Author Archive for 1748

30
Dec
08

Libraries are a Queer Issue, or, LGBT Politics Beyond Marriage


Remember all those nationwide rallies last month against Prop 8? I didn’t go to the Philadelphia one because I was at a rally to save the Kingsessing branch of the Free Library from closing. That pretty much sums up my political priorities these days. But this isn’t a case of libraries trumping queer issues or local politics trumping national issues or anything silly like that; rather, I see the fight to save 11 branches of the Philadelphia Free Library from permanent closure as exactly the kind of intersectional issue I’d like to see included in a broader sense of what constitutes “LGBT politics,” which is all too often overshadowed by gay marriage.*
Continue reading ‘Libraries are a Queer Issue, or, LGBT Politics Beyond Marriage’

20
Sep
08

Food and Self-Fashioning

I’m back! I’m now nicely settled in my new home and my life has been completely taken over by grad school (in a good way!), but I am determined to find some time to blog.
I kind of feel like writing about something that isn’t really all that connected to bisexuality. I suppose the only tenuous connection you can draw is that it has a lot to do with the body and the question of identity, which are issues that are also very tied to queerness, but that’s kind of the best I can do. Oh well! I promise there’s more queer stuff in the works after I blather for a while about vegetarianism.
Continue reading ‘Food and Self-Fashioning’

20
Aug
08

Can you hear the crickets?

Hey there, blog-and-readers! I assure you, I have not forgotten about you. I’ve just been neglecting you lately because I’m moving on Sunday and holy crap, I always forget just how much work that is!
Once I’m set up in my new place, I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about, but right now, there’s just nothing particularly bisexual about the dust bunnies under my dresser or the seeming impossibility of transporting my entire book collection from one city to another.
Another exciting day in the life of a bisexual superhero! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean out my closet. Hopefully Aviva has some deep thoughts to tide you over until I’m back…

12
Aug
08

Stuff I’m Reading: DAR by Erika Moen

As people who know me already know, I am enjoying a bout of planned unemployment before grad school starts in September, which means that I have spent a frightening amount of time this summer sitting around in my underwear and reading webcomics.
But some good comes of this slothfulness, as today I stumbled across DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary by Erika Moen. Here’s a sample:
Things I Like
I’m totally charmed by this witty autobiographical comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously to make fart jokes. I especially love her take on the absurdities of sex. And her perspective on being a queer girl with a boyfriend is pretty awesome.

That last one really resonated with me because I, too, was pretty insecure about being seen as a L.U.G. (damn, that concept needs to die!) for a little while, even though I didn’t even identify as a lesbian for most of college. But still, I met my boyfriend about a month after I graduated… from a women’s college! So the timing was kind of hilarious. Now, I am way more secure in my still-queeritude, but it’s still always nice to find someone else who resists the “it was just a phase” stereotype.

07
Aug
08

Passing and Privilege

In her last post on the cabaret duo The Wet Spots, Aviva wrote:

The Wet Spots play up their queerness in a way that’s engaging and hilarious, and don’t seem at all self-conscious or apologetic about doing so while being in a different-sex marriage. It’s refreshing to see them appearing to avoid the trap even I sometimes fall into, of preferring to be seen with someone of a similar gender and assumed gay than seen with someone of a different gender and assumed straight.

I want to use this as a jumping-off point for my post on different-gender relationships and straight privilege, because I often wonder why you don’t see that many couples like Cass and John in the public eye, and why different-gender relationships seem to lead so many bisexuals to feel their queerness has been rendered invisible.

I definitely fell into that trap of invisibility for a while, and I think a huge part of it came from my obliviousness to the privilege I reaped from being assumed to be straight. I could have been more visibly queer then, but being seen as straight was so easy, I barely even noticed it was happening at first, and being out seemed impossible and scary. Why? Because I would have lost some of my privilege, and I think the prospect of losing privilege that you don’t even understand is much scarier for a lot of people than understanding your privilege and voluntarily giving some of it up. Sometimes I wonder if this is what is going on when some bisexuals pass as straight. But I ultimately can’t speak for anyone else, so here’s how it was for me. Continue reading ‘Passing and Privilege’

30
Jul
08

Queer Science Fiction: “Love Might Be Too Strong A Word” by Charlie Anders

We’re geeks, we’re queer, and we like queerness in our science fiction, so I’m thinking this will become a regular feature!

Right now, I am happy to use the Queer Science Fiction feature as an excuse to recommend “Love Might Be Too Strong A Word” by Charlie Anders, which can be found in the latest issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. This story is hilarious and sexy, and I absolutely love how Anders explores what queerness might look like in an alien society with a non-binary system of gender. I also really enjoy her wry perspective on the mythologies of love that drive so much popular culture, and how “love” both does and does not map onto the actual experiences the word is supposed to describe.

24
Jul
08

Race, Bisexuality, and the Rhetoric of the Closet

This New York Times article came in with my Google Alerts this morning, and while it’s just a short article buried in the Metro section, I’m struck by some of the rhetoric it employs when discussing male bisexuality, and specifically bisexuality among men of color.

The headline, “Many Gays Don’t Tell Doctors Their Sexuality, Study Finds,” is actually inaccurate; the study surveyed men who had sex with men, which is a much larger group than those who identify as gay. And in fact, it’s generally not the gays in this group who aren’t disclosing their sexuality to their doctors, but rather, the bisexuals:

The survey found a striking distinction: While 78 percent of the men who had sex with men and identified themselves as homosexual said they had discussed their sexuality with their doctors, none of the men who had sex with men but identified themselves as bisexual had told their doctors.

So why did this article identify all of these men as gay in the headline, even though some self-identify as gay and some do not? Yes, “gay” makes a shorter headline than “men who have sex with men” or “gay or bisexual,” and part of this has to do with the general invisibility of male bisexuality, but I also think it’s pretty relevant that 75% of the men in this study who identified as bisexual were black or Hispanic. There’s a revealing quote here from Dr. Monica Sweeney, the city’s assistant health commissioner for H.I.V. prevention and control:

“There is a frequent phenomenon in the black community in which a man who is gay, by the conventional ways that we all know to identify somebody as gay, identifies himself as bisexual,” Dr. Sweeney said, referring to the phenomenon known as the “down low.”

By the conventional ways that we all know: what’s going on here? Who is “we,” and whose conventions are valid? Who is granted the authority to determine whether an individual’s sexual identity is credible, and on what basis? There is a whole lot going on in the rhetoric of the “down low,” and that could be a whole series of posts in and of itself, but in the context of this particular article, I am interested in the discourse of “true” sexual identity and the notion of the closet.

Continue reading ‘Race, Bisexuality, and the Rhetoric of the Closet’

23
Jul
08

Why Am I Bisexual, Anyway?

Well, it must have had to do with my subversive feminist upbringing, or perhaps a quirk of the DNA, or maybe was just the radon in the basements of New Jersey… no, don’t worry, I have no interest in explaining my queerness. I’m interested in exploring why I have chosen to label my queerness with the word “bisexual,” despite my serious problems with this label. I really dislike how the the very structure of the word assumes a rigid gender binary and ignores the actual diversity of genders and presentations out there. I don’t like its place on the hetero/homo/bi system of identities that leaves out every other possibility. I don’t like how it places the focus squarely on the genders of one’s partners and leaves out the tradition of sexual transgression and liberation implied by “queer.” Identifying as queer would be so much closer to my politics, so why am I so enamored of the imperfect “bi?”

Continue reading ‘Why Am I Bisexual, Anyway?’