Within every lesbian community there exists a tale as old as time, a proverb as common as it is contentious: Bi women cheat, betray, and ultimately leave — never for another woman, but for a man. Like those who flee the tumults of city life for quieter and less complicated pastures, bisexual women may seem destined, in the eyes of gay women, to trade the grit and hardships of queer life for the suburbs of heteroville. As a bisexual woman myself, I can’t deny that something about this stereotype that rings true; bi women do seem to romantically engage, or “end up” with men far more often than with woman. But is this really because we prefer a life of white-picket simplicity and comfort? Or could it be that, when it comes to romance between queer women, the game has been rigged from the start?
Like many stereotypes, the lived experiences of one group have almost certainly colored the perceptions of another, however unfairly or inaccurately. But I believe that it’s time to examine the pervasive, inner workings of heterosexual conditioning that, whether any of us in the bisexual community want to admit or not, have doomed so many bisexual/lesbian pairings to failure. While I understand that I can’t speak for anyone else’s experiences, I’ve written this article with two particular perspectives in mind: