Making troublePosted: March 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Tags: bisexuality, identity, lgbtiq, politics, privilege
I’m a member of the committee of Bisexual Alliance Victoria (Vice President since you asked), and am one of the founding members of that group. We participated in our first (as Bisexual Alliance Victoria) Pride March in early February 2011, and unsurprisingly (to me at least) we received negative feedback from the crowd, “Make a decision”, “Get off the fence”, “Make up your mind”, “No such thing”, etc.
I expected these comments, which really sucks at a queer event, because every time I’ve marched since 2007 as a bisexual, I’ve heard them. Some of our members were really upset by the negativity, and so as a committee we decided to write a media release indicating that we were disappointed with the negativity and that we were working with Pride March Victoria to march prominently and be involved in tackling further biphobia. At the same time, two of our members wrote an article which was published in the Star Observer. This article has also attracted biphobic comments – neatly proving our point.
So I wrote a comment in response to the biphobic comments, which I’ve captured below in the very unlikely event that it doesn’t get through moderation. I started with the lyrics from The Whitlam’s song I will not go Quietly (Duffy’s Song), which I think neatly captures the fight that bisexuals go through constantly at the moment (hopefully less so each year.
One final thing before I get to my comment. The San Francisco Human Rights Commission has put together a paper on biphobia titled, “Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations” which is an eye opening read into the effects of bisexual invisibility and biphobia.
Ok, my comment:
“I will not go quietly
I will not accept your rules
gonna live with myself
before I live with any of you”
(I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy’s Song) – The Whitlams)
I identify as bisexual and have now for 20 years – I’ve never thought I was straight or gay – always bisexual. Yet at the Pride Marches I have been in, when marching with the bisexual community (since 2007), I have been booed, told to decide, told to get off the fence, and had my sexual identity derided.
Let me be very clear here – this is a queer event (Pride March) and so is attended by a large number of gay and lesbian Melburnians. At this queer event, I have had my sexual identity called into question and made fun of.
I’m made of relatively strong stuff, and so laugh at bigots who tell me that I’m being dishonest when identifying as a bisexual, but there are bisexuals who aren’t made of teflon coated kevlar like me – and do you think that it is fair to tell them that they’re wrong with their own identifiers? Do you think it’s ok for you to identify someone else on their behalf without any consultation?
I wish it wasn’t the case that the way SOME gay and lesbian people treat bisexuals mirrors quite closely the persecution that gay and lesbians fought against for years. I wish it were actually true that those who don’t believe that bisexuality exists actually spent some time listening to bisexuals about their lived experience and let us decide whether we exist or not.
We’re not a danger to you. We don’t dilute your movement. Like any group of individuals in any community, there are always arsehats, but no one should take them as representative – just as broader society is learning not to take gay or lesbian or women arsehats as representative of an entire group.