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).
Kenji Yoshino, “The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure” (2000)
This article was published in 2000 by Kenji Yoshino, an American legal scholar. In it, Yoshino offers a comprehensive theory for understanding bisexual erasure. He claims that the reason why bisexual erasure happens is that both structures of heterosexuality and homosexuality have a stake in making bisexuality disappear. This article is quite long, but very readable, clear and accessible.
Michael du Plessis, “Blatantly Bisexual; or, Unthinking Queer Theory” (1996)
This article appeared in RePresenting Bisexualities, one of the first academic anthologies about bisexuality published in the US. This is a wonderful introductory text for bisexual theory (and has much to offer even to those who are familiar with the field). In it, du Plessis describes the erasure of bisexuality from queer theory, and positions bisexuality and bi theory in relation/opposition to it. It should be noted that this is also one of the sexiest academic texts I have ever read (OMG hot).
Ann Kaloski, “Bisexuals Making Out with Cyborgs: Politics, Pleasure, Con/fusion” (1997)
This article was published in the Journal of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identity in the late 1990s, as part of a(n unfortunately temporary) blossoming of bisexual theory in the UK. Along with several other influential bi theorists, Ann Kaloski was part of a research group called Bi Academic Intervention, who pioneered epistemological and politically radical bisexual research. In this article, Kaloski takes on the idea of Donna Haraway’s cyborg and connects it with bisexuality. It is also on the list of sexiest articles ever :p
April S. Callis, “Playing with Butler and Foucault: Bisexuality and Queer Theory” (2009)
This article first appeared in the Journal of Bisexuality, Issue 9:3-4, which later came out as the US anthology Bisexuality and Queer Theory: Intersections, Connections and Challenges. This is the first published collection since the 1990s that is dedicated to bisexual theory and epistemology (as opposed to sociological/psychological bisexual studies). In this article, April S. Callis takes on Judith Butler’s and Michel Foucault’s theories of (homo)sexuality, and demonstrates how they might benefit by the inclusion of bisexuality. She also gives a wonderful introduction to bisexual theory, for whoever wants a quick and painless starter :)
Lisa Diamond, “Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study” (2008)
In this article, Lisa Diamond describes the results from her groundbreaking study of sexual fluidity in women. Diamond interviewed and followed up on 75 lesbian, bisexual and unlabeled women over the course of 13 years, and documented the changes in their sexual identities and behaviour. This article was published after 10 years of study and it describes the results concerning bisexuality from 79 women. An important discovery made here by Diamond is that over time, more women adopt a bisexual or unlabeled identity than relinquish it.
Lachlan MacDowall, “Historicising Contemporary Bisexuality” (2009)
This article, written by Australian scholar Lachlan MacDowall, was published in the Journal of Bisexuality in 2009. In this article, MacDowall details the early history of the word “bisexuality”, as it was used in the emerging scientific fields of the 19th century. It provides a really great contextualization of the word along with historical and social perspective.
Esther Rapoport, “Bisexuality in Psychoanalytic Theory: Interpreting the Resistance” (2009)
This article was published in the same mythological Journal of Bisexuality, Issue 9:3-4. In it, my friend and Israeli researcher Esther Rapoport describes the concept of bisexuality in psychoanalytic theory (especially Freud’s) and points out the problems that arise from it. This article gives a very broad background for understanding the roots of bisexuality as an idea, as well as their many influences on current discourses on bisexuality.
Jo Eadie, “Activating Bisexuality: Towards a Bi/Sexual Politics” (1993)
One of the earliest articles concerning bisexual epistemology, this was published in the UK anthology Activating Theory: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Politics in 1993. The anthology itself followed an academic conference by the same name, infamous in UK bisexual writings for the multiple occurrences of biphobia in it. In the article, Jo Eadie discusses bisexual erasure and marginalization in LGBT contexts, and suggests ways of using bisexuality as a method for the deconstruction of sexual – and other – binaries. This is also one of those really sexy articles that make you want to go out and create a revolution.
Amber Ault, “Hegemonic Discourse in an Oppositional Community: Lesbian Feminists and Bisexuality” (1994)
This article, by American sociologist Amber Ault, is a study of lesbian feminist attitudes towards bisexuality – and in particular bisexual women. It reveals some of the ways in which bisexual women have been portrayed by lesbian feminists, and does a very good job at deconstructing and criticizing them. It’s also a wonderful example of accountability, seeing as Ault, as a lesbian feminist, chose to engage with this subject and offer a criticism from within.
Sunfrog, “Pansies Against Patriarchy: Gender Blur, Bisexual Men,and Queer Liberation” (1995)
This article was published in the excellent 1995 US anthology, Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions. In this article, Sunfrog, a bisexual feminist male crossdresser, presents a revolutionary vision for bisexuality, sex and gender. Since I first read it and to this day, it remains one of the most awesome, powerful and passionate political texts I have ever read – not only in the field of bisexuality, but also in general. It is also one of the best texts about male pro-feminism that I have had the pleasure to read.