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What exactly is bisexuality and why is it threatening to so many straight people as well as many gay men and lesbians? Some believe that bisexuality is a third kind of sexual identity, between or beyond homosexuality and heterosexuality. Is this the case, or is bisexuality something that puts in question the very concept of sexual identity in the first place? Are bisexuals "just gay and lesbian people who are afraid to admit they are gay" (Eliason 1997), or are they people who have "sexual attraction towards or sexual behavior with persons of both genders"? (Fox 1996) The fact is that public perception of bisexuals is based largely on a series of stereotypes that seem to challenge our cultural norms and beliefs related to sexuality, relationships, intimacy, and gender. Some of these stereotypes may include that bisexuals: don't exist, are confused, need to date a man and woman, have the best of both worlds, and spread AIDS. In general, many of these stereotypes can be fact!
ual, based on fact, or completely inaccurate.
Bisexuality is simply defined as having sexual desire for people of the same and opposite gender. (Patrick, 417) In the Boswell article, it is said "People consider themselves 'homosexual' or 'heterosexual' because they are induced to believe that humans are either 'homosexual' or 'heterosexual'. (Boswell, 34) The same holds true for bisexuality, as well as any other sexual orientation. People consider themselves to be bisexual because they are induced to believe that people are indeed bisexual. Furthermore, it is argued that without such processes or socialization, people would simply be sexual. (Boswell, 34)
One common myth is that bisexuals simply do not exist. Part of this invisible minority status is due to the fact that bisexuality is not a common self-identification. People with bisexual histories will often self-identify as gay or straight depending on who they are in a committed relationship with and unless they make a point of 'coming out' as bisexual. Others will perceive them as the orientation that matches the relationship. As shown in the Patrick article, this can be very threatening to many gays and lesbians. Some in lesbian and gay communities accuse bisexuals of messing with category definitions. (Patrick, 417) In the parlance of the seventies, feminism is theory, lesbianism is practice - bisexuality suggests betrayal, sleeping with the enemy. (Patrick, 417) In Garber's article, "Vice Versa," he refers to this problem as "biphobia" (Garber, 423). Biphobia comes from the fear and ignorance of bisexuality and bisexuals in general. Bisexuals have offered a variety o!
f theories to explain biphobia. For some, biphobia emerges from the belief in the Dichotomy of gay and straight, with no in-between. (Patrick, 417) Therefore bisexuals are not seen as part of the gay community but apart from the community. But why the fear and the ignorance, and what exactly accounts for biphobia? Well, bisexuals have traditionally been considered part of a gay community, fighting for ga
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Biphobia, Patrick, a "bisexual chic, Boswell, Eliason, Warner, McKirnan,
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