Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Campus Byways: Bisexual Students at Several Colleges Say They Face Discrimination from Campus Gay Groups. So Now They're Striking out on Their Own

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Campus Byways: Bisexual Students at Several Colleges Say They Face Discrimination from Campus Gay Groups. So Now They're Striking out on Their Own

Article excerpt

Despite what you may have heard, Khyla Barnes does not want to have a three-way with you. And frankly, she's sick of having to say so.

Barnes, a 22-year-old senior at Indiana University in Bloomington, crone out as lesbian in the summer of 2001. But in April 2003 she started identifying as bisexual. The shift was unpopular among the people she worked with in her role as treasurer of the university's queer alliance. In fact, it was so unpopular that Barnes left the alliance to form a bisexuals-only group, which she now coleads.

"Whenever I said, 'I feel tiffs way--bi,' people would say, 'That's cool. But you're still really a lesbian.' To gay people, I was just a lesbian who liked guys too," she says. "They told me it was selfish to bc stealing all the kinky guys and girls."

The oppressed have become the oppressors, Barnes says. And this "biphobia" among students in the Indiana gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender group and others around the country is what has prompted her and other students nationwide to start their own bi-only groups. The problem, Barnes says, is that "in the [GLBT] alliances you can't just be lesbian or gay, you have to be a dyke or a fag. It's extreme. Something like bisexuality, in the middle, just doesn't fit."

That was the case for Francisco J. Araujo, a 21 year old junior at Brown University in Providence, R.I., as well. After coming out as queer, Araujo funned BiTE, Bisexuals Talk and Eat, ht 2002. The group of approximately a dozen students meets weekly and provides a space where bisexuals are treated as more than "just good for orgies," he says. And at the University of California, Los Angeles, a bi-only group provides refuge from what Lisa Concoff, a 22-year-old lesbian senior who dates a bisexual woman, calls the "one-drop rule." People assume that if you have one homosexual experience, you're automatically gay, she says. The bi-only groups, she adds, provide bisexuals, who are often "ignored or overlooked," the support they badly need.

The attitude toward bisexuality on campus is often "don't ask, don't tell," says Natalia Chilcote, a 22-year-old bisexual senior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which has no bi-only student group. Gay people purport to be more sensitive to and tolerant of sexual fluidity, she says, but most often she thinks it's a sham. …

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