Bisexual issues, writers and representation have been a part of Autostraddle since our beginning; every day and in every way we’re here on the home page and behind the scenes, writing, editing, emailing, tweeting, Photoshopping our team members’ faces onto stock photos for important post graphics, pushing the envelope when it comes to ways to use the Dolly Parton emoji in Slack. But those things aren’t always visible, and we aren’t always as visible as we could be. We don’t always write about bisexuality — we’ve multifaceted people who live at a lot of intersections, and we cover a lot of topics — but for the sake of visibility today, let’s take a look through some of the best writing we’ve ever published on bisexual issues. Most of these are written by bisexual people, some are written by allies of ours on topics related to bisexual representation or experience, some are written by super amazing famous people like Roxane Gay or Gaby Dunn or our interview with Mara Wilson; all of them are great. Some of the comment sections on these pieces got dicey, because that’s unfortunately the nature of covering bisexual issues on the internet; please keep that in mind when reading and refrain from contributing from any fights in the comments, which will only reignite issues for the original author.
This is, of course, only a fraction of what we’ve published by and about bisexuals, and we are very excited at the prospect of publishing much more in the future!
I decide that every time I can, I will say the words My Ex-Girlfriend and I do, all the blood rushing to my face as I try to make the mentions seem off-hand or casual, searching my father’s face for any sign of surprise, or recognition or understanding. At one point, I think he nods. But he does not address it outright, and I cannot bring myself to do so when we say goodbye. After he gets in his car, drives away, I stand outside with my brother as he smokes a cigarette, mentally kicking myself.
Mara Wilson Knows Your First Crush Was Miss Honey: The Autostraddle Interview, interview by Audrey
I did not know if I was ever going to come out publicly. I’m not exactly paparazzi material, but I do remember worrying “What if I’m out on a date with a woman or someone non-binary, and someone sees and tweets about it?” I had hinted at it on Twitter, and thought maybe I would just be one of those kind of Bi/Queer women who never makes a statement, you just see them dating a woman one day. (Ideally, that woman would be Janelle Monae or Kate McKinnon.) But I had already had a rough month, full of loss and stress, and the Orlando attack really shook me. I was sad, frustrated, scared. It was an impulsive decision, emotional rather than rational, but I guess at that moment I didn’t want to hide anymore.
Anne of Green Gables Is Obviously Bisexual, by Heather
“We must join hands—so,” said Anne gravely. “It ought to be over running water. We’ll just imagine this path is running water. I’ll repeat the oath first. I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and moon shall endure. Now you say it and put my name in.”
“In the 70s we fought very hard to break the labels out,” said black bi elder ABilly Jones-Hennin. “I was part of the movement in the 70s, and we started to say that it is important for the public to recognize that there are lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks.”
I was out as a bisexual, but it mostly served as a way for these male friends to ask insulting questions with impunity. And because I didn’t know any better, I saw this as a hazard of friendship. This was my lot in life; the chill bisexual who took it as a compliment when she was referred to exclusively as “the girl” by her male group of friends. It wasn’t until I was 25 years old that it occurred to me that I could seek out other queer woman and surround myself with them instead. And not just “could,” but that doing it was vital to my sanity and my success. It was something I can’t believe I’d ever gone without.
We get a lot of feedback and questions from bi women who date men and/or who are in long-term relationships with men; while there’s bucketfuls of information out in the world about dating men, it’s aimed at straight people and doesn’t touch upon a lot of what comes up in different-gender relationships for bisexual people, and queer women’s spaces tend not to discuss the issue in much depth. Many of our bi staff and writers who date men have the same issues and questions. So many women feel like there isn’t a space to talk about their experiences in this area. So! That brings us here; we’ve tried to make the space we want to see in the world in the form of this open thread.
More Than Words: Bi Bi Bi, by Cara Giaimo
Bisexual people have suffered disproportionately from invisibility, erasure, biphobia, terrible representation on The Real L Word, shockingly low emotional and physical health, and even worse New York Times headlines than most identity groups. The bisexual community struggled for decades to reclaim a word in order to describe an identity that still slips through the cracks. While communal quests for inclusivity are noble — and it would be great to find an umbrella term that all the people it covers want to stand under — we have to make sure that, in searching, we don’t negate that history.
The Internet, and actually also real life, can be a minefield for people who want to learn about or talk about bisexuality. The effort of trying to sift through the straight-up biphobia and the fetishizing porn aimed at straight men can wear you out long before you manage to find anything helpful, insightful, or illuminating. To try to make this process a little easier, we’ve compiled a starter of a list of resources. Here you’ll find academic books and nonfiction books documenting the experiences of bisexual people, fiction or memoir that depicts bisexual people, and a few online resources.
You Need Help: Do I Call Myself Bisexual?, by a roundtable of bi team members
In terms of what will resonate personally with you most, and what you want to call yourself inside your own head, that’s a different conversation. What do the words queer or bisexual mean to you?
The Second to Last Woman I Loved, by Roxane Gay
I had gotten in the habit, you see, of dating women who wouldn’t give me what I wanted, who couldn’t possibly love me enough because I was a gaping wound of need. I couldn’t admit this to myself but there was a pattern of intense emotional masochism, of throwing myself into the most dramatic relationships possible, of needing to be a victim of some kind over, and over, and over. That was something familiar, something I understood.
“How long have you known you were bisexual?” she asked one day. We were in my bed; she spoke into my shoulder with her arms around me. I don’t remember what I told her. Months later, I found a folded-up note in my locker, which was not unusual; it was unusual that it concluded with “What I’m trying to say is I love you.” I folded it back up immediately and hid it between the outer case and inner body of my graphing calculator and went to class. I never told her I had read it; it would have required admitting something was real that I wasn’t ready to believe in, a version of myself I wasn’t ready to believe was possible.
It sucks that your girlfriend has had these negative experiences with other women! It really does! But her ex-girlfriends aren’t every bisexual woman. And more importantly, you aren’t her ex-girlfriends. You’re you. And your girlfriend has a responsibility to deal with the baggage she’s brought into this relationship; while you can certainly support her in doing that, it’s not your job to contort yourself to fit how she’s feeling
Alice could easily be a lesbian who slowly came to her true sexual identity after believing she was bisexual; this is also realistic. And Tina’s cheating on Bette – a relationship that was on the fritz anyway – isn’t necessarily a problem absent a cultural stereotype of bi people as cheaters. People of all sexual orientations cheat, after all. Certainly, none of these situations are necessarily unrealistic. So is it merely a lack of diversity in experiences, or are they problematic on their own?
Compiled from the wisdom of numerous reports, online resources and experts, here are five ways that you can take care of your own health in the face of high risks, economic pressures and often incompetent care providers.
Becoming Visible: On Coming Out as Bisexual, by a roundtable of bi staff members and readers
In high school I tried to embrace it, but all of the girls I ever wanted to date ended up with the boys I wanted to date. I wasn’t ashamed of it or anything, but my fear of rejection prevented me from ever approaching women outside of the context of hooking up at parties. By the time I got to college, I was so used to downplaying my sexuality that I didn’t feel “queer enough” to be a member of the queer community.
It’s going to GLBTQ functions and talking about race, and people who are differently abled and their needs and talking about all of these specific things (water, energy etc) and even talking about my issues with depression. These are all things that don’t get talked about in a really transparent way and I think that’s so important to being in the queer world: honesty and transparency, because that’s where we find our liberation.
I was shy and single and in the market to go out for a series of awkward drinks with foxy strangers, so I clicked the box that made the most sense and moved on with my life.
Can we really expect the UK Home Office to believe the stories of bisexual asylum seekers (and others who deviate from expected gay narratives, including those who came out later in life and asexual people) when gay activism and media coverage often replicate similar dynamics of biphobia and bi invisibility? Non-monosexual asylum seekers are not only interrogated on their sexual and relationship histories but are expected to “display” their sexuality in rigid, restricted ways even while in the UK, when it is exactly scrutiny of their sexual orientation and lives that they are escaping.
Evan Rachel Wood is Bisexual, by Riese
Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual is Just Like Us!
In college, my long-distance boyfriend who I loved a beautiful, frightening amount for a very hard 17 months gave me a pass to kiss girls while drunk. We never talked much about why I wanted to do that. It just seemed like the thing to do. Texas, my glorious, red as blood Texas, was already a weird place to grow up as an anti-death-penalty, skeptical-of-capitalism vegetarian. What if queerness meant Texas wouldn’t feel like home? What if queerness meant my skin wouldn’t feel like home?
Coming Out As An Amorphous Weirdo, by Stef
From what I’d heard, this was the sort of thing I should have figured out during puberty, or (as the cliche goes) at the very least experimented with in college. I was fairly certain I was still attracted to boys, but my eyes had been opened to a whole new world of possibilities. At the same time, the terms I’d heard (“bisexual,” “pansexual,” whathaveyou) did nothing for me, and I felt like none of these things directly applied to me. Sometimes I’d look at my friends who were just straight or just gay, or hear people on this very website confidently talking about how they’d known they were gay since they were little kids, and tried to imagine being so certain about anything.
His Girl Has A Girlfriend: On Bisexuality in Hip-Hop, by Brittani
Hip hop and R&B remain genres fraught with tension when it comes to relations with the LGBTQ community. Between Nicki Minaj’s faux bisexuality and Chris Brown’s what-seems-like-weekly homophobic rants, who would’ve thunk that male artists would be so affirming of the queer lady lifestyle…kind of? In these industries, being a gay male is equated with weakness and failure as it’s the exact opposite of the “I got bitches” mentality that’s so prevalent. Why then are lady loving ladies the holographic Charizard card of urban music?