B Shame

From the day the single hit the shelves across the nation (and across the world for that matter) Gaga’s Born This Way became an instant classic in gay culture. It spoke to the hearts of many. It validated the feelings of an entire community. It became the voice of liberation of an LGBT collective silenced by rejection and ostracism.

But it is interesting how quickly the tables can turn.

As I say it out loud, “L-G-B-T” makes a good sound (go ahead, you try it too). It flows, doesn’t it? It has a nice intonation. LGBT is an acronym easily spotted in magazines and other printed media. Prestigious academic institutions have departments, majors and resource centers exclusively focused on LGBT issues. There are parades and festivals throughout the world to celebrate LGBT pride. Sadly, apparently not all letters were made equal.

Bisexuality is the blatant irony of homo-normative acceptability within the LGBT community. Since the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically the Gay Rights Movement from the 60s, gays and lesbians have decried that homosexuality is a biological trait. Although there are still a handful of morons who believe reparative therapy will “cure” the gay away, the efforts to decriminalize homosexuality have been successful for the most part. As a result, homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness in medical journals. But exactly how well has this been applied to all LGBT?

Let’s see if we can riddle this one out. If people are naturally born heterosexual or homosexual, then would it not make sense that others could be born bisexual? It seems like a major duh, but it isn’t. It is said that the common sense isn’t so common. It truly is not. Not in this case at least. Bisexual folks are often regarded as “gay-in-training,” “confused,” and just plain “promiscuous.” I suppose that one would understand how these labels would come from heterosexuals if they were not educated in LGBT terminology. But it is sad and shameful when they come from within the LGBT collective.

Bisexual stigma and ignorance run so deep within LGBT (yes, even bisexuals have this internalized hatred), that folks with bisexual tendencies are jumping the entire sexuality spectrum and would rather call themselves polyamorous and pansexual. Since nobody really understands these two terms, no one questions them. For some bi folks these two terms sound “different,” “unique,” “catchy,” and “trendy.” It makes sense. Nobody will judge or point a finger at them for being attracted to both males and females. Nobody will corner them against the wall and make them choose either or.

People are afraid of bisexuality because it disrupts the dichotomy of what we grow up learning to be straight or gay. Everywhere around us the male-female, male-male and female-female standards dominate the mind. The media do an excellent job at reinforcing these mentalities that you can only be attracted to one (doesn’t matter if it’s male or female), but god forbid that you are attracted to both because then there has to be something really wrong with you.

In addition, the crabs-in-a-barrel syndrome tells us a little about how people operate around one another, especially among those within their own social groups. Such behavior is a way by which individuals step on one another to see who gets out of the pot first, or rather, not let others out period. It can also be interpreted as someone hurt me, so I’m going to hurt someone else, or someone put me down, so I’m going to put down someone else. Gay people have been the target of intolerance, hate and violence incessantly. Trans folks have had it worse. And since it is often difficult to fight the oppressor, LGBTs find it easier to pick on easier targets: their very own. It is here where bi folks find themselves at the bottom of the food chain subject to mockery, ridicule and contempt, so that others can feel better about themselves. It is a game of the perception of who holds more power.

Currently in LGBT, what is hot are Trans issues. Gay stuff is old stuff. All are shifting their direction to shed light and understand what is really inside the T. What I am hoping for one day to happen is that we begin to deconstruct the B. It’s like the big elephant in the room everyone ignores. The B needs attention. The B needs nurture. The B shouldn’t be in LGBT just because it sounds good or because it makes the construct seem complete. Or Whole. Or Harmonious.

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By Joseph García