Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD
Previous New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the world-wide-web into a tailspin earlier in the day this w eek whenever she labeled actress and newly established gubernatorial prospect Cynthia Nixon a вЂњunqualified lesbianвЂќ. The uproar so far has primarily dedicated to the salaciousness of governmental infighting between two women that are queer. Nonetheless, whatвЂ™s lacking is a review of Quinn for mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian. Nixon has known by herself as bisexual, and glossing over this huge difference is a definite exemplory instance of bi erasure, or even the presumption that bisexuality is certainly not a genuine identification, but quite simply an intermediate stop from the intimate orientation train who has only two feasible locations: gay/lesbian and right. Although Quinn later apologized on her remark, the apology failed to relate with mislabeling NixonвЂ™s stated sexual identity.
While bisexuality has grown to become so much more noticeable in popular culture into the previous several years having an increase that is important bisexual figures on TV in specific you may still find numerous stereotypes connected to the label. вЂњOn the fence,вЂќ вЂњwishy washy,вЂќ вЂњgoing through a phaseвЂќ: they are all misconceptions that are common bi people. Unfortunately, a few of the stigma and bi erasure arises from the queer community, from self identified gay males and lesbians whom donвЂ™t believe bisexuality is definitely an identity that is authentic.
They continue to reinforce the heteronormative idea that sexuality is binary, that one must either be gay or straight while they are marginalized for their sexual orientation.
ItвЂ™s interesting to compare the narrative about Nixon to that particular of Oregon Governor Kate Brown: whenever she ended up being elected the media identified her as bisexual, that we assume ended up being as a result of duplicated efforts on the component in order to make her identity that is sexual understood. Nixon hasnвЂ™t been as clear about her chosen labels; yet, she’s been clear about her intimate and history that is romantic the truth that sheвЂ™s enjoyed both women and men. One major distinction between both of these females is the fact that Brown is hitched to a person while Nixon is hitched to a female. While this may well not look like a appropriate distinction, with regards to queer identification politics, it really is.
Bi ladies hitched to guys are thought to be right, and if they’re thinking about claiming their queerness publicly, must repeatedly turn out to individuals who donвЂ™t discover how they identify given that itвЂ™s perhaps not obvious from their range of partner. Whilst the presumption of heterosexuality is certainly not surprising, it should not be studied for provided that a stand set for their sexual orientation. Bi individuals donвЂ™t have actually to be participating in romantic or sexual relationships with both genders on top of that in purchase to recognize as bi; in reality, i might reckon that most bi individuals are in monogamous relationships at any time. (Incidentally, the theory that most bi people are polyamorous is another major myth; non monogamy is practiced by folks of all sexual orientations.) Hence, I’m able to just assume Brown publicly identifies as bisexual as itвЂ™s the best way for her to claim her queerness.
Nixon, having said that, is married to a female and it is consequently assumed by numerous to be always a lesbian. As bi females have actually very long stated, there clearly was normally a stigma that is particular pinpointing as bi inside the lesbian community: вЂњsheвЂ™ll make you for a manвЂќ the most common stereotypes about bi females among lesbians, and reasons why many wonвЂ™t consider dating bi ladies. In the LGBT community, then, Nixon has less explanation to want to loudly claim her bisexuality, she has been) derided by some lesbians as wanting to retain some element of heterosexual privilege by not вЂњfully committingвЂќ to the label of lesbian as she would almost certainly be (and IвЂ™m sure.
In the end, it is not necessarily in regards to the certain terms Nixon utilizes to spot by by herself. In the end, numerous bi people prefer the word вЂњqueerвЂќ for his or her self identification since it emphasizes their connections using the bigger LGBT community; other people utilize various identification labels within different contexts. Nevertheless, clearly mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian, as Quinn did, is a kind of erasure which also reinforces binary notions about sex. ItвЂ™s high time we stopped considering sex being an either/or phenomenon and started using bi individuals at their term, once we make up definitely the biggest team in the LGBT community.