Monday, April 28, 2008

Two words joined together

I’ve been reading through some notes I wrote once about bisexuality in the media. It’s about the pernicious effects of the casual use of “bisexual” linking it with every sort of misbehaviour and perversion.

Reading below, do you recognise anything similar now, and/or where you are?

This is a random sample from the non-tabloid UK press of around the recent past, including (gulp!) the Guardian.

* Bessie Smith was a “heavy-drinking bisexual”.
* A character in the documentary film Capturing the Friedmans was “bisexual and had paedophilic desires”.
* Painter Christopher Wood was a “troubled, bisexual opium addict”.
* Suzanne Watkins, a “bisexual mother of two… pleaded guilty to two counts of sex with underage boys and child abduction”.
“Bisexual Maria Hnatiuk … murdered 18-year-old Rachael Lean in a knife attack.”

Given that, is it any wonder that so many people don’t want to call themselves bisexual?

Progressive papers these days would think very hard about twinning the words “gay” or “lesbian” with “murderer” or “drug addict”. I don’t say it never happens, but I don’t remember it and there would certainly be protests. And even the Daily Mail wouldn’t call singer Amy Winehouse a “troubled, heterosexual drug addict”.

Maybe it’s time that, say, peace campaigners or sports personalities loved by millions declared that they were bi. Let's have the word "bisexual" twinned with some good things instead of bad.

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