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’”