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Slate Advice Columnist Dear Prudence In Hot Water After Advising Bisexual Reader To Stay Closeted

I read Dear Prudence, Slate's token advice column answered by Emily Yoffe, semi-regularly. Sage advice is dispensed most of the time, even when it comes to issues concerning gay men and lesbians. Regarding bisexuality, however, Yoffe seems to have disgracefully dropped the ball. 

In Tuesday morning's edition of the popular Slate column, Yoffe was asked for advice from a woman who's bisexual but currently happily married to a man. Yoffe's response compared bisexuality "plushophilia" (an erotic interest in stuffed animals), getting "turned on by being a dominatrix," and to "not [being] by nature monogamous" before advising the reader to keep her bisexuality closeted. 

Let’s say you discovered a late breaking interest in plushophilia, or you now realized you were turned on by being a dominatrix. This would not be news you’d be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering. The rapidity with which society has accepted, even embraced, gay sexual orientation is a glorious phenomenon. But you are confusing your personal sexual exploration with a social imperative. It would be one thing if you left your marriage because you were pursuing relationships with women. That would be worth talking about—if you wanted to—as a way of explaining the dissolution of your marriage. But you say you are planning to not only stay with your husband but remain monogamous. I agree with your husband that making a public announcement about something so private will not be illuminating but discomfiting.

Yoffe continues to invalidate bisexuality through the rest of the chat (titled "Private Bi"), failing the reader, her audience and her reputation as one worthy of disbursing wisdom. 

GLAAD's Alexandra Bolles was equally displeased:

While there should be no shame in how one expresses one's desires such as those Yoffe names, to equate such expressions with bisexuality is to fetishize, and therefore attempt to belittle or invalidate, bisexuality as an identity. She continues to ignore bisexuality's validity as an identity when she refers to the woman's realization as "personal sexual exploration," despite the fact that the woman made it clear that she is not interested in "exploring" anything, but rather has begun the journey of being open about who she is with the people she loves. The bi community is often hyper-sexualized in the media, when the reality is that bi people, like all people express their sexualities in a myriad of ways. To quote GLAAD's Media Reference Guide, bisexual does not mean promiscuous

What do you think of Yoffe's advice?

Comments

I am bi and male.  I am married to a woman.  She accepts that I am bisexual.  She does not love me for who I am, but is willing to stay with me as long as I do not get sexual with another guy.  I have repressed my attraction to other men for so long it has eaten away my core.  I yearn for someone who truly knows my soul to tell me I am beautiful, accepted and loved, the whole of me.  I will never receive the gift of acceptance without sharing who I am.  Isn't that the motive behind being out?  Conversely, to stay in the closet is to condemn the psyche to isolation.  My sense is that we are each unique in the degree to which we need to feel like we belong somewhere, to someone.  i.e. known and accepted (or at least acceptable).  My struggle continues to be evaluating the trade-offs of showing my true self to others.  I would consider and weigh input from others concerning the tradeoffs, but ultimately I need to recognize that only I am responsible for making sure I fulfill my needs to feel I belong somewhere to someone.

Personally, I think the advice is VERY sound!   ALL Gays, Lesbos, Trannies, Perverts, Pedos, etc should ALL have stayed in the damn closet in the first place!

Yes, a lobotomy (a surgical operation involving incision into the prefrontal lobe of the brain used to treat mental illness) IS an option to cure those already out of the closet....but it's best to stay undercover until a vaccine or other cure can be found to cure the scourge of homosexuality!

Signed,

The Destroyer of ALL Nasty Fags

I am by nature a rather private person, and that includes my orientation, but people either know or guess. When this happens, I am often annoyed, but not ashamed, and there is a huge difference between the two. That bring said, can we be critical of an advice columnist giving bad advice on bisexuality when many in the LGBT community recognize bisexuality in theory more than practice? How many times has a person said they are bi and it is assumed either gay or lesbian but just cannot admit it.

I spent over ten years of the most formative years of my life thinking I needed psychiatric help because I couldn't figure out if I was gay or straight. How does a person not KNOW? I heard of bisexuality but it wasn't real, it was just something people say when they're depraved. Let me tell you, this bullshit almost led to my suicide. I'm lucky I'm still here and I'm lucky I finally met a real bi person before it was too late and realized how incredibly insidious and inaccurate and damaging the kind of bi erasure and biphobia expressed by Dear Prudence is to more than half of the LGB population. This irresponsible spreading of lies about bisexuality that makes actual bisexual young people like I was think that they are crazy because bisexual people are indiscriminate and incapable of real connection and when they actually are in any kind of relationship bisexuality disappears and they simply become gay or straight. But what about the very real feelings they had in the past and what about the very real attraction they have to celebrities just like their gay and straight friends are allowed to express? What is real???? Please stop gas lighting real people and making them think they can't understand their own minds if they can't figure out whether they're gay or straight because you're perpetuating the ubiquitously acceptable assertion that bisexuality isn't real and disappears the moment someone is in a relationship. Stop spreading these harmful lies and you'll be saving lives.

I agree with this advice. Why would anyone Need to know this? I'm gay, but if I were married to a woman and planned on staying monogamous, it's not something I would tell others.

That so-called "advice" given by that obviously completely misinformed person sounds creepily like what was said to a friend when they were transferred to a new position down near the "Buckle of the Bible Belt" -- that since they were blonde, blue-eyed and not particularly religious that there was no need to "upset" people and cause "controversy" by mentioning she was Jewish!  

Pretend you are Christian. Don't tell them you voted for the other party. Act like you hate everything your neighbors hate. Pretend you don't know how to fix a flat tire or even change a light-bulb. Don't tell them about your actual taste in Art, or Music or Literature. Don't mention that Advanced Degree. Giggle a lot. Pretend you are vacuous and keeping your tub sparkling clean is the highlight of your day. Act like you are always happy and smile, smile, smile. Don't make waves. Go along to get along. The nail that sticks up is hammered down . . . Pretend you are Monosexual . . .

Like really lady? That advice you gave is so totally Stepford Wife! 

Being bisexual is what you are, not what you do. I know Celibate-By-Choice Religious people who are Gay, Straight, Lesbian and Bisexual. They are simply "Born This Way". 

It is perfectly normal and natural to be bisexual, it's no different than being tall, short or in between, of having curly hair or wavy hair. And while it's probably not a daily topic of endless conversation it is nothing to be hidden away either.

It is an important something that makes you the wonderful unique person you are. And people who are Really your friends and who Truly Value you will be happy to know it.  Just like they will be happy to know you are not actually endlessly, annoyingly happy, that you are mechanically minded, that you have Bachelors and a Masters too, that you voted for the "other guy" . . .  and that you are Bisexual.

And ALL of that and more is ok to be and ok for them to know!

First you asked why anyone needed to know and then stated your own sexual identity.  If nobody needs to know our sexual orientation, then why would you present yours to us? Or was there some need to be open and honest about who you are to frame the rest of your statements? That's why we come out as bisexual.  We don't want to censor ourselves, we have no secrets, are doing nothing wrong, it's just how we identify, just like you identify as gay as have no problem sharing, and would likely get upset if I told you now to keep that information to yourself. I'm bi, monogamous, married in a male/female relationship, out, and much happier and well adjusted for it than the closet.  How well adjusted were you in the closet? Handling life well back then? Didn't think so..

Because it's about identity, being part of a community. Emily Yoffe is telling her to never tell anyone the truth about who she is, but to just lie and lie by omission. 

I am a bisexual woman who is married to a man and it is incredibly important for my comfort and safety (with regard to mental health) that I am open about it and part of the bi community. I tried being in the closet when I first started at my current workplace but felt so stifled and constantly had to lie about past events and change pronouns of previous partners. I hated every minute of it and as soon as possible, I got involved in the LGBT network and completely stopped lying about who I was. 

The fact that my partner is a man does not mean that my sexuality is straight. If I were with a woman it wouldn't mean I was gay. I am always bisexual no matter who I'm with. It's the same for this person - she has the right to claim her identity and to be part of the bi community. 

She's an idiot and needs to take a class.

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