There is a dearth of information on Bisexuals from history compared to the rest of the LGT community. So I thought I would post on why we are seen as a whole instead of separate entities.
We all have our individual definitions of what it means to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender based on our experiences, desires, and comfort levels. This too is applied socially creating a breadth of definitions for what are essentially immutable characteristics.
To be sure, there are more indicators that there are more differences among us, sometimes reinforced within the community, than there are similarities. But we work together against a greater society that perceives us negatively still and perceives us as a monolithic group with a defined agenda as seen in the right wing term "Gay Agenda".
It is this social cohesion created by a hostile society that brings us together in a way that would not be possible or needed in an LGBT embracing culture.
The "GLBT community" (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) appears monolithic. The quadratic formula of “GLBT,” adding together several second-order elements to create a single defined community, suggests communal interests. This is the understanding that most heterosexuals in the U.S. seem to have. Such a community of interest makes sense because homosexuals have long been subjected to heterosexist prejudice. Yet, like most social phenomena, the situation is far more complex than it seems at first glance. The very creation of the “GLBT” acronym suggests that gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender are each clearly defined, separate and mutually exclusive categories – not one and the same. When one begins to examine this “community,” one finds evidence of this separateness, for internecine struggles seethe beneath the surface, calling into question the idea of a “GLBT community.” While many gays and lesbians feel that “bisexual” and “transgender” are simply names for parts of their own community, others actively reject the idea that bisexuals or transgenders are part of their community, seeing them as entirely separate and distinct. Heterosexism against bisexuals and transgenders exists not only in the straight community, but in the gay and lesbian community as well. Some feel, as we shall see, that bisexuality and transgenderism are detrimental to the social and political acceptance of gays and lesbians. This curious phenomenon has been called “internalized homophobia” by some, meaning an irrational fear and dislike of other homosexuals. (Fone 2000:6, Sears and Williams 1997:16) This presumes, of course, that bisexuals and transgenders are, in fact, “homosexuals.” Others use neologisms such as “biphobia” and “transphobia,” meaning an irrational fear and dislike of bisexuals and transgenders. The need for such terms belies the idea that there is a single monolithic “GLBT community.”
The difference between “homosexual” and “GLBT” is elusive to many U.S. Americans. The above paragraph and its plethora of specialized terms would have made little sense to most U.S. Americans (except a few specialized psychiatrists and psychologists) in 1950. I suggest that most U.S. Americ mark intense personal and political struggles. The divisions between gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender are far deeper and more significant to each other than to those outside. Where do these divisions come from?
Until the 1990s, there was little need to distinguish between different groups within the homosexual movement. The differences between gay/lesbian and bisexual/transgender was of no practical consequence until the attempt came in the late 1990s to marry them together in a “GLBT” marriage of convenience. The purpose of this marriage, of course, was political advantage through a community of interests. Bisexuals and transgenders, however, include all sorts of groups with radically unconventional lives: polyamorites, pansexuals, sado-masochists, Radical Faeries, drag queens, she-males, heterosexual crossdressers, working-class transvestite prostitutes, gender benders, genderqueers. Many of these bisexual and transgender people have little in common with the modern construction of middle-class gay and lesbian identities. When leaders of the U.S. GLBT movement began to confront the inconsistent interests of the bisexual and transgender people with whom they were now allied in the “GLBT movement,” they were faced with a political problem. Having included bisexuals and transgenders in the coalition, how could they at the same time argue that GLBT people are “just like you,” wanting the same middle-class lives as other U.S. voters (with the single exception of a same-sex partner) while being required to politically embrace polyamory and a man in a dress?
It has been my observations and experience that the greater external culture fails to differentiate amongst us. There is a wealth of misconceptions that continue to be raised by the non-LGBT culture: A Transgender woman is misidentified as Gay. Gay men like to cross dress for sexual stimuli (ignoring the heterosexual males that do so). Butch lesbians want to be men. Bisexuals can't decide. Bisexuals are closet cases....
These notions show that those that do not identify as LGBT do not understand the complexity of the LGBT culture or individuals themselves, making understanding all that more difficult.
This is a society that violently enforces gender and sexuality norms yet they fail to understand the nuance of what they are oppressing.
Regarding violence against LGBT's, social control is the dynamic that is most prevalent in the minds of the attackers. Not homophobia based on their internal insecurities. So until society as a whole accepts the differences and degrees of the sex and gender spectrum we will continue to experience violence against us. Sometimes physical and many times verbal and legal as those invested in social control continue to perpetuate Stochastic Terrorism against the LGBT Community.
Although their assaults fall within most legal definitions of hate crime, Brian, Andrew, and Eric--like the rest of the informants I interviewed-- all insisted that their assaults were not motivated by hatred of homosexuals. To reconcile the apparent contradiction between the socially normative attitudes often held by assailants and the viciousness and brutality of their behavior toward gay men and lesbians, during the course of my research I came to conceptualize the violence not in terms of individual hatred but as an extreme expression of American cultural stereotypes and expectations regarding male and female behavior.So why LGBT?
From this perspective, assaults on homosexuals and other individuals who deviate from sex role norms are viewed as a learned form of social control of deviance rather than a defensive response to personal threat.Thus, heterosexism is not just a personal value system, it is a tool in the maintenance of gender dichotomy. In other words, through heterosexism, any male who refuses to accept the dominant culture's assignment of appropriate masculine behavior is labeled early on as a "sissy" or "fag" and then subjected to bullying. Similarly, any woman who opposes male dominance and control can be labeled a lesbian and attacked. The potential of being ostracized as homosexual, regardless of actual sexual attractions and behaviors, puts pressure on all people to conform to a narrow standard of appropriate gender behavior, thereby maintaining and reinforcing our society's hierarchical gender structure.