Bi or Queer?

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Centrefold from The Manifesto of Sinsuality
“I’m bisexual and I’ve never had to come out. I haven’t hidden it but I don’t declare it. I’m not going to meet someone and say, “Hi, I’m Ever and I’m bisexual.” For a start, I don’t think my sexuality is anyone’s business. But it’s not that simple, is it? When I introduce my husband people will assume I’m hetero and that bothers me. If I’d married a woman people would assume I was gay. That bothers me too. It also bothered me when equal marriage rights came into effect in Scotland and many headlines read: ‘Gay marriage law…’ I felt invisible. It’s not ‘gay marriage’. It’s ‘equal marriage’ or just ‘marriage’. Our society is stuck in a binary of us and them. It’s not that simple.”

I recently took part in the Bisexual Visibility Experiment and wrote this piece.
In a way, it’s a bit all over the place as I’m saying “I’m bi, but really pan, but actually I’m Queer, but yaay for bi.” My piece provoked some great discussion in the land of social media, with a surprising number of people agreeing with the sentiments, which was nice. This was my favourite comment:

“I see your point about political tactical visibility but at this stage I’ve left bisexuality behind because it’s just another addition to standpoint speaking as politics. I think one either has to choose to exclaim one is against any normative sexual and gender politics (hetero normative but also the ever increasing letters of lgbtiqa. ..) and stand as minoritarian by enunciation of queerness. So that’s why I’m 100% with you on preferring queer. I’ve been in some pretty hetero relationships with women and my relationship with my husband is nothing hetero normative and we fancy who we fancy beyond stupid signified bodies. You express the specificity and diversity of desire beautifully in this diary and it seems beyond bi to me.”

Taking part in the experiment and writing the piece was my way to talk about Queer via bi, especially when I identified as bi for years but didn’t really talk about it much. It’s my way of ‘coming out’ but highlighting how problematic ‘coming out’ is, and how problematic identity politics can be.

There was another story on the site that I found really sad:

I discussed it with my parents and brother over lunch and although they said they were all for diversity, they could not bring themselves to say the word bisexual, in the same way they can never say gay or lesbian, they just say diversity is good.

Which  brings me back to the fact that it’s still important to support people who identify as ‘bi’ or any other non-hetero sexuality. I may have moved beyond bi, but when there’s people in the world who can’t even bring themselves to say the word, I will most definitely support those who identify as bisexual.  The above quote highlights that people can ‘tolerate’ (I hate that word) ‘different’ sexualities/identities as long as they don’t have to face it head-on on a personal level. The whole ‘us’/’them’ thing is ridiculous to me. At the risk of sounding a naive hippy, there is no ‘us/them’; it’s all a construction – a means to categorise and control and set people against each other. Let’s smash that construction.

There will always be the ‘othering’ of people we don’t think are like us, people we want to keep at a distance; bisexuality problematizes the ability to ‘other’ because bi is hetero, homo, and neither. The existence of bisexuality decentres heterosexuality, positioning it as one side of two extremes.

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2 thoughts on “Bi or Queer?

  1. Beautifully poised piece. Lame in this age that bisexuality should at best be accepted but not celebrated. Desire and love are driven more than by the contents of our genes or indeed our pants. Shine on. Ta. Pete

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