bi erasure

Cultural Erasure: Where’s the B on Our TVs?

willowozA version of this post first appeared on Abigail’s blog, Experience Is To Be Believed.

About two years ago, I partook of some Netflix binges – re-watching all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and powering through the whole ofThe L Word were just too irresistible. Although I can’t deny I hugely enjoyed both of these binges, there was something I just couldn’t get past – the way bisexuality was treated in both.

Since then, I’ve kept them in my mind, and to be honest, I’ve yet to encounter any programmes made more recently which give bisexuality positive treatment, so let’s step back in time.

The year is 1997, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer has hit our screens. (I was only 6, so of course I wasn’t watching it then. But for reasons which will become clear, I feel hugely influenced by this programme, so indulge me.) We… Continue reading

The Biscuit Purple List 2015

purple_glitter_backdrop

Your nominations have been collected, heated discussions have been had and disagreements have been thwarted, and now we are proud to be able to present the first ever Biscuit Purple List.

The Purple List was conceived as a reaction to the bi-erasure of similar honours lists, which neither recognise the work done that specifically benefits the bisexual community, nor the importance using the word ‘bisexual’ to describe the non-monosexual people who do appear in them.

We think that it’s important to make a really big deal about the awesome people who give their time, energy, cash and resources to make life a little bit better for bisexual people. As a group we have lower rates of well being than gay and lesbian identified people. We’re more likely to commit suicide and to self harm. We are more likely to misuse drugs. Our teens have … Continue reading

"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

The Happiness Factor: Bisexuality, Wellbeing and Being Well

800px-Happy_face_high_resIt’s hard to be bisexual, but we can learn to be happy

So much of our experience as bisexual people is characterised by struggle: the struggle for recognition and acceptance in an unwelcoming culture, the struggle against biphobia, and the struggle to challenge the myriad of misguided beliefs about bisexuality prevalent in our society.

It’s right that we engage with these struggles, and it’s right that so much bisexual writing and activism focusses on them.

But if our lives are dominated by struggle, then we risk losing sight of other important areas of bisexual life, such as thinking about how we can thrive and be happy as bisexual people, despite the society we live in.

The kind of happiness I have in mind isn’t necessarily the fabled concept described in self-help books – after all, happiness, in a general sense, means different things to different people.

The happiness I’m thinking… Continue reading

"I want to create more dialogue around bisexuality": Vlog part 1 from poet Michelle LaBelle

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

blogging-15968_1280When Continue reading

Nicole Kristal: "Why I created the 'Still Bisexual' campaign"

2408oat-w800h800z1-85019-yes-im-still-bisexualI’m still bisexual.” It’s the phrase we utter to our friends and lovers, our families and co-workers, year after year, until we’re blue in the face.  It’s difficult to accept that reminding people of our bisexuality is both necessary and never-ending, so some of us abandon it altogether out of tedium or to avoid the scoffs and disbelief our orientation often inspires.

In the short-term, it seems easier if we’re partnered to just let people assume we are straight or gay. We let our bisexuality slip into our silent pasts just to make our boyfriends, girlfriends, wives and husbands feel more comfortable. But making everyone else more comfortable is coming at a tremendous expense to our own health and happiness. And it needs to stop. We need another way.

Going to the trouble of reminding people we are still bisexual is about choosing truth over convenience and… Continue reading

You Didn't Hear it from Us 28/03/15

hqdefaultHere’s a round-up of some of the news, blogs posts and comment we missed this week.

 

Did we miss any other must-see stories? Let us know in comments…

10 things to never say to a bi who hasn't tried it…

200028291-001Bisexuals are constantly being forced to “prove” and justify our identities. Nobody gets this worse than a bi “virgin”. Biscuit interviewed some bi folk who’ve never done the deed with more than one gender and compiled a list of annoying things people have said to them…

  1. “So how do you know, then?”
  2. “You’re not bi until you’ve actually slept with more than one gender.”
  3. “Can’t you just go out and get it over with?”
  4. “Doesn’t it upset you that now you’re married you might never get to try it?”
  5. “Isn’t your girlfriend worried that you’ll cheat because the curiosity gets too much?”
  6. “Maybe you’re not bi, you just think you are.”
  7. “You’re just saying it to be cool – you find the idea of actually going down on a woman icky, admit it.”
  8. “Why do you even need to tell people if you’re not active?”
  9. “You’re an insult to real… Continue reading

Activating our Bi-dar: a future for the bisexual community

Radar

Most of us are familiar with the term gaydar.  It is the ‘intuitive’ ability to assess if someone is not straight.  But then, there you have it.  It implies that you can only be gay or straight.  What about all of us bisexuals?  What happens to us when someone erroneously assumes we are straight or gay?  As Shiri Eisner points out in Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution: “Since our bisexuality is not ‘known’ to have any visual markers, we are routinely accused of fraudulence, perceived as invisible, and forced to deal with others’ doubts regarding our identities and our oppression.”

The terms ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ present a simplified and more palatable understanding of how the world works.  In fact, the Western, minority world has a long-standing affinity for binaries – so much so that binarist ways of thinking and acting go unquestioned.  Anthropologists have a term for this: ‘Doxa’ – the stuff that goes without saying.  Good /bad; male/female; child/adult; life/death; straight/gay: are all binarist, seldom questioned, ways of making sense of the world.  Anything in between, that doesn’t fall neatly into one or the other category, is feared and sometimes reviled.

As part of our Judeo-Christian heritage, we tend to divide everything into rigid categories of good and bad so often, we don’t give it much critical thought.  For example, the male/female binary is left unquestioned, and it is assumed to be natural and inherent.  Any person who falls outside that binary is a social outcast.  Puberty, is another example of a liminal state of existence between childhood and adulthood, and as such is often scorned.  Teenagers are depicted in Western culture as individuals who are caught between childhood and adulthood and are therefore unstable and dangerous.  Those stages between life and death are rejected as unnatural and even repulsive because they defy our strict separation between those categories: life and death.  States of being like depression and chronic illness that are between being fully alive and dead, are considered to be something to avoid at all costs.
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