The ever increasing trend of oppression against straight people in LGBT and queer communities has been worrying any person with a fragment of a conscious left unharmed by extreme heterophobic propaganda. It’s time for us to stop it! It’s time that we learn how to stop insulting straight people, how not to question their heterosexuality, how to learn to love their privileges (Because hating is bad! And it gives you ulcers!), and in short: how to be their allies.
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).
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.
Before you respond, please take a look at the comments policy (or risk having your comment deleted…)
What is feminism? I take after bell hooks, who defined feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression,” and define feminism as a movement to end patriarchy, all forms of patriarchal oppression, and all forms of oppression as a whole. This is the most basic ideology of most forms of feminism, and while many differ in their understandings of patriarchy, sexism and how exactly to end them, this is the basic motivation that most of us share. (While I acknowledge that some may not, I must also acknowledge that their feminism might be a bit awry…) Continue reading “Feminism 101: Patriarchy and the single standard”
Update 15.4.2012: You can now read this here on my blog for free: Click here
I just got a new article published on Journal of Bisexuality, how exciting ^_^
Click to download: Love, Rage and the Occupation: Bisexual Politics in Israel/Palestine
This text narrates the writer’s story as a bisexual activist and, through it, also the story of the bisexual movement in Israel so far. In addition, the text endeavors to highlight the strands of militarism, violence and racism in Israeli culture, with a focus on the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Palestinian people. This is meant to achieve two things: first, to deconstruct the false separation between the two fields of ‘LGBT rights’ and antiwar activism; and second, to promote the principles of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, encouraging solidarity with the Palestinian people and nonviolent struggle against the Israeli occupation.
* If you have any problems with downloading the file, don’t hesitate to email me and ask me for a copy (or leave a comment below).
*** The snippets are taken from my book in writing, Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. For more, check out the notes for a bisexual revolution tag. ***
Note: do excuse my lack of hyperlinking/citations. All the claims I make are backed up by written sources. However, books made of paper don’t work well with hyperlinks :( If you’re curious about anything in particular, however, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Through a language of coupled love, people are pushed into the government-privileged financial agreement called “marriage”, forming docile units where women and children are controlled by men, and men are controlled by capitalism. Through a language of love and caring, governments embed their rule, a system protecting the big and the strong, the white and the powerful, from the weakened, the marginalized, the oppressed and the raging. A system criminalizing poverty, criminalizing color, criminalizing resistance, criminalizing women, criminalizing survivors, criminalizing queers, controlling our lives and protecting none of us. Through a language of love for the country we are sent to die, to kill, to take over, to rape, to poison, to destroy and to imprison. Through a language of love, rape and violence against women are justified, when “he did it out of love”, when “all is fair in love and war”, when love means you “can’t resist”. Through a language of love for the white race, for white values, white culture and white forms of family and union, the structure of racism is facilitated. A language of love is used against bisexuals and other queers in order to delegitimize our lives, our desires and our very existence. Love is a tool that keeps us down.
But love is also a tool of resistance. Love can help us transgress boundaries, it can help us forge alliances and solidarity, and break through the walls of the system and oppression. Love can help us erupt the borders of isolation formed around us by a biphobic society keeping us apart and keeping us down. We can break the rules of love, find new ways to love each other and ourselves, resist the ways that love is used against us, reclaim love and make it our own. As bisexuals, love is our tool with which we break the master’s house. Our tool to resist boundaries, our tool to break the system. Our tool to kick and scream and love and play, our tool to imagine and create the impossible. Our tool for the revolution.
Yeah, I’m writing a book about bisexuality :) Here’s a little paragraph that I like:
The stereotype of unfaithfulness brings to light the metaphor of the bisexual as traitor (one of my personal favourites). The dictionary defines treason as “a betrayal of trust”, or as “an attempt to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill […] the sovereign”, a definition which betrays, if you will, bisexuality’s function as an agitator. We can think about bisexuality as betrayal of the trust imposed on us by power structures, as well embodying an attempt to overthrow or “kill” hegemonic order. We can then use this as a gate to betraying monogamy, to betraying patriarchy, to betraying governments, countries, wars. To betraying the “LGBT” (GGGG) movement, for normalizing and promoting the assimilation of our communities. We can be traitors to anything that confines us, and to anything that stands in our way: all power structures, all oppression.
I have a 20 minute lecture talking about this. Want to see? :)
In a recent blog post, a certain bi blogger dedicated a paragraph to what she referred to as the “obligatory myth-busting post that pretty much every blog on bisexuality provides”. And indeed, it seems near-impossible to encounter any English-language text about bisexuality without seeing these same myths countered in this same way. I thought I would take this opportunity to explore what this myth-busting and these myths mean, politically, and for us as a community.
Quoth the post:
- Existence. Yes – we do.
- Monogamy. Yes – we can.
- Fidelity. Yes – we can. And – we do.
- HIV & AIDS. No – it’s not all our fault.
- Confusion. No – we’re really not.
- Indecision. No – that’s not what fluidity means.
- Greed. Yes, we can have just one piece of cake.
- Pants. Yes – we’re as capable as anyone else of keeping our various bits in them.
- Choice. No – we cannot choose to be straight; we cannot choose to be gay; we did not choose our sexual orientation in some thoughtlessly frivolous moment of rapacious abandon. Who does?
Let’s walk through some of those, shall we? No, we’re not promiscuous. No, we don’t sleep around. No, we’re not infectious. No, we don’t choose to be the way we are (SRSLY, why would anyone choose that?). Yes, we’re normal. No, we don’t threaten your sexual identification. Yes, we are just like you. No, you are not in danger of being like us. No, we don’t threaten your beliefs, your society or your safety. Continue reading “The myth of myth-busting: normalcy discourse and bisexual politics”