Bi the way: Remembering the ‘B’ in LGBT

By Linze Griebenow

I’m not afraid to admit one of my favorite pastimes has been eating food.

If I had to categorize all my favorite dishes into just two groups, it would have to be American and Mexican. Sometimes, when I’m feeling patriotic, nothing sounds better to me than a hot dog; other times, enchiladas and refried beans can bring me to my knees. What I really like, though, is TexMex, a beautiful blending of both.

In a similar way, as someone that identifies as bisexual, some days I like a little from column A and some days I like a little from column B. However, no matter how vigorously I advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders alike, it always seems as if TexMex is getting left out of the discussion: it’s that “b-word” right in the middle, if you know what I’m saying.

It’s no secret that although there seems to be a fascination with the extremes – black or white, mini or gargantuan, straight or gay, gay or lesbian – the world doesn’t really work that way.

A problem with bi-visibility, meaning the status of bisexuality in the public realm, is that there is none. When someone on a mainstream television show is actually depicted as being bi, they’re typically the hottest woman making out with the second hottest woman and possibly even the hottest man, in a confused and sexy daze.

The other option for television or mainstream ideology is that of the “party girl,” a cliche to perpetuate the “she’s just doing it for attention” myth.

I’m not saying that some people aren’t confused or acting out for attention, but the strength of these rumors and lack of true and reflective bi-visibility in mainstream public and scholarly realms diminishes the sexuality, and thusly the individual, as a whole.

The message is this: Bisexuals are going through a phase, a state of uncertainty where they don’t know what they want and certainly aren’t to be trusted in monogamous relationships.

This is if a conversation on bisexuality even takes place.

Dan Savage, lesbian and gay activist, blogger and creator of the “It Gets Better” phenomena, states in Bi the Way, a documentary chronicling the lives of bisexuals and bisexuality as it exists in modern culture, that he doesn’t believe the sexuality to exist. Ouch.

Hot dogs and tacos may be more popular, but I know I’ve had TexMex.

The theme of bi-phobia is transparent throughout gay, lesbian and straight communities and leads to mounting struggles for bi people, who may feel they have to choose a side of sexuality. Further, this invisibility can serve to disengage bi folks from activism and social philanthropy, when they so vehemently fight for the rights of all people. When one says “LGBT” aloud, the “B” isn’t silent.

Just as chili con carne is a bold and utterly delicious mix of two more widely-known genres of food, bisexuality is a reality for many people who prefer not to choose.