Bisexual Stereotypes

As I said in May, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

As I have already talked about lesbian and gay stereotypes, I will talk about bisexual stereotypes today. But before talking about bisexual stereotypes, it must first be understood what it means to be bisexual.

A bisexual person is someone who is attracted to more than one sex and/or gender.[1] For example, a man attracted to both men and women is bisexual, and a woman attracted to both women and men is bisexual.

Now that readers who didn’t know about bisexuality now hopefully know what it means to be bisexual, here are a few stereotypes associated with being bisexual that has been brought to my attention from other people:

  1. Bisexual people are attracted to all genders and sexual identities. No, that’s not necessarily true, though the stereotype I just stated is closer to a description of what pansexuality is, as pansexuality involves attraction regardless of one’s sex or gender identity.
  2. A bisexual man is only attracted to men and women, and a bisexual woman is only attracted to women and men. For some bisexual people, that is what bisexuality looks like. However, as bisexuality involves attraction to more than one sex or gender, a person’s bisexuality may look different from that.
  3. Bisexual people are “confused.” Someone who is unsure or confused of their sexuality usually goes under a different label: questioning. “Bisexual” does not necessarily equal confused.
  4. Being bisexual is easy because you can “pass off as straight.” Yes, it is true that the majority of bisexual individuals end up in heterosexual marriages,[2] and that therefore one might be able to “pass off as straight.” As to whether this means that bisexual people have it “easy,” I think that this question is best answered by people who have the lived experience of being bisexual themselves.

These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with being bisexual. If there are other stereotypes about bisexual people that should be discussed and/or if anyone wants to expand upon the bisexual stereotypes mentioned here, please feel free to post a comment below!

Previous posts in my series on LGBTQ+ stereotypes:

[1] I should note that not all people have the same definition of bisexuality, so my definition might not be exactly the same as someone else’s definition. That being said, it seems like a lot of bisexual people have accepted that definition, so this is the definition I will go with for the purposes of this piece:

[2] A Pew Research Survey from 2015 said that only 9% of bisexual people in the survey had same-sex partners while 84% were in heterosexual relationships:

The Bisexual Pride Flag

Institutional Racism Series: How it Affects College Experiences

“There are injustices happening here and we will speak regardless of us being silenced in the classroom, regardless of administration not paying attention to us, we’re going to speak.”[1]

This was said by a student at my college during protests in my senior year of college. Yes, this was said in 2015. Not 1955.

The quote at the beginning of this post is only a microcosm of what has been expressed by people at college campuses across the United States: there is institutional racism, or racism that is practiced and sometimes even normalized by social, economic, governmental, and other institutions, at colleges and universities across the United States.

This institutional racism can be subtle to some, so subtle that I (and probably many others) didn’t even recognize the existence of these forms of racism during most of my college experience. But for others, institutional racism is ingrained in their college experiences.

There are so many forms of institutional racism at college campuses that, for the sake of brevity with this post, I’m going to go into brief explanations with three types of institutional racism that many colleges show[2] and that I often noticed:

  1. Descending into stereotypes of a particular racial group. One of the recent infamous examples happened at a New York University dining hall, where a menu “celebrating” Black History Month descended into certain harmful stereotypes about southern cuisine and black people by serving “ribs, collard greens, cornbread, smashed yams, mac and cheese and two beverages, red Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavored water.”[3] However, NYU is sadly far from the only institution that has been institutionally racist through descending into stereotypes of a particular racial group.
  2. Viewing nonwhite people a just a number, or part of a number. Every time a college talks about their diversity rates, they are viewing nonwhite people as numbers. Every time they talk about the percentage of students at their colleges who are minorities, they are viewing nonwhite people as numbers. Viewing nonwhite people as numbers is a form of institutional racism, as this type of racism is one where nonwhite people are viewed as not having worth beyond being part of a statistic.
  3. Turning a blind eye to various racial injustices at campus. From inaction towards racial slurs (which has happened not just at my alma mater, but at many other campuses) to a stunning refusal to confront common stereotypes that people of different races often face on campus (blacks being viewed as “beneficiaries of affirmative action” being one of the notable ones), many a college campus just seems to ignore racial injustices. These injustices continued to be ignored by many college campuses in spite of the outspokenness of many student leaders. This is institutional racism of a sort as well, as the type of racism demonstrated by institutions is the idea that people of color are not worth listening to.

Some people may think of higher education institutions as places where high-minded academia can overcome some of the racial vitriol that exists elsewhere. I challenge those of us who think this way to think again, and to open our eyes to the institutional racism that affects many college campuses across the United States.

[2] There are certainly other types of institutional racism beyond the three that I cover here. People who want to bring attention to other forms of institutional racism at college campuses should feel free to reply in the comments section for this blog post.
[3] Watermelons and Kool-Aid in particular have histories as racial stereotypes. This article from The Atlantic covers the racial dynamics of watermelons: