Biphobia – An aversion to acceptance

  • By Dr. Shalini Kapoor

When you are different from the rest, you naturally feel conscious about it. Moreover, if you are a lesbian or gay, then the . Till sometime ago, bisexuality or homosexuality was looked down upon as a disorder or mental disability. Although the views have certainly changed about the bisexuals in some respect, they still do not get the same standing in the society as the heterosexuals. Due to this, people who are bisexuals are fearful to come out in the open about their lesbian or gay sexual orientation, as even today these people have to face the wrath of the society in the form of discrimination and prejudice. This fear or denial to accept the true nature of their sexuality is biphobia. On the other side, people who are hostile, or disapprove or hate the LGBT or bisexual people and their behavior and culture, can also be termed as suffering from biphobia. However, this word or its meaning is not in any way associated to heterophobia, homophobia or lesbophobia.

Bisexuals have to struggle hard to mark an identity in the society and since these people are more prone to sexual diseases, their acceptance is all the more difficult.

Denial of bisexuality

Bisexuality has always been under great scrutiny, as these people have been accused of bringing in sexually transmitted diseases in the regular heterosexual community by practicing casual and unprotected anal intercourse. Gay community in Africa was responsible for the outburst of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and hence their presence in the society is also looked down upon. Insecurity, denial of respect and sympathy leads to biphobia among the bisexual men. Sometimes, these people struggle for a lifetime and live with heterosexual partner so that they are not denied the social rights and privileges of being in normal society. This makes these bisexual people stereotyped, wherein they are willing to have sexual relationship with both partners of same sex and opposite sex. This further increases the risk to AIDS.

There is another perspective regarding bisexual orientation. Many people thing that people can be either homosexual or heterosexual and there is no such thing as bisexuality. So, the concept of biphobia should not exist at all.

What does the study on bisexuals say?

A study was conducted on bisexual men in 2002 during which these people were exposed to pornographic material that involved at first only men ,and later only women. During the process, it was found that the bisexuals showed arousal four times more, for one type of video than the other video. This also proves that although people may have some sort of attraction to both the types of sex, there is a possibility that the level of attraction to both the sexes may not be the same and these people might feel more inclined to one type of sex than the other might. However, this still makes them bisexual.

The surprise part of the study was that, it was found that one third of the people who thought them to be bisexual did not respond to either of the videos meaning that they might be asexual. Also a school of thought says, that everyone is bisexual. But, if the orientation towards the opposite sex is more the people are heterosexual whereas if it is more towards the same sex, it is homosexual. So, people who have balanced attraction for both are the bisexuals. All these types of sexual orientations are not regular and are still being studied.

That is why bisexuals, lesbians or gay, anyone who has orientation that is different from the regular, have to face non-acceptance and discrimination from the society. They fear to come out in the open and develop several mental complications due to biphobia.


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