By Elizabeth Sekkes
Last Thursday, the GLBTA Center at Bridgewater State University hosted an event entitled “Plus One: What is Monosexual Privilege?”
During the event, the topic of monosexual privilege was presented, and a discussion was held in which monosexual privilege was defined and explored.
“It was a fantastic discussion,” said Lee Forest, the director of the GLBTA Center.
Forest said many unknowing individuals refer to sexual orientation as having a certain preference. The problem with using such a term is that it implies that who one is naturally attracted to is a choice, when in reality it is not.
Forest also explained that in society, misunderstandings toward individuals who do not identify as either gay or straight results in a loss of privilege, because their lives and situations are discredited and not taken into consideration.
The general public’s misunderstanding of sexual orientations, in addition to a lack of educational resources, propelled junior english major Sarah Comeau to create the Plus One event.
“I find that there’s a lack of information for people who identify as a disenfranchised group within a disenfranchised community,” Comeau said. “Even in the Pride Center we don’t have a privileged checklist for monosexual privilege. So I felt like it was time to have a discussion about it.”
One thing that was unpacked throughout the discussion, was the fact that individuals who identify as being bisexual often experience their identities as becoming erased, depending on the gender of their partners during a given time.
For example, a female who identifies as bisexual who happens to have a female partner at the time may be generalized as a lesbian, when in reality she is not.
Another point which was discussed at the event was the negative stigma which accompanies anyone who identifies as bisexual, polysexual or pansexual. Bisexuality, polysexuality and pansexuality are referred to as middle sexualities.
Comeau said individuals who identify as being a part of middle sexuality are often falsely perceived as being promiscuous.
“One of the stigmas that accompanies middle sexualities is that because someone has the capacity to be attracted to more than one gender, they must be having sex with more than one gender at all times,” Comeau said. “And that they can’t be content in a monogamous relationship.”
The discussion also tried to break down the black and white barriers erected when society talks about sexual orientation.
“We live in such a binary gender society,” Comeau said. “It’s the way we look at everything. The misunderstanding is that sexuality is fluid. Sexuality is fluid and gender is fluid. These are natural, organic things that happen in their own way.”
Elizabeth Sekkes is The Comment’s News Editor. Email her at email@example.com.