Deconstructing the Clinging Myth of ‘Straight-Passing privilege’ for bi+People

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Abstract

This article is premised on critiquing the idea that bi+people – that is, those with multiple gendered attractions - have ‘straight-passing privilege.’ This assumed straight-passing privilege suggests that bi+people are not equally affected by homophobia and heteronormativity when compared with lesbian and gay people. This article aims to demonstrate that this notion of straight-passing privilege is harmful in understanding bi+people. To explore these arguments, this article uses literature relating to passing and identity management to understand how bi+specific identities relate to these theoretical concepts. Through a sociological lens, this article argues that the idea of straight-passing privilege neglects the real circumstances of bi+people, who experience safety and wellbeing concerns and presumed privileges because of these assumptions. It is correct that bi+people may be able to pass as straight in certain circumstances, as may many lesbian and gay people, but the understanding of this as a privilege fails to account for the difficulties that anyone living outside of a heterosexual norm experiences. Rather, bi+people are subject to biphobia and bisexual invisibility/erasure that impacts their ability to be ‘out’ at all—leaving them ontologically incom­prehensible.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bisexuality
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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