Things I Call Biphobia: Dear Prudence 2016 Edition

Q. My wife insists on telling men she is bisexual: I am a woman in a relationship with another woman. We have been together for four years, married for one. Recently, I have noticed that oftentimes when people (and especially men) refer to her as a lesbian or us as a lesbian couple, she insists on correcting them: “Actually, I’m bisexual.” We end up having conversations with friends like, “Jenny, as a lesbian, what do you think of Hillary Clinton?” “Actually, I’m bisexual.” She says that she doesn’t want her bisexual identity erased and that there is nothing wrong with her wanting people to have a correct understanding of her sexuality. I think it’s weird that she mostly does this with men. It seems to me like she is putting it out there so she can in some sense remain an object of desire to these men. Plus, she married a woman—she should get used to people assuming she is in a lesbian relationship. Which of us is right in this situation?

….

She’s bisexual, and that’s important to her. Nothing you’ve told me suggests she neglects you or flirts with men in order to stoke your jealousy. I think you need to figure out why you feel so threatened by the fact that you married a bisexual woman. Were you hoping she’d change her mind or get over it? Why is it so important to you that she let other people assume she’s a lesbian? She’s with you. She married you. She’s out. She’s your wife. Nothing about your identity or your relationship is threatened by her sexuality in any way; it’s time for you to let go of this.

Dear Prudence: It’s Complicated, Prudie counsels a woman whose wife insists on identifying as bisexual. @ Slate

I think the advice given by the “new” Prudence (the column changed writers some months ago) is generally sound, but I have a bit of a personal reaction to the question.

I used to do LGBT speaker’s bureau volunteering on my campus. A question that almost never failed to come up was, “Why do you call yourself bisexual if you’re monogamous?” The question highlights that bi isn’t considered a real sexual identity on the same level as gay or lesbian. And it’s not just about the sex. It’s about how Bi Any Other Name was a pivotal book, I put in hours doing LGBT speaker’s bureau volunteering, and I Marched on Washington which was a key formative point of my life. It’s as much a part of my culture as people of my generation still talk about the time they first encountered Kurt Cobain.

“Bi,” for better or for worse, describes a set of relationships, with lovers, exes who were weird about it, family who grew less weird over time, religion, and the current politics of the day. It’s not just a matter of pedantic nitpicking to say that we’re bisexual. It’s a key description of who we are.

Wishlist: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

On my wishlist for a while, now a next-payday purchase.

Twenty years ago, Aral and Oliver fell in love. We’ve known that Aral was bisexual throughout the series, but it was always something from his fairly distant past. Turns out that Aral, Oliver, and Cordelia formed an unconventional kind of marriage for two decades, an open secret among their closest colleagues, but still forbidden by the social norms of Barrayar. So yeah, that happened.

Time to try the Vorkosigan Saga—you’ve never read science fiction like this

Aral Vorkosigan has always been on my list of disappointments, largely because of Cordelia’s response “was bisexual, now he’s monogamous” in the second book of the series. Bujold moved on with other LGBT characters, including Bel Thorne as one of my favorites. But that was an unfortunate clunker of a line in an otherwise great series. Bujold had the same relationship style in the background o Chalion. It’s nice to revisit those themes again to see what she plans to do with them.

Thanks Trevor Project!

The Trevor Project had bisexual training.

Today, The Bisexual Resource Center and BiNet USA trained the staff of the Trevor Project in bisexual cultural competency and the needs of bi, pan, fluid, queer (bi+) youth.

As far as we know, this is one of the first times The Trevor Project has had a bi training for their entire staff! It’s great to see more and more LGBT organizations recognizing the need for training on different LGBTQIA communities, by the communities themselves!

BiNet USA Blog

Jughead, Nonbinary and Male-passing, and Dating while Bi

Chip Zdarksy on writing Jughead as asexual.

jughead

My view of Jughead is, over the 75 years [of his existence] there have been sporadic moments where he has dabbled in the ladies, but historically he has been portrayed as asexual. They just didn’t have a label for it, so they just called him a woman-hater.

But he’s not a misogynist — he just watches his cohorts lose their minds with hormones. People have asked me if there is going to be a romance if I’m writing Jughead, because I’m very romantic, and the answer is no, because there is enough of that in Archie. I think something like asexuality is underrepresented, and since we have a character who was asexual before people had the word for it, I’m continuing to write him that way.

Hari Ziyad discusses the problems of being nonbinary and perceived as a man.

The violence inflicted by being inside those cages can’t be understated. My inability to properly connect with the gender I was told I was meant to be was an experience filled with anxiety, confusion, self-loathing, and other significant injury.

And yet, it was also an experience that allowed me to escape (and even enact) the same types of violence that my sisters and mothers experienced at the hands of men. My ability to easily put on male drag, which is not a privilege afforded to every other non-binary person (in fact, “male drag” can not only be damaging to force oneself into, for some it is practically an impossibility), allowed me many opportunities.

Teen Vogue on stereotypes and dating as bisexual women

On the other hand, dating men can be equally problematic. Straight men are notorious for reacting to learning of a woman’s bisexuality with the phrase, “Oh, that’s hot.” Some of them then go on to ask, “So can I watch you and another woman have sex?” The answer to that is that a person’s sexuality is not a kink or an all-access pass to your personal fantasy. A guy saying that it’s great you’re bisexual, because he’s “always wanted to sleep with two women” makes him sound as if he thinks he’s in a video game and you’re an achievement to be unlocked, and reacting to such a creepy proposal with a “GTFO” is perfectly reasonable. Then there’s the expectation that bisexuals are kinky by default. Not every bisexual person is looking for a BDSM relationship, the same way that not everyone likes pineapple on their pizza. It seems obvious when one thinks about it, but nearly every other bisexual woman I’ve talked to has at least one story about somebody wanting to add a little kink into their sex lives and assuming dating a bisexual is the best way to do it. This may be shocking to some people, but not all bisexuals want to have a threesome, and for a couple to make that suggestion to another person based only on the fact that they’re bisexual is not the way to a second date.