Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Second Life

I'll quote you this, shall I? It's from the bicafe site.

"Bisexuals in SecondLife has become the largest bi group in ANY world
With over 850 members, Bisexuals in SecondLife is also the most active bi group anywhere with more parties and meetings than all the real world bi groups put together!
Three Sunday meetings at the BiCoastal Center at Carnforth to cover time zones from Europe to Australia.
Thursday parties with DJ dancing and prizes up for grab at Euro friendly time.
Friday night parties at the Diamond Dog Club with DJ dancing and sexy themes (on California time).

BiCafe is tracking all these events and has added a new option to let you select SecondLife as your favorite away region which will show in your profile with the iconic SL hand.
And now you can even search for BiCafe members in SecondLife."

Gosh.

Well, out of over 4.6 million "inhabitants". 7,808 people are online as I type this. There's a guidebook - $22.04 on amazon - that tells you what to do, and I know that a few people have made a lot of money there. Indeed, nearly US$1.5 has been spent there over the past 24 hours.

So "Second Life" is actually seen as a real place now, rather than a set of movable drawings floating around in the ether. After all, Reuters reports news from there, Radio 1 has held concerts, literary agents scout for writers, and we can all look like prettier, more plastic, versions of ourselves.
But bisexuals on second life, now that is interesting. Because this is a parallel world, where you can truly be anything you want to be, something that eludes most of us in one way or another. No one needs to know who you really are, if you don't want them to. You can be part of this group wherever you like - you don't need to be near a large metropolis in a queer-friendly part of the world. You don't need to be remotely out in your daily life or local community. No one need know what you are doing. None of the barriers that stop people meeting in real life are there.
It's well-known that there's been a downturn in all sorts of support groups - bi and otherwise - since the rise of the net. Bisexual.com, for instance, has far more people visiting, chatting, meeting, asking each other for advice, than ever went to a group.
So that's great, and I'm pleased. But if existing in this parallel world is sufficiently comfortable that bi people don't need to be out in real life, then bisexuality will remain something largely invisible - to be disparaged, giggled about, and not taken seriously.

Can any mother help me?
I am absolutely dying to read this. It's a book about a mothers' correspondence club that operated from 1935 onwards; the Guardian gave it an absolutely rave review.
These women - unhappy, trapped, lonely - were lucky enough to find each other by a mixture of good contacts and good fortune. The letter-writing/compiling letters into a book process must have been lengthy, and of course they were only a tiny number among those women who probably felt that way. Reading about this book makes me think about the women in my own family of the time, who had a lot to cope with, and particularly my own mother - who's more on my mind than she's ever been since she had a stroke just after Christmas.
Nowadays, however, like those Second Life bisexuals, it couldn't be simpler to meet another person in a similar situation to yours. You might be able to find them in five minutes. Maybe even five seconds.
Could the contrast between then and now be any more stark?

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hi Sue
I am a reader of your blog,(I commented before, ages ago, about goys) and like you say there aren't all that many 'bi' themed blogs although plenty of ppl identify as such online. Eg, my own blog doesn't identify as being by a bisexual, not because I am not interested in the issues but because it would feel a bit strange to me to foreground it like that. This uncomfortable feeling about the label bisexual has a lot to do with: the (wrong) sort of media representation of what bisexuality is (eg. 'just confusion' or 'a stage') and tied in with that, the feeling that a person's sexuality is so individual it can't comfortably be confined to a definition. Maybe 'queer' feels better, since it is more vague!! But the reason, maybe, for the online identification is that when people like me do identify as 'bi' it is so that I don't have to explain everything to other people, it just makes it easier for the conversation to move on...hmm, not explaining very clearly here, but my thoughts on this are kind of jumbled. Anyway, thanks for writing about some of the issues. There is a frustration sometimes with the invisiblility of bi's. I appreciate your updates when you have time to post.