“It’s just a phase,” is a phrase people who are attracted to multiple genders have all heard at some point. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to myths and misconceptions that make you want to roll your eyes.
Surprisingly enough, it’s not just cisgendered straight people who lob these at you. Everyone always assumes that the LGBTQ+ community is a warm and welcoming space but many people who identify as bi, pan or even asexual will tell you that’s not always the case due to the discrimination that can be meted out against you.
If you’re looking to be a better ally to a person who is attracted to more than one gender, here’s what you should avoid saying.
1. Is bisexuality transphobic?
There is a myth that bisexuality only includes attraction to cis men and women and only pansexuality includes all genders. This is false because bisexuality is actually the attraction to more than one gender and also includes trans people and non-binary people. And guess what? Trans people can be bisexual or pansexual too.
2. Aren’t bisexuality and pansexuality the same thing?
Pansexuality is broader than bisexuality because people who identify as pansexual can be attracted to all genders. Bisexuality is the attraction to two or more genders, but not necessarily all.
3. Bisexuals and pansexuals are just one step away from being homosexual
No, we’re not ‘tourist homosexuals’. While sexuality can be quite fluid and people may identify with different labels at different points in their lives, it does not mean that everyone is heading in the same direction.
4. So how many people of different genders have you slept with?
Not only is this a deeply intrusive question but can also be extremely invalidating to people who are asexual and bisexual. You don’t need to sleep with a certain number of people to pass a bisexual or pansexual quota and no one is privy to that information.
5. Bisexuals and pansexuals are more likely to cheat
There are a lot of statements that make us facepalm, but this is high up on the list. Just because they’re attracted to a wider set of people, does not mean they will cheat on you. Loyalty and sexuality are not interlinked in any way.
6. You’re not “really queer”
As if facing discrimination from cis heterosexual people isn’t enough, bisexual and pansexual people can also be “othered” from monosexual people from within the LGBTQ+ community as well. While some may be more “straight passing” than others, it’s necessary to not invalidate anyone’s identity.
7. If you’re in a male-female relationship, you’re not queer
If one or more partners in a relationship is queer, it’s not a straight relationship. So whether you’re a bisexual woman dating a heterosexual man or a male pansexual dating a female pansexual, you’re still a welcome member of the LGBT+ community!
8. Bisexuals are 50-50
Although pop culture has popularized the misconception that bisexuals are equally attracted to different genders, it’s not always true. Sexuality and attraction can be incredibly fluid and there is no right answer that makes you a good pansexual or bisexual person. Whatever your preferences may be, you are valid.
9. Women are generally more bisexual or pansexual
It’s possible that you may know more women who identify like this because they are often offered more leeway to explore their sexuality. Internalized homophobia and toxic masculinity, which are often ingrained in our culture, can sometimes stand in the way of men feeling free enough to find a label they identify with.
10. You must love threesomes
Very often bisexual and pansexual women will come across ‘unicorn hunters’, especially on dating apps who are couples looking for a third to join them. This is because of the incredibly toxic misconception that polysexual people must be open to the idea of multi-partnered intercourse because of their sexuality. While some may be interested, it’s inappropriate to assume that of everyone.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)