So, dear reader, today (technically yesterday now) was officially Bisexual Day of Visibility! Or #BiVisibilityDay. Which should be a good thing, right? Bisexual visibility day could promote a number of ideas. We aren’t ‘pretending’ to try and impress you, no, not even if we’re women married to men; we don’t have to ‘choose a side’ thank you very much; we probably aren’t any more likely to cheat on you than someone who is straight or gay, and no, mate, bisexual women don’t want to ‘show’ you how we like women too.
In reality though, name it how you like, there wasn’t a lot to celebrate for those of us with even a rudimentary grasp of the English language, whether gay, bi or straight.
“23 September is Bi Visibility Day, when we celebrate diverse bi identities!” gushed Stonewall. So far so good, although the wording does seem a little awkward. Those of us in search of clarity clicked on the phrase ‘bi identities‘ and were taken to Stonewall’s mind-mashing glossary of terms, which doesn’t include the problematic term ‘bisexual’ at all, although ‘bi’ is described as follows:
Bi is an umbrella term used to describe a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. Bi people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, bisexual, pan, queer, and some other non-monosexual and non-monoromantic identities.
I mean, what the fuck? Who made that up, and when? Non-monosexual? Non-monoromantic?
Is there some geeky Stonewall employee sitting in his mum’s darkened basement, dropping endless tabs of acid and coming up with this stuff?
So, what does bisexual mean?
Well, ‘bi is a Latin root word meaning ‘two’.
Yes, two. A biplane has two wings, a bicycle has two wheels, binoculars have two lenses, a bimonthly event happens every two months, bisect means to cut into two pieces. You probably knew that already, but bear with me.
A bisexual person is attracted to both sexes. Both of the TWO sexes.
Two sexes. Because that’s what human beings are: a species with two sexes. The existence of intersex people doesn’t change that, any more than someone being born without an leg means that humans are not a bipedal species. See? Bipedal.
So the ‘bi’ bit is the first problem.
The ‘sex’ bit is the second problem and oh dear, that’s another biggie.
The word bisexual is a constant niggling reminder that there are two sexes. Just two, thank you very much. Two sexes, male and female, man and woman, and some of us are attracted to both of them. We call it ‘being bisexual’.
Or at least, we used to. In these days of compulsory alphabet soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we aren’t meant to experience SEXual attraction any more. Or at least, we certainly aren’t meant to admit it.
These days, things are far more complicated than the good old days of gay, bi & straight.
“I’m a queer, cisgender female” declares one young woman in a Cosmo article, entitled ‘How to know if you’re bisexual, according to queer women’. She goes on to discuss her ‘first time being sexual with a non-male‘ after which she ‘had opportunities to have consensual, low-pressure makeouts and sex with queer folx‘.
Unless you are attracted to somebody’s gender identity, you’re in serious danger of being transphobic. Lesbians have penises now. Type the word ‘girldick’ into Google (that’s really not an imperative) and you get over five million hits. A straight woman who’s married to a man becomes a lesbian if he decides he’s a woman. No, really, ask Stonewall.
In addition, transmen are real men, and a man who has sex with a woman who thinks she’s a man is actually gay. If he’s also having sex with a bloke, he isn’t bisexual, he’s still gay. (The gender police aren’t really that bothered about this though, because they’re too busy policing the bodies, minds and vocabularies of women.)
Bisexuality is transphobic.
You probably think that’s a bit over the top, don’t you? Not at all, a great deal of soul-searching and philosophising goes on surrounding this subject.
In ‘Is the Term ‘Bisexual’ Transphobic? A Fact Check’ Jaz Joyner writes, “It may seem obvious. Bi means “two” and therefore “bisexual” must reference two genders: man, and woman. Right?”
But, no, stop right there Jaz. There aren’t two genders, there are two SEXES.
Gender is a performance, a set of cultural and social norms that predict and prescribe the behaviour of men and women. Gender is an idea. There are not ‘two genders’. There are two sexes.
In ‘Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution‘ Shiri Eisner writes:
“Despite awareness and declarations which encourage trans/genderqueer inclusion, the mainstream bi movement has long been suffering from several problems around transphobia and cissexism, which remain largely unaddressed.”
Laura Hurt attempts to clarify on Quora:
“To be completely clear: bisexuality is not transphobic, nor has it ever been. Bisexuality as a word was appropriated in a time when gender was less understood than now, but bisexuals in general have always dated outside the gender binary (there are bisexuals who are really only attracted to men and women, but a vast percentage, if not most, bisexuals do date outside the gender binary).”
I don’t know about you, but things aren’t getting any clearer for me.
“I felt the need to clarify when I told someone that I was bisexual by saying “but I’m attracted to all genders really. I really could call myself pan.” wrote Angela Johnson in her attempt to explain the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality.
Ah yes, pansexuality.
A bisexual person is attracted to both sexes, but a pansexual person is attracted to all genders. Why this relatively new concept couldn’t call itself pangenderal is confusing, but let’s face it, it was probably because whoever coined it realised it would sound even more bloody stupid than it already does.
The sole purpose of the word ‘pansexual’ seems to be to criticise and erase the idea of bisexual people.
“Bisexuality implies that there are only two genders, that being male and female. Pansexuality, on the other hand, implies that there are more than two genders. Pansexuals have no problem dating or sleeping with a transgender person, for example. This also includes people who fall out of the gender binary and consider themselves genderqueer (people who do not identify as just man or woman).”
So that’s that cleared up then. It seems that bisexuality is indeed transphobic.
Of course, most of the problem comes down to the stubborn inability of queer politics to recognise that there are two sexes with numerous personalities not a multitudinous plethora of ethereal genders. Janice Turner nailed it as ever, in her recent article for the Times.
“The BBC believes nine-year-olds should go googling the supposed 100 genders. Which include “Perigender: identifying with a gender but not as a gender” or “Vapogender: a gender that feels like smoke”. In other words, they are made up, mystical nonsense: gender Pokemons.”
I’ll leave the last word on pansexuality to Magdalen Berns: she sums it up brilliantly in this YouTube video from 2017.
To bi or not to bi?
So it seems to me that there’s not really much to celebrate when the word bisexual has been nicked, redefined and tarred with the blasphemous brush of transphobia. As for visibility, smothered underneath the cloak of vacuous, mindless virtue signalling, the LGB is barely recognisable any more.
The movement that I marched for so many moons ago has just become a load of navel gazing bollocks.
I could go on, but it’s nearly four in the morning.
Bisexual day of Visibility?
I should have just spent it hiding under the duvet.
Super intelligent article , thanks lily .
Laughed so much at pan sexual pan picture .
Educational and hilarious. Keep on with the amazing work xxx
See you’re still gobbing off, I see, Little Lily.
Why would people listen to a child abuser like you. YOU ARE A NONCE.
PS: Maggie Berns was an anti-Semitic, racist nonce. Hope she died in agony and very slowly, the ugly scruffy little twat.
PPS: Stop telling lies about what happened in Brighton the other night, you child abusing little shit.
This is all very confusing, but Lily has a way of cutting through the BS. Thank you Lily.
Thank you for writing this. So funny and honest, and as a bisexual woman it just rings so true to me. Pansexual my ass. Brilliant article.