When it comes to songs about bisexual people, they usually go one of two ways.
The song is by a bisexual artist, and is good representation. Or, it’s by a lesbian or gay artist and perpetuates hurtful bi stereotypes.
A report by the Equality Network revealed 66% of bisexual people only felt ‘a little’ or ‘not at all’ part of the LGBTI community.
Many stating biphobia and bi erasure were the reasons for this.
Apparently not only does this biphobia happen in everyday situations within the LGBTI community – But in the music people from the community create too.
I’d like to preface this by stating that I am a massive fan of both MNEK and Hayley Kiyoko. I listen to both of their music regularly. I saw them both live in 2018.
Hayley is an American singer. Despite releasing her first EP in 2013, she didn’t release her first album until 2018. She’s affectionately referred to online as ‘lesbian Jesus.’
MNEK is an English singer, songwriter and record producer. He’s been involved in the music industry since 2011, writing tracks for artists such as Rudimental, Little Mix, Madonna and Beyonce.
There are probably other examples of songs by lesbian and gay artists who fall into this trap of validating biphobic attitudes. However, these are the two most recent and relevant examples I can think of.
Whether the songs are written from experience or not, there are still some issues I have with them.
Hayley has multiple songs talking about getting with a woman, who is dating a man and cheating on said man with her.
Hayley’s track Girls Like Girls sings about ‘stealing kisses from your Mrs.’ Then in the music video for Curious, a bisexual woman turns up to a party with her boyfriend but then ends up making out with Hayley in the bathroom.
‘While she’s home learning recipes’
Girlfriend was a track on MNEK’s 2018 debut album, Language.
In the song, he sings: ‘While she’s home learning recipes, you’ve been in my bed constantly.’
The music video shows a man going back to his girlfriend after hooking up with MNEK.
I am in no way negating the fact that these may have been people’s genuine experiences.
Bisexual people can be cheaters – But so can anyone. Bisexuality and infidelity are in no way linked.
However by only singing about bisexual people as cheaters without acknowledging that not all bisexual people are cheaters, singers are only perpetuating hurtful bi stereotypes.
Is it too much to ask for the L and G to be actual allies to the B for once?
For all we know, there may be other songs out there written by gay and lesbian artists about ex-lovers who are bisexual. By not acknowledging those songs, the only visible bisexual representation in their songs are the ones where we’re cheating on them, or are cheating with them.
That’s not the representation we want, neither is it the representation we deserve.
Why is this different?
I’m not saying people can’t write these songs from experience. I’m just asking that they also acknowledge that not every bi person is a cheater. It’d be nice if they could simply say ‘Did you know this song about a positive relationship is about a bi person?’ every once in a while.
It wouldn’t be seen as ok for a straight person to sing about a bad experience with a gay person. The community would be in uproar. It simply wouldn’t be acceptable.
So why is a gay person bashing a bi person in a song any different?
It really isn’t all that difficult to get bisexual representation in songs right.
It could be as simple as using different pronouns when talking about a partner’s ex!
I’m not saying that straight people are completely innocent either. Take The Weeknd’s song Lost in the Fire for example.
More than anywhere else though, you’d think bisexual people could find acceptance and love in the music created by fellow members of the LGBTI community.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case.