In the LGBTQ+ community and beyond, 2018 was the year of #20gayteen, and people were here for it. All throughout the year everyone shared their excitement with tweets, photos, and videos using the hashtag to show their pride.
As 2018 came to an end and New Years approached, I was excited to read on social media that 2019 was going to be known as #20BiTeen. However, I was recently scrolling through Twitter and discovered that the hashtag had been removed from the platform. Curious about what this meant, I typed #20BiTeen into the Twitter search engine. It was true—while tweets still show up, photos and videos have been blocked from users.
My initial reaction was confusion, but honestly? I wasn’t surprised. From the television show Glee claiming bisexuals are just those who aren’t fully out of the closet yet, to The Weeknd outing Bella Hadid in his song “Lost in the Fire” and then claiming he can “fuck her straight”, bisexuals are familiar with their identities or experiences being questioned—and ultimately erased—from the media.
For as long as I have been aware of my sexuality, I have also been aware of the disregard of those who identify as bi. Growing up in the digital age sure hasn’t made it easier when that was my only link to the LGBTQ+ community in the form of television, movies, music, and books. There has been an onslaught of bisexual erasure in the media for a long time.
One tweet pointed out that when you search #20gayteen millions of tweets, photos, and videos come up. There are plenty of stories of bisexuals being excluded from the LGBTQ+ community, and although this is not the community’s doing, it definitely contributes to bisexuality not being taken seriously as a sexuality.
When you search up the hashtag, a statement from Twitter pops up that reads: “The term you entered did not bring up any results. You may have mistyped your term or your Search settings could be protecting you from some potentially sensitive content.” What sensitive content?
Another Twitter user stated the obvious: bisexuality is not a form of pornography. A sentiment that should be undeniable and yet for some reason still needs to be explained to some. This probably stems from a lot of annoying teen comedies in the 80s and 90s where straight girls would makeout in front of horny teenage boys to seem sexy. Before the rant fully comes out of me: a) straight girls, please stop doing this and b) bisexuals aren’t here for your pleasure. Also, while we’re over here discrediting bi stereotypes, just because someone likes two different genders, doesn’t mean they’re cheaters and/or sleep around. Okay, thanks.
There’s a lot that contributes to the erasure of bisexuality in media, but the internet should be a place where everyone is allowed to express themselves however they see fit. I don’t understand why this hashtag was banned. This issue may seem insignificant to some of you reading this, but if every little ‘insignificant’ act towards erasing bisexuality was tallied, it would clearly add up to the much larger issue that it is. These small things ultimately tell us that society doesn’t think we exist, that our identities and experiences are invalid, and that can be detrimental to people’s mental health who might already struggle with their sexual orientation.
Twitter banning #20BiTeen is just the next nail in the coffin of bisexual erasure.
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