This is my first piece as The BiAngle Columnist for The Gayly, which hit the stands in May. My June BiAngle column is entitled, BiPride.
A main consensus about what can be done to help bisexuals suffer less at the hands of biphobia and bi-erasure, is bi-visibility, and bi-voice, and their inevitable consequence, bi-pride. News of my new column, focusing on bisexuality, in The Gayly, was met enthusiastically by the on-line bisexual community, not only because The Gayly is being inclusive, but also because the column is going to be written by someone who actually knows about bisexual issues. Unfortunately, it’s rather rare that something referenced as LGBT will neither ignore, nor marginalize, but actually give clear and on-going recognition to, the largest group within the acronym.
On Facebook bisexual community pages, such as BiNet USA, there are frequent links to articles where someone who is out as bisexual is unequivocally referred to as gay; reports of events labeled LGBT where bisexuals were refused representation; links to studies designed to determine if bisexuals exist, instead of exploring what can be done about the fact that bisexuals have the highest rates of suicide, depression, poverty, rape, and domestic violence. Then there are links to articles that seem to attempt to give recognition to bisexuals, but instead further perpetuate stereotypes and misinformation, often quoting “experts” who are neither bisexual nor listen to what bisexuals have to say.
It’s telling that I, myself, am more excited about The Gayly having a regular column about bisexuality that’s written by someone who is bisexual and knowledgeable, than I am about the fact that I'm the one writing it.
There are worlds of bi-specific matters that go left unaddressed when bi is lumped into an “LGBT” that is really only LG, or as some bi-activists have coined, GGGG. This column will be about bi-news, bi-issues, and bi-solutions. I’ll be discussing ways bisexuals and our allies can combat biphobia, and ways to cope with bisexual related stressors. I’ll be reviewing the multifaceted importance of bi-pride.
My own perspective is from entering my 20’s in 1980, during the height of the gay liberation movement. In the revolutionary fury of the times, many bisexuals, denying their own truths, systematically rallied for - what was seen as the larger cause - gay rights. Jump to 2014, and gay rights have made huge advances; meanwhile it appears to be open season for belittling, hating, sexually-harassing, and marginalizing bisexuals. Many bisexuals still deny their own truths while continuing to fight for - what is too often referred to as gay marriage instead of the bisexual inclusive - samesex marriage.
Gay causes will always be bisexual causes, and bisexuals will always fight for them, but the converse isn't true – bisexual-specific issues don’t directly affect non-straight monosexuals. No longer is it acceptable for bisexuals to ignore our own issues, focusing energy on gay rights, while too many gays and lesbians are on the forefront of bisexual bullying. Though, appreciatively, there are many gays and lesbians who do care about our issues, it is long past time for bisexuals to rise to the task of dealing with our specific problems.
Many bisexuals struggle with not only homophobia, but also biphobia, from their families and communities. However, what is especially disturbing, is that many who have gay-friendly families and or communities, still struggle with harsh biphobia from these sources. Many are barely coping, and those of us who have escaped the brunt of biphobia, feel the call to step up to the plate. I’m fortunate in this way, and yet, doing work, such as seeking out and responding to biphobia as @BisexualBatman on Twitter, has taken its toll on me. After months of keeping up with such tasks, I now find there are days when I just can’t. When I get tweets telling me to “go kill yourself,” or calling me greedy, or with crude suggestions of what I should do with other people’s genitalia, it hurts - not personally, but because I know that other bisexuals, those who were never given the chance to develop the emotional strength I have, are being told similar things, often from their families, “friends,” and worse, people they turned to for help, expecting them to be allies.