Bi-standards: The double standards of bisexual men in the black community

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“Black men can’t be bisexual; that’s just a cover up for being gay.” When we talk about bisexuality in the black community, it’s often an unwelcome topic because it relates to homosexuality. Now, black women are often embraced for being bisexual because men think it’s sexy, often fantasizing about having a threesome. But men are not given the same treatment for being bisexual; it’s seen as a cover up for being gay because of the standard black men are held to.

In the black community, men are seen as the leaders and providers of the community. This creates a form of masculinity—toxic masculinity—defined by always being strong and powerful, and expelling any form of femininity. Gay men embrace their femininity and the black community sees that as being weak because it doesn’t fit into their definition of masculinity. But if you’re a bisexual man in the black community, then you’re seen as gay. Your masculinity is stripped away from you completely because you can have sexual and/or romantic relations with both males and females.

Most bisexual men hoped that the stereotypes would change in the black community when R&B singer Frank Ocean came out to the world as bisexual and received support from influential hip hop rappers, such as Jay-Z and Tyler, The Creator. But that wasn’t the case; the only romantic connection they could make are with gay or bisexual men because black women wouldn’t even look their way. Many black women write off bisexual men because of the belief that they do not embody what it means to be a real man. In their eyes, bisexual men are seen as weak and feminine; basically the same way gay men are seen in the black community. They aren’t the strong, powerful, hyper masculine black men the media shows you, such as Chris Brown and 50 Cent.

In a rollingout article, matchmaker Shae Primus says, “It’s unfair that many women have had same-sex experiences, but at the same time, they judge men who have experimented with the same sex. Even if a guy has had one experience, most women will totally write him off as undateable.”

Black men aren’t given the same right to explore their sexuality or be open about being with both sexes, like black women can be, creating this double standard between men and women. It isn’t fair for black women to be able to be so open and upfront about their sexuality and sexual experiences, while black men have to be quiet about theirs; making love harder to find for both men and women.

So why is bisexuality for men hard to embrace in the black community? The black community needs to come to the understanding that love is love; discriminating someone based on their sexuality is the same as discrimination against someone based on their race. In order to see growth in the black community, we must educate ourselves on the minority groups in our community. To learn more about the black LGBTQ+ community, read the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s resource guide to coming out for African Americans.