Thursday, November 22, 2007
Underground at the House of Homosexual Culture
This coming Saturday, I’m going to be spending the day at the above, running the tea stall. There’ll be beverages, and fairy cakes – of course – and Santa’s little helpers of every gender. The wonderful writer Sarah Waters will be opening it. So if you’re in London, come on down.
I won’t be the only bi curiosity on show: those socially-minded folks The Bisexual Underground will have a stall. They meet monthly in a London pub for darts, board games, chatting and so forth.
And I think the Bi Underground is about it for the organised London bi scene at the moment – I can’t even tell if the London Bi women’s group is still going, or the London main group that was active for 20 years. Of course, there are places like fetish superclub Torture Garden – a “not safe for work site” - of course, where there is no shortage of behavioural bisexuality on display. Male/male couples, female/female couples, female/male couples, groups of friends or lovers, people who are clearly transsexual or whose gender is hard to determine… Everyone can be gorgeous if they have made an effort; everyone has a chance of being desired by someone there.
Is there a bi culture?
I’ve been asking myself this question quite often lately and I think the answer is probably, sadly, no. The reason for the question is that I’m hanging out a lot with, and seeing lots of events advertising: lesbian and gay culture, lesbian and gay communities, bla bla bla. This event is, after all, organised by the House of Homosexual Culture. They are great blokes and I love them. Bisexuals have a place on the gay scene, and always have had, even if we haven’t been recognised. But is that enough? Could there ever be a house of bisexual culture?
It's hard to imagine. Bi people are too diverse. That’s why I have a link called 57 Varieties. Some bi people veer towards gay culture, others straight. There’s no one thing we all want.
There’s a queer culture – encompassing all sorts of people who happen to be not mainstream heterosexual, but which leaves out many “straight-acting” bis. And there are subcultures with lots of bisexual people – swingers to anarchists and hippies (well, I think the anarchist bit is true, anyway).
But can you call the few bi groups, conferences, newsletters and so on a culture? Not really. I’ve tried to define (for myself) what “a bisexual culture” might encompass but I can’t. Clothes, creativity, music, secret signals to indicate to someone that you might be bi? No. There isn't any of that.
There is, though, a history of bisexuality – in particular how it was seen by the general public - ranging from bohemians and the Bloomsbury Group in the 1920s and 30s, David Bowie in the 70s, the influence of feminism and the sexual liberation movements around the same time, plus the organised bi community. That’s something you can trace, and I’ve stressed that quite a bit in this blog. It’s something to hold on to.