Category Archives: Bisexuality

Everyone Falls for the Person, Not the Gender

In a recent article The Advocate published “Nine Celebs Who Fell For The Person, Not The Gender”.
This was really disappointing given how well they had been doing in regards to bisexual isdues. But it’s also a learning opportunity.
“I love people not genders/hearts not parts! ” is a thing I have commented on before. For a refresher go here

Every. Single. Human. On. The. Planet.  Falls for a person. This is not limited to straight people, queer people, bisexuals, pansexuals or any other group. You simply can not fall in love with a gender in the same way you can’t fall in love with any other abstract catagory.
I’m tired of this being used to erase people. Or create holier then thou hierarchy.
This needs to end. Full stop.
This concept is like poison candy.  On the outside it looks and might taste sweet,  but that inner taste isn’t almonds it’s arsenic. 

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Guest Post: How to Find a Bi Competent Therapist by Estraven Le Guin

“One US study found that over a quarter of therapists seen by bisexual clients erroneously assumed that sexual identity was relevant to the goal of therapy when the
client didn’t agree, and around a sixth saw bisexuality as being part of an illness. Seven percent attempted conversion to heterosexuality and 4% to being lesbian or gay. Many therapists were openly uncomfortable about bisexuality.” (Page, E)  Another British study found that bisexuals were treated worse than  gays and Lesbians by their therapists. At a recent training of monsexual therapists on bisexual issues that I did, even though the therapists were middle-aged or older, most of them were quite surprised to find out that bisexuality is not just a phase, and that bisexuals can be monogamous. You might think that by going to a so-called LGBT treatment center, you would be assured of bi-competent care, but some of these organizations are known for their covert hostility to bisexuals.
 
So how do you find a bi-competent, or at least a bi-friendly, therapist?
 
The first place to look is at the Bisexuality-Aware Professionals’ Directory:
 
http://www.bizone.org/bap/baplist.php?category=Therapists
 
Therapists on this list have had to meet at least 3 of the following criteria for bisexuality-awareness:
*Believes that bisexuality is a valid lifestyle and is welcoming towards bisexual people  
 *Knows of several ways in which bisexuals’ concerns differ from gays’ and lesbians’ concerns  
 *Has worked professionally with several bisexual clientele in the past 
* Has organized bisexually oriented support or social groups or workshops 
*Is an active participant in bisexual community events or forums
*Has read 3 or more professional books or journal articles on bisexuality
*Has attended a professional workshop on the concerns of bisexual people 
 *Has given lectures on bisexuality
*Has written articles or books on bisexuality
Until very recently, due to biphobia, even post-graduate training programs considered training in gay and Lesbian issues to be sufficient for clinicians to work with bisexuals, since bisexuals were considered to be half gay. Therefore, most clinicians will not have had specific training, since it did not exist, but will have had to educate themselves . 
 
If there is no one near you on the Bisexuality-Aware Professionals’ Directory, but you do have a LGBT Center nearby, call their help line. All kinds of people put up their cards at the Center, but the staff are likely to know which therapists are bisexual or, at least, who works well with bisexuals. If you are in college, the same is true of your college Counseling Center (assuming your college is reasonably LGBT-friendly). If you have a local bi group, go to a few meetings and ask who people are seeing, and who they had good experiences with and who they did not. Don’t be shy; people talk about everything at bi group. To locate a bi group, look here:
 
http://www.binetusa.org/bi-groups-in-the-us
 
or ask for one on the BiNET USA Facebook page:
 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/binetusa/
 
If none of that works, if you have bi friends, ask them who they are seeing.  If there is an LGBT  Treatment Center near you, you can ask at the bi group or ask your bi friends if it truly welcomes bisexuals, or is one of the covertly hostile places. 
 
If none of that has worked for you, it gets more complicated. If you have insurance, go on the back of your card and look for the Web site. The Web site should have some sort of “Find a doctor” feature. This will allow you to search under Behavioral Health for “Psychologists” and “Licensed Clinical Social Workers.” Then, under these, there will be a listing of their specialty areas. Some plans list the speciality areas Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual together, and then Transgender separately.  Some plans list Lesbian/Gay together, Transgender separately, and erase Bisexual. My own insurance company lists Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual together. I just looked at these listings  for my area, and I was a bit dismayed. I saw people on that list that have come to my Counseling Bisexuals trainings, and who are not, in my opinion, gay, Lesbian, or bi competent, while I know that others on the list are at least gay and Lesbian competent. Once you have found names on the list, if there are a lot, start googling the ones who are near to you. See if they have any connection to the bisexual community, or even the queer community. Some therapists can afford Web sites, some are on LinkedIn:
 
 https://www.linkedin.com/
 
Some may be bi activists, give talks, etc., and their knowlege about bi issues and being part of the bi community is clear once you google them. If you are lucky, and can find a therapist who has clear ties to the bisexual community and is on your insurance plan, your work is done. Call and ask to schedule an appointment.
 
However, if no one shows up as a result of your google search, I have heard stories over and over of people being actually harmed in therapy by therapists who thought they knew better than their bisexual client about bisexuality, and were wrong. This means you will need to do some more work at this point. Therapists actually expect to have a little discussion on the phone when first contacted. It amazes me how often people call me and say “hi, I’d like to make an appointment.” No name, no information, no reassurance that you are not a serial killer coming to my isolated office with terrible plans… I want to know why you are coming for treatment, and a little bit about you. You want to know if I can help you . So it is reasonable for you to say,” Hi, my name is Susie, I am struggling with internalized biphobia (or whatever your issue is), and I am looking for a bi-competent therapist with a great deal of expertise on bisexuality to help me with this. Do you think this is an area you could help me with?” If they say no, it’s not an area of specialization of theirs, ask if they know someone in the area who does specialize in that. If they say yes, say “I understand that it is hard to get training in counseling bisexuals, but how have you trained yourself?” You might have the criteria above printed out for comparison, and check them off. If they only have the weaker ones (the top three), say “Thank you, I will keep you in mind, but I was looking for someone with more training.” And keep going. But keep their information in case they are the best in your area.
 
Psychology Today has a “Find a Therapist” site:
 
http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php
 
And under this you can search for therapists who treat bisexuals. However, again looking at this for my area. let me just say that I would want to ask them the questions above. Anyone can claim that they treat people for a magazine, but true bi-competance is rarer.
 
Once you have narrowed it down to three or four names, it is time to schedule some consultation sessions. Therapy can be a serious investment of time and money on your part. It is reasonable for you to schedule an initial consultation session with a possible therapist to see if the two of you are a good fit.  A person can be a wonderful therapist, but for whatever reason your personalities just don’t go well together. Therapists are trained to not take things personally. During that session, briefly discuss the bi issue you would be working with them on, and ask them how they would handle it. You can also ask more detailed questions about their sexual orientation and training in counseling bisexuals during this session. If they do not seem knowlegable, or make biphobic remarks, I would politely indicate that they don’t seem to be a good fit, pay them, and go on to the next person you have a consultation session scheduled with. One hopes that after these consultation sessions you have found someone you can work with.
 
If you do not have insurance, but have Medicare, you can follow the same process. If you have Medicaid, you will most likely have to be treated in a mental health clinic. Medicaid varies from state to state. In the more LGBT-accepting states, if you make it clear during your intake that your bisexuality is a big part of your issues, again, the staff usually know who is good at treating bi issues, and, depending on how totally overwhelmed they are, will try to assign you to that staff. In LGBT-unfriendly states, you may not want being queer as part of your medical record. Some therapists work on a sliding scale, but have to make a living, so tend not to advertise that fact. It will take persistance, but if a bi-friendly therapist who works on a sliding scale exists where you are, you may be able to track them down.
 
Finally, the way the insurance companies handle the specialization area “Bisexual” is problematic. It is problematic when they do not list it as a specialty area, and only list Gay/Lesbian and Transgender. I emailed the company I work for about the mental health needs of bisexuals, and pointed out how important it is that bisexuals be able to find therapists who specialize in treating them. I encourage all of you whose insurance companies erase us to do the same. You can use the Bisexual Invisibility Report as a reference for bisexual mental health needs:
 
http://www.sf-hrc.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=989
 
However, lumping us in with gays and Lesbians, as the company I get health insurance from does, is equally problematic. If a therapist is competent to treat gays and Lesbians, and knows they are not competent to treat bisexuals, they are forced to lie in order to capture the fact that they treat gays and Lesbians. Treating bisexuals is a whole different set of competencies, and should not be lumped in with gays and Lesbians. Please write your insurance company if they treat it that way, and ask that Gay/Lesbian and Bisexual be listed separately.
 
Hope this helps, and that you find a wonderful, bi-competent therapist.  If you do, please ask them to list themselves on the Bisexuality-Aware Professionals’ Directory  by emailing  geriweitzman@gmail.com
 
 
References
 
 Evans, Margaret and Barker, Meg (2010). How do you see me? Coming out in counselling. British
Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 38(4), pp. 375–391.
 
Page, E. (2007). Bisexual women’s and men’s experiences of psychotherapy. In B. A.
Firestein (Ed.) Becoming visible: Counseling bisexuals across the lifespan (pp.52-71). New
York, NY: Columbia University Press
 

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Let’s Talk About t.A.T.u and their place in queer history and monosexism,biphobia and misogyny

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.

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Hearts Not Parts Makes me Want to Puke

AN: in this I use the term x-sexual. Though currently this rhetoric is disturbingly prevalent predominantly in  certain circles I chose to use “x” because the logic still stands and like an 1800’s masquerade attendee idiocy changes masks often but is the same underneath so for longevity sake I use x sexual. X stands for any number of sexualities and groups that at the time might be doing a certain behavior. There are no such thing as xsexuals in reality. It is a value place holder.

” I fall in love with people not genitals!” ” x-sexuality means you fall in love with a person not their genitals/gender” or my current fav ” xsexual means you love a person for who they are.In short true love”
These are all examples of rhetoric I have seen on the web and heard in real life.
I understand that this rhetoric started as a counter narrative to the heterosexist myths of over sexed gays and especially bisexuals.It did and still does work in dialog occasionally.But it has over time and with the emergence of the Anything But Bisexual (ABB) movement and the quest to be The Queerest of Them All by young newly out nonmonosexuals turned into something all together loathes some.I see slogans like this on graphics that zip across the web and paint one sexuality as better, a sexuality of ” true love!/genderblindness”!

Lets look at this again ok?
Every one of those slogans has an under current.It seems cute at first and all but underneath it is a venomous poison.
If xsexuality means ” you like a person for who they are not their parts”/” it’s true love”/” fall in love with people ” that implies that all non xsexuals DO fall in live with ONLY genitals.That the love experienced by gays,lesbians,straights and bisexuals is not “true love” that love is some how lesser or fake.This includes you.This means that all non xsexuals only want sex.And if the “born this way” rhetoric often employed shortly after these statements are made, it means that forever and ever all people who are not xsexual are a lesser class of being.

Now who does that rhetoric sound like? Lesser class of person…oversexed..only want sex…can’t love…
Oh right every heterosexist bigot oppressor EVER.

So knock it off and think about what you say and who you sound like.
Before I puke all over you.

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The Trevor Project Was Wrong: What Katy Perry Needs to Do to Make Things Right

The Trevor Project recently gave Katy Perry an award.That is utter frelling B.S.To save time and space go hereto read why Perry is a biphobic,transphobic,homophobic bigot.
So what,in this quests opinion would it take to soothe my wrath and get me to buy her cs’s?

1: Remove “Ur so Gay” and “I kissed a Girl” from all future printings of “One of the Boys” album.Never perform them live again.Stop all printing of the singles.Take the “I kissed a Girl” video down from her official youtube.Also remove them from itunes/other digital venues

2: Donate any remaining money from those songs to Bisexual and Lesbian charity groups and the money from “Gay” to suicide prevention and education.

3: Apologize and take responsibility for the harm her songs and attitudes have caused.Specifically to the bisexual and trans* community

4: Work with trans* advocacy groups to put an end to her transphobia and cissexism

Do those 4 things and I might,just might consider her next Cd.I might even someday consider her an ally.But she will have to do those things to prove she is serious.Serious about the very real damage her actions have done.

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