I am in the middle of writing a cheerful, if somewhat personal, post about several different labels (specifically bisexual, queer and pansexual) that people who fancy people of more than one gender use and why.
This is not that post. This is the post that I tried to shoehorn into that other post when I came across an article, but that couldn’t fit into it because holy fucking ignorance, Batman, and there is no space for all the swearing I would really like to do in an article like that.
That post will happen, but not today.
Today, you see, I’m somewhere between outraged and actively hopping mad at the biphobic, cissexist drivel dressed up as inclusivity that is this article from Kaylee Jakubowski at Everyday Feminism that claims to define pansexuality. Before we start on everything that’s wrong with the article, though- starting with the title- let’s take a look at what is perfectly reasonable. Like this definition of pansexuality:
Pan-“ is a Greek prefix referring to “all” or “every” coming together as one.
…Putting this together with “-sexual”, which I’m sure we recognise as referring to one’s own sexual desires and habits, creates a word that roughly means “someone who is attracted to all sexes and genders of people.”
Perfect. If Jakubowski had stopped here, I would have had zero issues with this article.
Continue reading “The Case Of Pansexuality 101 And The Sea Of Biphobia And Gender Erasure.”
Kanika Ameerah left what I feel is a really important comment on last week’s post Boundaries, thresholds and love: why it’s time to take back ‘bi’. Here’s what she had to say:
I personally don’t identify as bisexual, and find the word problematic not because of the gender binary issue, but because I find it too simplistic to encompass the various types of orientations, identities and experiences in one neat term.
There are some people who are biromantic, and can love either gender, while others are more fluid in orientation. Then there are many people who strongly prefer one gender for relationships, while their attraction to the other is more physical. I believe that the aforementioned scenarios are all completely different orientations, and should be seen as such.
I responded in comments, but I want to bring it up here because it’s related to an incredibly important point that I hadn’t thought of until I read it. I think, you see, that I was wrong. Continue reading “We Are Bisexualised: Wherein I was wrong.”
In what we call the bi+ or nonmonosexual communities, we have a problem with words. We have so many words to describe ourselves, not one of which keeps us all happy. We in-fight, we argue, and when we do, the word that takes the worst of the damage? Is ‘bisexual’.
I want to argue for ‘bisexual’. I want to say that bisexuality is nothing to do with men and women, nothing to do with binary gender or any of the accusations levelled against it. I want to say that it is, in fact, the single word that best describes the particularities of our experiences, and that has the potential to be incredibly politically powerful if we allow it to be. I want to argue that when we talk about nonmonosexuality, the most important thing isn’t the precise genders or gender presentations of the people we fancy. While that is really interesting to us all on personal levels, when it comes to representation and activism, it shouldn’t be our main focus. Instead, our focus should be on the ways in which society- including us, because we are part of society- behaves towards those of us who are attracted to and/or have (had) relationships with people of more than one gender.
This isn’t about relationships. It’s not about the people who you or I do or don’t fancy. It’s not about the precise nature of any of our own sexual/romantic orientations. It’s not about who you or I love, or about what that love feels like- although those are immensely valuable conversations to have within our communities, and I hope we keep having them for a long, long time.
This is about political reasons to use, or not to use, particular words. Continue reading “Boundaries, thresholds and love: why it’s time to take back ‘bi’”