Mykki Blanco has always been an outspoken activist, fighting for the rights of gender-nonconforming people of color. He (Mykki currently prefers he/him pronouns) has constantly called out Trump for his racism, even tattooing "Fuck Trump" onto his body.
Unexpectedly, Mykki went on this long biphobic twitter rant yesterday, only to delete his account shortly after. A blog captured his tweets, and they are a doozy.
Not to defend Mykki or to put his words in his mouth, but I believe one Twitter user summed up what Blanco was attempting to convey.
I think Mykki meant straight-passing and (especially) stars who live with cisheterosexual privilege and then capitalize on the bi come out
— The Voluptuous Witch (@voluptuouswitch) September 7, 2017
Whether or not I agree, I see the argument. Take Aaron Carter. His career was basically dead. He then came out as bi, began selling out clubs, only to say he’s only going to pursue dating women. Claiming the bisexual label absolutely revitalized his career.
But here’s the thing about Blanco’s tweets, and where he goes so wrong.
Bisexual folks face greater health disparities than gay folks. They are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidality, which has been accredited to "double discrimination" — the discrimination they get from both the gay and straight communities. Bi folks also face more physical health disparities, including pain, than gay and straight people, and bisexual women have a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing sexual assault and domestic violence than the general population.
As for his comment that bisexual folks have never done anything for him or the LGBT community? That is completely erasing all the work of both Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were both bisexual, transgender women of color, did for the LGBTQ movement.
Not to mention his comment about bisexuality being for “white academics,” which bisexual people of color were quick to clap back at.
You can add brown "academics" to that list too. Cuz fuck us brown bi folk right? Fuck the work we do for our community.
— Jocelyne S. (@trash_president) September 6, 2017
But what about passing privilege? Undoubtedly, there is privilege in being able to walk down the street, holding hands with someone you love, and not being afraid that you’re going to get mugged because you’re holding hands with someone of the same-sex. That’s just one of the privileges you experience from being an opposite-gender relationship.
However, as I mentioned in HuffPost:
"It’s the constant questioning and dismissal of your identity. It’s the constant need to prove who you are. You start having sleepless nights, and take every single microaggression to heart. 'Oh honey, you’re bi? You’ll get there, I did.' 'So have you picked a side yet?' 'Bisexuals don’t exist.' 'They’re just greedy.' Every skeptical face takes its toll psychologically. Still, I don’t fear being fired if I decide to bring my female partner to the Christmas work party. This is undoubtedly a privilege that all straight and some bisexual people have, but gay people don’t.
Nevertheless, I don’t think the psychological and emotional components of identity erasure should be diminished. I don’t think being constantly re-closeted is a privilege. Neither does science. Bisexual folk are more likely to experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal-ideation than gay and lesbian folk. It’s not a stretch to say that the higher rates of mental illnesses in bisexual men and women are caused by the societal factors that deny us our identity. Of course, this is not beneficial and clearly problematic. I think we can all agree to this.
Moreover, bisexuals don’t have the same community as gay men and women. Gay folk don’t judge each other for being gay (well, they do, but we’ll save the conversation on internalized homophobia for another day), but they often refuse to accept bisexuals as an equal part of the LGBT+ community. I think this lack of acceptance comes from believing that bisexuals don’t struggle the same as gay individuals. Bisexuals pass with straight privilege, and are therefore not part of the community. That is why I was nervous to admit that I am privileged as a bisexual. I didn’t want to further perpetuate the belief that bisexuals don’t deserve to be apart of the queer community. That we are, for all intents and purposes, “straight,” which is simply not true. While not gay, we have our own unique struggle that differentiates us from being straight, despite having some privileges from our appearances.
Let’s me clarify. I’m not trying to start an oppression Olympics. Is it tougher to live life as an openly bi or gay man? Who is society going to oppress more? A rich black man or a poor white woman? We shouldn’t be competing to be more victimized.”
And that's the crux of the problem. Yes, black trans folks are being murdered at incredibly high rates. That is a huge problem. We can all agree that every single member of the LGBTQ (and straight) community should care about this and take action.
But let’s also note that many of those trans women of color identified as bisexual. Many bisexuals are committing suicide. Bisexual women experience sexual assault and domestic violence at higher rates. We can care for one marginalized group, realizing we have different struggles, while simultaneously caring for another.
That’s exactly what we should be doing, as we are a community.
And honestly, as for celebrities like Aaron Carter. I honestly don’t give a fuck is he is so-called profiting from being openly bisexual. Do you know why? Because I know his coming out reached thousands of confused and questioning bisexual teenagers. I know being visible and embracing his bisexuality helped them embrace who they are. I believe that his coming out may have stopped a confused kid from committing suicide.
So sure. I’ll give you that bisexual folks can experience some benefits from passing privilege. And while I don’t believe it, let’s say all of Aaron Carter’s stunt was one large publicity stunt.
Still, that doesn’t matter.
Bisexual folks are part of the LGBTQ community, we have our own physical, emotional, and mental struggles that come from being queer, we are more than allies, and we expect outspoken activists like you, Blanco, to support us.