Does identifying as bisexual reinforce a false gender binary?
No, it doesn’t. This idea has its roots in the anti-science, anti-Enlightenment philosophy that has ironically found a home within many Queer Studies departments at universities across the Anglophone world. It is startling that people educated about the politics and dynamics of sexuality would go on to direct criticism for reinforcing a “false gender binary” at bi people. While it is true that our society’s language and terminology do not necessarily reflect the full spectrum of human gender diversity, that is hardly the fault of people who choose to identify as bi. As a scientific term to describe sexuality, the word bisexual came into use during the late 19th century as a means of classifying people with both homosexual and heterosexual patterns of sexual attraction or sexual activity. The latin prefix bi- does indeed indicate two or both, however the “both” indicated in the word bisexual are merely homosexual (lit. same sex) and heterosexual (lit. different sex). Let’s be clear, the scientific classification bisexual only addresses the physical, biological sex of the people involved, not the gender-presentation.
Bisexuality is an orientation for which sex and gender are not a boundary to attraction. Heterosexuality and homosexuality, on the other hand, are defined by the boundary of two sexes/genders. Given those fundamental facts, any criticism of bisexuality as reinforcing a gender binary is profoundly misplaced. Over time, our society’s concept of human sex and gender may well change. For bisexuals, people for whom sex/gender is already not a boundary, any such change would have little effect. Why then, would bisexuality be even remotely to blame for reinforcing a “false gender binary?”
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