. People hate what they fear and fear what they cannot understand. Hatred leads to cruelty. As March comes to a close, it is important to affirm all year that bisexual people exist and matter.

Cover Image Credit: Bilerico

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28 Urban Slang Terms Every New Yorker Knows

It's dead ass mad brick out today.

The New York City youth is greatly influenced by hip-hop culture, and hip-hop culture is continuously influenced by New York City. With the colorful expressions found in both hip-hop and the streets of New York, colorful language is inevitable. The truth is, you're not a real New Yorker if you've never heard these terms before.

1. Whack = (adj) used to describe something that is appalling in nature

"That's whack!"

2. Grill = (v) to stare, usually impolitely; to give a dirty look

"Dude stop grilling my girlfriend, I know her spray tan looks whack."

3. To front/Fronting = (v) to put on a façade; acting like you are something that you are not.

"Stop fronting like you own the place."

4. Cop = (v) to buy

"I'm about to cop some chips, you want some?"

5. Catch these hands = phrase used to initiate a fight

"If that girl keeps grilling me she can catch these hands."

Variations: throw these hands; throw hands; catch this fade

6. Crusty = (adj) used to describe someone who is dirty or trashy

"Girl, did you shower today? Your hair is looking all types of musty, dusty, and crusty."

Synonyms: musty; dusty

7. Lit = (adj) used to describe someone or something that is amazing in every sense

Variations: litty

8. Mad = (adv) very

"Stay away from her, bro. She has mad problems."

Synonyms: dumb; OD; stupid

9. Dumb = (adv) extremely

"This party is dumb lit."

Synonyms: mad; OD; stupid

10. Brick = (adj) very cold

"Damn, it's mad brick out."

11. Tight = (v) to be upset

"Stop running your fingers through my hair; you're getting me dumb tight."

12. Thirsty = (adj) desperate; (n) someone who is desperate

"I didn't tag you in my photo because I don't want any thirsties following you."

Variations: thirsties (n)

13. Buggin' = freaking out; acting up

"My mom just asked me to clean all the dishes even though it's not my turn. She's buggin."

Synonyms: wylin'/wildin'

14. Son = (n) a good friend

"Of course I know him, that's my son!"

Synonyms: B

15. B = (n) a good friend

"What's good, B?"

16. Sus = shady or false

*Short for "suspect" or "suspicious"

"That girl is mad sus for looking at me like that."

17. Dead ass = (adj) seriously

"You're dead ass getting me tight, B."

*Could also be used as follows:

"Dead ass?" = Are you serious?

"Dead ass!" = Yes.

18. Guap = (n) money

"Okay, this to all of my enemies that seeing me gettin' guap right now." -- Big Sean

Synonyms: Mulah; dough; casheesh

19. Grimey = (adj) used to describe a back-stabber

"I'm telling you, bro. He's mad grimey, don't trust him."

20. You woulda thought = a more exciting way to say "no"

"You woulda thought I was going to let you use my laptop to log on to your shady-ass websites."

21. OD/Ohdee/Odee = (adj) excessive; an abbreviation for "over-doing"

"Man, my professor just assigned OD work on BlackBoard."

Synonyms: mad; dumb

22. Wylin'/Wildin' = out of control

"That girl was wildin' last night when she threatened to throw hands at you for no reason."

Synonyms: buggin'

23. Facts = (adj) something that is rooted in truth

"That's a fact, B."

Synonyms: true

24. Snuff = (v) to punch

"I should've never threatened to throw hands. He straight up snuffed me in the throat."

Synonyms: rock

25. Wavy = (adj) used to describe something that is cool or nice

"I’m so wavy in the turbo Porsche, she so wavy in the new Mercedes" -- Ty Dolla $ign

Synonyms: dope, lit

26. Kicks = (n) sneakers

"Where'd you cop those kicks from?"

27. Beef = (n) having a fight or holding a grudge against another person or group of people

"Tommy told me you guys have beef."

28. Ice = (n) jewelry

"Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3." -- D.R.A.M.

Variations: icy (adj)

Cover Image Credit: BKNPK

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Thank You To The Man Who Taught Me How To Be A Man

"Oh, almost forgot to do something, thank my father too. I actually learned a lot from you, you taught me what not to do." -Eminem


Dear You,

Starting this off by saying "dear" feels disgustingly wrong. Nothing about you is dear, nothing you have ever done for me has been dear, expect you got me into Eminem at eight years old but let's be honest- that would have happened anyways. As far as the "you" part, you have no title in my life anymore, your name means nothing to me anymore nor does your previous title.

You have fucked me over more than anyone in my entire life. You've hurt me, pushed me down more times than I can count- but I've stood up one more time than each time you've pushed me down. You'll never see me succeed, nor will you meet my wife or our kids. This letter isn't to bash you, I'm over that because I'm better than you now and I realize that.

I want to thank you for the one thing you did do for me. You made me a man. I was raised on my Poppa's mindset- a house is controlled by God, a man, the wife, the kids, then everything else. I highly disagree with this now, but from age four you made me a man. My Poppa taught me that there was supposed to be a man and there was nobody else besides me and my momma so it was all up to me.

You know last week I refinished a cabinet all by myself? Sanded, stained, and sealed it all on my own. Now that's not a man's job but it's also not my momma's job because she works two to take care of me since we don't have anyone else besides Poppa and Grams. I was so proud of myself and I would have given anything for my Uncle Raymond to see it, he'd be so damn proud of me. Poppa sure as hell is. I didn't learn that from you, I taught myself how to do it. That was my second time ever staining anything, the first time was two weeks before that cabinet. Poppa is too sick to teach me things now and I don't expect him to do it, Uncle Raymond is gone- I'm the only man I've got.

I'm still not strong, I don't workout because I hate it tremendously. I can fix almost anything you put in front of me and I know more about cars than any girl I hang around (besides momma because she chased for so long). In 19 years I've learned how to hold my emotions in like a man because I had to be the strong one when you broke us. The only times are cry is when my girlfriend and I fight or I make momma cry, or if I'm really sick. I cried today too because I didn't get a job, I felt like a failure and I don't want to let momma down like others have in the past; including myself.

I still don't eat meat- not because I'm a "stuck up bitch". I don't drive a truck, but I want to so I can fit all of my things in it. I have a lot to say but not enough time or space to say it. I guess what I want to say is you forced me to become a man from the time I was four years old. I've always told people that I had to be the man of the house because we didn't have one. You don't make me want to be a man, you make me want to be a person and a damn good one. You make me want to be a partner to my wife, a loving one that provides. You make me want to be the best parent in the world- one that plays with Barbies and race cars (with the same damn kid).

You might not have done much, but you made me a man. A damn good man.



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