Over this past weekend I had the amazing privilege of going to the BECAUSE conference in Minnesota. 3 days of nothing but Bi activism, Bi workshops, performance and food( we had a Bi colored cake and if you thought far too hard my sand which was kinda Bi colors too)
I have been in my fair share of LG
BT spaces, I have given my time, my money, my spirit, my spoons and energy to those spaces and organizations.
And you know what?
Unless they can provide for me as a Bi Trans person the welcome and acceptance BECAUSE did?
I’m out of there.
I’ve spent hours working my ass off in LG/GGGG spaces only to when it came down to it, feel like I was barely tolerated. That I wasn’t as valuable as a cis queer nor as pandered and wanted as a cis straight ally. That I was worth less. That I had to or had “picked a side”. I’ve sat in meetings and in one on ones with others who privately confessed that they too are bisexual, but coming out would damage their credibility and they didn’t want to lose that. To end up like me and other out Bi people in the org or space, tirelessly working for them or their cause only to be ignored and shuffled off later.
I am done jumping through hoops.
At first the bar was so low, as long as I wasn’t being physically assaulted I was OK and I jumped it.
But it was always me and other bi’s jumping. Over and through hoops just for the mere chance, the possibility that we might be tolerated. Not welcome. Not valued. Tolerated.
I have seen online and in person what bisexual community can do, can create.
Welcome, acceptance, friendship, support. All the things were are supposed to be getting out of LG/GGGG spaces. That we so often don’t.
For me BECAUSE raised the bar. I won’t be giving time,money, spoons or spirit to places, orgs and people that can’t jump that bar.
This is me saying
The bar has been raised. NO YOU jump it this time.
Over this past weekend I had the amazing privilege of going to the BECAUSE conference in Minnesota. 3 days of nothing but Bi activism, Bi workshops, performance and food( we had a Bi colored cake and if you thought far too hard my sand which was kinda Bi colors too)
If you were alive in the early 2000’s and near a radio or TV you probably heard of the band t.A.T.u, a russian girl duo consisting of Lena Katina and Julia Volkova. They burst onto the international music scene if their mega huge hit “All The Things She Said”. While a great pop song on it’s own right (all these years later and it still tops polls on billboard polls) it featured something that was considered very shocking at the time. A same sex kiss between the singers and the content of the song was definitely queer. At the time of the recording of the original Russian version (the much more techno Ya Soshla S Uma/ I have lost my mind) both singers were only around 15 years old. By the time the song was translated into english and re-worked it they were around 16, with their English album’s debut,17. What is important to remember is not only were these two minors, they both spoke very little or no English (Lena speaking some but Julia speaking very,very little at all and learning English lyrics and interview answers by route/phonetically). They kissed and danced provocatively on stage and in videos and answered interview questions in the most lewd,scandalous and provocative ways possible.Often asserting that they were together as a couple or having sex.This was all a creation of their very creepy manager Ivan Shapavolov. He told them what to say, what to wear, how to dance and the two had no control or recourse.
It was speculated that they weren’t really a couple from the moment they arrived on scene.And later on in 2004-ish it was confirmed in their reality show that they were never really a couple nor lesbians as the media claimed they were. The group eventually broke from their manager and went on to record a very good second album, including several tracks that outright deal with bisexuality. Because by that time Julia had confidently come out in Russian media as a bisexual woman.
What coverage the album did recieve always hinged on the whole “not really lesbian/not really queer” and used the queer themed songs as a way to rag on the group, to accuse them of “continuing the faux lesbian schtick” when out of the two one was in fact queer and for all we the listeners knew was singing from experience. While the songs on the second and subsequeint albums are not perfect representations of queerness or with out their problems they were non the less, there, being sung by a queer person.
But due to our societies monosexism this was ignored.While the media and music consumers could easily handle Lena being a monosexual straight woman, the idea that Julia was bi was quickly forgotten or ignored. t.A.T.u and by extension Julia and Lena became the mid 2000’s poster children for the age old biphobic “doing it for attention” and “don’t trust teen/young girls about their sexuality” bits of terrible “wisdom”. Never mind the misogyny there, or the intense biphobia.
So as far as the west was concerned t.A.T.u fell off the planet, only to be mentioned again when the old biphobic “faking it” horse needed a good flogging into a greasy smear and then forgotten about.
So instead of looking back on their long career (something like 12 albums if you count the russian and english versions separate, around 6 if you don’t) and celebrating it as a moment where a queer woman broke through into mainstream pop,with a song about being queer as an important moment in history, we are instead left with mocking headlines like “faux lesbians to perform at olympics” from sites geared towards queer women! This sends one very clear message; bisexuals do not count. You can see other examples of this type of treatment in mainstream pop such as with Lady GaGa. GaGa has come out multiple times as bisexual and as of her most recent release has around 6 songs that directly deal with bisexuality or bisexual themes. Yet like t.A.T.u’s songs of the same nature, “Americano” and “So Happy I Could Die” are thrown in the sapphobic rubbish bin right next to “Loves Me Not” and Julia’s solo career singles, nearly all of which are bisexual in theme.
This erasure of bi women is endemic to the music industry,the music reviewing industry and as places like AutoStraddle and AfterEllen proved with their coverage of t.A.T.u’s brief reunion for the Sochi Olympics, it is endemic in our own community spaces.
So instead of praising a brave, bisexual muslim woman for being out and proud in a country that is actively trying to harm all queer people, all I see, especially since Eurovision and Conchita Wurst’s win is derision of the group for reasons from totally valid (lip synching) to out right biphobic.
Julia Volkova was a bisexual woman when she recorded for t.A.T.u . She was a bisexual woman at Eurovision (both times t.A.T.u went) at the Olympics and right now.
I know for many people my age t.A.T.u was an integral part of coming to terms with our identity. I’ll never forget the pain I felt when I learned that they “weren’t really queer”. The damage done to my grieving heart when the derision and “all girls do that for attention,just like that band”.What made it worse was when interviews were translated and Julia came out as bi, nobody listened. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t the right kind of queer, monosexual. She was played off by so many hurtful tropes, liar, doing it for attention, bisexuals aren’t really queer.
was t.A.T.u problematic in many ways? YES. Undoubtedly so. Is Julia and her solo efforts problematic? YES.
But that doesn’t mean we should let the prevalent misogyny, monosexism and biphobia in our communities,industries and memories over shadow what was a triumph of a queer musician. A pop group, a kiss in the rain that led to Madonna Kissing Britney, Katy Perry,Rihanna,Lady GaGa, Niki Minaj. If a bisexual hadn’t kissed her bandmate in the rain so many of these pop stars wouldn’t be where they are today. For god or ill. t.A.T.u and Julia Volkova helped shape the music and entertainment world we have today.
A Bisexual did that. A Bisexual was the face of that.
It’s time we all overcame this biphobia,misogyny and monosexism and realize that is part of our history. And it should be known.
Also go buy “Dangerous and Moving” it was a freaking great album.
Trigger Warnings: discussion of transphobia, transphobic violence, suicide
It’s November and Transgender Day of Remembrance is this month. A day where we can all come together (hopefully all) and mourn and celebrate the lives of our transgender siblings that were lost due to violence, by another’s hand or their own during the previous year.Growing up I heard the occasional sensationalized news story on the murder of a trans person, they were, and are, some of the most gory and horrific murder stories. When I became an adult and came out as trans myself this all took on a different tone. Now I was a possible headline, another possible gory death. I barely made it over the average life expectancy of a trans person, 23, and have the privilege to be alive, trans and typing this up.
I remember my first transgender day of awareness, the candles and reading of names. I wondered why we only talk about this one day a year, and then why wasn’t there any website tracking this kind of wide-spread proven violence. Big Gay Inc sites like HRC, GLAAD ( who just now appointed a trans board member! Yay them.)occasionally report on anti-trans violence, that is after they pick up the story a few hours or days late from a site like Transadvocate. The Southern Poverty Law center doesn’t track anti-trans hate crimes or classify known trans hate groups like TERFS and Cathy Brennon as hate groups the same way they do for cis gay and lesbians. Recently the FBI has begun some tracking of crimes, but the only options are the binary male/female with no way of reporting if the person was transgender, whether that m/f on the report meant their assigned gender at birth, their real gender or what. Also this completely discounts and leaves out in the cold non-binary transgender individuals, like myself and Sasha, the agender teen who recently was set on fire for wearing a skirt.
The Transgender Violence and Suicide Tracking Project aims to change all that and start saving lives.
The portal, which has 9 days and 514 dollars in matching funds still available ( Donate here!) will collect and aggregate data on trans violence and suicide world-wide. No more scanning the papers for the odd sensationalized and misgendering story, no more “well nobody really collects data on that so those numbers could be made up…” real, concrete facts and figures will be available.
Shortly after I came out I met the project’s founder Allison Woolbert via Facebook activist groups. Allison and her unwavering support has literally saved my life from becoming another name read at TDOR. This project really hits home for me and it is one I am thrilled to support whole heartedly.
In a recent interview for Political Garbage Chute.com Allison talked a bit more in-depth about what the site will track and why it is important;
“Some of the fields we plan to track are the basic demographic information of the individual, as much as can be gathered as well as many details as we can gather concerning the violence that happened to that individual or individuals. We will also be attempting to collect trial data including the perpetrators information, any key statements, the sentencing and following the case throughout the courts.
One of the more important areas we will be tracking is where no perpetrator has been located. The open cases that are occurring and how many in each police department are happening we believe are quite staggering. Our database website will provide us with insight as to which law enforcement agencies are potentially not protecting our transgender people”
Having the ability to see that in a certain city, there is a known anti-transgender violent person lurking, and getting that information out there, on twitter, on Facebook, the streets, could save someone from becoming that persons next victim,
I live in a relatively safe, small bubble here in the USA, and I enjoy the privilege afforded to being a white DFAB trans person in this country. So I was blind to just how horrible the violence can be in the world outside my door. In the same interview Allison mentions the situation in Brazil;
“Internationally, the situations are even more dire. In Brazil for example, the government is completely unable and unwilling to protect the transgender community. For the past two years, this country has had the highest reported murder rates of transgender people anywhere in the world. At one point within the last two years, every single advocate of the transgender community was murdered. The advocates themselves in some cases were not transgender. Without clear and concise data, going to places such as the United Nations becomes impossible.”
And yes, even the cis ones died.These people were heroes(both trans and cis), who did more for their community then changing a Facebook picture to a corporate equal sign logo.But did we hear a peep about this at the UN? What about HRC? Nothing. Without accurate reporting on crimes (more like massacres) like this we can’t go to the UN. We can’t get real action on problems if we can’t verify that there is one.
One thing I am incredibly passionate about for this project is the Missing Persons Module. With 9 days to go and matching funds of 514 left this is a REAL possibility.
With increased rates of homelessness transgender people are more likely to go missing, and thus, much more vulnerable to violence. The missing persons module would get the word out fast that a person is missing. This could give friends, family and law enforcement the crucial time to find them and possibly save their life.I’m friends with a lot of other trans people, in real life and online. Every time one blinks out of communication, a blog empty, a twitter deactivated I wonder.Are they missing? Was that fight with their parents the last straw? Did she find somewhere to live? Did ze make it out of that party ok?
The missing person module would make tracking things like that fast and efficient. It might bring some of our homeless and lost youth to safe homes, it might mean that nobody shows up floating in river because they were never reported missing, or if they were the police ignored it until that missing person became a homicide.
So please, if you can donate today so this project can meet all of its goals, if you can’t donate please share the link around or maybe ask about volunteering to help out.
To get daily updates about the project, articles, interviews and more like the Transgender Violence Tracker On Fb at
and follow on twitter
Frustration is knowing that you are to sick to bind to day so you ingest the poison of dysphoria instead
Frustration is wishing you had warn the dirty shirt because it was more masculine then the clean one
Frustration is not having your one illness leave you not only unable to remember where your car is but if you found it would it have that extra binder in it? That face hiding baseball hat?
Frustration is the sinking gnawing feeling that even though nobody has said it yet you know they are using the wrong pronouns
Frustration is having to pick between being read as queer, your gender or as disabled and watching as your cane swallows up all others.
[trigger warning: mentions of Bi and transphobia and rape]
I remember the very first time I ever heard the word bisexual. I was maybe 6-7 years old and riding home in the backseat of our blue minivan. The Michael Jackson song “Tabloid Junkie” was playing over the radio. We coasted to a stop at the light.
“Or see it on the TV screen
Don’t make it factual, actual
She’s blonde and she’s bisexual”
” Mommy? What’s bisexual?” I knew what a homosexual was. I knew God hated them. I knew my mother hated them.
” A bisexual is like a homosexual but they date people who are the opposite gender too.”
The light was green. The blue van crossed through and over the train tracks, badump dump bump. I looked over the little bridge and into the water. A fat catfish swam by.
” oh. Then I’m a bisexual” I said now turning to pick up my sisters dropped pacifier.
” No you are not!” She shot back.
” Yes I am! I would date girls and even marry one! “I snapped back handing the pacifier back to my sister.
The van was picking up speed,houses whizzed by fast. She was mad.She always drove faster when she was mad. But I was just as mad. I liked this new word. It felt right. Like a lightbulb had shone into a dark room that was always there, but I just missed it.A blind spot.
We were going really fast at this point.I was getting scared.
” Fine! I’ll only date and marry boys. That way god will love me and I can go to heaven! But I’m still bisexual.” I was clinging tight to the word and my sisters hand.
The car kept speeding up. My mother’s voice got louder and angrier.She told me about how gross bisexuals were. They carried AIDS, always cheated on people. They broke up happy families. It didn’t matter that a bisexual only dated opposite sex people. They would always cheat or try and break up good happy families.And doing those things got you sent to hell.
” OK. You’re right…I wouldn’t ever do those things. Those are just mean. I’m not mean like that so I must not be bisexual.” I lied. The car started slowing down. I let go of the breath I was holding.We got home and as I put the groceries away I felt this mix of joy and fear.
I had a word that described me. But I wasn’t a bad person. But I was with out a doubt a bisexual.
Later on in bed that night I reasoned it out in my mind. I would try and only date boys. I would also never ever be like those other bisexuals my mother mentioned. I knew that no matter what it was true.I was bisexual and just for that I was going to hell.
I prayed my last prayer for several decades. While cleaning I found what I had written in a old diary.
” Dear God,
I’m sorry but I am bisexual. I know this means that I am going to hell. I don’t know why I am bisexual but I’m sure I am. I’m really sorry to disappoint you. I’m not going to give people sick or cheat or break up families. I don’t know if only dating boys will mean I can go to heaven.Mom says no. So I’m going to hell. I guess I’ll have a long time to get used to the idea. Sorry.”
I spent the next few prepubescent years learning to accept that no matter what else I did or prayed, I was going to hell. By the time puberty had started and we had moved to the other side of the country I had given up trying to suppress and pray away my bisexual desires.I was going to hell anyway right? Why waste time and energy denying things.
At 12 I had my first real crush on a girl in my class. We kissed at a sleep over while watching “Gattaca” and talked in hushed giggles at how dreamy Ethan Hawke was and how we wanted to kiss Uma Thurman.
By 15 I had converted to Buddhism and found a religion that did not condemned me to endless suffering because I had kissed a classmate. I was still terrified that secretly God was out there and angry.
” if so I’m going to hell already for being bi. I can’t go to like extra super secret hell on top of that for being Buddhist.” I rationalized.
At 16 I fell in love with a wonderful smart,beautiful girl.She was from a hyper christian family.We would hold hands secretly at movies and talk about how we were just like the bisexual protagonists of our favorite anime series “Revolutionary Girl Utena”. Every time her screen name popped up on my AOL instant messenger I would grin and my stomach would flutter. We were both Bi and loved chatting about who we found attractive of any gender. We were both going to hell we thought. We had planned that as soon as we were both 18 we would meet in San Francisco. We were going to then move to Berkeley and go to school there. Then get married when it was legal and then live together until we died and then meet back up in hell.
Her parents found out about us and pulled her from public school to go to a special school, an Evangelical Christian boarding school where she would be ” cured”. The ” cure” killed her.
I was cleaning out some old things and I found her last note to me. It was on a small crumpled piece of paper.Passed between friends of friends until it reached me. She told me she loved me and that I should be happy and work on changing the world. Just like Utena in the anime.
At 17 I had moved again. But now wore all black. I hated everyone. I was angry and hurting.I was still bisexual. If asked about it I would tell people I was. I dated men then for the first time since 7th grade. My feelings and attractions to all genders never changed. I was still bisexual.
I went to college. I dated one guy then another all while developing feelings for my roommate.
Eventually after much self searching I came out on Facebook. I had no problem telling friends and new acquaintance that I was bisexual. I was proud standing there in my pirate shoes and flame red hair. I was Bi. I was exploring my gender for the first time with freedom.
I was raped by a friend for committing the sins of being a good friend, drunk and Bi.
After all bisexuals are always wanting sex.
Suddenly I was back in that van whizzing by mailboxes hearing those words. Echoing my mothers voice joined by my attacker, then rape counselors. Then friends.Then the world. It slammed me down for the next 3 years.
I would still tell others I was Bi.But it was in a small voice now.
I came out as trans* and bisexual again 3 1/2 years ago. I was attacked for it. Told by what I thought were life friends that I was an “attention whore” they joined the other voices.
I found the term pansexual on tumblr .It seemed just like bisexual! Only better! Or so all the graphics said. It was better. It was stigma free! It was hearts not parts! I tried it on. I searched around but there didn’t seem to be much community or history. Most of what I saw was pansexuals talking about how much better they were then bisexuals. But on the bisexual sites I only ever say attempts at including pansexuals. It wasn’t just Bi Net is for Bi’s but for pansexuals, fluid and queer. I remembered how much it hurt to be told being Bi was awful.
I sat down and thought about it all. I remembered the catfish,the song,kissing during Gattaca” holding hands and crying. I found so much hurt and power and strength there. The strength to be OK with going to hell possibly. I had found the Bi community. Full of challenges and beauty and intelligence. Working to change the world. To make it better. Not just patting each other on the back about how much better they were. Really working hard and against have odds.
I took up the label,sewed it onto my heart and joined in the fight.
I am bisexual because I have always been so. I’ve laughed and cried with and over that word.Fought over and for it. I’ve loved, lost and bled for it.
I have learned and fought and been joyous with the Bi community now for 3 and 1/2 years. I have gone to the white house because of this word and community.Had all kinds of amazing experiences and met great people because of it.
While it might not be perfect,it might get attacked by etymology wankers and dictionary thumpers for its Latin prefix this word is mine.
Bisexual. Now until death and into the next life or into hell after all I don’t care.
I am Bisexual and that is my word and my truth.
Your Purity Does Not Concern Me: So What If The Definition of Bi is the Same as Your Definition of Pan.
In the last few years the bisexual community (edited especially on tumblr)has been working to root out transphobia and cissexism from our community. (edited: though the communit has defined itself in trans inclusive ways since the very begining. See the “Bisexual Manifesto” available on BiNet USA’s site. H/T to Camille of The Bisexual Organizing Project for reminding me of this fact)One way we have done this is by working to use non cissexist and non transphobic definitions of our sexuality. Definitions such as ” the romantic/sexual attraction to genders similar and different from your own” or as ” attraction to more then one gender”. These definitions are what most bisexual organizations use and what most bisexual activists and writers are now using.We have been going out into the wider LGBTA world with it, contacting organizations to have them change from the cissexist definition of “men and women” or of ” both genders”
As I have mentioned before the only definition that should count is the one that is generated and used by the community.
I have in the course of my activism come across a interesting and worrying phenomenon.
Recently on tumblr user gohomebiphobia posted this definition of bisexuality. It is 100% how the modern bisexual movement conceptualizes bisexuality. It is an amazing informative post.
Sadly it has received back lash, not from straight bigots but from other LGT people and most worrying from other non monosexuals, especially pansexuals.
This has come in the form of really horrible identity policing and gohomebiphobia and other bisexuals being told that they are not allowed to define their sexuality or that pansexuals/omnisexuals know more about bisexuality then actual bisexual people.
At other times this backlash has taken on the form of cis pansexuals/other non monosexuals talking down to or over trans* people ( like me) to prove the bisexual communities definition “wrong”. I’ve also seen people engage in gross tokenisim of trans* people by these people.
The real important thing is this:
so what if the the definitions are the same or extremely similar? Why would that be a problem?
If I go over here and make a definition and call it Bi and someone goes over there and makes a definition and calls it pan but the definitions are the same similar then what is the problem? As long as the two do not really on things like transphobia ,misogyny or the negation of the other ( example definitions of pansexuality or omnisexuality that rely on a negation of bisexuality or the need to forcibly define bisexuality back into cissexist terms ) then it should be fine.
Both describe the same thing, non monosexual desire.
People who show up on posts like gohomebiphobias screaming about how the definition is wrong because it is to similar to pansexual need to sit and think about why that is a problem.
I guarantee that behind these peoples desperate need for the definition to not be similar is ideas of biphobia and purity.Many people who eschew the label Bi do so because of ” the stigma of being Bi” so they use a different term for their non monosexual attraction. By having the non cissexist definition of Bi becoming more and more popular and accepted it in cringes on the purity Bi stigma free zone they have tried to create.
But part of this stigma is that bisexuality is inherently binary or transphobic.These accusations are often couched in nice sounding social justice language so for the longest time it was considered a legitimate reason. But as Bi activists challenge and change that the only reasons left will become increasingly biphobic.
But your need for purity, for a Bi free zone, the need to have a sexuality that you can crap on to make yourself look good does not concern me.
Actively working towards an end to cissexism and transphobia does. And as pan/omnie/polysexuals claim they want to help end these things so they don’t use Bi.
One way to help would be to help propagate the inclusive definition.Instead they resist and fight. Simply playing around with Latin and Greek prefixes is not enough to make you a trans* ally. If you want to be one you need to support communities that are actively trying to fix transphobia and cissexism like what the bisexual community is doing now.
The only reason not to support this effort is through a need to keep distance and “purity” from contamination from being associated with bisexuality in any way.Biphobia.
So if you are pansexual,polysexual,multisexual or any other non-monosexuality and when you come across the same/other genders definition or the more then one gender one and your immediate response is to shout ” no it’s not!” And then try and derail or otherwise try and stop that definition in favor of a cissexist one then you need to stop and examine why this is and your commitment to trans* issues.
Odds are you have some biphobia to work on
Being An Activist Is Not A Pass At Disney Land: Why being an LGBTQ Activist Does Not Give You Access To Trans Spaces
I’ve noticed a very upsetting trend recently. The idea that if you are an cis LGB activist or cis het LGBT ally you are through your work then rewarded with access to trans* only spaces and discussions, and that trans people telling you that you are not welcome is an offense.
This is the height of cis privilege. Cis people are conditioned in our society to believe they are the ” normal” and “right” way to be. Everything in discourse, from music to bathrooms and jobs is built to celebrate and accommodate cis people.
We trans people go through a lot. We often need space to feel safe, a place where even for five minutes being trans is the dominant way of being.
Being an activist is a wonderful thing. But only the oppressed get to declare who is an ally and what ally behavior looks like to them as a group. Members of the dominant privileged group do not get to determine what these standards are.
Ally is not something you can just slap on. It is something you have to earn.
Cis LGB and Cis het people are not allowed into trans only spaces and discussions because they are not trans.The amount of activism or their hrc sticker or the fact that they partner romantically and sexually with trans people STILL does not give them access. These spaces, whether in real life, internet forums, Facebook groups or comment threads designated as such are off limits.
Barging in and yelling about how it is unfair, how you are an activist and deserve/have a right to be included is oppressive, cissexist behavior. Derailing discussions trans people are having with posts and shouts of ” what about me!” Or worse yet passive aggressively using activism and the idea that you have ” done so much for the trans community” is oppressive. The second type shows what internalized cissexist attitudes you have.
As an activist, as an ally you should never do this. It shows that your ally ship is conditional upon the compliance to your needs and ideals by trans people.
This behavior is immensely problematic and oppressive.
Trans people owe you as a cis person jack squat.
You are not given a magic pass when you become an activist.
Activism and ally ship requires constant self analysis.
If you feel that trans people not including you in trans only spaces is upsetting or wrong you need to do self analysis as to why you feel entitled to that access.
It’s probably unchecked cis privilege.
Being a good ally is knowing when to shut up.
If you are cis and in a trans space or see a trans space sit down and shut up.