Basically this is just a collection of stuff that I've found on Tumblr. You'll probably find insightful quotes, a bit of science, a little bit more social science, and a bunch of cat pictures. "Cats are nice" ~Terry Pratchett's 'Death'About Me Ask me anything
“One reason multisexual people who are not bisexual may choose identify as “bisexual” is because it’s the most convenient and/or the only available identity to use. For example, because I have no other option, I am listed as “bisexual” on several social-networking websites, although I identify very strongly as pansexual. Also, I occasionally tell people that I am “bi” (or, more often, I respond along the lines of “yeah, sorta” to their inquiry). In these situations, I walk a fine line between self-preservation and cisgenderism. On one hand, I don’t feel comfortable talking about the details of my identity with people who are unlikely to understand anything beyond gay, straight, or bi, especially when I am with people who are uninformed about queer issues, and may already intentionally or unintentionally be projecting heterosexist attitudes and assumptions onto me. Other times, I worry that the people I am speaking to may be intentionally or unintentionally cissexist and/or cisgenederist, and thus they might make assumptions about myself and my partners when I explain that I am attracted to people other than men and women; specifically, I worry that they may not understand the concept of identifying as a gender other than man and woman, and may instead misinterpret me as third-gendering binary trans individuals (especially since I’ve had binary-gendered trans partners). Other people just want to be understood: explaining non-binary gender identities and sexualities other than gay, straight, or bi can be excruciatingly difficult in an uninformed hetero-, cis-, and binary-normative culture, and it is unfair to posit any queer individual as responsible for educating non-queer people about queer issues. On the other hand, I fear that by telling others that I am bisexual rather than explaining the existence of non-binary genders, I am contributing to the erasure of people with non-binary genders in our society. Conveniently identifying as bisexual is a binary-gender privilege, and it’s easy for someone who identifies fully or primarily as man or woman, but impossible for a non-binary person to do without erasing their own existence.”
Yes, yes and yes.
Yes me all day.
I have several problems with this essay. While it addresses some problematic definitions of bisexuality that do contribute to the erasure of non-binary genders, it makes the assumption that all bisexuals identify as the same way, or, if they don’t, they will somehow join the ranks of enlightened pansexuals who, apparently, are the only ones who recognize the existence of non-binary people.
Here is another quote from the same essay:
I must clarify that bisexuality does not inherently discriminate against non-binary gender identities. Many people are, in reality, bisexual if they are attracted to binary-identified men and women, and not non-binary individuals. This is perfectly acceptable for those people that have thought it over and determined that this truly is their sexuality. There is nothing wrong with preferring binary to non-binary individuals (just as there is nothing wrong with preferring non-binary to binary individuals) (…)
The problem is, this writer is assuming that all people operate on a single, definitive interpretation of orientation. This is wrong. The writer is also applying a definition of “bisexual” over what is in reality a very diverse group of people without also identifying as such. This is also problematic.
It is true that there are bisexuals out there who are only attracted to binary men and women. There are even bisexuals who will define bisexuality for themselves as such. But there are also bisexuals who define bisexuality as 1) loving genders which are the same as your own and 2) genders which are different from your own. This definition, it should be noted, has grown as awareness of non-binary individuals has grown. Julia Serano, a trans* activist who has in recent years come out as bisexual, has yet another definition of bisexuality to add:
…why I embrace the word bisexual is that people perceive me and react to me very differently depending on whether the person I am coupled with is (or appears to be) a woman or a man.
While still framing genders in a seemingly binary way, Serano is still doing what all people do when they find an orientational or gender label that fits them best: she is reclaiming a word and reinterpreting it based on her own experiences. What is frustrating about this piece of writing is that the writer admits that different interpretations of orientations DO exist… but does not admit the same for bisexuality. Here is another excerpt from the quoted article:
Even monosexual people who do or have experienced attraction to or partner(ed) with someone with a gender other than the one they prefer may find value in identifying as gay, straight, or lesbian. Even monosexual people who may also identify as heteroflexible, homoflexible, fluid, or queer may find value in identifying as gay, straight, or lesbian.
And, simultaneously, the writer defines bisexuals as only being such “if they are attracted to binary-identified men and women, and not non-binary individuals.” To add insult to injury, the writer denies yet another aspect of existence to bisexuals: community.
Individuals primarily attracted to a single gender, especially homosexual folk, find value in an identity and a community with similar experiences. The “bisexual” identity does not create the same type of community, however, and instead isolates non-bisexual multisexual people from the movement.
If I were to use the writer’s limited definitions of orientations, then yes, I would be pansexual—according to the writer. I have been attracted to and have fallen in love with non-binary people as well as binary people. But, according to my definition of pansexual, I am not. Of course, just as the word bisexual can be reinterpreted, so can the word pansexual (the relative newness of the latter is not a factor in this case). But, just as the writer chooses not to reinterpret the word bisexual to fit zan own needs, I choose not to do the same for the word pansexual. It is, in the end, a personal matter. But, in my case, and contrary to what the writer says, the word bisexual does come with an inclusive community. To deny that sense of community would not only deny the experiences of myself and others, but would also result in a failure to address critical problems within that community. Transphobia and phobia of non-binary people are legitimate concerns within the bisexual community, just as they are in gay and straight communities. Simultaneously, monosexism is a problem that all non-monosexuals encounter. If non-monosexuals of varying identities, say, bisexuals and pansexuals, spent all of this time fighting with each other rather than fighting together while keeping each other in check, not only will monosexism continue to be a problem, but so will binarism.
The writer, in the end, seeks to prove that bisexuality is not an adequate umbrella term for all non-monosexual identities, since not all multisexual people have a dualistic view of genders. While this is a valid argument, the writer fails to substantiate that argument because ze imposes a conditional definition of bisexuality on bisexuals but not on any other orientation. In my case, as a genderqueer person who loves both binary and non-binary people, I was not only able to reclaim the word ‘bisexual’ for myself, but I also did have something to gain by affiliating myself with the bisexual community, as do people I know who identify as fluid, pan, queer, and/or people-sexual. I have also met cis people, trans* people, and non-binary people who have all identified as bisexual and participated in the bisexual community, in person and online (Tumblr’s bidyke, for example, is also bisexual and genderqueer, and has many words to say on the changing definitions of bisexuality). I don’t see any erasure going on in my corner of the world. Perhaps in time we may gradually shift over to using pansexual and multisexual as umbrella terms for our community, but for now, we do not need to. And, contrary to the writer’s intention, if other non-monosexual identities continue to be defined at the expense of bisexuals, then this not only erases non-binary bisexuals (including myself)—it also estranges all bisexuals. Far from creating a community of diverse non-monosexuals, we are too busy dropping the already-shattering remains.