Somehow it's still totally okay to dismiss bisexuality. But that can be dangerous.
When Amber Heard and Johnny Depp announced their split there were two things the media couldn't stop talking about. The first was undermining Heard's claims that she was the victim of domestic violence. The second, Heard's bisexuality.
The two gossip items are inexplicably linked, but of course, no one was talking about that.
Why try to undo the damage of dangerous stereotyping when you can publish a sensationalized story and get more clicks in the process? (That would be sarcasm, folks.)
The tide of public opinion in the Heard Depp divorce case has taken a turn since Heard donated the entirety of her $7 million settlement to charity. That and the release of more evidence of Depp's abuse made it impossible for haters to continue to harangue the actress. It's great and noble that she made that decision to donate her settlement, but even if she had decided not to, she shouldn't have had to worry about winning over anyone at all.
If you are a victim of abuse, you should be able to come forward and get the help you need. For bisexuals like Heard, stereotyping about sexual preference can be deadly.
Bisexuals in particular are at high risk to experience domestic violence. A recent study revealed that 28% of bisexual people reported being the victim of spousal abuse. What's the percentage of heterosexuals? Just 7%. Bisexual women are twice as likely as heterosexual women to report dating violence full stop.
A common misconception about bisexual women is that we are hypersexual.
It's one thing to prefer men OR women, but to prefer BOTH is like getting eight plates at the Chinese buffet just because it's technically all you can eat. Or that's what people think.
But here's why that line of thing is wrong: Identifying as bisexual doesn't mean you like ALL the people regardless of sex. It means you are attracted people of either sex. Bisexual people are not sex addicts, and bisexual people are not all polyamorous. Simply put, being bi means that your attraction to another person is not limited by what's in their pants. Theoretically, bisexual people should be MORE discriminating in the partners they pick because their choices aren't as limited.
The misperceptions people have about bisexual women have serious consequences. Heard is lucky in that her position as a public figure made it difficult for her abuser to get away with his actions unscathed. But many other bisexual women are not as fortunate. Bisexual women suffer higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. The correlation between that number, and the number of abused bisexual women isn't a coincidence, it's proof of an epidemic.
It's terrible that Amber Heard had to go through this experience, but the silver lining to it is the attention that it's drawn to the way we perceive and treat bisexual women. If you want to be an ally, you don't have to be a millionaire like Heard. Start small, like maybe think twice before talking to your bisexual friends about how "lucky" they are, and how easy they've got it.