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How bi-erasure is damaging the bisexual community

A recent study from the BBC found that a third of all young people in the UK identify as something other than straight, and that most of that third said they were equally attracted to both sexes. This corresponds with another study, conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies and Buzzfeed News, that found 51 percent of all LGBT+ people in America identify as something other than gay or lesbian.

Bisexuality is the fastest growing facet of the LGBT+ community. With the sexuality spectrum growing wider and social stigmas gradually breaking down, people – especially young people – are allowing themselves to explore their sexuality beyond binary terms like gay and lesbian. It is somewhat surprising, then, that at the same time as this liberating of sexual identities bi-erasure and bi-visibility are still very present problems, and they’re doing irreparable damage to the bisexual community.

"51 percent of all LGBT+ people identify as something other than gay or lesbian."

Through the years, the term ‘bisexuality’ has undergone a series of redefinitions, and for many bisexuals it holds a deeply personal meaning that has taken years for them to work out. Terms like pansexual and omni-sexual are often included under the umbrella of bisexuality and certainly carry similar aspects. Bisexuality doesn’t have to be limited to being attracted to both men and women, bi advocate and author Robyn Ochs defines bisexuality as “the potential to be attracted — romantically and/or sexually — to people of more than one sex and/or gender,” and includes those who fall on different parts of the gender spectrum. 

New terms like bisexuality+ and bi+ have popped up to include the attraction of sexual identities beyond the L and G, including those who are gender queer, fluid, or trans, as well as cisgendered male and females. Bisexuality, simply, is a much more open term for anyone who isn’t attracted to just one gender.