Love, Rage and the Occupation: Bisexual Politics in Israel/Palestine

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

Abstract

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).

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Cissexism and transphobia in bisexual communities

A version of this text also appears in my book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. If you like it, please consider buying a copy.

Note: If you came here seeking reassurance that bisexuality is binarist and/or that all bisexuals are transphobic, you will not find it here. Please see this first.

A note for commentators: Please remember that I’m the same person who wrote Words, binary and biphobia, or: why “bi” is binary but “FTM” is not, and that I consider these two posts as complementary. If you could avoid using my own arguments to dispute me, that would be helpful for productive discussion. Thank you.

If you’re not aware of the problems with using a binary gender system, please see this post: Not Your Mom’s Trans 101.

* Thank you to Robyn Ochs, who helped me think of many of these things.

Why this post?

(Why criticize?)

Within the mainstream bisexual movement, the links between bisexuality and transgenderism have always been thought of as close. Challenging of binaries, and the close relationship often existing between bisexual and transgender communities and politics, have been spoken and applauded by the mainstream bisexual movement (especially in the US) since its very beginnings. However and notwithstanding, in this post, I would like to raise a few thoughts about why the efforts of the mainstream bisexual movement to be trans-inclusive have been lacking. I’d like to call out specific problems within bisexual movements so that we, as a community, might be able to put work and energy into addressing these issues, and to be accountable for our communities’ cissexism* and transphobia. Continue reading

Why I identify as bisexual and not pansexual

I’ve been asked this on tumblr and thought I might cross post it here:

Hey, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’m curious…why do you personally choose to label yourself as bisexual rather than pansexual?

Anonymous

Awesome question. I think about it all the time.

Here’s my story:

I identify very strongly as bi, though for a few years I also used to identify as pan along with it. Throughout those years, I went through a long process with both those words, at the end of which I dropped “pansexual” and stuck only with “bisexual”.

I’ve identified as bi since I was 13. When I first encountered the word “pansexual” (age 22), I was very pleased with the way it sought to subvert gender binaries and to create more space for people of multiple genders and sexes. I was also really happy to use a word that would distance me from the mainstream American/Western bisexual movement(s) with its assimilationism, cissexism, “both sexes” bullshit. I was certain that pansexuality was inherently more subversive, more queer, and generally better than bisexuality. Continue reading

Words, binary and biphobia, or: why “bi” is binary but “FTM” is not

This text also appears in my book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. If you like it, please consider buying a copy.

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

A bisexual manifesto

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

Love, rage and the occupation – my talk from London BiCon

First, an apology: I really sincerely was intending to embed this video into my post so as to save my readers the hassel of a seperate site. But alas, try as I might, I could not convince WordPress to do my bidding.

And so, I provide you with the link to the talk I gave in September at the International BiCon in London:

http://makore.6tzvaim.com/node/524

Summary:

Love, rage and the occupation: bisexual politics in Israel/Palestine

The Israeli occupation of Palestine has had a deep influence over both external and internal LGBTQ and bisexual/pansexual politics. What is the connection between the occupation and inner LGBTQ violence? How does that connect to last year’s Bar-No’ar shooting? How are all of these events related to bisexual erasure? And what does the Israeli bisexual community think about all this?

(For more topics mentioned in the talk, check out the tags).

Video length: 69 mins. Language: English, no subtitles :(

Please feel free to ask me any questions or to make any comments.

P.S.

Also worth checking out: Lilach Ben-David’s talk about queer resistance to the occupation.