3 Reasons To Quit Saying “I Don’t Date Bi People”
I don’t know about you, but I hear this statement all the time. “I don’t date bi people.” Not only do I get this charming sentence from potential dates, but I get it unsolicited from all sorts of people whenever I mention I’m bi. The conversation goes something like this.
THEM: “So, you’re married to a woman but you’ve dated guys. What’s that all about?”
ME: “I’m bi.”
THEM: “Oh. Yeah.. I would never date a bi person.”
ME: (surprised) “I didn’t ask?”
Why so many people feel the need to inform me of this dating prejudice, even when I’ve shown absolutely no interest in them, is beyond me. At the very least, these exchanges are just plain strange. But they are also very upsetting and here’s why.
1) You believe biphobic stereotypes.
Why won’t you date bi people? I’ve heard plenty of reasons. “Bi people all cheat.” “Bi people always leave you for the other sex.” “Bi people spread disease.” “Bi people can’t be monogamous.” “Bi people are greedy.” When you believe these things, you are allowing unfair and untrue biphobic stereotypes to inform your dating choices. Try to think of any reason for ruling out all bi people that isn’t justified by one gross generalization or another.
Personal anecdotes don’t count either. If everyone who was ever dumped by a straight woman quit dating straight women, we’d live in a very different world. If everyone who had a friend whose husband cheated on them never dated men again, there’d be a lot more single folks. Just because a bi person broke up with you/cheated on you/ wasn’t monogamous, it does not mean that all bi folks are the same. Using one or two experiences to define an entire group is always unacceptable.
2) It’s not “just a preference.”
Everyone has “a type,” both physical and emotional. We look for certain certain traits in our partners. Frequently, we compromise. Maybe I’m attracted to tall, ethnically ambiguous, athletic men who love to cook, do the NYT Sunday crossword, and can’t live without puppies. That’s great, but realistically I don’t only date guys exactly like that. In fact, I’ve never dated that. Realistically, I end up finding puppy loving, crossword genius, master chefs who are 5’6″. Those are preferences.
“I would never date a bi person” rules out an entire category of people, regardless of any other qualities a person might possess. It is saying that you buy into those bi stereotypes so heavily that nothing else matters. A preference is something that gets factored in with other preferences. A blanket ban on anybody who happens to be bi is more than a preference. It’s a prejudice.
3) There’s a good chance you already have.
The good news is that there are a lot of bi folks out there. They are all unique individuals with unique needs and desires. Sadly, a lot of them don’t come out to their partners because of the aforementioned biphobic prejudice. Not to make you paranoid, but you have no way of knowing if your partners (past, present, or future) are #oneofus.
Many bi folks feel pressured to identify as straight or gay (depending upon whom they are dating/pursuing.) Lots of us feel the pressure to do so precisely BECAUSE of the fact that we face rejection due to these biphobic stereotypes. Given this fact, you cannot be certain that the person you are dating or have dated isn’t bi. Lot’s of straight and gay identified folks are actually bi. Ultimately, all your prejudice does is punish those of us who are honest enough to tell you the truth.
Considering all this, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on other qualities about a potential date that matter a lot more? Do they share mutual interests? Do they enjoy similar hobbies? Do they make you laugh? Are you compatible in bed? Do you enjoy their conversation? Can you binge watch Netflix shows while eating your favorite pizza? Do they get along with your dog? Do they want kids? All of this stuff matters MUCH more than their bisexuality. If you still aren’t convinced of that, you might want to retry my challenge from #1.