I read this blog a few minutes ago – http://neaqrt.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/scholarship-bisexual-men-fight-for-visibility/ – and it references a BiNet USA link that references a piece written in the Rainbow Times about bisexual men fighting for visibility and, as the title of this blog asks, it made me wonder if we really do need the kind of visibility that gay men have.
There’s that whole lack of acceptance thing when it comes to being a bi guy and it’s not too difficult to see how said lack of acceptance on the social stage could cause some guys problems; the article says that bisexual men are more prone to suicide, sexual assault, and domestic violence… and I’m wondering why this is. The suicide part I can make sense out of: Wanting to be able to fulfill both sides of yourself and being kicked to the curb at almost every turn is damned depressing and not an easy thing to live with day in and day out so, yeah, I can see some bi guys wanting to put an end to it all.
The domestic violence also makes sense; if you have a wife or a girlfriend and she’s always giving you the business because you don’t just like pussy, yep, I can see where that would push a guy’s buttons and to the point where she’s gonna get her block knocked off because this kind of rejection is deeply personal and cuts even deeper. I don’t condone domestic violence but, yeah, I can see how it can happen easily enough.
Sexual assault… I’m having a hard time with this one even though I can’t say that it doesn’t happen – and I mean outside of being a long-term guest of your state’s penal system. Now, does it mean that bi men are more prone to commit sexual assault… or are they more prone to be victims? If we are prone to being the perpetrators of sexual assault, who are we assaulting? Women? Other men? If we’re victims, well, who’s victimizing us? I’m not sure where BiNet USA got this information from – I tried to find it on their site but was unable to locate it but this particular “issue” has me scratching my head.
Would more visibility mitigate the above issues? In what way would this work? The article suggests that higher visibility would work toward dispelling the stereotypes that haunt bisexual men like evil spirits (putting a little Halloween twist on here) and that it could garner more social acceptance… but the stereotypes are what they are; the article says they’ve been around since the 1960s and that’s just about right in my experiences and that the social stigma attached thanks to HIV/AIDS and other STDs isn’t making us look good at all and more so when those speaking out against bisexual men are quick to get women all riled up and insisting that they’re always at risk were they to have anything to do with a bi man who wasn’t out in the open, like, he’s on the DL (there’s a reason or two for that) and/or closeted (there’s a reason or two for this, too). It seems to me that given these very dire warnings against bisexual men, becoming more visible only serves to paint a target onto all of us – and then it’s open season on bi guys and, yeah, if they think the numbers are bad for suicide, sexual assault, and domestic violence, they should get ready for a huge increase of these issues.
It all makes me wonder if the folks calling for more visibility have taken into account that there are some bi guys who have a good grip on their sexuality because they’re not on the social radar? In my mind, when it comes to acceptance, well, who gives a fuck what society thinks when it’s more important for a bi guy to be accepted by those people who are closest to him, like your lady knowing and accepting that you’re bi and not giving you any shit about it – and the same with family, friends, and other people who would have a more immediate impact on our lives. I can tell you from my own personal experience that being out and visible has some personal perks but socially? Yeah, there are people around me who know and, frankly, they could care less that I like pussy and dick; there are people around me who’d say “Ew!” – and have said this – to learn of my sexuality but few of them would give me any grief about it and the ones that have done so respectfully and those who have been disrespectful learned that, let’s just say, that I’m not that all nice of a guy when you get shitty with me because I ain’t the one you want to fuck with.
Those of us who have been around for a while have watched gay men step into the light… and they’ve been crucified, literally and figuratively and it’s taught us a very valuable lesson, i.e., if you want to keep living, stay out of the light because there are people in our society who can’t tell the difference between a bisexual man and a gay man; to them, we’re all the same and we’re to be treated as if we’re gay. It means that whatever stereotypes and misconceptions attached to gay men get hooked into us, sets us up to be ostracized, beaten, killed, rejected at every turn and even all of the above and not necessarily in that order because in their overly righteous minds, we’re guilty by association.
What gets me is that being a gay man is becoming more acceptable and, yes, the battles that the LGBT communities have fought for years has had its rewards, yet, bisexual men continue to get the shitty end of the stick because we’re not really gay and, no, we’re not really straight. Visibility for some of us means we wind up ducking metaphorical punches from gay men because we’re not gay while dodging the attempts of women to kick us in the nuts because our sexuality isn’t solely focused on them and, oh, yeah, we might give them HIV/AIDs… and even if we’ve never, ever, engaged in any of the sex. Now, this isn’t a lie – some bi men have been careless in their dealings with other men and have infected women with some shit… but the current social stigma would have you believe that every bisexual man is going to be careless and that’s just not the truth and I’m not sure what higher visibility can do to squash this particular thing except to make us all guilty by association; if one bi man is like this, then all bi men are like this… even if some of them are standing up and saying that, no, uh-uh, that ain’t even close to being me!
I’m not saying that we, as bisexual men, shouldn’t fight for more social visibility but I’m just wondering how it would benefit us; is it going to ‘allow’ us to be more open in our bisexual pursuits? Would it really make the stigma and stereotypes go away? Would it end the depression and even anger some of us feel due to our duality? Or would we continue to be seen as being worse than gay men because now more of us have stepped into the light? I even commented on the above-referenced blog whether those three issues mentioned were happening to men and some of them just happened to be bisexual because, hell no, you don’t have to be bisexual to have enough life-related issues to commit suicide, sexual assault, and domestic violence – shit, the economic situation in this country alone is enough to make men react in these ways.
I dunno… I guess I’m gonna have to think more about this visibility thing…