Even a superficial look at other societies and some groups in our own society should be enough to convince us that a very large number of human beings – probably a majority – are bisexual in their potential capacity for love … We will fail to evolve in our understanding of human sexuality if we continue to see homosexuals merely as “heterosexuals-in-reverse”, ignoring the vast diversity actually represented by society’s many varied expressions of love between people.
To zero in on the distinctive deconstructionist politics of queerness, turn again to the letters columns. It is no coincidence that two other major Bay Times letters column controversies of the early 1990s concerned bisexual and transgender people, the two groups included in the revised queer category …
“It is not empowering to go to a Queer Nation meeting and see men and women slamming their tongues down each others’ throats,” says one letter arguing over bisexuals.
“Men expect access to women,” asserts one from the transgender debate. “Some men decide that they want access to lesbians any way they can and decide they will become lesbians.”
Strikingly, nearly all the letters are written by, to, and about women-a point to which I will later return.
“A woman’s willingness to sleep with men allows her access to jobs, money, power, status,” writes one group of women. “This access does not disappear just because a woman sleeps with women ‘too’ … That’s not bisexuality, that’s compulsory heterosexuality.” You are not invited; you will leave and betray us.
We are already here, other women respond, and it is you who betray us with your back-stabbing and your silencing. “Why have so many bisexual women felt compelled to call themselves lesbians for so long? Do you think biphobic attitudes like yours might have something to do with it?” asks a woman named Kristen.
“It is our community, too; we’ve worked in it, we’ve suffered for it, we belong in it. We will not accept the role of the poor relation.” Kristen ends her letter tellingly, deploying a familiar phrase: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
Joshua Gamson, “Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma” (pdf)
Look, it’s 1990’s bisexual people using the term queer and queer discourse to defend themselves against biphobia by gay and lesbian people! (via mswyrr)
Madiba’s South Africa has special significance in bisexual history. It was shortly after Madiba’s presidency that bisexual activists and other LGBTQ delegates at the 1999 International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) World Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa commemorated the first day celebrating bisexuals and bisexual experience.
[Know Your Bisexual History]: Did you know that in the early days of the AIDS Crisis when the NHS and other health and government agencies were pretty much ignoring what was happening … becasue after all, "who cares if gay men are dying?" … some AIDS Campaigners quietly encouraged fears that "those sneaky cheating bisexuals" were spreading AIDS to their "innocent" wives and children.
While that strategy worked and was a factor in pushing public health services to pay more attention to the growing plague, the association of bisexuals as spreaders of AIDS and other STD/STI’s still lingers in people’s minds. But the truth is your sexual orientation doesn’t spread diseases, risky behaviors do. No matter what label you personally use.