No, everyone isn't 'a little bisexual.' Here's why we need to stop saying that.

Simply put, sexuality is complicated.

In 1948, famed American sexologist Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues published "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male." The book included the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, more commonly known as the "Kinsey Scale." Based on their subjects' sexual histories, Kinsey's team made a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 being exclusively heterosexual, 6 exclusively homosexual, and 3 being equal parts of the two.

Demonstrators march for marriage equality in Mexico City. Photo by Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.


People have learned a lot about sexuality since then, and we've had a sexual revolution for good measure. There are plenty of identities, orientations, and lived experiences other than homosexuality and heterosexuality. All are unique and valid. But the Kinsey reports forever changed the way we look at sexuality, so the idea that it's is a straight line or continuum persists. This explains why it's relatively common to hear people, on the topic of sexuality, say, "Everyone is a little bisexual."  

Usually, the speaker's intentions aren't malicious, but that doesn't mean their words are harmless.

Perpetuating this myth erases the countless people who identify as bisexual or pansexual, orientations in their own right. Bisexuality is not simply the midway point between homosexual and heterosexual. Bisexual people have unique experiences, concerns, and issues that deserve to be talked about, addressed, and researched. If "everyone is a little bisexual," those issues are easy to overlook and erase, and that's not the only reason it's problematic.

A scene from the Mexico City Pride Parade. The signs read "Mom, I'm pansexual" and "Mom, I'm bisexual." Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images.

The M. Slade comic below was originally published on Everyday Feminism. It perfectly explains why, "Everyone is a little bit bisexual," often does more harm than good.  

Comic by M. Slade originally published on "Everyday Feminism."

This doesn't mean you can't be supportive. Here's what you can do instead.

Listen.

Like Slade said in the comic, "It's not your place to find a label for your friend." If your friend, colleague, or family member comes to you with complicated feelings, your first responsibility is to be a compassionate listener. Just be a good friend. Close your mouth and open your heart. If you insist on speaking, "I'm here for you, whatever you need," is a good place to start.

Do your homework.

Seek out LGBTQ writers, authors, and podcasters for first person essays, novels, articles, and interviews. These are simple but effective ways to learn more about someone else's lived experience and provide some insight into communities that aren't always represented on TV, in film, or even on the news.

Be an active ally.

Being an ally is good, but being an active one is better. It's not enough to fave a tweet or change your profile picture on Facebook. Do your part to signal boost voices that often get ignored, like trans women of color and LGBT people with disabilities. March, write your legislators, and volunteer or support organizations already doing the work. Don't just tell your friends and family how much you care, show them.

Demonstrators pushed for President Obama to stand up for LGBT rights at a 2009 protest. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.

Yes, sexuality is complicated. Being a decent person is easy.

Keep listening, keep learning, and never stop doing your part to encourage inclusivity.

More

They say that kids say the darnedest things, and seriously, they do. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with young children knows that sometimes the things they say can blow your mind.

Since teachers spend more time around little kids than anyone else, they are particularly privy to their profound and hilarious thoughts. That's why NYC kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cowit started collecting kid quotes from teachers around the country and sharing them on her Instagram account, Live from Snack Time, as well as her websiteand other social media channels.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Veve Bee

It's incredible how many myths about the female body persist, despite all of us living in the information age. Young and old, educated or not, we're all susceptible to misinformation — especially when the same false info gets shared widely without question or correction.

Exhibit A: The female hymen.

Rapper T.I. made headlines recently with his horrific description of accompanying his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist to have her hymen checked. According to him and countless others like him, the hymen is a sign of virginity — a gateway of sorts that indicates whether or not a woman has had sex (or otherwise been vaginally penetrated). Popular belief has it that the hymen is a thin layer of tissue in the vagina that "breaks" the first time a woman has sex, so an "intact" hymen is proof of virginity.

The problem is that's a bunch of anatomically incorrect hogwash.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular