Bisexual Women Struggle To Find Their Place In The LGBTQ Community

June is Pride Month, which is a huge deal for bisexuals in the LGBTQ community. With the recent news of the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the community has a lot to celebrate. But bisexual women still feel out of place within their own community.

Sara Chittenden of The Rapidan shared her experiences about growing up as a bisexual woman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not only does Chittenden write that she has a hard time finding acceptance in the LGBTQ community, but she also has a hard time finding acceptance with her straight allies. She also goes on to explain what “bisexuality” really means.

“Bisexuality isn’t just being half-gay and half-straight. Instead it’s this wonderful complex space all its own. Being bi simply means that you are attracted to more than one gender, and any specifics is up to the person themselves to define. Any like any other sexuality, people with other gender, racial, ability, class, etc, identities can and do identify as bi.”

Unfortunately, for most bisexual women, they’re still labeled as “cheaters” or “swingers,” as noted in a recent article on the Daily Mail. Many bi women have taken to Tumblr or Whisper to anonymously share their experiences from not being accepted by their sexual or romantic partners or by their straight friends. There’s also a shocking number of women who reveal that men will try to “fix” their sexuality by forcing them into sex. According to Sara Chittenden, bisexual women are at a higher risk for sexual assault, alcohol abuse, and suicide. There’s very few resources and support groups about bisexuality and acceptance for young adults.

San Antonio Current’s own Erica Campos, 37, didn’t know much about bisexuality until she started speaking with people within the LGBTQ community. What she heard from those people wasn’t all good.

“Bisexuality is a bad word in the gay community. Lesbians saw it as disgusting. They didn’t want to be with a woman who was also with men.”

Campos also said that she experienced a lot of bi-erasure within the community. People would just tell her that her sexuality was a “cop-out” from coming out of the closet.

“It was but one more critique bisexuals have become accustomed to hearing: ‘Oh, that’s not real’ ‘You can’t decide.’ ‘You’re promiscuous.’ ‘You’re just going through a phase.’ ‘Oh, you’re straight.’ And the list goes on.”

Bisexuality has become the topic of discussion lately. Miley Cyrus revealed to Paper magazine earlier this month that she’s been in relationships with both men and women. There’s been rumors and speculation about Kristen Stewart’s sexuality and her relationship with her assistant, Alicia Cargile.

Most recently, Cara Delevingne publicly spoke about her struggle to come out as bisexual and was slammed by interviewer Rob Haskell. Vogue’s writer said that Delevingne’s bisexuality is probably “just a phase.” In the wake of his insensitive remarks, Julie Rodriguez launched a Care2 petition telling Vogue that “Being LGBT Isn’t A ‘Phase,'” which has over 13,000 signatures. In the petition, Rodriguez writes.

“The idea that queer women only form relationships with other women as a result of childhood trauma is a harmful (and false) stereotype that lesbian and bisexual women have been combating for decades…As a bisexual woman myself, I’ve experienced hurtful comments like this many times. People are quick to assume queer women’s identities are a ‘phase’ and to refuse to recognize the important relationships in their lives — an attitude which can cause depression, result in families rejecting their daughters (or forcing them into abusive conversion ‘therapy’), and even put young women at risk of suicide. Vogue should have taken this opportunity to combat negative stereotypes, not reinforce them.”

It’s no wonder why bisexual women struggle to come out in both the gay and straight communities. They will continue to struggle with their sexuality until the LGBTQ community does away with this bi-erasure.

[Image: David McNew/Getty Images]