As acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community grows, misconceptions about certain letters within the acronym remain.
It’s the third letter in the community’s official acronym, but the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding the ‘B’ in LGBTQ+ can often cause it to fade into the background.
By most formal definitions, the term bisexual is characterized by a sexual or romantic attraction to both sexes. However, that definition can vary from person to person.
Gregory Smith works as a curling instructor in St. John’s and has openly identified as bisexual for nearly three years. He says he doesn’t like to use labels often, but when people do ask, he feels “bisexual” fits him the best.
Smith says when he officially came out, he received mixed reactions. While most of his family and friends were supportive, some of his family have very right-wing perspectives, so Smith has been no stranger to people getting the wrong idea about his sexual orientation.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality,” said Smith. “A lot of my straight guy friends they say, ‘So, if you’re dating a girl, that means you’re straight for the moment, and when you date a guy then you’re gay.’ And I say that’s not how it works. Regardless of who I’m dating, I’m still bisexual.”
Smith says he’s gotten his share of negative reactions about his sexuality from both men and women he has dated in the past, all for the same reason.
“They think you’re gonna cheat on them with someone of the other gender,” he said. “Which is kind of disappointing to hear.”
Sometimes, rather than being seen as its own sexual orientation, bisexuality is misconstrued as a place where those struggling to embrace their homosexuality can loiter until they’re more comfortable.
Unfortunately, this can lead to others doubting bisexuality’s validity.
“It’s something that kind of pisses you off,” said Smith. “Because, I mean, I spent my whole life trying to discover who I am as a person and now in the past couple of years that I have, for somebody to not think that’s legitimate … it’s hard.”
Smith says it’s a lack of understanding that may lead people to not take bisexuality seriously.
“They think you’re either 100 per cent one way or the other, so when you’re smack dab in the middle, they don’t even consider it to be real.”
In regards to the future, Smith says he would like to see more acceptance and for all bisexuals.
“Really, I would love people to understand that bisexuals do exist. They’re out there, they’re your friends, they’re your neighbours, they’re your cousins, they’re everybody … We have so many types of sexualities, and each one of them is legitimate.”