By now, we’ve all seen the “male bisexual” chart in your Twitter feed.
It’s a chart where all the female Bisexual characters are named after male names, while all the male Bisexuals are named for female names.
In reality, though, this chart is just a reflection of how the media perceives bisexual people.
Bisexuals often face gender bias when they’re labeled.
While some people think bisexuals are just gay men or lesbians who identify as bisexual, others think they’re just straight men or women who identify with bisexuals.
“We live in a society that thinks of bisexuals as straight men who love each other, but not all of us do,” said Dr. James, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the Center for Bisexuality Research at Johns Hopkins University.
“And when we are not told that, we’re not able to understand what it’s like to be bisexual.”
When asked about their experiences with these stereotypes, many bisexual men and women were surprised to find that there’s a strong backlash against bisexuality.
“I’m sure there are people who would love to tell me they don’t like my bisexuality, but I don’t know that’s true,” said Andrew, a 27-year-old bi man who requested his real name not be published.
“I just think it’s a little bit unfair that I’m constantly being lumped in with a lot of other people who are just doing what we do.”
Bisexual men and lesbians can also face the stigma of not being able to fit into heterosexual stereotypes.
“We often find ourselves in situations where we don’t fit in with our male counterparts, and this can make it difficult to identify with the label of bisexual,” said Jodie, a 24-year old bisexual woman who asked that her real name be withheld.
“We have to work harder to get in front of the straight male gaze and find out what it means to be a man.”
And many of these experiences stem from a lack of understanding about bisexuality itself.
“For a lot LGBT people, they have this idea that being bisexual means being gay or lesbian, and if you have that label, you are less than,” said Jason, a 25-year year-old bisexual man.
“But the truth is, bisexuals aren’t gay, lesbian, or straight.”
And yet, this label has been part of mainstream culture for decades, especially in the media.
“In my opinion, bisexuality is a gay term,” said Julie, a 37-year veteran journalist, writer, and filmmaker who works in television.
“That doesn’t mean you’re bisexual, it just means you like being attracted to both genders.”
As a result, bisexual men face some of the most common stereotypes associated with being bisexual.
For example, when asked about his or her sexuality, many people associate bisexual men with promiscuity, and bisexual women with sex outside of marriage.
This can be an obstacle for many bisexual people, who often find themselves unable to navigate these stereotypes in their own lives.
“People think it will be more accepting if you’re gay, and that’s not the case,” said James.
“It can be really isolating.”
In many ways, bisexual identities are not that different from queer identities.
When it comes to gender, bisexual identity is a fluid spectrum.
Some people identify as straight or gay, while others identify as both.
“The spectrum of the human condition is a very complex one,” said Jasmine, a 30-year lesbian who asked for her real first name to be withheld, citing a lack the knowledge and support that many bisexuals have.
“Bisexuality is something that is more fluid than straight or straight, and it’s more about the person.”
Biphobia is also often seen as an obstacle to bisexual identity.
“Biphobic attitudes have a lot to do with people’s expectations of what bisexuality means, and what it doesn’t,” said Jessica, a 34-year former bisexual woman.
“When you think about it, bisexual is more about being attracted and having sex with both genders, and so the way people treat you is a lot more complicated than straight people would have it.”
Some bisexuals also have a difficult time connecting with others who do not identify as bi.
When asked why he or she chooses to be bi, a lot people tell you that it’s just a way to connect with other people.
“They think it gives you more agency, and more freedom to be who you want to be,” said Emily, a 29-year bisexual woman, who requested her real last name not to be published because she doesn’t want to make it more difficult for people to connect to her.
“As long as you have bisexuality in your identity, you’ll be able to find others who share that identity.”
However, even though many