I was reading something by a Tumblr author with the handle “bi-privilege” (http://bi-privilege.tumblr.com/) and they quoted something from “What Does Biphobia Look Like (2014, LGBT Resource Center, UC San Diego) that answered the question, “What is Heterosexism?”
I read it and the piece was doing what I thought was a fairly decent job of explaining the problem some heterosexuals and homosexuals have with bisexuals, right up until I saw the word “relationship” show up and it made me say to myself, “What, again? What the fuck does that have to do with anything?” One of the things I realize is that, once again, people are more apt to believe the perception more than the truth, like if two girls are having a relationship, then they both must be lesbian; likewise, if two guys are having a relationship, then they both must be gay – and some people accept this as a truth when it’s not always the truth because as some of us know, one of those people in a “lesbian” or “gay” relationship just might be bisexual.
Why people want to keep pushing the relationship thing to validate sexuality just amazes me and I’m not quite sure why this is other than that… push to be monogamous and that ‘goal’ to pursue and have a relationship. But if you don’t know the specifics of, say, a girl/girl relationship, does it make sense to assume that they’re lesbian? This kind of stuff continues to draw a line that shouldn’t make sense: Everyone is straight/gay until proven otherwise. Some other shit comes to mind, like, if you don’t wanna know, don’t ask and if you don’t know, you’d better ask somebody.
If I saw two guys walking down the street holding hands, I wouldn’t assume that they were gay and if I really wanted to know – and I can’t imagine why I’d want to know – I’d ask… if I knew them well enough to ask, that is. They could be gay; they could both be bisexual for all I know but the point here is that their relationship, and in whatever form that happens to be, does not and should not be used to validate anyone’s sexuality. You wanna validate it? Go ask them. Ah, but since few people are of a mind to do something like this, it’s easier to just assume that they’re gay.
It’s assumed that bisexuals wind up in that gray area between heterosexuality and homosexuality because they aren’t either thing. We can be bisexual and be in a relationship with someone who’s straight and it doesn’t change the fact that one person is bisexual; we can be bisexual and in a relationship with another bisexual man or with a gay man and that doesn’t mean that the bisexual just stopped being bisexual and “simply” because it looks like he may be gay. Hell, a bisexual man in a relationship with a bisexual woman looks like a straight relationship, right? Still doesn’t change the fact that both of them are bisexual.
And if you don’t know the dynamics of the relationship, stop assuming shit! Unless it somehow affects you, whether the couple is bi, straight, or gay is none of your business to begin with. Still, by making such an assumption – and one that may not be accurate – we – people – allow our narrow-mindedness to show, that instead of being interested in the facts, it’s easier to put that blanket of assumption on a couple who appear to be gay… but not everyone in the observed relationship is gay.
If you go read bi-privilege’s blog (or whatever they call it on Tumblr), you see that the opening statements do make sense but, again, it draws that line that says if you’re a couple and you’re not straight, you must be gay and I don’t know about y’all but assuming this doesn’t make sense to me and more so if you’re not gonna be bold enough to ask about their sexuality. The writing talks about bisexuals being cast into the role of “other,” a role that homosexuals used to play before we finally came to our senses and admitted that, yeah, homosexuals are real and not mentally ill as once believed. But it’s just as easy to see anyone in that role of being “other” until, of course, you check their bona fides because anymore, you can’t always tell by looking – your eyes can deceive you so don’t believe them. There are straight-acting gay folks just like there are gay-acting bisexuals and, yeah, straight folks.
I remember being somewhere and watching this guy and just by the way he was behaving and interacting with the other people there, anyone would have sworn he was as gay as a three dollar bill. Personally, I thought he might have been… or he could have been acting; not enough data to make a determination. I didn’t ask him if he was gay but I did ask someone who knew him because his behavior really made him stand out in the crowd; I was told that, no, he’s not gay or bisexual, that his wife and kids were right over there and, well, that’s just how he is. Later, he even told me himself that he knows that people see him and assumes that he’s gay and that he’s learned to ignore stuff like that; I believe his exact words were, “Fuck them if they can’t take a joke…”
If this kind of assuming is ‘allowed’ to continue, it can be socially embarrassing and there are some people who really don’t like being called something they’re not, which is akin to calling them out of their name or as deeply personal as spitting in their face, all of which could cause a great deal of trouble and even violence has been known to jump off. So you don’t assume; you don’t guess; you don’t judge books by their covers and if you really want to know what sexuality combination is taking place, get up some nerve and go ask them… and then hope that you don’t wind up insulting them by doing so.
Relationship status is a poor indicator for sexuality validation so why does everyone want to keep using it as if being in a relationship tells the whole story and, obviously, I don’t think it does because not everyone in a straight-looking relationship may truly be straight.