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).
*** 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. ***
This is from the chapter about monosexism and biphobia, from the sub-section about internalized biphobia (and the sub-sub section about internalized biphobia in intimate relationships). I wrote about three types of internalized biphobia inside intimate relationships; this is the second.
Similar to social settings, internalized biphobia might also influence people inside intimate relationships in a way that is disruptive and harmful both to the relationship and the people within. Inside relationships, some bisexual people might treat their partners in ways similar to those of biphobic monosexual people, as informed by stereotypes about bisexuals’ dishonesty and lack of loyalty, as well as returning to some of the basic underlying themes of internalized biphobia such as lack of acceptance and worthlessness. Continue reading “Snippet #5: Internalized biphobia in intimate relationships”
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.
Before you continue: One huge clarification!
I was translating/editing the male privilege checklist (link in Hebrew) a couple of days ago, when it occurred to me that I have never seen a monosexual privilege checklist. Indeed, I’ve never heard the term spoken or referred to before. Despite the fact that many privilege lists exist for many groups, it appears that the idea that monosexuals enjoy privilege is relatively new as well as foreign to queer and bisexual political thought. More often than not, when the word “privilege” arises in relation to bisexuality or bisexual people, it is coupled with “heterosexual” and with the claim that bisexuals “enjoy heterosexual privilege” (here’s a helpful hint with that: we’re not, in fact, heterosexual). And so I thought it might be time to try to unpack some of these notions and compile a monosexual privilege checklist. Continue reading “The monosexual privilege checklist”
Before I write – a disclaimer: this post contains criticism of the non-bisexual-identified transgender community and discourse. Please be aware that I am writing this criticism not as an outsider, but as a genderqueer person involved in transgender community, and activism. I hope this criticism is taken in the same spirit in which it was written – that of passion and solidarity.
This is a long post. But trust me, it is good. Take your time in reading in, it will be worth it ;)
A(n) (long) introduction
It appears increasingly acceptable of late, in transgender/genderqueer communities and activist discourses, to portray bisexuality as a binary identity, and thus intrinsically transphobic. As the claim classically goes – since the word “bisexuality” has “bi” (literally: two) in it, then it is inherently gender-binary, pointing to only two genders/sexes as its sources of reference – thus erasing non-binary sexes and genders out of existence. Those siding with this approach usually suggest the use of alternative identity categories, such as “pansexual”, “omnisexual”, “queer”, etc. (For the sake of fairness, I need to mention that I, too, once subscribed to these views, to the extent that they are now and forever recorded in a book and unchangeable. But – hey, we all make mistakes…)
On the other hand is the bisexual side of the debate, arguing to the contrary. I will say that I find these arguments to be nothing but a pile of apologetics, and so I’m going to be relatively brief with it, as they only matter to me here as background to the real core of the discussion: Continue reading “Words, binary and biphobia, or: why “bi” is binary but “FTM” is not”
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”
I found this text in Getting Bi almost two years ago. I liked it immediately, as any feminist might – it spoke my language. In Israel, this feminist manifesto is famous for having been translated with slight alterations to fit Israeli culture (for example, a reference to militarism). The local transgender community also wrote a similar text two years back, which brought it even closer to my heart. And so, when seeing this in Getting Bi, I automatically wanted to translate it.
However, the text was a bit too liberal for my liking (government/rights focused, gender-binary and monogamous) – and so I translated it with a few changes and additions.
Anyway, I figured now that I have a blog, it might be a good time to translate it back into English.
The Hebrew version may be found here, in the form of a flier.
**FEEL FREE TO USE THIS TEXT FOR ANY PURPOSE. NO RIGHTS RESERVED, though I would appreciate credit, where applicable :)**
BECAUSE we are not real AND our orientation is only a phase AND we’ll just leave for a member of another sex any day AND our way of loving is only a sign of confusion AND when we haven’t changed in 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 years we are still just confused AND when we’re in a different-sex relationship then we are holding onto “straight privilege” AND when we’re in a same-sex relationship then we’ve finally “come all the way out” AND when we’re in a different-sex relationship we’re really just straight AND when we’re in a same-sex relationship then we’re really gay or lesbian AND when we dare suggesting that we have our own identity we are traitors of the community AND if we identify as bisexual we think there are only two genders AND when we identify as pansexual then we’re simply hipsters AND when we don’t self-define then we’re invisible AND because every historical figure or celebrity who has ever had a same-sex relationship was really gay or lesbian no matter how they may have felt about other genders AND we’re told we can’t make up our minds AND that we’re just attention seekers AND when we’re monogamous then we’re not really bisexual AND when we’re polyamorous then we’re reinforcing stereotypes AND because we want to fuck anything that moves AND because it’s okay to sexually harass us and we’re not allowed to choose or refuse or reject it AND because it’s okay to ask us invasive questions about our sex lives AND because every fuck up about our relationships is attributed to our bisexuality AND because we see personal ads that say “no bisexuals” AND for lots and lots of other reasons, WE ARE PART OF THE BISEXUAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT