Monday, June 28, 2010

The Phenomenon of the Bisexual Male: Now on CNN! (And unrelated hockey news).

CNN decided to jump on the bandwagon for the latest "Where are all the bisexual men?" meme. Their article is called, "The last person out of the closet? The bisexual male." It talks about a lot of the difficulties bisexuals face while offering few answers or followups to common stereotypes. For instance:

Some say that coming out as bisexual has been easier for women than men. In recent years, several Hollywood female stars have proudly declared their bisexuality. Female celebrities like Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan and HBO "True Blood" actress Anna Paquin have said they are bisexual. "It's [female bisexuality] something that's tolerated because sometimes men see it as entertaining and exciting for them," said Denise Penn, director of the American Institute of Bisexuality.

Or:

When Winn was a teenager in the 1980s, public support toward gays and bisexuals plummeted as the HIV panic stigmatized the gay community. Bisexuals were blamed for spreading the virus to the straight population, experts said. Winn realized then there was an unexpected upshot of bisexuality."I always had this heterosexual relationship to fall back on," he said. "I could choose to ignore the rest and put it on the back shelf."


Yep, good job handlng common stereotypes about bisexuals, CNN.

I especially like this part (</sarcasm>):

The academic world has also questioned the idea of bisexuality. In 2005, a controversial study from professors in Toronto, Canada, and Illinois reported males identifying as bisexual were typically not aroused by both sexes. Most of the bisexual men surveyed were physically aroused by images of men instead of women, the study said. The bisexual -- and gay -- community lashed out against the study, but the study did spur more research on bisexuality.

ACTUALLY, the reason we "lashed out against this study" was not so much because we didn't like the results as the fact that it was TERRIBLE SCIENCE. But good job making us look hysterical and making it look like J. Michael Bailey has a lot of academic credibility. ALSO, there has been very little work done on male bisexuality, but the academic work that has been done on bi women does not "question the idea of bisexuality." On the contrary - it does a fairly good job of demonstrating proof of female sexual fluidity. Now, if we could just get some studies done like this for men. But I digress.

Here is, perhaps, the saddest part of the article:

The couple says they've grown closer over time, but like any marriage, two people can have differences -- including sexual orientation. Christine Winn is straight, and she has been supportive of her husband, who is openly bisexual. "I don't think about it [his bisexuality] as a part I have to accept," she said. "It's just a part of him like any other husband who loses their socks on the floor or doesn't take the trash out." [emphasis mine]


That's just so sad. This woman is married to this man and she has this viewpoint? Just... so sad.

In an effort to distract you from the fail of this article and the sadness of that last quote, how about some other news? Brent Sopel, a hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks (who actually just got traded to Atlanta), marched in the Pride parade in Chicago last week. He said that he thinks Pride is "awesome, amazing," and he "brought the Stanley Cup and raised it over his head no less than 10 times along the route." Good job, Brent Sopel. Thanks for being an ally. Keep it awesome.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gawker et al.: We are indeed here, and yes, we're also queer.

It is so not even worth my time to try to go through this post from Gawker and point out all the places it goes wrong. Its problematic assertions can easily be countered with facts from things like the Wikipedia article on bisexuality, or any "Bi 101"-type information. Gawker readers and commenters could also try reading the list of bisexual people, which includes famous bi men. Wow! Those things sure were hard to find! </sarcasm>

I'm just going to say, as a bisexual female who is also VERY queer (and very active in queer communities), I truly do not appreciate some dude saying that I and other bisexuals are "basically just straight people who like to get a little funky." I am not the exception to the rule, either. I am one of so many.

And, on behalf of all my male-identified friends who are attracted to more than one gender, I'm outraged that this post was even published in the first place.

It's gross and offensive to me that a post like this would be written during this time, during the month of our pride. This is the time to celebrate our diversity, not to put it down. It is especially disgusting considering the recent reports that have surfaced regarding the murder of a bisexually-identified man in Iran. Funny, I guess the Iranian authorities didn't feel he was "basically just [a] straight [person]."

The validity of male bisexuality was also discussed on The View this week. If you are paying any attention to the way those conversations often go when in the hands of the uneducated and unqualified, you probably won't be surprised to learn that the discussion was not a positive one. See more about that show, and GLAAD's response, here.

Posts like the one from Gawker, shows like The View, and unthinkable actions like those of the Iranian security forces are exactly why we need to keep marching. Why we need to keep writing our complaints. Why we need to do everything we can to stay vocal and visible.

Sometimes, all the work is simply exhausting. There were several of us who busted our butts working to get things ready for the bi/pan/queer contingent at the Columbus Pride Parade this past Saturday. I'm still catching up on sleep. The morning of the parade, it was raining and humid. As soon as we started marching, the sun came out, and it got really hot. All of the work, all of the weather, it was all worth it. I have marched in Columbus Pride for the past three years, and I have paid careful attention to the reaction of the crowd. Stony faces on the part of some gays, but others applaud and cheer when they see us. What makes it the most worth it for me is the people who see our colors, who see our message of visibility and love, and see themselves represented. Bisexuals watching the parade will see us and start jumping up and down and screaming and saying, "THAT'S ME! I'M BISEXUAL! THAT'S ME!"

There are so many reasons to march. I walk for all my pleasantly surprised bisexuals watching the parade. I walk for all the people who are not out and who can't be. I walk for the people who are out but not connected. I walk for the people who don't have the time. I walk in tribute to my heroes, the ones who have done so much for my generation already. I walk for the memory of the ones who are no longer with us. I wish that all my reasons for walking were positive. But I also walk because we need to be seen. I walk because it's 2010 and I still hear lesbians and gays putting us down. I walk because people are still trying to tell me that my orientation is a phase, oppressive, for show, not real... I walk to remind you that we are part of this community, too, whether you like it or not. We are not going away. On the contrary. Our community is only growing. Someday, people like this Gawker blogger are going to have to grow up and deal with their ignorance.

By the way, the author of that post can be reached at brian@gawker.com .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bi/Pan/Queer Contingent at Columbus Pride Parade

Are you attracted to more than one gender? Do you live in the Central Ohio area, or will be there this weekend? The Bi/Pan/Queer Contingent for the Columbus Pride Parade wants YOU!

Join us this Tuesday, June 15th, 7 PM, at Travonna Coffee House in the meeting room for a sign and banner making craft party. There will be creativity and (of course) copious amounts of glitter.

E-mail columbusbinetwork at gmail dot com to RSVP for marching in the parade or to get more info. An RSVP is requested for a better head count, but not required. However, T-shirts may be made, and you may miss out on one if you don't RSVP! We will meet to march in the parade on Saturday, June 19 at 9:45 AM on the Statehouse lawn, at the corner of State and High downtown.

Need more convincing? Check out photos from previous years' groups here (2008) and here (2009).

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dear Dan Savage

I read your statement in response to accusations of transphobia related to one of your recent columns.

Sorry, but just because you have a friend who is trans doesn't mean you are not transphobic.

Seriously, it made me lol irl 4rlz that the second sentence of this statement is, "One of my best friends is trans." Seriously? You genuinely, honestly think that your behavior is excused because you have a trans friend? Is this whole statement supposed to be satire? I'm really not sure.

Also, is it rational and not disrespectful of me to wonder if every single gay person I meet is actually bi or even straight? Because I know a lot of people who came out as gay and then realized that they were bi. I even know a couple who came out as gay and now identify as straight.

Finally, if I end up in a relationship with someone who is perceived to be the "opposite sex," it doesn't make me any less in the queer "boat." It doesn't belittle my years of queer activism. It doesn't invalidate anything about my queer identity. It does, however, show me who's intolerant and biphobic within the gay community, and you, my friend, are still a shining example of such ignorance. You can't even make a statement saying that you're not biphobic without throwing in some biphobia for good measure.

There's so much more I could say about what's problematic here, but the fact that you even made this statement in the first place tells me that efforts to convince you that you're wrong are pretty futile.

In conclusion: I'm not sure why anyone still takes you seriously.

Oh, and I've got an F word for you, but I don't think it's the same one you were talking about.

Bi Avenger

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Problem with Bill O'Reilly (& GLAAD)

1. Surprise! Bill O'Reilly is still a jerk. Here is the video, in case you have not seen it. There's info in that first link on how to contact Fox about O'Reilly.

2. Surprise! GLAAD still thinks the phrases "gay," "gay and lesbian," and "LGBT" are interchangeable (see first link). Haven't we gone over this before? Oh, right, we have. This ad specifically showed a young man who was romantically interested in another man. Bill O'Reilly said nothing about lesbians. If gay is going to be an umbrella term for LGBT, why throw in the "gay and lesbian?" Either Bill was talking about the "gay"/LGBT community, or he was not...

Some people may consider this to be nitpicking. I wouldn't bring this issue up if I didn't see it happening all the time. Groups like HRC and GLAAD are constantly using "gay and lesbian" and LGBT interchangeably. Pro tip: They do not mean the same thing. One recent example is the discussion of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That issue affects anyone who is not straight, but do you hear about it applying to anyone besides gay men and lesbians?

I would also argue that it is perfectly O.K. to be nitpicky about GLAAD's language because GLAAD is an organization that is basically devoted to being nitpicky about language.

It's with good reason that we "nitpick." Language is very powerful. If bacon and tomato are going to be part of the BLTG (heh heh) community, then we have to be included in the community, in both word and deed. Then again, maybe that's too much to ask from a group that still calls itself the "Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation."