One huge clarification – monosexual privilege, gays and lesbians

X-posted from Tumblr.

(What is this about?)

This is really upsetting. It appears that the idea that biphobia originates from gay and lesbian communities is so deeply ingrained in bisexual* communities many people are incapable of thinking outside it.

To make myself clear: THE IDEA OF MONOSEXISM MEANS THAT IT’S A WIDESPREAD STRUCTURE. IT MEANS IT DOES NOT ORIGINATE IN GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITIES. GAYS AND LESBIANS ARE NOT OUR OPPRESSORS (though they may well cooperate with this structure).

Here’s a snippet from my book to help explain. It is part of a much longer criticism of this idea (some parts bolded for emphasis):

The stance that bisexuals are only oppressed as a result of homophobia and lesbophobia erases the need for a unique bisexual liberation struggle and places bisexuals as mere “halfway” appendages to the gay and lesbian movement.

[. . .]

Considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of biphobia and monosexism originates not from gay and lesbian communities, but from heterosexual structures, it seems like the bisexual movement, as a whole, is all-too-focused on the wrong aspect. This overwhelming focus on gay and lesbian biphobia creates a false impression that, as a commentator recently put on my blog, “[bisexuals are] perfectly justified saying we get worse treatment in the gay community [than in straight ones]”. In turn, this notion contributes to the belief that bisexuals do not, in fact, experience (as much?) oppression by the heterosexual society, as well as sprouting the belief that our “real problem” lies with not within heteropatriarchy, but within gay and lesbian communities (that is, scapegoating).

My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

OMG OMG OMG

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

Book Description

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Depicted as duplicitous, traitorous, and promiscuous, bisexuality has long been suspected, marginalized, and rejected by both straight and gay communities alike.

Bi takes a long overdue, comprehensive look at bisexual politics—from the issues surrounding biphobia/monosexism, feminism, and transgenderism to the practice of labeling those who identify as bi as either “too bisexual” (promiscuous and incapable of fidelity) or “not bisexual enough” (not actively engaging romantically or sexually with people of at least two different genders). In this forward-thinking and eye-opening book, feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist Shiri Eisner takes readers on a journey through the many aspects of the meanings and politics of bisexuality, specifically highlighting how bisexuality can open up new and exciting ways of challenging social convention.

Informed by feminist, transgender, and queer theory, as well as politics and activism, Bi is a radical manifesto for a group that has been too frequently silenced, erased, and denied—and a starting point from which to launch a bisexual revolution.

Ten recommended articles in bisexual theory/studies (including files)

Seeing as my last blog post raised a lot of interest, I figured I’d go ahead and make this amazing field of bisexual theory/studies more accessible for those interested in exploring it. I complied below ten of my favourite articles about this topic (in no particular order) – ones that I found inspirational, influential and exciting. Note that they are just a tiny sample of this huge field, limited not only in scope but also technically (since some very important texts couldn’t be uploaded). This list is neither definitive nor comprehensive – it reflects my taste, associations and limitations in a given moment.

You might notice that most of the writers of these texts are white and cisgender, and that they all write from North American and Western European perspectives. This unfortunate fact reflects an existing set of power relations in academic contexts, and in particular in queer theory and LGBT studies. These fields are both often centered around the experience of white, cisgender, and “western” people, and are written by people from these contexts. Albeit that they have written some awesome shiny theory, this fact should not be ignored and we, as bisexual scholars, should seek to acknowledge and work against it. Much more bisexual research is needed in order to fill in these gaps, and I encourage my readers to join me in doing that.

Also: nothing by Clare Hemmings is on this list and therefore it is flawed. Hemmings wrote the bible and you should read it right now (if you have access to it in any way).

Enjoy! Continue reading

The myth of myth-busting – YouTube video

This is a lecture that I gave in the annual queer studies conference in Tel Aviv University, “An Other Sex”, in May 2012. In this lecture I talk about how, rather than trying to refute “biphobic myths”, we should try and use them to create a radical bisexual politics. It is based on, but is not identical, to this post. It is also one of the best talks I ever gave.

Language is Hebrew, with ENGLISH and HEBREW SUBTITLES. (To view the subtitles, make sure you have them on by pressing on the leftmost button on the lower right hand corner of the video).

Enjoy! :)

Bisexual theory sources

It appears that not enough people are aware of the existence of academic bisexual theory. As a Facebook friend of mine reported today:

I went to a queer theory website, looking for bisexual queer theory, and this is what I got when I started clicking on links:

“Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.”

In fact, bisexual theory is a broad and rich academic field, with a large amount of writing in various disciplines. The reality of bisexual erasure makes it much harder for people to know that these sources exist, and all the harder to be aware of just how much there is to know.

For the benefit of everyone who always wondered whether bisexual theory existed, or how to find it – and for those who never considered it all all – I decided to compile a (very partial) list of bisexual theory (and other) sources. Note that many of them can be found online. Google is your friend. Recommended items are bolded!

Note that these are only the ones that I cited in my book! There are many, many more (for example, BiUK has a broad reference list, under the “REF LISTS” button). If you’re interested in further exploring this amazing field, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask for directions. Good luck!

Bi books

Continue reading

Fuck marriage, fuck equality

This is a excerpt from my book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. If you like this text, please consider buying a copy.

Fuck marriage, fuck equality

For about a decade, same sex marriage has been the flagship issue of the GGGG movement*. Marketed as the single-issue battle which would bring equality and solve GGGG-phobia for all, it has been the main focus of GGGG activist and political effort. The struggle for same sex marriage has been presented to us as a struggle for full equality and citizenship. We are told that the one step separating between us – “the gays” – and perfect rainbow utopia is the ability to register our same sex relationships with the state**. As soon as this right is won, apparently, we’ll be all able to walk away into the sunset.

But before we start with the walking away, we first need to examine what it is that we are asking. Marriage, as an institution, has been a tool of patriarchy, capitalism, and government for about as long as it’s existed. It’s been used to control women, divide and consolidate money and resources, and to strengthen the power of states over their subjects. All in all, for most of history and to this day, it has been one of the most dangerous institutions created by society.

Fuck queer assimilation. Credit: Night Terror//Art Terror

Continue reading

Love, Rage and the Occupation, Part 3: the JOH protest vigil (2006)

Remember I posted about my article Love, Rage and the Occupation, which got published on Journal of Bisexuality? So, I discovered that I can put the text on my blog without breaching copyrights. Now everyone can read it for free. Hooray!

Since this article is very long, I’m going to be posting it in parts over the next few weeks. This is part 2 out of maybe 8-9, so stay tuned for further updates.

Previous:
Love, Rage and the Occupation: Bisexual Politics in Israel/Palestine – Part 1
Love, Rage and the Occupation, Part 2: Queeruption (2006)

Second story (2006): the JOH protest vigil

In that summer, the Jerusalem pride march was canceled.

Jerusalem Pride became a hotly contested territory three years after its inception. From 2002 and until 2004, it ran annually, relatively smoothly and with few negative side effects. However, the parade came to national attention in 2005, when a single terrorist (an orthodox Jew) stabbed three of the attendants with a knife, with intent to kill. (Interestingly enough, the person who jumped the perpetrator and caused his arrest, was one of the Jerusalem bisexual activists). When, one year later, the Jerusalem Open House1 had started organizing an international pride parade in Jerusalem (under the ironic title of “Love Without Borders2), a city dominated by religious populations sprouted a hitherto-unforeseen coalition between the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities not to let us dirty perverts march in “their” city. The police’s official reason for denying permission to march was… the Lebanon war, deciding it was “unsafe” to march at such a time.

Previous years: The pink black block in Jerusalem Pride. Credit: Oren Ziv

Continue reading

Love, Rage and the Occupation, Part 2: Queeruption (2006)

Remember I posted about my article Love, Rage and the Occupation, which got published on Journal of Bisexuality? So, I discovered that I can put the text on my blog without breaching copyrights. Now everyone can read it for free. Hooray!

Since this article is very long, I’m going to be posting it in parts over the next few weeks. This is part 2 out of maybe 8-9, so stay tuned for further updates.

Previous:
Love, Rage and the Occupation: Bisexual Politics in Israel/Palestine – Part 1


First story (2006): Queeruption

My story begins in one of the critical moments in the history of queer anti-occupation activism in Israel1, one that many of us now recall as a seminal moment in our personal histories as activists. This was the summer of 2006. Black Laundry, the first queer group decidedly working against the occupation, had just finished dying out only a year beforehand, and I never got to be a member. (By the time I had heard of their existence – thinking, for the first time in my life: “Oh my god! There are others who think like me!” – they had already begun to disperse. Later on I heard that even had I known of their existence on time, I couldn’t have joined – they refused to accept bisexuals [a policy which some claim later changed]). Continue reading