General Posts · Sexuality & Gender

On Bisexuality

bisexual

I want to talk a bit about bisexuality/biromanticism, because every time I think the biphobia is finally dying down and we can have a moment of piece, something new rears its head and ruins my day.

To start, here is the definition of bisexuality according BiNet USA, a non-profit that advocates for the bisexual community.

bisexual2
(Photo from BiNet USA’s blog)

To summarize, in case that was a bit confusing (it took me a couple times to fully parse it the first time I saw it), bisexuality/biromanticism is the ability to be sexually and/or romantically attracted to two or more genders. Some bi people may be attracted to men and women. Some may be attracted to women and nonbinary people, while others may be attracted to men and nonbinary people. Some may be attracted two, three, four, or any number of genders. For example, I am attracted primarily attracted to women and nonbinary people, and occasionally, but rarely, attracted to men. My attraction to men is usually aesthetic and rarely develops past that into anything sexual or romantic.

It depends on the person. Everyone’s bisexuality is different and just as valid as mine, yours, and the bi person down the block.

Now, onto the reason for this blog post.

I’m sure many of you are on twitter and saw the biphobic mess that began on Friday, April 14 and was on-going even through yesterday, April 18. Wounds are still fresh from that, but I had hoped today would be better. That maybe we could make it through the day without one of my identities being thrown under the bus, yet again.

But then I logged on to twitter and was scrolling my feed, only to find a listing for a new book from one of the queer publishers I follow. So I clicked the link. And immediately wanted to rip my eyeballs out so I would never have to read this blurb ever again.

Trigger warning for biphobia in the following book blurb.

Logan Vanderveer has a joke he’s been telling since college: he’s ninety-five percent straight. He did some experimenting in school, but none of the men he fooled around with inspired him to abandon “the plan”: meet a nice girl, get married, and settle down, just like his parents always said.

None of them except Ellis Floyd, who aroused desires and feelings that scared Logan. So much so that he abandoned their burgeoning relationship just as it might have become something. But four years later, Ellis is back, and Logan finds himself questioning his sexuality in a big way.

Ellis doesn’t fit into Logan’s plan. He’s happy being a starving artist, whereas Logan has sold his soul to corporate America. Ellis is ripped jeans, and Logan is tailored suits. And, most notably, Ellis is out. But seeing him again is dredging up memories—like how it feels to kiss Ellis, and that time they almost went all the way. With chemistry like theirs, Logan isn’t sure he can—or should—keep ignoring the other five percent.

The book is THE OTHER FIVE PERCENT by Quinn Anderson, published through Riptide Publishing, to be released July 10, 2017.

First of all, the title is biphobic in and of itself, but I did not know what it was referencing when I clicked the link. But then I read the above blurb, where the main character is called “ninety-five percent straight.” I had to read over it multiple times to make sure I was seeing it correctly. I am astounded that a queer publisher, staffed by queer people, could think this was okay. In the past, Riptide has been a wonderful ally and has published many amazing books, but this is something I can’t let slide.

Sexuality is not a joke. Bisexual people are not part straight, part gay. We are 100% bisexual. Do not try to shove us into your binary, because not only does that erase our bisexuality, but it succeeds in erasing the identity of people who do not fit into the man/woman gender binary.

When the book goes up on NetGalley, I will request it to see if the biphobia is any worse in text, but honestly, this title and blurb is enough for me decide not to read this book, and to make me more hesitant and cautious with RP’s books in the future.

Do better, Riptide. As a queer company run by queer people, these “mistakes” should not be made. Hire more bi people so it doesn’t happen again.

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4 thoughts on “On Bisexuality

  1. I read an ARC of the book, and the title is actually something that gets corrected and addressed directly:

    “It’s kind of an inside joke I tell people. I’m ninety-five
    percent straight.”
    “Or you’re one hundred percent bisexual.” (p. 54, pdf version)

    That’s just one example. It gets brought up multiple times. The book is told from the POV of Logan, who is extremely closeted and doesn’t even really know what bisexuality is. It chronicles his journey through admitting he has feelings for men and accepting the label “bisexual” even though he has internalized biphobia. As a bisexual, I actually thought it was a realistic and touching story.

    I can see why you thought the title was biphobic, but I think that was intentional on the part of the author? I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here, because Logan’s journey was very similar to what I went through when I accepted my sexuality. In fact, the parts of it about his family were eerily familiar to me.

    Just my two cents.

    Like

    1. I appreciate your comment.

      I do intend to read the book for myself in order to see how it’s addressed in the actual text. But the title and the blurb are individual issues. They’re the things a reader sees first, before deciding whether to pick it up or not. As a bisexual reader, it honestly felt like a slap in the face to see this, because it’s rhetoric that allo cishet, and even other queer people, use on us. Whether it’s intended as a joke or not, we may never know unless the author says outright, but intent =/= impact. And the impact the title and blurb had on me, and other bisexual people, from the start was incredibly negative, and not something conducive to making me want to pick it up.

      Also, I’ve seen a few reviews point out harmful aspects within the text, regarding the character’s bisexuality as well as other issues.

      Like

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