Editors' Note: Featured from CNN to PBS to Cosmo for her expertise in bisexual community and LGBT rights, guest blogger Amy Andre is the co-author of Bisexual Health, published by the NGLTF. With a master's degree in sexuality studies, Amy has educated thousands of people at over 100 universities and companies, including Microsoft, Harvard, and Stanford Medical School.
Lady Gaga is not an ally to the LGBT community. She is an out bisexual, and therefore is a member of the community. And yet, time and time again, I see her described in the (LGBT) press as an "ally" or "friend", whenever she does her activist thing. Elton John does a lot of activism too, but I have never once seen him described as "an ally to the LGBT community". He's gay, and he gets full credit as a community member.
Membership has its privileges. This "ally" versus "member" way of describing bisexual people is an example of biphobia in our community, and it privileges certain parts of the community, specifically gays and lesbians. Gays and lesbians like Elton John get to be called members, but bisexuals are often relegated to ally status.
There's nothing wrong with being an ally. We need our allies, and allies are often, and rightly, treated with respect and admiration. But a bisexual person, whether she's Lady Gaga or just Average Joe Bi, is a member, not an ally. There's a difference, and that needs to be respected, too.