I couldn’t have ever imagined being pissed off about a noticeable lack of discrimination. All that the queer community wants is acceptance---to go about their daily lives without facing bigotry and bias at every corner. One would think that the less discrimination we must face, the better. As I began preparing for this article, however, pissed off is exactly how I found myself.

One of my favorite ways of preparing for an article is debating; debate groups of all shapes and flavors are but a Google search away, every possible perspective can be found and pried into, and future article topics are often handed to me on a silver platter. My original idea for this article was the invisibility issue (which I still intend to cover), and so I went to my favorite debate forum, in search of opinions. Instead, I found myself in the midst of yet another debate on same-sex marriage. The usual positions, both for and against, were voiced, along with the unavoidable spews of bigotry. I’ll spare you the bulk of it, as I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but one particular post caught my attention. In the ever eloquent language of ignorance, reference was made to “ass-fucking perverts”. Surprisingly, I found myself much less pissed off about the bigotry than the exclusionary term itself; clearly, when this person thought of same-sex marriage, it was actually gay men that came to mind.

With this in mind, I visited several other debate forums and websites, and was awestruck that all of the debates, and particularly the negative comments, I read about same-sex marriage (and same-sex relations in general) focused solely on men who date or sleep with other men. No mention was made of lesbians, or whether two women could raise a child. There weren’t any diatribes about how disgusting two women fucking was. There seemed to be an unspoken, but widely agreed upon notion that “homosexual” was a cold and clinical term for dangerously unnatural and perverted men. After a few quick replies and a few deep breaths, I reminded myself that I was writing about bisexuality, not homosexuality, and once again began searching out different perspectives and opinions. Now that I was looking for it, I was not all that surprised to find that the complete opposite notion applied to us. No mention was made of men at all in the bisexual debates; it was silently assumed that the term “bisexual” referenced kinky or confused women.

As I shut my computer down for the night, still processing all of the comments I’d read, one question kept coming up. Why was discrimination so…well…discriminatory? Why are gay men constantly forced to defend their sexuality, to prove they are not pedophiles and perverts, while lesbians are often completely ignored, overlooked, or brushed aside as harmless women with penis envy? Why are bisexual women constantly forced to legitimize their sexuality, to prove we are not confused or indiscriminately promiscuous, while bisexual men are often completely ignored, overlooked, or brushed aside as gay men in denial? I believe the answer can be found at the root of stereotypes.

We hate what we fear and we fear what we don’t understand. Stereotypes, essentially, are ignorant and lazy assumptions, based on what we believe we do understand. Little attention is paid to lesbians, because two women feeling affection for one another is not difficult to understand or unpleasant to imagine. It doesn’t defy the stereotype of women as emotional, sensual beings. Bisexual women, on the other hand, are misunderstood as promiscuous or confused, breaking away from the stereotypical fantasy of finding a strong man, settling down and having a family. Bisexual men receive little attention because few people even believe they exist (another topic I plan to cover), and one cannot hate what does not exist. Gay men, however, are undeniably present, and force us to reexamine the stereotype of rugged protectors of women.

Gay, lesbian or bisexual, it seems to be the challenging of stereotypes that generates fear, and determines who will remain invisible, and who will face discrimination.

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