Aside from the obvious definition of "myth" (you know, the one pertaining to the ancient heroes and gods of yore), there are a few more definitions to consider. My online dictionary says it is an invented story or idea, or a false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution. Good ol' Merriam Webster calls it a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone, or a person or thing having an unverifiable existence. The bottom line is that myths, while sometimes popular, are not fact.
Below I have listed a handful of myths pertaining to bisexual women that I have encountered over the past few years. Some of these are common, while others are new to me, thanks to the world of Twitter, in addition to comments on my last essay, "Being Bi in a Gay World." Perhaps you identify with one or more of these myths, whether it be you, personally, or someone you've encountered. But just because you can relate, does that make it fact? I challenge the following myths, and I encourage you to do the same.
- Bisexuals are just gays with one foot in the closet. I cannot tell you how many times my friends, even those closest to me, have accused me of this. Subtly, quietly, they ask, "Are you sure you're not gay?" Or there are the less subtle, more direct friends who suggest in their usually loud and forceful voice, "Why don't you just admit that you're gay?" These are people I have known for over a decade, so I'm always baffled that they would think I'd lie to them. If I were younger, maybe, less sure of myself, then I'd be more understanding of the bisexuality-as-a-gateway-sexuality idea. Of course, that may be an accurate assessment for many people who are not ready to embrace homosexuality, but it isn't for all of us! It's not about having one foot in and one foot out; it's about not being boxed in by four walls.
In my own life, I have friends on one side telling me that deep down they know I'm gay, and that they'll be waiting with open arms to hug me when I'm ready to admit it. On the other side, many of my friends have confessed that they've always thought I was straight and just figured I'd eventually find the right guy to remind me. Both parties think they know me, "deep down," which can be interesting, flattering, amusing, and frustrating all at the same time. Why can't they just accept me and take what I say as the honest and only truth?
There are a multitude of people trying to convince their friends or the world online that bisexuals fall under these "truths" or flat-out don't exist. I am bisexual, and none of the aforementioned myths apply to me. In fact, I find many of them to be insulting and grossly offensive. Let's stop with the generalizations and start looking at people as individuals part of a great community.