I’ve heard a lot of talk about straight privilege lately, mainly surrounding the LGBTQ suicides and related projects, but also just in general. Heterosexuals have it mega easy compared to gays and lesbians. They’ll always find themselves represented in media, they will never have to come out to family or friends who might stop associating with them for it, and nobody asks them why they chose to be straight. Straight privilege is definitely real.
But what about bisexuals? Surely they don’t have it as bad? After all, when many straight people think of bisexuals, they might think first of college girls drunkenly making out at frat parties – thank you, Girls Gone Wild and assorted MTV shows, for further perpetuating this stereotype. Besides, if you’re bi, you can just hide your orientation by dating only those of the opposite gender. Surely, if you go both ways, it’s easier.
In some respects this is true. It’s always been easy for me to stay closeted around people I don’t want to tell; all I have to do is omit any mention of my feelings for girls and only talk about the boys I’m attracted to, and people assume I’m hetero. Piece of cake. But on the other hand…
- When a bisexual character appears in media (TV or movies, especially) they are often portrayed as “the slut” – willing to hook up with anyone who’s there, regardless of gender. (A perfect example: Santana from Glee. She canonically hooks up with her female best friend and has been implied to sleep around. Not that this is a bad thing, but when every other bi girl I see is shown the same way… well, it’s a bit annoying.)
- More than once I’ve had my opinion disregarded because I’m not “really” gay – by members of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Alliance I used to attend. “You don’t have the right to speak for gay people because you’re only half gay” seems to be the attitude behind these comments.
- Even with the option to date those of the same sex, it’s still painful to hide your attraction to the opposite sex. The fact that I can be openly affectionate with any boy I’m with, but can’t walk down the street holding hands with a girl, is pretty – ‘scuse my language – fucking annoying. If the current attitude towards homosexuality in the US doesn’t change, if I fall in love with a girl, expressing that in public can lead to bullying, assault, and any assortment of other hate crimes.
So, basically, I’m not sure if bisexual privilege exists or not. There are definitely drawbacks to being bi in a heteronormative society; not as many as there are for gays, but the disadvantages are still there…
what do you guys think? Opinions, please.