Bye Bye Bi

WATCH: Dan Savage Reveals Whether He’s Really Biphobic

In the latest “Ask Anything” video on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, activist/columnist Dan Savage defended himself against accusations of being biphobic and discussed how views on bisexuality have changed over the years.

He recalled  how in the 1980s when men would sometimes initially claim to be bi as a sort of prelude to coming out as gay. (This reminds us of the famous Will & Grace gag about bisexuality: “Isn’t that just a rest stop on the highway to homo?”)

“[Today when teens] tell you that they’re bi, a little voice in the back of your head goes ‘yeah, so was I’…you can’t help [but think it], and it’s not fault of bisexuals’ that you would think that, it is the fault of the people who said that they were bisexual…I ,” began Savage, defending the internal prejudgement he allegedly holds.

But is his opinion a prejudice or a phobia?

Maybe it’s neither. Savage continued on saying his comments are merely “acknowledgement of a thing that exists” (the thing being people saying they are bisexual instead of just gay), and concluded by adding that he loves bi people and wants more to come out.

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  • King

    …same old horseshit non-apology. Paula Deen’s video this morning looks more legitimate than this turd…

  • Shofixti

    I’m confused about the necessity or the nature of an apology.
    Why? What would it achieve? Would you know anything more about his position on bisexuality?

  • boring

    @Shofixti: Because the things he said in the past were SPECTACULARLY shitty, especially for someone so celebrated?

  • Teleny

    He’s not very good with trans issues either.

  • boring

    Also his constant suggestion of “disappearing into heterosexuality” is especially bonkers, though it seems more monogomoy-phobic than bi-phobic.

  • balehead

    Just another phoney….The “Paula Dean of Gay Activism” now….

  • miagoodguy

    This guy just needs to go away and people need to stop thinking he is a good person.

  • Dev.C

    I try to feel more inclusive toward bisexuals identity but I find it overwhelming how much people use that
    word to identify themselves. Even heterosexuals use it like it’s a step above being a homosexual, ” We’ll he’s actually Bi not gay”. I’m not in complete disagreement with Dan about the fact that many people hide behind the title of Bisexuality in order to feel more comfortable with themselves and around heterosexuals.
    Bisexuals are all about fluidity of sexuality and trying whatever works for them at whatever time in their life. That’s nice for them but can you really blame some of us gay guys for not being able to fully connect with them.
    I can appreciate and understand bisexuality for what it is, but I hate it when people categories being gay and bisexual as the same thing.

  • car

    Apparently in gay life we are not allowed to ask questions or submit answers if they are not in alliance with our own.
    As i always say, you’re bisexual till your 30. Ask yourselves, how many people do you know that are bisexual…the answer is likely one in ten, if that. I have met or two in my lifetime that were actually bisexual.
    So perhaps its not so biphobic (love that term, second only to “bi-curious”) as an attempt to look at something honestly, not what is politically expedient.

  • Charlie in Charge

    Dan has time and time again proved that he is not in anyway biphobic. He fields questions from bi people on his podcast all the time.

  • GeriHew

    @car: one in ten is 10%. That’s a lot of people.

    There’s a persistent claim made by gay activists and organisations that 1 in 10 people are gay. It quite simply is not true. The real figure is closer to 3% or less.

    The only way you could get it up to anywhere near 10% in reality is to count every possibly bisexual person you could find (if you could find them) – including all the bisexual people who end up in heterosexual relationships (which is the majority of bisexuals) – and count them as gay.

  • M


    I would buy that 3 percent of gay people are out, but I don’t buy for a second that gay people are only 3 percent.

  • boring

    @Dev.C: wouldn’t necessarily agree with the idea that “Bisexuals are all about fluidity of sexuality and trying whatever works for them at whatever time in their life,” on a personal level I describe my sexuality as “the ability to be in a monogamous relationship with a person of either genre with little or no discernible difference between the two,” it’s not really an “Oh, this is the opportunity I’m taking at this moment because it’s the most convenient” kind of thing.

    I’ve known that I liked girls when I was five, I’ve known that I liked boys since I was eight, I’m 32, and it hasn’t changed one bit since. I completely understand the resentment a gay person can have towards bisexuality, just as I myself harbor a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit of resentment towards how much more “acceptable” bisexuality in women seems to feel, especially when it comes to portrayal in the media.

    I’ve never had an issue with my sexuality, it’s always felt entirely natural. But to have someone point to you and specifically say that you are a literal impossibility, that’s just fucking mean.

  • ookamigrrl

    @boring: I assure you, being a 35 year old bisexual woman may seem more accepted, except for some reason it seems to cause people to think they have a free pass to make overtly sexual comments. Things in the “Oh, can I watch you and your girlfriend do it.” or “That just means you will fuck anyone.” My first time with a girl was when I was 12 and my first time with a guy, when I was 12. I have a track record of being a serial monogamous and I have had 7 serious relationships from high school on 4 women, 3 men. I honestly have no real preference and I am open. I’m big on LGBT activism and it gets annoying when I get comments that I shouldn’t be so involved because I am “just bi” or that I need to pick a team.It isn’t as bad as it used to be, but there is a a considerate amount of discrimination in the LGBT community against bisexuals. I’ve spoken to friends of mine who are male and bi and many feel like they are even more pressured to choose a side. I know one who lives as a heterosexual and used to live as a homosexual, and he hated feeling boxed in or feeling like he is a traitor for giving into attraction to someone who isn’t approved by either community.
    I personally am a very out and proud bisexual woman, no matter what any side says because it’s my life and no one should have a say in who I love, male or female. Isn’t that a big part of what we have all been fighting for?

  • Niall

    He’s never been biphobic to me, the worst you could label his comments was that they were flippant and dismissive.

  • Indyenna

    I believe that bisexuality is real. Even asexuality. I am not bi. I am gay.
    I think that bisexuality is cool. You would have to be something special to be able to love, be in relationships, have sex and tolerate breakups with both men and women.

    I know I like men but there are times I wish that I could love women…have sex with them. My heart…my spirit…my soul isn’t into them like I am with the company of men.

    I know only three honest bi-pride people. Two men and one woman. Two are serial monogamous and one (he is a man) dates men and women at the same time.

  • Teleny

    I am trans, but also bi. I really don’t have a preference.

  • ted72

    @car: I agree!

  • ted72

    Theories on Bi-people:

    1. Bi people just haven’t come out just yet. It’s their stepping stone to coming out completely.
    2. Bi people don’t really exist after the age of 30.
    3. Bisexuality is more accepted in the community (with straight folks) than being gay.

    Personally, I haven’t met a “real” bisexual guy in my life time. All the “bi-guys” I’ve come across in my past have eventually become gay. I’m one of them.

    Dan is not an asshole. He is a great advocate for anti-bullying, anti-anti-gay, offers a great deal of wisdom on sexuality to our society. He does not advocate for monogamy, however, and that’s the only “issue” I have with him. I’m just wondering when I’ll come to terms and some day actually agree with him if ever about his philosophy on monogamy.

    He has my respect and admiration for all that he has done – he’s done hell of a lot more than us who just blog/comment on here. Can we safely claim we’ve accomplished a fraction of what Dan has done in our society as a whole…? Doubtful.

  • boring

    @ookamigrrl: Oh, I know ultimately any sort of resentment I feel are unresolved issues coming from me, but your male Bi friends have it pretty on-point, as does Fayth’s post: the scorn that can be leveled at bisexual men can come off a bit ridiculous.

    Personally, it would take multiple sets of hands to count my female friends who consider themselves bisexual (they are also all beyond awesome) and pretty much across the board they see me as a unicorn-like novelty – not in a negative way, just a “Holy shit, it’s real!” sort of way.

  • boring

    I would however like to come out as against Bisexual porn, because it’s almost universally terrible, and takes the worst of gay porn and straight porn and combines it into one big clusterfuck that dares you to get a boner.

  • boring

    @ted72: Whereas I genuinely don’t understand how complete 100% male homosexuality can exist as long as Christina Hendricks walks the earth, sorry.

  • MickeyP.

    I think we need to revoke his membership card!

  • greyhound1954

    I’m surprised by the tenor of these comments. I’ve always thought that Dan Savage’s attitude toward bisexuality was not well thought out. My opinion is that people are born bisexual but, through social and cultural influences, learn to stick with one sex. I’m bisexual; I live as a gay male, but I have been attracted to women and certainly have the capacity to have sex with a woman.

  • DarkZephyr

    Bisexuality is real. My beloved is bisexual. When he and I marry, I will be his second spouse. His first spouse was a woman and the mother of his child. Their marriage ending had nothing to do with his sexual preferences. Yes, gay people have entered into heterosexual marriages and have had children, but my fiance really is bisexual. I know this is fact. He is also proof that the myth that bisexuals are incapable of monogamy is just that. A myth. I love him very much and he loves me too. Its our love that brings us together. He is foreign born, so I cannot be with him as often as I would like. I really hope that DOMA is repealed next week. Sometimes I miss him so much it is like physical pain. His touch, his kiss. I haven’t experienced it in many months. When we skype, we often end our conversations with wet eyes, we miss each other so much. Anyway, I got a bit off track there, but the point is that bisexuality is real and they don’t always “disappear into heterosexuality”. Sometimes the love of their life IS a member of the same sex.

  • CreoClay

    What I’ve noticed in conversations about bisexuality is the evidence for the vast majority of claims is nearly all anecdotal.

    When someone says they don’t believe bisexuality is a real thing because everyone they know who first came out as bi is know gay, they came out as bi and are now gay, or they don’t know any bisexuals above a certain age group; I kind of roll my eyes and think “Fallacy.” But I try to be nice in pointing out how their personal experience does not give them final say. After all, do you really believe all the people in your life are a complete representation of all the variation in people in your community, city, society, the world? And is your personal story the is same as everyone else’s?

    When I bring up my own perspective and experiences as a bisexual man, I’m also being anecdotal. I can confirm my own feelings, attractions, and experiences but I can’t speak on behalf of all bi identifying people or for bisexuality as a concept. At least not in a final say kind of way.

    I will say though that I am not special enough to be an enigma, so there are Prrroooobably other bi people out there. ;)

  • CreoClay


    I know a few bi people over 30 and many more under thirty. You should check out Robyn Ochs and read her book ‘Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around The World’. It’s pretty good and covers a wide range of bisexual identity and experiences of people in several age groups.

    I think I partially agree with what you said about people in our community not being able to ask questions and have discussions about different parts of the LGBT spectrum (without being accused of “-phobia” and “-intolerance”). I wish we all could have more discussions about our feelings and opinions on parts of our community. It’s important to note the difference between a person being -phobic and a person who makes a -phobic statement.

    I will say that I think a source of strain is the way we go about expressing those feelings or opinions.
    For example when you said “As i always say, you’re bisexual till your 30. Ask yourselves, how many people do you know that are bisexual…” I read that as very confrontational. As though you were questioning the legitimacy of my identity as a bi person and making a statement veiled as a question. It comes off as a bi equivalent to a straight person looking at being gay as a phase because they don’t know any older gay people. You could give that person a list of well known older gay persons and celebrities just as I could give a list of older well known bi persons. Albeit an admittingly smaller list but a list still.

  • Billysees

    @ted72: No 20

    Meaningful comment…..

  • Dev.C

    That’s good for you sir, I’m glad you know where you stand. I just think it’s sad that some
    other people are not as authentic about their experience.

  • balehead

    Just another self promoting queen taking your money…..

  • Charles175

    @DarkZephyr: Glad you found someone that is actually in touch with the spirit and nature of true Love. On the other hand and in all fairness and truth, you do have a segment of bi’s that do actually strattle the fence for most if not all of their lives. Maturity of the individual in question should be key here and not making a sweeping judgement of an entire group. I am 100% gay.

  • Dixie Rect

    He’s still trying to be famous by being ‘controversial’. It’s not working Danny-girl. Just stop already.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Charles175: there are indeed promiscuous bisexuals that sleep with men and women alike. My brother is bisexual and he always has at least one boyfriend and one girlfriend, but I have also known poly amorous homosexuals and heterosexuals as well. I was once even invited to be a man’s boyfriend while he alsso had a male partner. Anyway thanks for your kind words. :)

  • tookietookie

    I think people should be able to do what they want, but the concept of bisexuals makes me feel the same as other categories of people who for one reason or another have issues with commitment and monogamy. I don’t single bisexuals out as worse than the others, but I don’t feel the need to spend time thinking about their situations or advocating for them. In other words, their life models fall under my concern for personal freedoms, but otherwise it seems like “me” culture. You see gay and lesbian (and transgendered) people forming political and/or social groups, raising social consciousness about their experiences, working for rights, and articulating an identity. Bisexual is on par with this? No. And don’t tell me it’s because they’re a small group of buddhas who are showing the rest of us the way and we’re pitifully trapped in social constructions. Personally, I don’t like Dan Savage because he’s a wet towel, and I think it’s laughably ironic that he’s defensive about non-monogamy but disses bisexuals. But conceptually, I get why someone thinks sluts are real but unicorns aren’t.

  • GeriHew

    @M: A lot of people who are out as gay/lesbian are really bisexual. A lot of people who say they are straight are really bisexual. That’s not to say that all these people are all leading a “bisexual lifestyle” – whatever that’s meant to be.

    That’s the issue here for me. I really have reached the conclusion that only about 3% of people are really entirely homosexual.


    This idea that bisexuals have an easier (sluttier) time and enjoy more acceptance than do gays… *sigh*. While It’s true that, superficially, female bisexuality is more acceptable, for a man, however, there are no advantages and only considerable disadvantages to being openly bisexual. While gay men will undoubtedly fall upon you and worship you as a gold-glad god whose every utterance and action is the alpha and omega of trustworthiness and uncomplicated straightforwardness, frankly, it’ll be a million times harder now to convince any woman to let you smash. Unless you lie — A LOT — and constantly ceaselessly have to hide your true nature; which by any definition wouldn’t describe an easier life.

    Bisexuals face the same shit as homosexuals — the gay-basher doesn’t discriminate, paradoxically — added to this are further problems unique to bisexuality and for which the individual is particularly ill-prepared because there is no cohesive bisexual community to guide one along well worn paths of this orientation. And how useful would that advice be anyway? A group of bisexuals is far less homogeneous than a corresponding group of gay men, with different levels of attraction and preferences spread all across the Kinsey scale so that in effect rather than one orientation it’s more like a myriad of sexualities with disparate goals. Your very much on your own.

    Bisexual man are surrounded on all sides by negativity, suspicion and hysteria, so far from getting off lightly not only does the standard anti-gay propaganda apply, you also get it in the neck for not deviating! And thusly considered walking disease vectors intent on poisoning the wells of god-ordained heterosexuality with the HIV! (Yikes!) This bad rep is further compounded by the ignorant attitude of some in the gay community.

    Though It’s not talked about much there are men on the gay scene who feel the need to downplay or hide their bisexual orientation in order to be accepted or to find love. Sure a bi guy will pass muster for hookups or a short term fling but is he considered a good prospect for a long term relationship? husband material? Don’t y’all ideally want to end up with another “real” gay guy? Willing to risk a joint mortgage with a bisexual man?

    “Well, simple, bisexual men should just date other bisexual men”

    Unfortunately that is impractical because *seemingly* male bisexuals are a tiny percentage of the population and of that number a substantial proportion are with women. And talking of whom, the above scenarios are a million times worse when dating on that side of the fence…

    Women — sadly even many bi ones — too often consider bi men to be not the full deal. Heterosexuality in a man is considered as both the gold standard and also the minimum height requirement to ride. So, remind me again about the best of both worlds!

    So, no, it’s not any easier being bi and especially not for those who are relationship orientated and value honesty. That said I imagine it’s no where near as difficult as being trans. All I’m saying is a little understanding from the gay brothers would go a long way. Because the truth is it’s not really the best of both worlds if you’re not considered fully accepted as a member of either world. Now somebody please fuck me, lol.


    Sorry, I didn’t realise that would be so long. Lol, That sounds familiar ; p

  • rcblue73

    I noticed changes this year at our recent pride, in that most of the people involved with the floats seemed to be straight (and employed by some corporation). In chats with some of them, some took issue with my identifying as gay, that I should really be bi and that gay men are “going away”. I got the distinct impression that some of these people felt that being a homosexual was an illness, especially for men. One woman was particularly focused on this, she couldn’t understand why any man could be homosexual and those who choose to be are going to end up being isolated and alone. Finally, out of curiosity, I asked one group who among them was straight and a number of hands went up. No hands went up when I asked who was gay. So, playing the devil’s advocate I said something like “Guess in the future there won’t be any gay people”. The group cheered. That was very telling to me – so maybe we’re going back to the pre-Stonewall era of criminalizing and curing homosexuals. The other interesting thing is that whenever I make posts on my Facebook page that are a little too gay or too political, like recently when I shared a video in support of Bradley Manning, I will, like clockwork, get two or three friend requests from bi or straight women. Their FB pages are all boobie and pussy ‘boy toy’ photos some with links to their homemade porn vids. LOL. Leaves me wondering if someone thinks if they turn me on to women, I’ll focus on straight porn and stop sharing political posts. Maybe those folks at the NSA have an awful LOT of time of their hands. ;-)

  • Niall

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: That’s what she said *boom*

    Anyways on Dan Savage, I never felt what he originally said was “biphobic” in anyways. Dismissive, careless and maybe a bit of generalization? Yes. All he said if I remember correctly was that the bi person who asked for advice should check back in a few years or something. Yes it might have been dismissive, but it is the truth. A lot of people do come out as “bi” in their early years to make themselves feel better- “at least I’m not totally gay” then go on to be gay in future. I guess that was what Dan Savage was alluding to with his comments.

  • Consider

    Like “homophobia” encompasses more than just fear, but hatred, etc., bi-phobia includes the bi-condescension, bi-ignorance, and bi-patronizing attitudes that are directed at the bi- community. Presuming to know a person’s sexual orientation/feelings better than that person is offensive, just as the denial of parents of gay kids is offensive, saying “It’s just a phase”. Well into my 40’s, I’m still bi-, Kinsey 4.5 out of 6. I came out as bi- to a lesbian counselor in college who replied, “So how long have you felt you were lesbian?”, blatantly denying my orientation. (I came out to my parents as queer, and not bi-, because I didn’t want to go into the details of my specific sexual preferences with my parents, nor give them any “hope”.) Just because others may have often claimed my orientation when they felt too afraid or insecure to come out as G/L, doesn’t mean I’m confused. “And I don’t think you can help it” (1:04) is a lame excuse for perpetuating bi-phobic (bi-doubting, bi-condescending) attitudes. You can re-train yourself, Dan. Acknowledging that some (gay) people take the bi- label on the way to full gaydom isn’t bi-phobic, but badgering individuals on whether that’s the case for them is.

    4:37 – “…3x as many bi- women as lesbian women–where are they?” Not hanging out in bi-hostile lesbian bars. I’ve been out as bi- in lesbian bars (alone, with no male accompaniment); it’s not pretty. Search W4W ads for the term “no bi’s” and wonder why we don’t hang out where we’re not welcomed. And this doesn’t mean we don’t exist.
    4:43 – “They are mostly disappeared into heterosexual relationships”. –Do you understand why this is offensive/untruthful/inaccurate? Assuming a bell curve on the Kinsey scale, a good deal of us are “disappeared” into queer relationships as well, often presumed to be “only” gay/lesbian. This “disappearance” is from people’s incorrect assumptions, seeing the world in black and white, either/or, gay or straight, with no gray in between.

    Dan may not be “afraid” of bi’s, but he continues to prove his bi-ignorance. I’m queer- and bi-identified, and it’s still annoying to have all of this (as well as my life-long monogamy) repeatedly questioned. Suggestion: take each individual’s declarations at face value, and stop making assumptions. Realize that there’s a gate in the perceived fence, and there’s no need to “pick a side”. Do what feels appropriate for you, and respect that need in others.

  • miagoodguy

    This queen does protest too much.

  • Stache1

    @miagoodguy: If only you could take your own advice.

  • Stache1

    @GeriHew: The only time I hear that is from the hate groups when trying to marginalize us.

  • GeriHew

    @Stache1: “Hate groups” say that most of the people who are counted as gay by lgbt organizations are really bisexual do they?

    Do you have a citation for that? A link reporting a hate group saying this?

    What would be wrong with being 3% anyway?

    So what if most queer people are bi?

  • snuggydeamon

    I’m… just so disappointed by how many biphobic statements are in these comments. Do any of you actually know the research on bisexuality, or are you just going off of hunches, personal biased experience and cultural prejudice? Because that all works so well for lesbians and gays and… literally any other minority?

    And the sheer number of self-identified gay men here who feel entitled to express their judgements on bisexual people as though they have ANYTHING worthwhile to contribute. Even the straight people I know aren’t as toxic and judgemental as the gay men I know towards my identity, at least they don’t act like they can understand my experience and speak on behalf of me and other bisexual people.

    LGBT spaces are truly just LG spaces. Reading through these comments was a really discouraging experience for me. I don’t even have the energy to argue against the misconceptions and irrational prejudices, I’ll just ask you to do your own research and think twice before you open your mouth and speak about something you have no way of understanding.

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