As an LGBT activist I am constantly looking at the progress of the LGBT movement around the world, particularly in countries that haven’t reached milestones like legal same-sex marriage and legal adoption-equality, however in recent days I have been considering the LGBT community in more socially accepting countries. I would like to clarify that my use of the acronym ‘LGBT’ is in no way discriminatory toward unmentioned groups because I haven’t used much longer acronym, it’s simply because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to type out anything longer. The increasing use of terms that have emerged in recent years such as ‘pansexual’, ‘gender fluid’ and ‘questioning’ has, in my view, begun to remove the stigma that has existed within the gay community; it is the use of these terms that has removed much societal ignorance around this topic and resulted in greater acceptance of the LGBT community.
There have been two prevailing reasons for the existence of biphobia but changing social attitudes around gender and sexuality have ended ignorance around bisexuality as people, straight and gay, who have been conditioned into believing in a binary view of sexuality, which is becoming less accepted by the day, are changing their outlook.
The first cause of friction between the bisexual and gay communities has been ‘denialism’; this concept is rooted in a binary view of sexuality in which people seen as having sexual relations with both men and women are actually gay but continue to have relationships with people of the opposite gender in order to avoid the societal stigma of being homosexual. As a result some, but by no means all, gay people viewed people that self-identified as bisexuals with scepticism or derision because, although these people opposed the heterosexual majority by asserting that homosexuality is not a choice, this group of people accepted the premise of rigid sexualities thus inadvertently allying themselves with the same societal oppressors.
The other argument that was used to conceal bigotry against the bisexual community was the idea of bisexuality being a way of justifying sexual promiscuity. This concept of promiscuity in itself is a hangover from a Puritanical past that seeks to judge people based on the amount of sex people have, with the biphobia stemming from it as a modern extension of this judgement. This second form of bigotry was largely ignored by the gay community as the sexually repressive societies of old had also attributed this concept of promiscuity to them.
It was only after the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s that this idea of promiscuity re-emerged among both heterosexual and homosexual communities, with many straight people becoming especially angered by the bisexual community because, at a time when the disease was mostly impacting gay people, bisexuals were seen as potentially spreading the disease to heterosexuals.
Thankfully the liberalisation of attitudes around sex has resulted in people being more accepting of many different sexual attitudes and orientations. Up until know I hadn’t really explained why I brought up my laziness around the use of LGBT-related acronyms but the use of the acronyms I cannot be bothered to type out has been a key reason that biphobia is, in my view, on the verge of extinction. Because of the willingness among the LGBT community to promote inclusivity to as many people as possible, the societal acceptance of the spectrum of sexuality as a concept has been seamless, especially among younger people.
With sexual experimentation becoming more socially acceptable, surveys have shown that the numbers of young people having sex with people of the same sex or identifying as bisexual, questioning, pansexual etc., has greatly reduced the stigma that these two types of bigotry had established.