As the more astute among you have probably noticed, it’s been all Aviva all the time around here for a while now. Sarah’s been eaten by grad school, which has been demanding all of her energy and filling all of her analytical needs. So, despite my pouty face, she’s going to be stepping down as my co-blogger. She’ll still guest post whenever she feels moved to, and I for one am hoping that will happen a lot — particularly since it’s almost summer, and perhaps school will relinquish its grip a bit for a few months. And I’m still hoping to convince her to come to New York for queer film and theater festivals and check out all of the bi-themed offerings with me. I’m eternally grateful to her for deciding we should start a blog and getting it started with me.
I hope there will be other co-bloggers in my future, when I meet people who are invested in bisexuality as a political identity who are willing to put in the time to write about it regularly here. But for now you’re stuck with me. I’ll try to live up to the burden.
And really, I’ve been pretty absentee myself lately. I’m working on that. In the meantime, there have been some interesting posts about bisexuality up on Bilerico in the past couple of months. Half of these are by a guest contributor and the other half by people who aren’t bisexual-identified, and I still maintain that they could use a bi-identified contributor who covers that angle (or, if they have one or more, they could use more active ones). and it says something that I consider four articles in two months to be a lot of bi content on an LGBTQ blog, let alone such an active one. But take a look at what’s been going on over there while apartment drama (leaking! associated ceiling problems! bedbugs in the building! — though, so far, not in my unit…cross your fingers for me), broken computer (I fixed it! All by myself! I bought a new screen, and I installed it!!!!), and relationship processing have kept me away from you:
Ellyn Ruthstrom, President of the Bisexual Resource Center, has a list of tips on how to be a good ally to a bisexual person. I could suggest some additions — really move through the world as though you believe bisexuals exist and don’t assume anyone’s sexual orientation based on (what you perceive as) the gender of the partner you see them with, just off the top of my head — but it’s a good start.
Cathy Renna also writes about being an ally to bi folks, from the ally side. It’s good to know we have allies out there who are taking on the crazy things people say when we’re not around.
Ellyn Ruthstrom posts again, on how gay men and lesbians often use bi space as a place to come out and adjust to the idea that they’re not straight. It’s an interesting take. Many people argue that bisexuality is always just a phase on the way to feeling comfortable in a gay identity — often because it was for them, or someone they know. This article looks at it from the other direction and suggests that one of the wonderful things about bi space is that it allows people that sometimes-necessary phase, without judging them or telling them who they should be or how they should identify. Presumably while also serving the needs of people who are bisexual as a stable and long-term identity, which seems to me to be a more important goal. Particularly when many of those same people, having arrived at a gay or lesbian identity, turn around and argue that we don’t exist and must just be taking our sweet time on the same journey. Still, I take her point that the bi community and the gay and lesbian community, to the extent that they’re separate, should try to be welcoming and good to one another, and worry less about who’s using whom and more about easing our common struggles.
And finally, Jess Hoffmann reposted an earlier article on why she doesn’t identify as bisexual. I agree with much of her reasoning, even though she avoids “bisexual” because of its binary connotations and I use it in order to change those connotations. In practice there are bisexuals who buy into the gender binary and are only attracted to people within it and bisexuals who don’t and are attracted to a wide range of genders, just as there are gay and straight people who believe in two genders and are only attracted to one and gay and straight people who see a range of genders but are only attracted to one or a few. I think it’s important to distinguish between a problem with the word’s roots with the behavior of the people using it; the bi and trans communities have a history of being allies to each other, and I personally find that more important than the Latin origins of the word. I certainly agree with her reasons for choosing “queer;” I’m also a big fan of the word’s political connotations, and almost always pair it with bisexual. But I still think that, despite the word being less than perfect (not only for the “bi”‘ but also for the “sexual,” which puts the focus on sex rather than identity in a way that “gay” and”lesbian” are clearly trying to avoid), it’s the best one I have to talk about who I am. Queer is descriptive of my politics but could mean just about anything as far as my attractions, and I appreciate the specificity of bi. The comments on both this and the 2007 post are also interesting and worth reading, and probably informed what I had to say on the subject.