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Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists. It is often a manifestation of biphobia, although it does not necessarily involve overt antagonism.
There is increasing inclusion and visibility of bisexuals, particularly in the LGBT community. American psychologist Beth Firestone writes that since she wrote her first book on bisexuality, in 1996, "bisexuality has gained visibility, although progress is uneven and awareness of bisexuality is still minimal or absent In many of the more remote regions of our country and internationally."
According to scholar Kenji Yoshino, there are three main investments that motivate both self-identified homosexuals and heterosexuals to seek to culturally erase bisexuality. These motivations are firstly, sexual orientation stabilisation. This relieves people of the anxiety of having sexual orientation questioned, an untenable position since it is in fact unprovable. Secondly, the maintenance of the importance of gender which Is seen as erotically essential to monosexuals but this notion is challenged by the existence of bisexuality. Thirdly, The maintenance of monogamy since for mainstream Americans, a pair bond is preferred. However, bisexuals are generally assumed by monosexuals to be "intrinsically" non-monogamous. In an article written for the 10th anniversary of Yoshino's piece, Heron Greenesmith argues that bisexuality is in fact inherently invisible in the law, beyond the reach of deliberate erasure. Firstly, she says it is because bisexuality is legally irrelevant with plaintiffs presumed to be monosexual unless outed and secondly, that when bisexuality is legally relevant it is erased within the legal culture since it complicates legal arguments that depend on a gender binary nature of sexuality.
Common examples 
Both gay and straight people who engage in bisexual erasure may claim that bisexuals are actually closeted homosexual people who wish to appear heterosexual, or conversely that bisexuals are heterosexuals who are experimenting with their sexuality. A common manifestation of bisexual erasure is a tendency for bisexuals to be referred to as heterosexual when they are intimately involved with people of the opposite sex, and to be labeled as homosexual when they are involved with people of the same sex.
In the LGBT community 
Bisexual erasure may stem from a belief that the bisexual community does not deserve equal status or inclusion within gay and lesbian communities. This can take the form of omitting the word "bisexual'" in the name of an organization or event that serves the whole LGBT community, including it as "bi-sexual", implying that there are only two authentic sexual orientations, or treating the subject of bisexuality in a derogatory way.
Bisexuals have been overlooked in the same-sex marriage debate. Firstly, where same sex marriage is illegal, those campaigning for it have failed to highlight the inconsistencies of marriage laws in relation to bisexuals, whose right to marry depends solely on the gender of their partner. Secondly, when same-sex marriage is available, a bisexual partner will generally be referred to as lesbian or gay. For example, one of the first people to take part in a same sex marriage in America, Robyn Ochs was widely referred to in the media as a lesbian, despite identifying herself in interviews as bisexual.
Media depictions 
Some media outlets have portrayed bisexual behaviors in ancient and non-Western cultures, such as ancient Greek pederasty or Native American Two-Spirits, as proof that homosexuality has been widely accepted in other times and cultures, even though it can also be seen as proof of the existence and acceptance of bisexuality.
In both the gay and straight media, individuals who have kept their identity unknown have been portrayed as either gay or straight even when they engage in romantic or sexual relationships with both men and women. The same has occurred even with people who identify themselves as bisexual. Examples include Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist, who was publicly misidentified as a lesbian on the day of her wedding, and Lady Gaga, who is sometimes labelled as either homosexual or heterosexual in the media even though she has publicly identified as bisexual.
The character Willow Rosenberg in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was initially depicted as heterosexual and had romantic relationships with male characters. However, in later seasons she started having romantic relationships with female characters, at which point her past relationships with boys were almost completely ignored and she identified as gay, not bisexual.
On December 30, 2009, MTV premiered their 23rd season of the show The Real World, featuring two bisexual participants, Emily Schromm, and Mike Manning. Although Manning himself identifies as bisexual, many bloggers and commenters on blogs claimed that he was in fact gay. Furthermore, while a behind-the-scenes MTV Aftershow and subsequent interview revealed that both Manning and Schromm had had encounters with both men and women while on the show, the show was edited to make it seem that they had been with only men.
See also 
- Word Of The Gay: BisexualErasure May 16, 2008 "Queers United"
- The B Word Suresha, Ron. "The B Word," Options (Rhode Island), November 2004
- Hutchins, Loraine (2005). "Sexual Prejudice: The erasure of bisexuals in academia and the media". American Sexuality magazine (National Sexuality Resource Center) 3 (4).
- Hutchins, Loraine. "Sexual Prejudice - The erasure of bisexuals in academia and the media". American Sexuality Magazine. San Francisco, CA 94103, United States: National Sexuality Resource Center, San Francisco State University. Archived from the original on 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2007-07-19. More than one of
- "What is Biphobia?". The Bisexual Index. Retrieved Feb 2013.
- "Queers United".
- "Task Force Report On Bisexuality".
- Firestein, Beth A. (2007). Becoming Visible: Counselling Bisexuals Across the Lifespan. Columbia University Press. pp. xvii. ISBN 0231137249.
- Yoshino, Kenji (January 2000). "The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure". Stanford Law Review (Stanford Law School) 52 (2): 353–461. doi:10.2307/1229482. JSTOR 1229482.
- Greenesmith, Heron (2010). "Drawing Bisexuality Back into the Picture: How Bisexuality Fits Into the LGBT Strategy Ten Years After Bisexual Erasure". Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender 17: 65–80. Retrieved Feb 2013.
- Michael Musto, April 7, 2009. Ever Meet a Real Bisexual?, The Village Voice
- "Why Do Lesbians Hate Bisexuals?".
- "Bisexual workers 'excluded by lesbian and gay colleagues'".
- Weiss, Jillian Todd (2004). "GL vs. BT: The Archaeology of Biphobia and Transphobia Within the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Community". Journal of Bisexuality (Haworth Press) 3 (3/4): 25–55.
- "Dan Savage-Stop with the Biphobia Already!".
- "Bisexuals Overlooked in the Debate on Equal Marriage Rights".
- "Alexander the Great".
- Hall, Donald E. Bisexual Literature glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer Culture
- Summers, Claude J. (2009-10-20). "BiNet USA". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. glbtq, Inc.
- "Lindsay Lohan: More Bisexual Than Lesbian".
- "Lindsay Lohan says she's not a lesbian, but confirms relationship with Samantha".
- "The Rise of Lady Gaga".
- "Lady Gaga admits she’s bisexual".
- "Anderson Cooper's Blog about "Gay and Lesbian" Issues". CNN.
- "Willow Rosenberg (Character)". Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Real World DC".
- "Real World Bisexuals".
- "Show me your bisexuals".
- "Emily Schromm talks".
- "Mike Manning Metro Weekly".
- "Mike Manning Bi history and controversy".
- "Bi Now, Gay Later".
- "Emily Schromm AfterEllen interview".
- "Aftershow Real World Episode 8".
Further reading 
- Fraser, Mariam (1999). Identity Without Selfhood: Simone de Beauvoir and Bisexuality. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 124–140.
- Bisexual Literature at glbtq.com
- Curiouser and Curiouser: the Strange 'Disappearance' of Male Bisexuality by Mark Simpson
- Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited New York Times, July 5, 2005 (article primarily about bisexuality in males)
- Human Rights Campaign: Bisexuality