A few weeks ago, Salon published a piece called "I'm a Lesbian Marrying a Man" by EJ Levy. It spurred lots on conversation in online spaces about sexual orientation labels, how they are defined, how they are assigned, and who gets to claim them. Some of these conversations were hard. Bisexuals are tired of getting erased, but what if a person who appears to be behaving as a bisexual rejects the label? Each of us gets to choose how we identify, but how might this effect the bisexual community?
Writer AJ Walkley published a commentary in The Advocate today that explores some of the issues: "Op-ed: Aversion to the Big Bad B Word Continues". She talks about her own experiences as a bi woman in a relationship with a cisgender male partner:
"I can understand how falling in love with a man after identifying as a lesbian could be a very scary thing for someone who has identified strongly with that label and the community and politics that go along with it. During my own sexual evolution, after coming out as bisexual I only felt welcome in certain LGBT+ spaces if my partner were female or genderqueer. When I became involved with a cisgender man, I was terrified my queer card would be taken from me by others who saw me as retreating to the safety of presumed heterosexuality. In fact, my fear and anxiety over losing my community led to a lot of relationship problems with my then-boyfriend as a result. It wasn’t until I discovered the booming bi community online and realized that there were plenty of happy bisexuals in different-gender relationships that I started to feel more comfortable with my own relationship, coming to terms with the fact that my current partner did not negate my bisexuality whatsoever."
Here, Walkley discusses some of her concerns about a person who appears to be bisexual publicly rejecting the term:
"In my view, continuing to identify as a lesbian doesn't work here, because it throws a wrench into both the lesbian community she wants to remain affiliated with, and the bisexual community she's negating entirely. A real concern is the potential for it to create even further confusion about an already marginalized and widely maligned community. Unlike LGBT-specific spaces where such an article can be framed within a “queer theory” discussion, Salon, like many mainstream news organizations, can be bi-erasing, often even when reporting on the overall LGBT population. And because of that, there's the possible danger that comes in the ability for a queer youth’s parents to use such an article to “prove” that their child can choose heterosexuality."
Read the entire commentary here.
October 2-4, 2020
Location Wellstone Center, St. Paul, MN
Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.
Within the next five years grow Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) into a successfully-run Upper Midwest nonprofit organization with annual funding of $100,000 that provides community building, education, and advocacy for the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community and our allies.