Biphobia, or the discrimination of bisexual people, is one of the more insidious forms of homophobia, and is one that is rampant among the LGBTQIA+ community. Bi-erasure is often a byproduct of this prejudice, and leads to the trivialising of someone’s sexuality. It’s an unfortunate occurrence, but one that many, including Sabine Waldeck, have experienced. Read on to see how she tackled her own internalised biphobia.
Being out and proud within the LGBTQIA+ community is always celebrated and talked about, but there is a process to getting there, often involving a battle with yourself to accept who you are. As someone who identifies as bisexual I have had to do a lot of learning and growth to finally come to terms with every part of me, and a big part of what prevented me from fully loving myself was internalised biphobia.
Now, you may be thinking, how in the hell could you be bi and biphobic? So let me break down this seemingly oxymoronic statement: being bisexual comes with a lot of strife that being gay or lesbian does not. For some reason, bisexuality is a lot harder for people to understand than just being gay or straight. You hear a lot of “choose one,” “but you aren't with a girl,” or the common frat party phrase “prove it,” a suggestion for you to make out with a girl in front of them for their own enjoyment. These words, with their objectifying and trivialising connotations, cut deep.
Before I was fully out I heard a lot of people criticizing bisexuality and it lead to these standards I felt I had to meet to be bi, or else I was just straight or gay.
I had to be a mixture of masculine and feminine, but don’t be too feminine because then I’d be straight.
I had to be with a girl to prove I’m bi, but if I haven’t hooked up with a girl then I’m straight.
I can’t be with too many girls because then I’m just gay.
This perception of what a bi person had to be was ingrained into my brain. I had to maintain the perfect mix of liking both guys and girls or else I was leaning more to one side and being either entirely gay or straight. When I first accepted I was bisexual, I had only done stuff with guys, so I felt like I had to hook up with girls ASAP in order to prove to myself I was in fact bi, instead of “bi-curious”. I had been “straight” my whole life so in order to experience my newfound bisexuality I had to, well, experience it. But when I wasn't immediately comfortable to make the first move on a girl and woo them from the get go I became frustrated with myself, that I wasn’t gay enough, and that if I was too nervous to hook up with girls then maybe I really was just straight. This led to a lot of internalised biphobia, where I judged myself constantly not feeling “gay enough” to be bi.
This is something I still struggle with a lot to this day. I am dating a guy, and admittedly, have never dated a girl. The fact that I have never dated a girl still makes me invalidate my own sexuality. Even though I am still not one hundred percent over my internalised biphobia, I am working on it; I know who I am, I know who I am attracted to, and I remind myself that that is enough validation.