So Pink News, which seem to cause me some kind of headache every few weeks, put up an article today called "Is bisexuality real?"
As soon as I saw the headline, I angrily thought (and tweeted with a link to this terrible question):
Is EVERY damn "LGBT" thing biphobic? Are we sick of it to literal death because biphobia kills people? The answer to all of these is yes.
It turned out the headline was just
clickbait; for once this was an article whose title was a Question To Which The Answer Is Yes (Betteridge's Law
dictates that the answer is No, of course).
The reaction that I saw to that tweet was, at least a few hours ago...not what you'd call good. It ranged all the way from sarcastic to angry. My awesome friend natalyadell
said, "I nearly didn't read the damned article, saw the headline was biphobic, ran away. When trying to fix prejudice, committing it is No.1 fail."
And...unfortunately it gets worse than the headline. If you actually do read the thing (which I wouldn't recommend, but here's a tweet
screenshotting the relevant bit), it says "Unlike pansexuality, bisexuals do often recognize the binary genders but are attracted to both males and females."
Which, at the very
least, indicates to me that the writer is not bisexual. As Sali Owen who does all the bi stuff for the LGBT Foundation has pointed out, there are no bi activists or organizations that use this definition and it tends to drive bisexuals up the wall. We have to argue about this all the damn time.
I genuinely do not know anyone who thinks this. I can credit almost everything I do know about trans people and issues and history to the UK bi community I feel part of. It includes plenty of non-binary gendered people and I promise
that they're as likely to be fancied by bisexuals as binary-gendered men and women are. (That this charming quote refers to "males and females" instead of men and women is just the icing on the shit cake.)
It's such a weird fight to have to keep fighting, but in this case I think it's enough that, as I said, it's an indication we're unlikely to be dealing with a bisexual writer. In a way, this is the same problem as I complained about earlier
with regard to immigrants: we're being talked about
, not talked with
. Much less listened to.
"Nothing about us without us" is a valuable concept from disability activism that I really wish applied to bisexuality within LGBT activism. It applies in bisexual
activism, because there's absolutely no reason to even do that if you don't have a horse in the race -- there's no
money in it and no one else, straight or gay, seems to care about it. About us.
And this, if nothing else, means we know a lot about bisexuality that other people don't because they have few if any ways of finding it out. We're the only ones talking about our rates of mental illness, domestic abuse, homelessness, and other grim stuff, which are higher than the rates in straight or
We talk about stuff nobody else will think of to say about us and that is why our voices are needed. It's not my ego saying this, it's all the suffering my friends and I are going through. We've seen these kinds of suffering decrease in gay and lesbian people because of resources that have been poured into their health, housing, education, employment protection, and other stuff. Bisexuals are like the control group: we show the world how bad it'd be without
all those specialized resources. And...it's pretty bad.
The "LGBT" organizations are still stuck on "does bisexuality exist" when you cannot imagine a LGBT publication writing "is homosexuality real?" We're still fighting to clear that first hurdle when there's so much else to talk about. Biphobia kills.
And no one but bisexuals is saying this, so most people don't know it because our voices aren't reaching them.
We're the bit of LGBT that's likeliest to go unrepresented in LGBT events and venues: this year bisexuals are going to be excluded from Pride In London for spurious reasons
: 320 entries in the parade and none for us. You'd never have such a big Pride with no gay-specific groups. Or lesbian ones. Or even, now, trans ones. And if anybody tried it, there'd be outrage
. But this? If you're not bi and following a few people on Twitter or reading The Queerness, you probably don't know about it (I'm grateful to The Queerness for covering the issue (and really well!), because I haven't seen any others of the so-called LGBT media do so).
It frustrates me so much, because there's no reason it has to be like this. There are tons
of good writers just among people I know
who write well about bisexuality. I've tried to do my bit, on everything from how "love is love" sounds good and supportive but isn't enough to encompass the experience of being bisexual
, the perils of being a bi asylum seeker
, and even what it's like when biphobia happens on the main stage at Pride
. There are so many of us out there. And plenty of us are unemployed or underemployed or just poor
, partly because of all this shit that's more likely to go wrong for you if you're bi!
So c'mon, Pink News, hire me and I'll make your bisexual stuff awesome, instead of this worse-than-useless stuff you're putting out now. Hire one of my friends, or all of them. You've probably got more than one gay writer; you should have more than one bisexual, too!