Panel Highlights Discrimination against Bisexual Students
By Jamal Barbari
Have you ever been discriminated against? Have you ever been looked at differently because of your race, religion or sexuality? Have you ever done it to someone else? Did it feel horrible, demeaning and repulsive? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you should continue reading.
At a panel discussion on April 13 in the Wiseman Center, members of Eyes Wide Shut talked about the discrimination many bisexual college students face, especially on campus. Although the program mainly focused on bisexuality, the discussion itself encompassed a variety of important topics, including how both straight and gay people respond to those who identify themselves as bisexual.
The discussion also touched on the role of family, friends and organized religion in the lives of bisexuals. Many bisexuals experience verbal and nonverbal expressions of contempt from students who are not bisexual, panelists said.
Statements and looks aren't the only problems bisexual students have to face from their peers, but also their family members and in some cases their religious community, panelists said. It is bad enough students have to face opposition from their peers, but facing their families and religious community does not make it any better. This part of the conversation led to the clear and simple statement from one of the panelists, "Don't live life to please others because then you'll never be pleased with yourself."
In terms of religion, panelists said bisexual students frequently are faced with the argument that bisexuality and homosexuality are sins. Just because people are bisexual or homosexual does not mean they cannot be religious or spiritual, panelists said, and if they are, whose place is it to say they are a sinner and aren't allowed to practice religion?
The panel also tackled the argument that bisexual students are indecisive regarding sexual preference. It is simple, bisexual students are just attracted to both sexes, panelists said.
While the panelists acknowledged that not everyone agrees with the sentiments expressed by bisexual students, they did assert that everyone has the right to express their opinion as long as their opposition doesn't erupt in verbal or physical violence.