Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD
Previous new york Council Speaker Christine Quinn delivered the world wide web as a tailspin previously this w eek whenever she labeled actress and newly established gubernatorial prospect Cynthia Nixon a lesbianвЂќ that isвЂњunqualified. 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 being a lesbian. Nixon has described by herself as bisexual, and glossing over this distinction is a definite exemplory case of bi erasure, or the presumption that bisexuality is certainly not a genuine identification, but simply an intermediate end from the intimate orientation train which have just two feasible locations: gay/lesbian and straight. The apology did not relate to mislabeling NixonвЂ™s stated sexual identity although Quinn later apologized for her comment.
While bisexuality is actually a lot more noticeable in popular chat sex tradition into the previous couple of years by having a crucial rise in bisexual figures on television in specific you can still find numerous stereotypes connected to the label. вЂњOn the fence,вЂќ вЂњwishy washy,вЂќ вЂњgoing through a phaseвЂќ: they are all typical misconceptions about bi individuals. Unfortunately, a number of the stigma and bi erasure arises from the queer community, from self identified gay guys 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 compared to that of Oregon Governor Kate Brown: whenever she ended up being elected the media identified her as bisexual, that we assume ended up being because of duplicated efforts on her behalf component which will make her intimate identity understood. Nixon hasnвЂ™t been as clear about her chosen labels; yet, she’s got been clear about her intimate and intimate history and the fact sheвЂ™s enjoyed men and women. One difference that is major both of these females is the fact that Brown is hitched to a person while Nixon is married to a female. While this may well not appear to be a appropriate huge difference, when it comes to queer identification politics, it’s.
Bi females married to guys are assumed to be straight, and because itвЂ™s not obvious from their choice of partner if they are interested in claiming their queerness publicly, must repeatedly come out to people who donвЂ™t know how they identify. Even though the presumption of heterosexuality just isn’t surprising, it should not be used for provided that a stand set for their intimate orientation. Bi individuals donвЂ™t have actually to be doing romantic or intimate relationships with both genders on top of that to be able to recognize as bi; in reality, i might reckon that most bi individuals have been in monogamous relationships at any time. (Incidentally, the theory that most bi people are polyamorous is another major misconception; non monogamy is practiced by individuals of all intimate orientations.) Hence, i could just assume Brown publicly identifies as bisexual since itвЂ™s the best way for her to claim her queerness.
Nixon, having said that, is hitched to a female and it is consequently thought by many people to become a lesbian. As bi females have traditionally stated, there clearly was frequently a stigma that is particular determining as bi inside the lesbian community: вЂњsheвЂ™ll make you for a manвЂќ the most typical stereotypes about bi ladies among lesbians, and grounds why numerous wonвЂ™t consider dating bi females. Inside the LGBT community, then, Nixon has less explanation to desire to loudly claim her bisexuality, as she’d probably be (and IвЂ™m certain she happens to be) derided by some lesbians as wanting to retain some section of heterosexual privilege by maybe not вЂњfully committingвЂќ towards the label of lesbian.
In the long run, it is not necessarily in regards to the certain terms Nixon makes use of to spot by herself. All things considered, many bi people prefer the word вЂњqueerвЂќ with regards to their self identity since it emphasizes the larger LGBT community to their connections; other people utilize different identification labels within various contexts. Nevertheless, explicitly mislabeling Nixon as a lesbian, as Quinn did, is a type of erasure which also reinforces binary notions about sex. ItвЂ™s high time we stopped contemplating sex being an either/or occurrence and started taking bi individuals at their term, even as we compensate undoubtedly the group that is largest inside the LGBT community.