Friday, May 16, 2008

Word of the Gay: "Bisexual Erasure"

I decided to try something new, I don't know if I will post them daily but from time to time at least I'd like to showcase Queer terms/words so we can boost our rainbowlicious vocabulary. Is this something you readers are interested in?

"Bisexual Erasure" - This is the conscious or unconscious effort by individuals and groups to ignore, remove, or alter aspects of bisexuality in an effort to diminish the idea that bisexuality is a valid sexual orientation.

16 comments:

Seth said...

I like the idea. This was certainly one where I knew of the concept, but didn't know there was a term for it.

CrackerLilo said...

Yes, I'm interested, and not just 'cause the first entry is a pet peeve of mine. Even all the news stories calling it "gay" rather than "same-sex" marriage, and referring to "gay and lesbian" couples, is bisexual erasure. I am a bisexual woman in a same-sex (I will also accept "female") marriage. I am not a lesbian, nor am I in a lesbian marriage. I have never been "straight" or in a "straight relationship" either, though I have loved men.

If you read last night's blog entry, in which I talk about my wife and then urge readers to vote a NASCAR driver into the All-Star Race because he promised to run a lap naked, you'll see why "lesbian marriage" isn't entirely accurate for me!

Miss Vicki said...

you know i'm interested! it's almost like where did they come up with these words? and now i'm reading Bisexual Erasure -- okay (smile).

Have a Good Weekend!

Cheryl said...

I think bi erasure sometimes happens because it tries to name a point in the middle of a spectrum, which can be even less accurate than trying to articulate its ends. Sometimes "gay" means "mostly attracted to the same sex, but I do like me some naked NASCAR guys," and "straight" can mean "mostly attracted to the opposite sex, but I totally fantasize about that girl at the bookstore."

So does bi mean that small subset of people who are truly 50/50 in their feelings? Or does it mean almost everybody, which makes it a not-so-useful term?

Ceara said...

I used to get 'Girlfriends' before it went out of publication and they would have a section on GLBT terms I loved it. Excellent idea.
C

missnomered said...

My mom once said she doesn't believe in bisexuality. As in, it apparently doesn't exist.

To quote Lea DeLaria, "It's not the tooth fairy or the easter bunny. Your belief isn't necessary."

Ry said...

What do they say? "Oh, you have to be attracted to ONE sex. There's a law somewhere". Why is it so damn hard to accept that somebody might be attracted to one or more genders? And if they're doing that- you can't expect pan or a to get much more respect.


So does bi mean that small subset of people who are truly 50/50 in their feelings? Or does it mean almost everybody, which makes it a not-so-useful term?
I think it means you're closer to 50/50. I know straight girls who could never see themselves attracted to a girl, lesbians that are the same about boys, and a bisexual girl who likes both even if she might prefer one or hte other. (I don't know many guys, okay?)

If you can say "I could never see myself in a relationship or having sex with a man even if I appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the naked male form", you're probably gynosexual and not bisexual. If you can say "I could see myself in a relationship or having sex with either a man or woman, even if I prefer one" you're probably bisexual. Overall labels fail miserably, though.

Queers United said...

Thanks for your feedback and comments everyone. I will def keep up Word of the Gay lol.

I think Bisexual Erasure is very real, and very unfortunate. Bisexuality seems to scare not only the straight population but also a large segment of the gay population. I think a lot of gay people feel bisexuals make gays look confused, or that a bisexual is not trustworthy and so they seek to diminish the idea that bisexuality is real, healthy, and natural. Things are changing over time but there is still much work to do, The T and the B still get the second hand in the LGBT community.

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad that you have given attention to this topic. The biphobia I've faced in life is so sad, and a lot of it oddly enough comes from the gay community as much as the straight. I'm glad there is a day out there for us. I was always so stunned at LA Pride to see zero bisexual visibility. So, I painted myself up and jumped out there. It's SO necessary for exposure and acceptance of bisexuality to exist. HAPPY BI PRIDE!

Lucis_Ferre said...

"No, I'm bisexual, *you're* confused".

That's one of my favorite sayings. People may be "confused" because bisexual erasure *IS* a real phenomenon, albeit a confluence of different motivations and from different people. I find it a bit annoying that female bisexuality is given the green light, even in mainstream media, (often inaccurately termed "hot lesbian romp"), while male bisexuality is reviled and called "deviant gay sordid affair", etc. I think one reason there is such animosity towards bi's from the lesbian/gay and trans community is that bi's generally are not part of that community, especially if we are not currently in a same-sex relationship. A community is defined by who is and who is not part of that community, and we bi folk defy that border and distinction.

*Communities despise interlopers.*

Also, people tend to socially define themselves by their participation in their respective community, and we bi interlopers threaten that identity (sorry, we didn't mean to). So, why would we seek to ingratiate ourselves towards people that show open animosity towards us, and often make us feel about as welcome as John Rambo in Hope Washington?

Anonymous said...

I've been bi all my life. So is my wife. People don't get it, and that's okay.

We're strongly believing Christians, and we know that God loves us anyway. So there, Southern Baptists!

rdhowell71 said...

I came across this posting quite a bit after the fact. I feel like someone had said in an earlier post that labels do fail miserably. I am bit peeved myself because one, I get told I am not gay enough when it comes from a straight person's perspective because supposedly I don't act gay enough in their mind's eye so to speak. What the hell's up with that? Not gay enough? So what the heck is a stereotypical gay person look like or act like? Second, I have also been told there's no way I am gay because I can admire a woman as to how she looks. I know for for a fact I am in the love Reba and Dolly. So I guess I am straight right? Not so my friend, my libido does not heat up when thinking of these woman in a sexual way if I where to do that. My libido only goes into overdrive when I think about men and how much I want to be in bed with them.

Anonymous said...

Im a bisexual female and I don't know what to do if people find out.I want to be proud but I don't want people at school to judge me.And it's not the fact that people will know its because I might lose my friends. Two of my friends already know and they support me and has stuck by me forever and both of them are male but what if me female friends find out they will try to keed a distace from me. my mom supports me as well as my grandmother but my dad said he would be mad at me. Should i care he hasn't been any special person iin my life he never cared about me anyway. I've always been trash to him, so i'm not going to change for him no matter what. And who cares,and if my friens find out i dont need them because i have you friends who will support my choses and will help me through life as a bisexual female that is only in the middle school!Thank you for being there for people like me!

hermitknut said...

anonymous who posted 12:19 - I'm a bisexual nineteen-year-old girl, and I know a little what you mean. I didn't tell anyone apart from my best friends at senior school, but now I'm at uni I'm part of the LGBT and normally have pride badges on my bag. I've found that people can be accepting. I'm lucky that I have very awesome parents, but even so I was terrified of telling them in case they suddenly got weird about it. I eventually got up the nerve when I was out shopping with my mum, but instead of just explaining it I burst into tears in Waterstones and said that I might come back from uni with a girlfriend OR a boyfriend... it was a bit embarrassing :D. I'm sorry about your dad, but keep your courage, there are people out there who will love you for who you are, I promise. Be proud, hun - and remember no one who refuses to accept who you are deserves to be your friend.
Hk.

Anonymous said...

I just read all of the Word of the Gay entries. I approve.

Anonymous said...

Bisexuals don't need the rainbow. We will NOT lose our Bi flag visibility to any rainbow. As we respect the Gay and Lesbian rainbow, I ask we ALL remember that Bi's have our own colors and so do the transgender people. "Working together, works."

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