Are the Responses to the Viral Renault Clio Advert Biphobic?

I hesitate to label her. After all, it is a short clip to be over-analysing. However, as a bisexual woman, the leap by some to erase such a pivotal part in the plot unsettles me. After all, watching the French woman marry a man through the eyes of the sad British woman was a turning point in the story. Without that, the final shot of the two women happily together with their children wouldn’t have felt so rewarding. Which is why I wonder if this is another instance of bisexual erasure (bi-erasure) — the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality.

Bisexuality is stigmatised in both society and the LGBTQ+ community — even though we reportedly make up 52% of the latter. A 2015 study found that gays and lesbians had nearly identical prejudice against bisexuals as heterosexuals. We are commonly stereotyped as greedy, cheaters and confused. The biphobia is so serious that we are statistically less likely to come out, with one survey finding that compared to 71% of lesbians and 77% of gay men, only 28% of bisexual individuals shared their sexual orientation.

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A different report found that bisexual individuals are prone to higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. Not to mention, Bi youths have a higher incidence of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than gay and lesbian youths as well as a higher risk of truancy and bullying.

Bi-erasure at its most extreme can include the belief that bisexuality does not exist. That all bisexual individuals are in a phase and will soon choose a side, either heterosexual or homosexual.

Which is why I found the reaction to the advert unsetting. Renault, did an amazing job telling a beautiful queer story, however to call it a ‘lesbian love story’ seems limiting? Maybe I have become to hyperaware and sensitive but it seems to me that many people have forgotten that bisexuals exist. Is this an innocent reaction or has the public picked a side? Then again, by claiming bi-erasure, am I not doing the same as those I am critiquing by labelling something unsaid?

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