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

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You Didnt Hear it from Us 01/05/15

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You Didn't Hear it From Us 18/05/15

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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

Four heartwarming videos from the #stillbisexual campaign

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

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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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"Risky changes": A coming out story – Part 2

RCchap7twowomen2Bisexual artist Norma Furman, 80, shares the second of a series of extracts from her memoirs. In Part 2, the cracks begin to show in Norma’s relationship with her first female lover, Audrey, when they embark on an action-packed road trip in Audrey’s husband’s car…

I joined Audrey’s consciousness raising group where women from different lifestyles met weekly to discuss and share feelings and experiences most women have in common. It opened my eyes and my mind. The unmarried women and the ones without children envied those of us who had the “traditional” family, while we longed for the freedom we had given up. We knew we had it better than any other generation of women in history (except for maybe the primitive matriarchal societies) but questioned why that was supposed to be good enough. Why were our rights not equal with the men? Why would a just, fair God or a just, fair society for that matter give one group of humans fewer opportunities than another group? Especially if that other group consisted of their own mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers.

Some of the rights that were denied to us in those days were important like “equal pay for equal work” and “equal physical activity programs”. Some of the rights that were denied to us were silly, seemed arbitrary and made no sense such as: we could smoke cigarettes but we could not inhale from cigars or pipes, we had to wear short skirts and shear stockings in the dead of winter when the winds blew our skirts and often revealed our frozen “tootsies” and we were called “immodest” if we wore slacks!
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Biscuit shares panel with asylum seeker Aderonke Apata

B_gFI4IU8AIb5O5.jpg_largeLast weekend, Biscuit’s editor-in-chief Lottie was privileged enough to join a panel of inspiring lesbian and bisexual woman at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s Sugar and Spice event. One of these was Nigerian Aderonke Apata, who is fighting to stay in the country in light of a Home Office ruling that she cannot be a lesbian because she has children and has been in heterosexual relationships.

Apata appeared in the High Court last week to challenge the Home Office’s decision to refuse her asylum. During the hearing, Home Secretary barrister Andrew Bird insisted that she was simply someone who had “indulged in same-sex activity”. “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day,” he asserted.”Just as you can’t change your race.” Apata was told that the results of her appeal would arrive at the end of the month. Outside the court, Apata fell into the arms of her wife-to-be, Happiness Agboro.

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Biscuit’s Lottie Dingle joins Aderonke Apata on a Lesbian and Gay Foundation panel

Apata’s story is a harrowing one. When Apata’s family found out she had a female partner, they dragged her to a Sharia court to be stoned for adultery. A “legal technicality” gave her the time she needed to flee to England. After she left, her female partner of 20 years was killed by vigilantes.
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"The impossibility of okay": When "allies" let us down

person-598312_1280As you pass me in the hallway you ask, “Are you okay?” I cannot give you the answer you want to hear. I know you hope I’m okay with you. You wish that I would accept your sad decision and embrace you. I simply can’t. Your poor decision makes this impossible. You claim to support the LGBT community, but deep down, we make you squirm. While you said one thing, you did another. You chose to acquiesce to the status quo because it was safe for you.

You claim we need to compromise. Why can’t you see that I’m not able to support your position of “compromise?” It isn’t compromise when one side is completely shut out of the conversation. How can I support this position? I am bisexual, not merely someone who joined a cause. You can walk away, as you did when it mattered most. You can go home from discussions, meetings, luncheons, marches, rallies, fundraisers. You go home and pat yourself on the back for a job well done, letting it slip from your mind, as just another one of many causes you choose to support.

You may be able to settle for less than full equality, but because I am bisexual, this isn’t an option. It is a core part of who I am. When I’m at home, I am bisexual. When I go to work, I am bisexual. When I take my kids to school, I am bisexual. When I make love to my husband, yes, even then, I am bisexual. I am bisexual when I eat, sleep, bathe, and breathe. I am always bisexual. I will always be bisexual. It is who I am! I am not a cause or movement! I am bisexual!
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