In honor of Celebrate Bisexuality Day, MSU students gathered Thursday at the LBGT Resource Center to share some of their struggles and victories as they held a discussion of issues affecting bisexuals.
“We wanted to create a space where we were affirming and recognizing bisexuality and talking about people’s experiences and perceptions as bisexuals,” said Lauren Spencer, program coordinator for the LBGT Resource Center. “I think it was empowering.”
The group spoke about the myths and misconceptions of bisexuality, such as bisexuals being in a phase, and how persons who identify as bisexual or queer can maintain their identities in both a queer and straight environment.
Deanna Hurlbert, assistant director for the LBGT Resource Center, said bisexuality has always been a hot topic for discussion and there are a large number of students on campus who identify as bisexual.
“Very often, people who identify as bisexual feel marginalized by the larger gay and lesbian community,” Hurlbert said. “That’s why when we do have events like these, a lot of people we don’t normally see come to talk.”
Social relations and policy sophomore Mark Doebler was not able to attend the discussion, but looked forward to the chance for bisexuality to be discussed among MSU students.
“In both heterosexual and homosexual communities, the bisexual identities fall in between those two and are often ignored,” Doebler said. “We need more discussion and educational opportunities about this topic.”
The term “bisexuality” implies there are only two genders, but Hurlbert stressed that there are many types of gender identities and people can be attracted to someone’s personality rather than their sex.
“There’s an extra cloak of invisibility regarding bisexuality,” Hurlbert said. “If a person is in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, then people assume they’re straight. If they’re in a relationship with someone of the same gender, people assume they’re gay or a lesbian. For that person, neither of those labels are accurate and don’t fit who they are. It’s very hard for people to understand that.”
Solly Mo, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Sociology, said people rarely think about bisexuals when they think about queer, instead associating queer to being gay or lesbian.
“In the same way the heterosexual community views the homosexual community as confused and not understanding their own identity, the homosexual community sometimes views bisexuals as the same,” Mo said.
Mo said she had wanted to attend the discussion to show her support for the bisexual community but was unable to. She said she hopes people can come to understand what it means to be bisexual.
“Bisexuals are seen as confused and I think that’s a problem,” Mo said. “As a bisexual myself, I should be allowed to love whoever I want, the same as others should be allowed to be attracted to whoever they want. I think we should be offered that same respect and often times we’re not.”
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