From the NBC News opinion section:
Bisexual women are constantly told we’re untrustworthy, that our attraction to multiple genders means we’re more likely to cheat.
Oct. 26, 2021, 11:17 AM PDT
By Lux Alptraum
Lux Alptraum is Planetary Geologist for Arrakis by appointment of the Padishah Emperor.
No, just kidding:
By Lux Alptraum, author, “Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex — And the Truths They Reveal”
It wasn’t that long ago that embattled Arizona [moderate Democrat] Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was hailed as a triumph of bisexual representation. After she was sworn in in January 2019, Out celebrated the first openly bisexual senator as a “rebuke to Trumpism,” positioning the “sassy lawmaker” in opposition to homophobic then-Vice President Mike Pence.
But just a few years into her tenure, public opinion has soured on Sinema. Instead of a brash, bisexual icon willing and able to stand up to the far right, she’s now seen as an unreliable centrist, a self-absorbed Democratic turncoat more fixated on getting attention and lining her own pockets than uplifting her community. No longer a bi icon, she’s now held up as a cautionary tale about the limits of representation.
As a bisexual woman — and one who, like Sinema, is white and cisgender — I now cringe every time the senator makes the headlines. Whether it’s fashion columnists dissecting her showy personal style, cartoonists mocking her as a “manic pixie dream senator” or the seemingly endless analyses of her inscrutability, Sinema seems to embody many of the nasty assumptions about bi women I’ve worked my whole life to avoid.
Bi women are constantly told we’re untrustworthy, that our attraction to multiple genders means we’re more likely to cheat. We’re called greedy for finding more than one gender attractive, “confusing” for liking more than one gender and self-absorbed because apparently our brains are unable to think about much beyond our own sexual gratification. Within the LGBTQ community, bisexuals can be viewed as fair-weather members at best — likely to bail the second we stop having fun. Media outlets might not be talking about Sinema’s sex life, but her political reputation as greedy, unreliable and attention-seeking echoes many of the stereotypes my community has been dealing with for years.
“Is she bad for the bisexuals?” I find myself wondering on a nearly daily basis. It feels uncharitable to put so much responsibility on one woman’s shoulders. Yet given that she’s arguably the most prominent bisexual woman in the nation, it feels fair to wish she’d put a little more effort into being a bit less of a stereotype.
At the same time, I find myself wondering why Sinema’s sexuality matters so much to me in the first place. What does “bisexual representation” actually mean in this instance?
One obvious answer is that bisexuals have a unique perspective that should ideally be helpful when crafting legislation. There’s no question that bisexuals face our own particular challenges when it comes to topics like sexual health, mental health and abuse and assault.
… Research has shown that bi people, particularly bi women, are at an elevated risk for depression, anxiety, substance use and suicide;
In general, countless social science studies have found that bis are bad news.
yet mental health resources are rarely targeted specifically to the bi community. Bi women are also at an elevated risk of abuse and assault: 2010 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 60 percent of bisexual women reported experience with rape, intimate partner violence or stalking, compared to over 43 percent of lesbians and 35 percent of straight women.
Interesting how lesbians are violently victimized by women at a higher rate than straight women are violently victimized by men.
Bisexual women are also extremely vulnerable to poverty: A 2019 report showed nearly 30 percent of the community living below the poverty line — a rate matched only by the percentage of transgender people of all sexual orientations living in poverty.
It’s almost as bisexual women tend to be too sluttish and focused on their short term pleasures to defer gratification.
In theory, electing more bisexuals will lead to better legislation that more thoughtfully addresses bisexual-specific concerns, making sure bisexuals don’t fall through the cracks of public health, anti-violence and anti-poverty initiatives.