The difference between monosexism and biphobia

X-posted from tumblr, because I think people might find this helpful.

Re: monosexism and biphobia. Do you use these words interchangeably? I notice more and more people are treating the two as synonymous and it doesn’t really sit right with me.

 

Personally, I don’t.

But before I answer, I have to clarify something first, because a lot of people seem to think I invented the word “monosexism”: So, while this is incredibly flattering, the fact is I didn’t. This word has been in use in bisexual movements from the 1990s or even earlier. I’m willing to take credit for popularizing it on tumblr, though :p

Now to my answer: Continue reading

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! :)