James W. Hicks, M.D.

"That’s Disgusting!"

In Myths on October 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Many people have a visceral reaction to what they consider deviant sex. Homosexuality can still evoke disgust, but many Americans have learned to suppress their feelings and express tolerance for what is increasingly viewed as an unalterable gay or lesbian identity, like race or gender, or (in the minds of those less tolerant) an unfortunate disability. But virtually everyone thinks of bisexuality as a lifestyle choice.

Bisexuals have also not benefited from the same sort of advocacy and exposure as gays. For example, there is no beloved openly bisexual role model like Ellen DeGeneres (though Anna Paquin has certainly stepped up to the plate). Celebrities who have claimed to be bisexual, like Elton John or Lady Gaga, are commonly viewed as gay or disingenuously self-promotional.

Extreme bi-phobic reactions could include parents throwing you out of the house, siblings telling you to stay away from their children, or acquaintances or strangers committing hate crimes. On the other hand, people’s initial reactions and prejudices often soften with time and, most importantly, with exposure. Viewed objectively, there is little difference between heterosexual and homosexual acts, so what precisely do people consider disgusting about bisexuality? What they don’t understand.

  1. David Bowie comes to mind as a beloved bisexual, but isn’t as prevalent in everyday tv as Ellen is.

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