Alice Ryder

Alice is a bisexual activist, blogger and gender warrior. She recently finished her Masters in Gender so splits her time between the fetish goth scene (she means finding a job) and volunteering for the National Domestic Violence Helpline. You can follow her on Tumblr (link- aliceryder.tumblr.com) and Instagram (link-aliceryder)

"Out-siders": Being Femme and Bi in Queer Spaces

The_Feminine_Eye_-_Photo_by_Alyssa_L._MillerI have previously written about my struggle with my appearance not being read as queer as I would like. Both alone and even less when I am with my partner. Though I am alternative, a lot less than I used to be as a teenager, in certain ways I do conform to female stereotypes. I have long hair, I wear makeup, I wear dresses and skirts (in fact I don’t even own jeans or trousers), and an obscene amount of jewellery. There are ways in which I don’t however. You will never see me in heels. 99% of the time I wear Dr Martens boots that are perpetually untied, my hair is not kept and glossy because I crimp it so it’s usually huge and wayward, my nail varnish will always be chipped and my facial piercings, black clothing and dark lipstick usually seem to put people on edge.

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"Just leave your boyfriend at home…": Being Bi at Pride

it-s-ok-to-be-gay-prideWith pride happening in a few weeks, I have noticed posts cropping up around the internet, written by members of the gay and lesbian community, telling bi people if and how they should be attending Pride. The general consensus is that bi people can attend Pride if they are in a relationship with a “same sex” partner and if they do choose to attend with their “opposite sex” partner, they should keep quiet and refrain from showing public expressions of intimacy.

While the LG community often has problems with bi people, these issues seem to get intensified when the issues of Pride comes about. Despite the origins of Pride and the heavy involvement of bisexual (and trans) people in its early organisation, there seems to be a focus on open and visible gay celebration. But what happens when you are someone who is never able to be visibly queer, despite… Continue reading

"A queer call to arms": Why I'm setting up a bi youth group

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Review: BFI Flare film fest

From the 19th to the 29th March the BFI Flare (London LGBT) Film festival was at BFI Southbank, hosting a wide range of different films, shorts and documentaries split into categories of “Hearts”, “Bodies”, “Minds”, “Shorts”, and “Queer books on film”. As someone who has a strange passion for film and has over the years collected a vast DVD and downloaded film collection, I decided to book some tickets to see films that would be a bit different, and have a running queer theme, something that I knew I would find enjoyable. I booked three films, two in the hearts category and one from bodies; The Falling, Appropriate Behaviour and Duke of Burgundy.

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The Falling

The Falling was the first film I saw, from the “Hearts” category (love, romance and friendship). Set in 1969 and staring Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams (Aria from Game of Thrones), the film was an exploration of teenage hormones and the kind of strong female friendships that only occur in an all girls boarding school. While the main story revolves around the friendship bond of a group of girls, two in particular, it also has the perfect hint of sexual misconduct. With only three male characters in the film, one of which is absent and only discussed, the rest of the cast made up by female teachers and a range of female students. A psychosomatic sickness claims the girls and they begin to pass out and act strangely after the death of one of their own. What seems to be an underlying theme is sexual contact with Lydia’s (Maisie Williams) older brother leading to the transformation and hysteria spreading within the girls. This ‘coming of age through sexual exploration’ story line is common with films that revolve around high schools, what differentiates The Falling from other films is the focus on the strong bonds between the girls, who rarely if ever discuss the male characters. The male characters seem to be archetypes of masculinity, Lydia’s brother is a sexually promiscuous older boy who still lives at home, the male school teacher is overly nice and in love with the younger teacher and Lydia’s absent father, who Lydia blames her mother for driving away, was actually a violent rapist that resulted in the pregnancy of Lydia. The cinematography, landscape of the grounds around the school and conversation between the girls makes this film dreamy and as the BFI describes ‘candy coated’ yet still tragic and magnetic. The general feel of the film is a very recognizable whimsical turmoil of teenage female bonds.
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Past the look: What is demisexuality?

love-560783_1280One thing that has bothered me for a while when it comes to LGBT+ spaces is that they are primarily focused on bars and clubs: spaces revolving around alcohol and casual sex. For me, as someone who doesn’t drink, they are only places I would go if I was with a larger group of queer friends. Outside of that however, it is rare that I come across somewhere that is both queer and casual that I would like to spend my weekends.

I have recently been doing some research on the asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) communities that are included within the LGBT+ umbrella but are very often ignored. One main difficulty the ace community faces is people rebranding the “A” in LGBTQIA as being for allies and not asexuals. This erases them even further as they are replaced by non-queer representation, which is exactly, not, the point.

The problem with LGBT+ spaces being hypersexualised means that queer ace people could feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in queer spaces due to the heavy focus on indulging in casual sexual behaviour, which is totally fine and awesome if you are into that sort of thing, but if you aren’t it leaves you in the cold as to where to find queer spaces and likeminded queer individuals. This oversexualisation of queerness and queer spaces also means that asexuals get forgotten and are sometimes not seen as being “queer enough” to be part of the community. Which is something that to bisexuals sounds strangely familiar…
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"No grey areas": The Biscuit guide to BDSM

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"Is she lesbian or bi?": When TV characters put us at war

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“A female character engaging in sexual behaviour with a female is often labeled lesbian by the lesbian community and bi by the bi community”

Recently I have been feeling a tension between people in the LGBT community, online especially, due to the (lack of) representation in the media of non-heterosexual female sexuality and the increasing desperation within the LGBT to see valid representation of alternative sexualities. The fact of the matter is, writers are scared of being open about the sexuality of their characters for fear of a backlash (or are simply as ignorant as the rest), and this ambiguity leaves the LGBT community both unsatisfied and at war with each other to snatch up the limited representation available. For example, a female character (who might have previously had relationships with male characters on the show) engaging in sexual behaviour with a female is labeled lesbian by the lesbian community,… Continue reading

Beyond the bi-nary: Gendered bisexuality

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“Intersections between and inclusion of different people within the bisexual community need vital attention”

We live in a culture that normally limits the way we express ourselves by pushing half of us into the gendered box of “man” or “male” and the other half of us into the opposite (and generally not equal) gendered box of “woman” or “female”. This means when we meet someone whose gender presentation cannot be interpreted into these two categories it causes a social anxiety that at best leads to stares and whispers and at worst can end in the death of a person. Recently I attended a transgender awareness day event that only highlighted the violence we as a society enact upon trans and non-binary people who don’t squeeze themselves into these limiting gendered boxes. There are a whole range of gender identities separate from male and female as well as a range of… Continue reading

"But bi means two"… and other reasons why we should change the conversation

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“We need to move beyond the ‘bisexual 101’ format that most bi events seem to follow”

There are many, many reasons to be frustrated as a bisexual woman who is politically and actively aware within the queer community. Be it dudebros who wandered into queer spaces asking for sexual performances, members of the LGBT community denying your existence or the endless, endless battle against the biphobic language police who LOVE to tell you how you reinforce the gender binary, despite your current sexual partners or the existence of non binary bisexuals. However, one frustration that has been raising its ugly head to me recently is my realization that most of the past bisexual specific events I have attended, including one I organized myself, have been, whether or not they were advertised this way, a bisexual 101 where I, and other bisexuals, have sat through the standard “definitions”, “myths” and “erasure”… Continue reading