In 2012 I was performing at a Pride Festival in the South, I gave my usual intro: "Give it up if you're Gay!" The crowd cheered. "Give it up if you're a Lesbian!" The crowd cheered. "Give it up if you're Transgender!" The crowd cheered. "Give it up if you're Bisexual!"
The crowd booed.
I was stunned. Confused. Had I heard right? The crowd at a PRIDE Festival just booed MEMBERS of the Pride Community? Did my ears deceive me? Was I in some kind of alternate universe? I was completely overwrought. I chastised the audience:
"Oh come on, now, people. Love, please! Love!"
Not much response.
I thought about throwing out my set and using my 20 minute slot to discuss the importance of mutual respect among the various constituent parts of the LGBTQICPA community. I thought about talking about how unfair it is for any of us to behave negatively toward any other ones of us. How everyone has been on the receiving end of this kind of prejudice and perpetrating it on each other is not productive, compassionate or kind.
I understand that bisexuality is misunderstood. I understand that when gay and lesbian folk begin the coming out process, some choose to identify as bisexual as a first "step" toward accepting their own true sexual orientation. This is a perfectly acceptable and natural way for a person to begin the coming out process. And, yes, there are people who are primarily gay or lesbian who identify as bisexual for religious/familial/self-identity reasons. And while this seems to upset those people who think they can dictate which label is best for other people, it is not anyone's business what one person chooses to label themselves.
Furthermore for people who identify as bisexual, there are two differing definitions at work currently, to my knowledge. One is that bisexual folks are attracted to both men and women (and other genders, perhaps). This is the more popular definition. But there's a more complex and compelling definition of bisexuality as a person who is both hetero- and homo-sexual, simultaneously. This is a very important distinction, which goes mostly misunderstood by the mainstream.
As a woman who identifies as a dyke, even while having a relationship with a dyke, I firmly believe that it is every person's right to identify however they choose. Also, I firmly believe that everyone has the right to respect, how-so-ever they identify.
Everyone in our LGBTIQCPA has been the butt of prejudice. Perpetrating prejudice upon members of our shared community is not kind.