Yo! That’s Not Cool #4: Barista Crush

Yo! That’s Not Cool is a monthly cartoon by Brittney Williams

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Brittney Williams

I make comics, cartoons and bad decisions in Los Angeles. You can call me Britt.

Brittney has written 20 articles for us.


    • Added to clarify: I myself am a non-monosexual person. When I say “accuracy”, it’s because I went through a very similar situation several years ago, and when I finally talked to the person about my feelings she told me in her own words that she was straight. So I immediately related to this comic and felt that it was an accurate representation of my experience.

      When I look past my own experience though, I fully understand why the story as it’s presented in this comic contributes to bi-erasure and has caused offense and hurt amongst bi/pan people. Though I’ve never been in this position myself, I can definitely understand how frustrating and exhausting it would be if I had to constantly and loudly reassert my identity due to my choice of partner. I’m sorry if my offhand comment above about “accuracy” contributed to that hurt.

      I do think it’s worth considering that the author also may have found out later on that this person self-identifies as straight (as I did in my experience), and that part simply got left out of this depiction; that wouldn’t change the fact that this anecdote was presented in an unfortunate way, but it may have been unintentional.

      Personally, this has caused me some introspection into the fact that even though I can be attracted to different genders myself, I still do subconsciously make snap assumptions about other people, and I have more work to do to reverse that tendency. I think it’s important for all of us to realize that these kinds of ingrained thought patterns take a lot of time and effort to overcome, and I personally choose to give people the benefit of the doubt that they’ll be willing to do that work once it’s brought to their attention, rather than assuming ill-intent. I’ve greatly enjoyed Brittney’s other work and I think she is a valuable member of this community, so I hope this experience can be an opportunity for increased mutual understanding and growth.

      • You know what, I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I want a sequel. Like, what happened there?? Was she really straight? Why on earth did she never mention the boyfriend before? Did she just meet him the week before? Or is it a sign of her being straight and oblivious? queer and oblivious? oblivious to what happened? to her sexuality? Maybe even wilfully ignorant? Or were there no signs (or, signs that she could recognize) of being hit on? What happened then – they were sort-of friends, after all? Is she right now writing a comic of her own about that time as a baby bi? … I did consider the having made sure afterwards thing, only I think the being sick directly part doesn’t speak to that, even though it still might have happened later. /conjecture

        (I was publicly sick from emotional shock/ physical reasons once, in a bus, so that part is really staying with me. I hope everyone’s ok.)

        • Are you asking these questions of me or the author? Haha. My situation was similar but not identical, so I can’t answer all of them, but yes I do think there was some obliviousness and possibly some willful ignorance or denial going on. I do not care to speculate further at this time :P

          I thought the throwing up part in the comic was more about the excessive caffeine than the revelation of a boyfriend, but I could be wrong.

          • re: throwing up, obviously I don’t know about baby gay Brittney’s situation here. When it happened to me though, I sure did have a stomach bug infection developing (I even knew where I got it), but it just so happened to break out 15 minutes after I got really devastating news over the phone, in public transport. I had a plastic bag with some small purchases in it, and it was all I could do to halfway open it. It absolutely felt like my body reacting to my being completely shattered by that phone call, refusing to deal, or dealing by getting rid of everything – and that was what the scene in the comic felt like to me and made it so incredibly relatable. I’m aware I can totally be wrong, but that’s part of what constitutes the strength of the comic, IMO.
            Re: questions, I meant the comic. I just got so curious the longer I thought about it! As I read it, it’s intended to have this pretty straightforward plot twist/ message, but the unintentional bi erasure in it destroys that, leaving an open space with all this bewildering potential for conjecture as to all of the different possible explanations and/or endings. And to me it’s like a logical puzzle, I can’t stop trying to make everything fit, and there always seem to be new possibilities turning up.

  1. I remember developing a crush on a babe at a conference. I checked it all: she had Butch swagger, short nails, and a triangle as a pendant! Started hitting on her (was getting really good eye contact!) … and then I found it she was straight.

    I got drunk at the open bar and then proceeded to ask her why she thought she needed to wear a triangle pendant, couldn’t we have just the one shape? Didn’t the straights have all the other shapes already?

    • I was going to say, “Someone needs to explain to her that she can only wear a triangle if it has a circle inside and a line through the center.” So I was pleased to read that you addressed the issue. What on earth did she say?

  2. But…but…..what if she liked more than one gender and was totally into you and broke up with Red Snapback (which, gay) that very same day and was planning to ask you out the next morning except you stopped coming there for ‘work’???? I don’t want to upset you and fill your soul with doubt and what ifs and this is just me projecting my own baby gay crushes onto your adorable heart-shaped one and still not fully accepting that YES ROUS THEY WERE 200% HETERO LET IT GO

    • This is an important point though, that the rainbow pin is probably intentionally worn so that everyone doesn’t assume they’re straight based on the boyfriend.

      (But they’re still taken, so please carry on with the LETTING IT GO)

  3. Oh, if only I could get back the money (not to mention the time and dignity) I spent at stores just so I could be near a sales clerk / barista I had was crushing on!

  4. Huh, I’m feeling some bi-erasure feelings along with “wow I’m glad I don’t worry about what lesbians or straight people think of me anymore not like I used to as scared anxious child anyway feelings.”

    But seriously this why don’t own or wear any rainbow things only bi-pride flag things.

    • It should probably just say “make sure she’s available!” Because drinking all that coffee would have been just as pointless if she were kissing her committed girlfriend. :)

    • Yeah you have to wear ALL THE PINS. Like I’m bi and poly and that reaction is exactly what I’m afraid people must be thinking if I ever gather enough courage to actually act on my feelings, so it really has to be the bi pin AND the poly/ RA pin, plus maybe a genderqueer and a neurodiversity one, because obviously how else should people ever guess, right? Also all those conversations with a crush where you are supposed to inconspicuously weave in like five to eight different identities over the course of 20 minutes just so you aren’t written off as a cheater/ straight/ horrible person/ not interested. … I mean sarcasm aside I keep catching myself making the same assumptions about other people. And obviously there really are such a lot of straight people using rainbow symbols that it really feels less probable than someone being into more than one gender AND poly at the same time, so it’s all a huge mess.

      • This is why denim vests are bi/m-spec standard apparel. How else can you signal that you’re not mono without people assuming about your gender or preferences or destroying a favorite shirt? TGIF got nothin’ on our flair.

    • I started wearing a rainbow flag pin and a bi pride pin to signal that I’m not straight even though I have a male partner but I’ve been surprisinged by how many people don’t know what the bi colors mean or just assume I’m straight when they see me with my husband.

      • cleo, so true! I prefer e.g. the relationship anarchy symbol to the poly one just because it’s so much more intuitive. I find it a comforting thought that at least other bi/ poly people will know. And straight people will ignore everything anyway and even when you scream it into their faces on their favorite, now ruined,holiday will have forgotten all about it next week, so no use wasting time on subtleties like which color pin there.

        • Yes! The unexpected benefit of wearing bi pride colors has been meeting other bi people. And that’s been awesome.

      • Yeah, this comic went quickly from being cute to making me feel awful. Another reason for me to feel like my identity as a bi/queer woc is invalidated because I have a male partner.

      • “This makes me remember why I stopped hanging out with lesbians.”

        WOW, that surely doesn’t sound prejudiced, huh? You know what’s funny, I’ve met many bisexual women who were borderline lesbophobic, denying that my sexuality even exists because “sexuality is fluid”, “everyone is bisexual” and basically if I tried I could be with a guy, it’s only a matter of labels we put ourselves into, and that I wasn’t born gay.

        But I know those were just individuals with limited empathy and closed mind which makes them unable to realize that their own experiences and feelings are not the experiences and feelings of all people in the world, I know that they’re NOT reflection of all bisexuals. And the same could be said about any other group of people. But judging from the likes your comment received, it is obvious that prejudice towards lesbians in general is considered to be something completely acceptable on this site.

      • Jonna, BTW, I checked your profile, you identify as both bisexual AND lesbian? So you hate lesbians for bi-erasure and don’t want to hang out with lesbians at all, but contribute to bi-erasure by telling people you’re a lesbian?

    • I just came back to this post to echo the bi erasure bit. As a genderfluid bisexual/pansexual AND femme-presenting person, I do feel fairly erased by this one. Which sucks because it could have been way more relatable with a simple wording change.

  5. I once had a crush on a cashier at Trader Joe’s. I only went grocery shopping once a week so I would make excuses to run in for a couple items in between shopping trips. I wonder how many times I came through her line with a single banana before she figured something was up…

  6. I think I’ve mentioned before the challenge of the 90’s when everybody was wearing flannel and chain wallets.

  7. ah, i see where you went wrong!

    flannel shirts: queer, check.
    shirts with peter pan collars: queer, check.
    flannel shirts with peter pan collars: 100% straight, not even curious.

    it’s like a double negative.

    • So in case you missed the comment above, isn’t a bisexual presenting herself to people as a lesbian an example of bi-erasure as well?

      And also of lesbian-erasure, considering that it contributes to lesbophobic beliefs that ‘women cannot be really gay’?

      • Amelia, people may check off both lesbian and bisexual for a variety of reasons and it’s not really other commenters’ job to police their choices. Perhaps if lesbians stopped making war with bisexuals, bisexuals would stop making war with us.

        Are you the same Amelia who accused Autostraddle of assuming all women are bisexual by default when they (perhaps mistakenly) labeled Waverly Earp as bisexual? If not, please disregard what follows.

        I seem to remember you claiming that you didn’t have an axe to grind with bisexuals, but were simply deeply upset about accuracy and erasure. And now you’ve shown up on a post that CAN ABSOLUTELY be read as unintentional bi erasure, not to protest the troubling implications of the comic but to demand that Jonna explain her profile to you? Why does everything have to be so combative?

  8. do like any of yall know what the B in LGBT stands for?? or do you just like conveniently ignoring us bi women (or even pan women)
    do any of you even realize that the first organized pride was done by a bisexual woman with a husband? bi women do so much for the community yet we at best go without any acknowledgment and at worst are flat out excluded
    I can expect this sort of outdated biphobia from other publications (cough coughafterellencough cough) but I expected better from autostraddle. glad to know how they really feel about bi and pan women though!

    • “do any of you even realize that the first organized pride was done by a bisexual woman with a husband?”

      I hope so, ’cause we sure have mentioned it a lot! For example:

      + Idol Worship: Brenda Howard, Bisexual Curmudgeon and Mother of Pride (this article is widely cited by bi organizations and other publications when discussing pride & bisexual histories)
      + 18 Influential Lesbian & Bisexual Jewish Women To Remember Today
      + We’ve Always Been Here: Honoring Bisexual History, Imagining Bisexual Futures
      + More Than Words: Pride Rock(s)

        • yes. that’s why i brought this thread up to the senior editors this morning and forced everybody to come to slack on their day off to talk about the best way to address what i perceived to be a mistake we had made and therefore needed to apologize for. i’d written out a comment but rachel said that because it was her mistake as the only editor on the piece, she wanted to take responsibility for it. we talked about how to do that and what should be said and then she commented below. that’s our official response.

          i am a person who loves this website and this community and everybody in it and i go nuts when we publish important content on any topic, it gets minimal traffic and commentary, and then we’re asked “where is your content on ___??” i feel that way regardless of topic. i hop in to point this stuff out all the time, it’s my MO. this person brought up a very specific fact, asking if we were aware of it, and i was like yes!! in fact we’ve written about it!! there’s a lot on this thread and others about our overall content feels unfair and breaks my heart and makes me feel like giving up that i haven’t responded to, as do the multiple tumblrs on the internet dedicated to pointing out how autostraddle is hostile and unsafe for lesbians because we are deliberately inclusive of bi folks. but i just wanted to tell you that yes, we do care about brenda howard very much, and therefore have written about her. that’s all. the conclusions you’re drawing about my intention or attitude… it hurts, i guess, and maybe i should’ve just let it be. i want everybody to feel safe here, and i do everything i can every day to make that happen.

          • I appreciate this comment and that autostraddle & Rachel acknowledge this issue. But I don’t have faith, and that’s nothing against autostraddle specifically, but in the community, queer women, and spaces for queer women (physical or digital) where autostraddle just so happens to fall. More needs to be done. I really don’t understand how any queer woman could read this comic and not recognize the biphobia and bierasure that it’s based on.
            It’s not enough to post about Brenda Howard/bisexuality only to make a joke of us by insinuating that we don’t exist or we’re actually just straight girls out to trick lesbians into developing crushes on us and break their hearts when it’s eventually revealed that we have a boyfriend. It’s inconsistent and makes us question whether or not we’re welcome here at all. It makes us wonder what autostraddle’s stance on bisexuality even is: do you support us or not? Are you here for us or not?
            I know it’s ironic that I’m saying this, but pick a side. Either this is a safe space for bisexual women or it isn’t.
            If it is indeed a safe place for bi women where we are welcomed and support it, then you need to walk the walk, not talk the talk. Don’t hide behind a few articles about bisexuality and bisexual women that you’ve published. Actively work to include us. Part of that is not publishing biphobic stuff like this comic. It’s also publishing more bisexual content written by and for bisexual women. Hire more bi women to be writers and editors and artists, and comment moderators.
            I don’t want you to be taking this personally. You shouldn’t be taking this personally. This is not a critique of who you are or a person or your character. This is simply a call out, and reacting with hurt feelings makes it about you instead of the real issue at hand here: biphobia and bi erasure in spaces that are supposed to be inclusive of all queer women. I can understand why you may take all of this personally and be hurt but I want you to know that’s not the intention here. The point I am trying to make is that bi women are excluded way too often in spaces meant to include us. I was so happy to finally find autostraddle a couple years ago as a Baby Bi because it wasn’t outwardly biphobic. You can and should maintain that reputation, but the only way to do so is to listen to what we’re saying and take it sincerely and seriously, and work to make autostraddle better. You say you want everybody to feel safe here. I want you to prove it.

          • A, I’m confused, are you aware that several Autostraddle editors are bi? That they’ve consistently organised bi only spaces within this site so that bisexual queers can talk about their feelings and the issues of inclusion in the LGBT community?
            * They just did a whole bunch of articles during bi week. These aren’t click baity articles but first person accounts of bi women’s experiences.
            * There’s a plethora of excellent articles, some of the best you can find here: https://www.autostraddle.com/22-of-autostraddles-best-articles-on-bisexuals-and-bisexuality-352961/

            Yes Autostraddle fucked up this time. They’re acknowledging it, owning up to it and probably already reflecting on how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But to tell them that they’re only using bisexuality for clicks is grossly misunderstanding what Autostraddle is and who it is for… This ISN’T a lesbian website who’ll now and again acknowledge bisexual women. This is a queer women’s website who consistently tries to create space for everybody falling under that umbrella.

            That doesn’t mean it never gets it wrong but jeez…

            Also FYI Rachel, who owned up to the fuck up as editor of this very piece, herself identifies as bisexual and I doubt she appreciate you framing it as “us” (bisexual women) vs “them” (autostraddle staff) when she’s part of both communities… So you know, this isn’t as black and white as “lesbians erasing bisexual identities”.

          • @clochou
            I am aware of this yes! Which is partially why I’m so confused…..if there are so many bisexual editors and staff HOW did nobody stop to think “this might not be the best thing to publish”, or how could a publication that has dedicated time and space to bisexual women think this is okay? That’s what I mean by mixed messages, and how it gives us bi women a false sense of security in that we feel we are not only welcomed but celebrated in a specific setting (like autostraddle) only to be erased and the butt of jokes that basically say to us “you’re not REALLY welcome though”.
            This IS a queer women’s website, not a lesbian website that acknowledges bisexuality every now and then, I agree with that. Which is why I’m so confused and hurt. If autostraddle is genuine in wanting to include bisexuals and celebrate us, why is this comic okay at all? Why was it published in the first place? Hell, why is it STILL published even after so much backlash, and acknowledgement from staff that it wasn’t right?
            Honestly, I never even said that it was a “lesbians vs. bisexuals” thing, but rather that bi women are excluded from queer women’s spaces. I don’t like to bring up lesbians when it comes to this because I know that it’s not a lesbians vs. bisexuals dilemma necessarily, just that bisexual women are excluded from our own community, even when we steps are taken to make us feel included! If you want to see it as a “lesbians vs. bisexuals” thing, be my guest, maybe that interpretation is indicative of how spaces designed by and for queer women often prioritize lesbians over bi and pan women because we’re not “as gay” and therefor not as worthy of inclusion and celebration. Considering autostraddle is a space and resource for all queer women, it should try its best to NOT be like that.

          • how could a publication that has dedicated time and space to bisexual women think this is okay?

            Well I’ll quote what Rachel has already explained in her apology:

            90% of the time it’s one person, in this case me, rushing to get something up as soon as it’s ready and then needing to move on to the next task as fast as possible

            … it happens. It doesn’t erase the fact that a lot of you got hurt, but it explains why a site which is created and run for all sorts of queer women will sometimes unintentionally and by accident hurt some of them.

      • that’s not enough, publishing bi stuff for clicks then simultaneously publishing biphobic crap basically says to us “haha! you thought you were included, but not actually. we’ll support you in theory but not in practice.”

        • I’m confused as to how you could think that autostraddle posts bi content “for clicks” when multiple editors are bi?

        • Do you really believe autostraddle post bi content for clicks? Years of posting bi content for money? That seems like a lot of work.

          And what queer girl said.

          • Okay I should clarify here: the phrase “for clicks” probably wasn’t the best to use and I’ll own up to that. What I mean is that it sends a mixed message to bi women & audiences to publish so much bi content only to publish biphobic content for a laugh. It gives us a false sense of security, like we’ve finally found a place that’s accepting and welcoming of all queer women, us included, only to be spat in the face. It serves as a reminder that even women & spaces that consider themselves to be inclusive aren’t REALLY inclusive, we’re still not considered good enough or queer enough.

          • @flamestbh
            Your feelings are valid.
            I’ll be honest I don’t see any phobia, just an experience and a person who acted insensitively.
            I am going off of my experience as a brown person in mostly white queer spaces when I say I don’t understand the severe reaction. Sometime white queers and transfolk say things that are insensitive in certain safe spaces and I have to call those people out. It can be annoying, but expecting perfection from everyone seems to be super high expectations that many people won’t be able to aim for.
            Just my thoughts.

          • @midnightkissed
            I don’t expect perfection from anyone at all. In fact, that’s the reason I’m commenting in the first place: because mistakes are made and we can learn from them. We can work to make wlw spaces more inclusive of bisexuals but only if we can acknowledge where/what needs work (this goes for queer spaces that are incredibly white and cis too: the only way we can make these spaces safer and more inclusive for people of colour and trans people is to listen to what they have to say, especially when we inevitably make mistakes, and work to be better)

        • For some reason, I can’t reply to the comment of yours I’d like to, but I just wanted to say thank you for saying everything that you have. Autostraddle was a godsend to me several years ago when I finally started recognizing and accepting my bisexuality, so to have seen this comic first thing this morning (on top of #bisexual/bisexuality no longer being searchable on Twitter, haaaaa) was an especially-stinging slap in the face.

          • @abelle
            Right! This couldn’t have come at a worse time…just weeks after bisexual awareness week and month, and the same weekend that Twitter decides bisexuality is inappropriate and therefor should not have it’s own tag or search? It all just says to me that we can be celebrated and included in specific times/settings (like bisexual awareness month/week) but outside of that we’re not Really Included at all. It sucks, especially when it comes from someone or something you didn’t expect to come from (like autostraddle)

  9. Maybe…. just maybe…. her rainbow pin was a plea to a monosexual world not to assume she’s straight just because she’s dating a dude. Just saying.

    This is hardly the first time I’ve seen more bi erasure from lesbians than straight people, but it’s depressing every time.

    • I know, right? It’s like you cut your hair to 1” dyed blue and wear all of the butch clothes and try to keep your nails extra short even though you’re a new parent and don’t even shower or sleep or remember how sex is supposed to work and/or feel good any more anyway, but still you go through alllll of the moves just so people *know* you’re out there!
      … and then they see you with your bf and/or kid and it’s like “all those straight people at pride co-opting our symbols, you can’t rely on anything anymore UGH” and it’s basically hopeless and at this point I just eat my vegetables and do my thing, and it’s all gonna be ok one day, or not, and if someone really likes me and is not a horrible person, they’ll know anyway.

    • right like we keep having to over perform and over emphasize our queerness just to be deemed queer enough, but as soon as we have a boyfriend or husband we have our queerness revoked and are demoted to “straight girl that looked and acted like a lesbian” who is apparently out to collect lesbian’s hearts and run off with a guy.
      I’ll wear rainbow headbands, cut my hair short, talk about how much I loved Carol and The Handmaiden just to get the message across that I’m not straight and v much a woman loving woman, but if I do all that while holding a boy’s hand I’m a liar and “actually straight” and have no right to try to look and act as queer as humanly possible because I’m not queer enough

    • “This is hardly the first time I’ve seen more bi erasure from lesbians than straight people”

      How is ONE example of ONE comic by ONE comic writer “more bi erasure from lesbians than straight people”? You’re being hyperbolic just to use it as an excuse to badmouth an entire minority.

      I bet that if someone used their bad experience with some bisexual individual to say “this is not the first time I’ve seen more lesbophobia from bisexuals than straight people” you wouldn’t like that, and rightly so, because it’s classic singling out tactic to instigate and promote prejudice against certain group of people.

  10. You know, as someone who’s both bi and poly and spent almost an hour yesterday thinking about this comic and creating an AS account just for the sake of commenting on it and thinking about how to put everything into words on what is a touchy subject in what is not my first language – I am still relatively calm about the whole thing. And I think I know why. It’s because memories are tricky. I *love* the concept of this series, it’s such a courageous, big-hearted thing to do, and it really pays off by being cute, brilliantly funny and immensely relatable. (And ugh I’m so sorry about all that coffee and the being sick thing!!) So, memories. I’m OLD by now and have learned a lot of stuff, so while I still mess up all the time, I still think I’ve gained a lot of insight over the years about what will hurt people bc of being racist, classist, ableist, sexist, etc. BUT at the time when I could have been considered “baby” anything, I had learned none of that. There were *a lot* of bad choices, hurtful attitudes and questionable helloween costumes. When memories from long ago resurface, they are basically of what another person lived through, but also not, because it was me it happened to, only I was so different back then. How the memory feels and what I think about it is – at least at the outset – defined by the person I was back then, not the person I have become. Even though memories will be renegotiated every time, a lot will fall through the cracks of what I can consciously change, because the default will always be set by then-me. So while someone’s memory can be hurtful to me, there’s still the possibility that they’ve changed a lot in the meantime, but somehow missed the connection to what happened back then. Also, there’s a quite specific baby queer culture that is among others a lot about navigating the question of who’s a good idea to have a crush on in the first place, and the methods of establishing who is and isn’t queer tend to be very simplistic, and obviously erasing every single person that doesn’t fall into two very clear cut camps.

    So tl; dr: I’m actually more hurt by the comments ignoring/ continuing the erasure than by the comic, because that’s rooted in the past and they’re in the here and now. Also I love this comic in general.

    • it’s 100% possible to talk about baby gay experiences like this without being biphobic though. which clearly this artist is incapable of doing

    • not to mention, how do you think baby bisexuals read this? probably with immense shame. the baby gay experience isn’t universal and we shouldn’t have to exclude or be phobic of one kind of wlw in order to uplift another.

      • Thank you. This is the exact kind of thing that kept me confused and dismissive of my own sexuality for years, because since I wasn’t exclusively attracted to women, obviously I wasn’t “queer enough” or at all.

    • Thank you for this comment. <3

      I’m also bi and relatively calm about this comic – although the thread is starting to freak me out (on both sides). Thanks for articulating a way to both enjoy this comic and notice the bi and poly erasure.

      I certainly relate to the baby gay experience of trying to figure how and who to crush on.

      I’ll add that I have a lot of trust built up for this comic and AS and that’s why I’m not in the “OMG stop with the bi-erasure” camp (although I totally get the reaction).

  11. That last panel is exactly why I don’t go to queer events in my city. As a bi woman, I’m very aware of how many people in this community don’t think I’m “actually queer” or “queer enough”. I’m really, really disappointed in Autostraddle for posting something that contributes to bi-erasure like this. That shit HURTS.

  12. Seriously? Bi/queer women exist. And to be honest, I can’t believe that in a site with multiple editors this was approved without a single comment or disclaimer.

  13. I posted this under my comment above but wanted to re-state it here.

    To clarify, when I said “accuracy” in my first comment, it’s because I went through a very similar situation several years ago, and when I finally talked to the person about my feelings she told me in her own words that she was straight. So I immediately related to this comic and felt that it was an accurate representation of my experience.

    When I look past my own experience though, I fully understand why the story as it’s presented in this comic contributes to bi-erasure and has caused offense and hurt amongst bi/pan people. Though I’ve never been in this position myself, I can definitely understand how frustrating and exhausting it would be if I had to constantly and loudly reassert my identity due to my choice of partner. I’m sorry if my offhand comment above about “accuracy” contributed to that hurt.

    I do think it’s worth considering that the author also may have found out later on that this person self-identifies as straight (as I did in my experience), and that part simply got left out of this depiction; that wouldn’t change the fact that this anecdote was presented in an unfortunate way, but it may have been unintentional.

    Personally, this has caused me some introspection into the fact that even though I can be attracted to different genders myself, I still do subconsciously make snap assumptions about other people, and I have more work to do to reverse that tendency. I think it’s important for all of us to realize that these kinds of ingrained thought patterns take a lot of time and effort to overcome, and I personally choose to give people the benefit of the doubt that they’ll be willing to do that work once it’s brought to their attention, rather than assuming ill-intent. I’ve greatly enjoyed Brittney’s other work and I think she is a valuable member of this community, so I hope this experience can be an opportunity for increased mutual understanding and growth.

    • Thanks for this thoughtful comment! Personally, i identify as a lesbian and I’m in a monogamous relationship, but I totally empathize with the bi and poly commenters. Both my girlfriend and I present as femme and I feel like we are often invalidated within the queer community. I tend to feel more comfortable with straight allies because they believe me even more than some queer women.

      On the flip side, I’ve done a lot of soul searching on this feeling and I get why some women/non binary folks can be like this. IMO, it comes from a place of hurt/self protection. I blend and pass a lot more and I don’t deal with open hostility in public spaces. I don’t have people questioning my gender and I’m not called names. That being said when my gf and I want to show affection in a public space we have received negative looks/been on the end of awful comments. It’s hurtful in a way that does make me envious of the universal safety in this same affection for a male partner. Not because I want a male partner, but the world is kinder/more accepting. Just as the world is kinder to my way of presenting.

      All this said, bi erasure is NOT ok and I know it can be so so painful, as is femme erasure and poly/pan erasure and trans erasure. I think empathy and open dialogue are so important. We’re on the same team and there is a lot of pain that we each face due to our identities as queer people.

    • Hey I really appreciate this comment. I think we’ve all been through liking a straight girl only to be broken hearted, and that’s something we can (and should!) talk and joke about. (honestly, the whole falling for a straight girl experience is almost like a rite of passage for us lol)
      Things like this just need clarification and second thoughts. This whole mess could’ve been avoided if the artist and everyone who thought publishing this was a good idea asked: “how do we know this girl is straight? did she SAY she was straight? or are we just running on the assumption that she’s straight because she has a boyfriend, when we know that bi and pan women date men but are also just as queer?”

  14. Firstly, thank you to everybody who pointed out the questions this comic left open and discussed the various ways it could be interpreted and what was hurtful about it. I know these particular lines of discourse have historically been particularly fraught for our community and also to that to be honest these months and weeks have been hard on all of us and that we’re all feeling on edge and raw; I understand feeling upset! Assuming someone is straight just because they have a boyfriend is absurd, and b/c I implicitly trust Brittney, who has dedicated her life to bringing lesbian, bisexual and queer characters to life in comics, to have that level of basic consciousness, I just assumed there was more to the story than could fit into these panels. Specifically, I read that panel as referencing that the author would have to make sure that the person in question was bisexual/queer as opposed to straight; I can see how it could also be read otherwise, and it is on me and my fault as an editor to not have worked to clarify the meaning in the text even if it meant delaying publication; I apologize for that! I would really ask, however, that that error on my part be read as what it is — a human error in an editorial capacity on the part of me, a bisexual editor — and not a referendum on how anyone feels about bisexuals as a group, not Autostraddle and definitely not lesbians as a whole. The publication process isn’t one of universal affirmative consensus that everyone on the editorial staff agrees with and wholeheartedly condones each element of a work; 90% of the time it’s one person, in this case me, rushing to get something up as soon as it’s ready and then needing to move on to the next task as fast as possible. To that end, if you’re upset, I am the person to be upset with, not the site as an entity or an entire demographic. We all genuinely care about everybody here and don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings or make anybody feel erased. Thank you for your patience and compassion; we’ve made mistakes before and will make them again, and I apologize for this one.

    • Thanks, I do appreciate this response and that you didn’t get on the defensive, unlike Riese in a comment in another thread here.

      • Please go back and read Riese’s second response – her first reply was not defensive, it was a straightforward response to a mistaken assumption embedded in a comment that frankly was filled with totally unjustified accusations.

        • Also it’s easy to personally attack someone then accuse them of being defensive when they reply like ?????

    • Hi @internrachel !
      First I wanna thank you for acknowledging this whole stramash, I do appreciate that. I’m just wary and still concerned. Acknowledging and apologizing when you mess up is admirable, and again I want you to know that I am thankful to you for that. But an apology in a comment isn’t enough.
      This comic has gotten so much backlash and if you and autostraddle are genuinely sorry for the message that it sent to bisexual readers, why is it still published at all? It makes your apology and acknowledgment feel more like a PR move than a real step towards maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all queer women, particularly bisexuals. I don’t think it’s enough to leave an apology in the comments where most people won’t even see or read it, while this comic itself can still be shared and the message it sends still be passed around. It’s the digital equivalent of apologizing for a certain behaviour but continuing to do it anyway.
      I understand that everybody makes mistakes. Hell, I have too! So I appreciate when I’m called out because I want to change my behaviour when I mess up. I think it’s super important to hold each other accountable and I hope for that reason this comic is taken down, because I fear it’ll continue to be shared by people who find this sort of biphobia and bi-erasure funny and even read the the comments and apology within them. Especially considering this comic was published the same weekend that Twitter decided to completely block the bisexual tag and make it unsearchable? It’s overwhelming and really disappointing and I know autostraddle is so much better than that. So it would mean a lot if the comic itself was taken down, which if you and autostraddle really do feel sorry about this, you would do in a heartbeat.

  15. I was going to write this as a reply on a couple threads, but thought I’d post it here. I want to share why I, as a bi woman, feel at home and welcome at Autostraddle.

    1 – bi editors and writers. I know that Rachel, Mey, Kaelyn, Casey the lesbrarian and Queer Girl all identify as bi and I’m probably leaving some out.

    2 – the open thread for bi women dating men! More than 1000 comments and thinking about it still warms my heart

    3 – increasing coverage of bi visibility day, including a whole week of articles this year

    4 – track record of acknowledging mistakes and trying to fix them. Like this article.

    5 – Track record of making changes to increase inclusivity. I’ve been reading AS for 3 or 4 years and I’ve felt welcomed. But reading the archives, not so much! When I was relatively new to AS, I stumbled onto a couple posts from 2010 or 2011 with really virulent biphobic flame wars in the comments – and those do not happen now. And I am grateful for whatever changes AS made to stop that – like the current, VERY clear commenting guidelines outlining that bi women exist and belong.

    YMMV of course, and I do understand why so many on this thread feel hurt and angry and betrayed. And I get that. I’m really not trying to argue anyone into trusting AS (although if it worked, that’d be cool;) ). Trust is a deeply personal thing and it can be mysterious and elusive. And I feel compelled to share why Autostraddle’s earned my trust on this issue.

    • Second your feeling. I noticed the potential bi-erasure reading the comic but decided there must be more to the story off screen, because of this trust I have for AS. The clarification from AS is appreciated though. Thank you for posting this comment because I wanted to respectfully share the same feeling, but you put it into words better than I could.

  16. Brittney, I’m sorry your comic elicited the most inane, froth-mouthed reaction possible on this website. A lot of people’s favorite pastime around here is to assume bad faith in the comment section. Welcome.

    • This comment is dripping with words spoken from someone speaking from a place of privilege within the queer community. Bisexual and pansexual humans are constantly discriminated against, not by straight people, but by the gay and lesbian members of our community. So forgive us if we are disheartened and even angry that when we finally feel like we find a place that welcomes and accepts us we see this sort of slap in the face content.

      • Hey Cherisse, I’ve been thinking about this response for a while. I’ve had a kind of knee jerk reaction when a phrase like “privilege within the queer community” is used in this case.

        As I’ve mentioned in an earlier thread, I empathize with your pain. I’m aware of the history and I know this can be a very sore subject for folks. Though I think we need to take a step out and examine that a queer POC may actually be in a more marginalized place within the queer community than SOME who have come out so strongly against this comic. This being said, I want to be clear that I’m not making any assumptions about you and ultimately this marginalization is something that I can only speculate on… it is not my story to tell. I know what it is like to be a white, cis-gender, feminine lesbian. And I have to examine my privilege and what it means to my standing in the world. However, it feels like this is a necessary lens to take when looking at the particular situation.

        It takes real bravery to put your art out there into a world that isn’t always receptive. I do agree that a mistake was made, but I think the comment above this one seeks to validate that bravery, not discriminate against anyone.

        • That’s what’s funny to me. As a poc I deal with microaggressions and insensitivities in queer spaces pretty often and if I acted like this (some of these comments) whenever someone said something insensitive I would have no place to go. I emphasize insensitivity because out right racism is of course never okay. I appreciate people being strong enough to call this comic out but some of the comments are ridiculous and people are projecting their feelings onto other people.
          I couldn’t image telling someone “this is why I don’t hang around white queers and white trans people” like some of the people are saying they don’t hang around bisexuals/lesbians. Maybe I’m soft, but this comment section is has my jaw dropping.

          • I wish it was micro aggressions. But the biphobia in the queer community is more often then not full on aggressions.

            We are told we are faking it, or lying to ourselves.
            We get told things like “no one hates a bisexual more than a lesbian”.
            People ask us if we are at the gay bar/pride/other queer events with our gay friends.
            We are called fag hags, functionally straight, greedy.
            We are made to feel unwelcome in queer spaces if our partner at the time is not the same gender.
            Bi men are called closeted or just experimenting.
            Bi women are accused of just liking girls to turn men on.

            These are not micro-aggressions. These are hurtful, biphobic remarks that are a huge part of the experience of bisexual and pansexual members of our community. When the L, G, & T members of LGBT are the ones we have to worry about more than straight people, there is a bigger problem in our community that is not being addressed. When a space like Autostraddle is supposed to be a safe space for us posts something like this, it hurts a lot more, mirco-aggression or not.

          • Cherisse, are you seriously lecturing a person of color about hostile environments?

            And since when do you have to “Worry” about trans people? Since when are bisexuals less welcome than transgender people? You really need to check YOUR privilege.

          • Oh and how can I forget… you realize that the T in LGBT can have more than one letter? One of those is B. You’re being transphobic.

      • Joanna: You know, I considered leaving the T out of that because while I think bi-erasure is real and something worth talking about, especially in a space held for queer women like this, the plights of trans people are far greater. My decision to include T was because of personal experience. The person that attacked me with the most biphobic hate I have ever faced happened to be a trans person. I should have separated experience.

        • You’re right, you should have. You should also still recognize there are bisexual transgender people too. Thank you for taking a moment to step back and consider these things. It’s appreciated.

  17. Aw, man. It really sucks that I feel like I’m rolling the dice whenever I have a bad day and want to check Autostraddle.

    Half the time it makes me feel better, and the other half it just makes be feel crappier and like I don’t belong on this site. I opened this hoping for a quick chuckle about all the girls I’ve awkwardly crushed on at coffee shops over the years. Unfortunately, I wound up the antagonist…

    Overall, love the comic. Wish it loved me back :/

    • @mareena
      what other materials have made you feel unwelcome as a bi/pan person? Or has been offensive to bi/pan people?
      This is an actual question not trying to be rude. I want to see what others are seeing.

  18. Just because she had an opposite gender partner doesn’t mean she’s straight. More Bi/Pan erasure. Expected better of you, Autostraddle. Sad to see you also embody “you must be this gay” leanings.

    I’ve read some of the replies from editors but you have to know t hat the majority of people are not going to sift through the comments. Most people are seeing this on Facebook or Twitter and just reading the comic and seeing the same old bi-erasure. I would love to see the comic edited to reflect the morals of the site as opposed to leaving all bi/pan people reading it with a huge feeling of hurt that an organization we have grown to trust to include us suddenly slapping us in the face and leaving us feeling once again “not gay enough” to be included.

  19. I’m bi. I appreciated the comic and the responses from the editors. I wasn’t assuming Britt was being biphobic, but that Britt knew the orientation of Britt’s own characters.


  20. A comic is a piece of art. So in itself kind of a ‘first person’ contribution. Plus a creator has to focus on certain aspects, stylize and exagerate to feed a message.
    I feel bad as there often seems to be a competition in being marginalized. And by some, an urge to complain and blame. That’s not cool.

  21. This brought me back to all my time as a baby gay. Spent my freshman year of uni at Starbucks everyday for a cute barista, even when I couldn’t afford it and couldn’t handle any more caffeine.

    Now as a fully formed gay, having already emerged from the soft bosom of Tegan and Sara, my response today would definitely be more of a “Aw shucks, a person in a relationship.” Without noting the person’s sexuality, because current relationship doesn’t really indicate sexuality.
    I adore this comic, very cute.

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