Forget What the HuffPo Says – You Can Be Bi Your Way

pexels-photoYesterday, we published a response to the HuffPo blog ‘Calling All Bi Women – Give up Men’. Our inbox has been stuffed ever since. You aren’t happy and you’ve got a lot to say.

 Usually, we have a rule against publishing more than one response to an online article. Today we’re breaking that rule to provide two more rebuttals. And then, we promise, we’re never talking about it again.

I logged onto Twitter this afternoon to find all of the bisexual accounts and organisations I follow talking about a recent HuffPo article. And not favourably.

The title alone made me recoil – Calling All Bi Women – Give Up Men! But I know that headlines are usually written by subeditors, rather than writers. They can be designed to drive clicks, rather than accurately reflecting the content. So I decided to read on. 

Let’s start with the opening paragraph:

Now we all know that sexuality is a beautiful and colourful continuum, and that the ‘B’ is often the forgotten letter of ‘LGBT’ alongside the Q, the P, the I, and the A.

There’s a point in here. ‘LGBT’ organisations often focus on the L and G. But she doesn’t mention that the T is also often neglected and underrepresented.

Because of bierasure, bi men and women everywhere are probably leading a closeted heterosexual existence – how do I know this? Because I was one of them.

This is the thrust of her article: bisexuals feel pressured into having ‘heterosexual’ relationships, and miss out on dating people of similar genders to themselves. There’s no evidence this is the case. Sure many bi women end up in different gender relationships, but that’s just a numbers game. Heterosexual and bi men outnumber gay and bi women by 8 or 9 to 1.

So I want to say this. Your bisexuality is valid

There are some good points in here, they’re buried under a whole heap of assumptions and biphobia.

The author talks about the ways her sexuality was invalidated and ignored in her teens, and the pressure she felt to date men. This despite the fact “I knew I wanted to find a nice girl to settle down with by my early twenties.”

But in making those good points [that people shouldn’t feel railroaded into relationships that aren’t right for them, and that women should be able to define their own sexuality, and have that respected], she makes the mistake of thinking her experience is valid for all bisexuals.

So I want to say this. Your bisexuality is valid. It’s valid if you are a cis woman who fell in love with a cis guy at 16 and settled down together for 50 years. It is valid if you’re nonbinary and so is every partner you have ever had. Your bisexuality is valid if you’re single, or in a multi-partner polyamorous relationship. It’s valid if you don’t want relationships but do like sex. [Or enjoy sex within your relationships].  Remember that point earlier about how people should define their own sexuality and have it respected? Yeah.

Bisexuals can fall anywhere on a huge spectrum of attraction to others. Attractions – sexual, intellectual, romantic  – can move over time. One bisexual woman may know that she wants to settle down with a woman from her early 20s. That doesn’t invalidate other people’s experiences and lives, or mean that they are living as ‘closeted heterosexuals’.  

I’m glad this writer has found the love she was looking for with another woman. It doesn’t mean that the bi people I know who happen to be in relationships with someone whose different gender is different to theirs are not really bi, or are missing out.

 

 

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louise

Louise does a good impression of a normal person until you get to know her. Charity comms and drinking far too much coffee by day; blogging, learning and cooking by night. She's never really been able to settle on one thing and is easily distracted by shiny things, but seems to find herself writing more and more about bisexuality and feminism. And booze. She contributes to feminist blog www.squeamishbikini.com and is trying to collect her scattered writings at www.shesgotapen.wordpress.com

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