Today I Learnt: What Is Bi-Erasure?

Plea Seeking Recognition Of Transgender Persons

Bisexual erasure or bi-erasure is the act of ignoring, removing or dismissing bisexuality in history, media, and culture. Even though bi-erasure is not always overt antagonism, it is a by-product of biphobia, which is the discrimination against bisexual individuals.

Bisexual people are often either classified with either straight or gay, depending on who their significant other is at the time. Bi-erasure is abundantly seen in society and social media. People believe that bisexual people face less stigma and discrimination compared to gay people and lesbians. Some incorrectly assume that bisexuality is just a stepping stone before a person settles on their ‘true’ identity, gay or straight.

“Remember, bisexuality doesn’t mean halfway between gay or straight. It is its own identity,” says Evan Rachel Wood, the openly bisexual actor.

Bi-erasure Of Celebrities

Several bisexual celebrities are often incorrectly called straight or gay and their bisexuality is ignored and glossed over.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is an openly bisexual woman that actively supports LGBTQ rights. She’s spoken about her bisexuality multiple times and revealed that her song ‘Poker Face’ is about her personal experience with bisexuality. Yet her bisexuality is ignored and she has been repeatedly accused of lying about being bisexual. Her place in the LGBTQ+ community is questioned and doubted.

Lady Gaga spoke about bisexual exclusion during a speech she gave at New York’s WorldPride celebration. She stated that “I may not, to some people, be considered a part of this community, even though I like girls sometimes.”

The Grammy Awards named Sam Smith as the “first LGBT+ person to win Best Pop Vocal Album”, even though Lady Gaga has already won the Best Pop Vocal Album award.


Ever since Halsey’s rise to fame in 2015, the singer has been candid about her bisexuality and has had to validate and reaffirm her bisexuality. When Halsey accepted the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist, she spoke about her bisexuality and shed light on the homelessness of LGBTQ+ youth.

In 2018, Halsey released the music video for “Strangers” which was criticised for ‘not being queer enough’. Halsey responded to critics by stating, “It literally IS a bisexual story. Luna has romantic relationships with both Rosa and Solis. Her relationship with a man doesn’t nullify her bisexuality. Not in an imaginary music video universe and not in real life either.”

Too often bisexuality is ignored when a same-sex couple is not featured. Dating someone of the opposite gender doesn’t magically make a person straight. Featuring a bisexual person in a relationship with the opposite gender does not make it any less queer. The bisexuality of the person in question remains, regardless of who their significant other is.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the band Queen was known for having relationships with women and men. His flamboyant stage presence also led to journalists alluding to his sexuality. According to journalist Leslie-Ann Jones, author of two biographies on Freddie Mercury, “Queen’s management spent decades trying to convince the world that Freddie was heterosexual while he was alive, but then conceded to his homosexuality after he had died.”

She added that, “All their efforts to preserve Freddie in memory as, effectively, a straight man who was in love with one woman — his soulmate Mary — but who was ‘corrupted’ by factions of the music industry”.

Impact Of Bi-Erasure

According to the Bisexual Resource Centre, bisexual people have a higher rate of anxiety and depressive disorders than straight and gay people. Bisexual people are also more likely to take up drinking, smoking, develop eating disorders, and develop heart disease.

Bi-erasure ensures that bisexuality is not talked about and without media normalising bisexuality, straight people and members of the queer community remain misinformed about bisexuality. Bisexual people are somehow classified as both gay and not gay enough at the same time.