Another EXCLUSIVE extract from British Bi Guide Purple Prose

purpleBiscuit has been given a sneak preview of Purple Prose, a guide to the bisexual community from indie publisher Thorntree Press now crowdfunding over at Indigogo. The book is billed as “a guide to the bi community in the UK, and an exploration of the issues facing bisexuals everywhere”.

In the second exclusive extract Biscuit editor Libby gives us a brief overview of the role of allies in the bi community:

Not every person you find in bisexual spaces, either in real life or online, falls under the bisexual umbrella. Monosexual-identified people people who are invited into our spaces and communities might be our friends, partners or members of our families, or someone with a professional interest in bisexuality, like a health worker or researcher. They might even be someone who is just curious to learn more. People with a supportive interest in bisexuality are usually called allies.

When bisexual community organisers meet, they often use the word ‘ally’ as a shorthand for anyone who might be in a bisexual space who does not identify as bisexual, but in practice allyhood is more complex than that.

What is a bisexual ally?

An ally to any marginalised identity is someone who does not share that identity, but nevertheless engages in actions designed to uplift those who do. For bisexuals, that means a person who supports bisexual individuals and stands up for the rights of the bisexual community. From helping a friend come out of the closet to participating in lobbying campaigns, allyhood can take a lot of different forms.

Primarily, though, it consists of two overlapping strands: the interpersonal and the political.

“A lot of being a good ally is just being a good friend and a decent person”.

A.H., 34, Merton                 

 

Most people are introduced to the notion of allyhood because they know somebody who identifies as bisexual and they want to be supportive. That might mean going with them to an LGBT or bisexual social group to steady their nerves, or listening and sympathising if they describe the biphobia they have encountered. It could mean baking them a coming out cake or giving them a pep talk before a date.

However, It is not enough to be supportive of the bisexual people you have relationships with and those who live a similar lifestyle to you; you must also lend your voice to support bisexual people from outside your peer group.

There is not a single social group that does not include bisexual people. You will find us across all genders, classes, religious affiliations, nationalities and races. You will find us across all age groups, professions and levels of income and education. Some of us have physical and/or mental disabilities. Some of us have criminal records, histories of abuse or a fluctuating immigration status. Being a bisexual ally means standing in solidarity with all bisexuals. Even, or, indeed, especially, those with experiences that you do not recognise or share. To be an ally only to those who present a tasteful or assimilationist version of bisexuality is to do a disservice to the entire community.

Why does the bisexual community need allies?

We live in a biphobic society. The negative stereotypes and stigma surrounding bisexuality mean that it is the least understood of the basic models of sexuality. Despite having been at the forefront of what was once known as ‘Gay Liberation’ and is now called the LGBT Rights Movement, bisexuals are marginalised and still lack visibility and respect from both ‘mainstream’ and lesbian and gay communities. Bisexual people who are also a person of colour, transgender and/or working class may be marginalised further still. It is our unavoidable responsibility to make those voices heard. This book is full of both rigorously collected data and personal anecdotes that demonstrate that our struggle towards an equitable place in our own society is far from over.

To read the rest of the chapter, and find out more, you need to read Purple Prose. This is just one of the chapters in this fantastic book, the first by bisexuals for bisexuals to come out of the UK bi community for 20 years.

Click here to read an extract from Marcus Morgan of The Bisexual Index.

To back the indiegogo campaign, click here now.

 

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Libby Baxter-Williams

Libby is a 30-something Londoner, who spends more time reading picture books than is seemly. She became a bi activist entirely by accident, but now she can't imagine living any other way. In the event of an emergency, she'll have a large gin and tonic, thanks.
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