Bisexuality

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Bisexuality

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1LolaWalser
Jun 15, 2016, 10:31pm

I'm starting this thread because southernbooklady posted today an interesting article in another group:

Bisexuality on the rise, says new U.S. survey

Some themes are well known: more women than men declare themselves as bisexual; there is (still) a stigma attached to bisexuality in both hetero- and homosexual contexts... which, I suppose it ought to be said, doesn't preclude attaching a certain "decadent" glamour to it, at least if the bisexual is young and gorgeous...

2.Monkey.
Edited: Jun 16, 2016, 2:00am

Interesting. I wonder if it's much related to the fact that many people these days are realizing sexuality is not so much a black & white, either/or thing, but more of a sliding scale. I know on a relatively small social networking site I use, there are a great many people who don't go so far as to slap labels on anything, but who are open to things if the right circumstances(/people) came along. I know there's also been various Kinsey Scale quizes shared there at times and most folks didn't wind up firmly on either end and were not at all surprised by that.

3lorax
Jun 16, 2016, 9:31am

Some interesting things I've been thinking about along this issue lately:

The issue of the "invisible married bisexual"; this has usually been used to imply someone in a heterosexual-appearing marriage, which can entirely erase the person's queerness, but of course a long-term same-sex relationship or marriage also makes it less obvious that one of the members is bisexual. Even without any tension from other members of the queer community toward 'heterosexually' married bisexuals, I know that my friends in this situation struggle with how to claim their queer identity, especially without contributing to the stereotype of the promiscuous bisexual.

The degree to which the word 'bisexual' assumes and contributes to the gender binary. At Pride this year (on Saturday, so the mood was entirely joyous) I saw a new-to-me flag, a pink, yellow, and blue tricolor; googling I learned that this is the "pansexual pride flag", which appears to be a way of phrasing "attraction to people of various genders" that avoids the "there are only two genders" implicit in 'bisexual'.

4LolaWalser
Edited: Jun 16, 2016, 9:41am

It's such a complicated topic... We know from ancient history that if you have a society that is nonchalant about or encouraging of bisexuality, many will be bisexual (men anyway, because then only men mattered even more than today, and history talks mostly about them).

ETA: posted before seeing #3--long pauses!

5LolaWalser
Edited: Jun 16, 2016, 9:54am

>3 lorax:

I like "pansexual" too and it does seem as if "bisexual" will become (or is already) a dated term. But then, who knows, some people might claim they are only attracted to "strongly differentiated" genders?

I know that my friends in this situation struggle with how to claim their queer identity, especially without contributing to the stereotype of the promiscuous bisexual.

T-shirts, tattoos? ;) I know well whereof you speak and it seems there's nothing one can do outside one's presumably better informed circle. That is, those close to one can or will get acquainted with one's history and/or opinions, but for those outside it, there doesn't seem to be a way to convey it directly, non-verbally.

Something similar happens to those who are "straight-looking"... although I must say I notice more people making an effort to avoid heterosexist assumptions.

6overlycriticalelisa
Jun 16, 2016, 8:20pm

i've identified as "queer" for ages because "bisexual" was so limiting in the binary. but i've appreciated a bunch of the "taking back the bi" and "bi-erasure" articles i've read in the last year or so, and have been using it again, sometimes. queer has just felt so much more all encompassing to me that it's hard to give up.

i think a lot about what you say in >3 lorax:. my queer identity is solid, as i've been with my wife for almost 15 years, and people know that about me. a acquaintance of mine is pan, but is married to a man, and i see her having to be louder about claiming her "membership" in our community.

also, i run a lesbian book group in the bookshop i own, and have had a few people ask me if they are welcome, as they identify as bi. it makes me so sad every time.

7lorax
Jun 17, 2016, 12:45pm

>6 overlycriticalelisa:

also, i run a lesbian book group in the bookshop i own, and have had a few people ask me if they are welcome, as they identify as bi. it makes me so sad every time.

Have you considered changing the name of the book group? I realize "queer" is somewhat fraught, especially for older people, but "queer women" does answer the question of "are bi women welcome". (Then of course you'll get to answer questions from non-gender-binary folks, but one thing at a time....)

8Taphophile13
Jun 17, 2016, 12:50pm

perhaps add "and friends" or something to whatever the title is to make it clear that allies are also welcome

9lorax
Jun 17, 2016, 1:14pm

That's a different issue, though, and not knowing elisa.saphier's stance on the matter I didn't want to suggest more of a change than would be necessary to answer the specific question she's been getting.

10southernbooklady
Jun 17, 2016, 1:50pm

>6 overlycriticalelisa: also, i run a lesbian book group in the bookshop i own, and have had a few people ask me if they are welcome, as they identify as bi. it makes me so sad every time.

If it was the "lesbian lit" book group, it might suggest lesbianism was the topic, not the requirement for joining.

11lorax
Jun 17, 2016, 2:20pm

>10 southernbooklady:

Yes, but "This group is open to lesbians and bisexual women", which is what #6 says, doesn't necessarily imply that it's open to all genders and all orientations; I was taking the minimal approach.

12overlycriticalelisa
Jun 17, 2016, 4:50pm

hey, thanks all! it's totally actually a "lesbian lit" group (although i'm sure some people would question calling some of what we've read "literature"). on every post i ever make about it and whenever i talk about i always say: "all readers welcome" because they are, it's just a group to discuss lesbian literature. only one man has ever signed up for it, and he's not shown up to any groups; i hope he does come one day but i know that not everyone in the group would feel that way. (and he's a trans guy who used to identify as a lesbian before he transitioned, but really, anyone is welcome.)

so, name change underway. thanks!

13overlycriticalelisa
Jun 17, 2016, 4:55pm

i also just wanted to add to what i said in >6 overlycriticalelisa: to say that my queer identity is safe because i'm with a woman, but i'm mislabeled as a lesbian all the time because i'm with her. i even do it myself because that part of my identity doesn't come out and play, so to speak, since we're monogamous. and since i so strongly align myself with the lesbian community. i think it's easy for bi or pan folks to have that part of their life erased (either their queerness or their straightness) when they're in long term relationships.

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