#27BiStories: Appearing Straight, Appearing Gay, and Other Misconceptions Bi People Face

We asked 27 bisexual people around the world, 'What's the biggest misconception you face about your current relationship?'

BY Eliel Cruz

August 26 2014 6:00 AM ET

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What is the biggest misconception you face about your current relationship? 

April, 45, Iowa: Biggest misconceptions is that people assume I am straight because I am dating a cisgender male.

Jan, 51 and Hew, 45, California: People who don't know us often assume we're straight if they meet us together. We're not in the closet at all, so they usually find out we're bi. The thing that really annoys me is the assumption that because we're bisexual, we're not monogamous. We have polyamorous friends, some of whom are bi, but more of whom are straight. I don't think there's anything wrong with ethical polyamory. However, we're not in a polyamorous relationship, and there's nothing about the word "bisexual" that should suggest that to people.

My best friend, a straight man, says I shouldn't call myself "bisexual" because people will incorrectly assume I'm promiscuous. I feel that what people assume is their own problem. If some people have stereotypes about Jews, should I then not call myself a Jew? My orientation is not a synonym for "will sleep with anybody."

Nicole, 31, Washington: Depending on when people met me, they tend to have one of three views on my relationship. If they met me before I was married, when I was primarily dating women, they tend to think I've "gone straight" or gave into societal pressures to conform to a heteronormative relationship. If they met me after I married, they tend to assume I'm straight. If they met me after I married and later realized that I am bisexual, they tend to assume I've either "taken the easy way out" by marrying a man or that I was just "experimenting" before marriage. 

Ted, 45, Colorado: The biggest misconception is that I'm straight in two simultaneous, polyamorous relationships.  The only place where this is not an issue is in BDSM/kink space or polyamory-friendly space.

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Elisa, 55, California: I'm a bisexual woman who has been involved with a bisexual man for almost seven years. Some people assume we're straight. Some people assume I'm/we're monogamous/married. I get the sense that some of his friends, who "know he's gay," think I'm just a silly straight girl, hopelessly chasing a gay boy — how little they know.

Robyn, 55, Massachusetts: I can pretty much guarantee that folks who see me by myself will read me as "straight" because my appearance is pretty gender-normative and because heterosexuality is our cultural default assumption. And when I am out with my wife in any public space I am pretty certain that we will be read as a lesbian couple. Also, when people who don't know me learn I identify as bi, they often assume I am not "good relationship material." 

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