Thursday, April 16, 2009

British newspaper publishes good bi article shock

Hallelujah! The first positive piece about bisexuality in an eon is published.

Basically, writer A, Stephanie Theobald (writer of chick lit), used to be a lesbian. Now she’s having a relationship with a man. Viz, writer B, Jake Arnott (far more famous writer of gay gangster novels). He has always been bisexual but mostly had relationships with men. Now they’re in lurve and want to tell the liberal intelligentsia about it.

Or: two novelists each have a new book to push, and they’ve found a handy two-in-one angle for a nifty little feature.


Mr Writer
I have absolutely no beef with Mr A. I have never read any of his books (or hers for that matter) but what he says is interesting… In fact, it's all good: the first famousish bi man out and proud in the UK since Tom Robinson.

According to the piece, he has identified as bi since he was young, and came out as such in the 80s. But he didn’t find acceptance on the politicised gay scene at the time; nor did he find much scope for bi political activity. So, although he was always in relationships with men, he always knew that was not the whole story. Then he met Ms Theobald.

Ms Writer
Stephanie Theobald was (I think) a fashion/style journalist, and a lesbian. Back in 2002, she wrote the most virulent piece of drivel that I have ever seen on male bisexuality, since the work of 1950s sexologists or contemporary religious bigots, or rejected comments on this site. And it was published! In the Guardian! No way am I going to link to it (can’t find it anyway). But it was all the usual stereotypes with extra added venom.

She thought bi women were sell-outs too and wrote so at length. Then she became one. Oh well, it just goes to show what many people think – that those who are secure in their own sexuality don’t have to ridicule that of others.

Out and proud hypocrites, as she styles herself, are simply hypocrites. She doesn't say she's wrong, or apologise, just jokes about it. Pah!

It occurs to me that this is the first time I have ever really slammed any other "bi" people on this site, but I do believe that she deserves it.

Bi The Way
Well I saw this film mentioned in my last post, and certainly didn’t hate it as much as the Bi-Furious writers, although their criticisms - too many to list here - are generally valid. It was about a world that seemed very foreign to me – bi teenagers in the US. At least it was laugh-out-loud funny in places. And it did show that, for some young people, being bi meant they were a target for bi and homophobia, not just lots of sex!

One thing that really pissed me off though: no activists. Robyn Ochs was allowed precisely one sentence. Of course those young people (and others like them) are going to feel abandoned and isolated if they don’t know there is a whole movement of individuals who are battling for them. The bi movement/theorists seem to be made invisible in all places and times. As the bi-furious people wrote, there was no sense of bis being part of a queer community at all.

Complete absence of a sense of history or geography too. Lookie here, filmmakers Brittany Blockman and Josephine Decker, bisexuality didn’t spring out of nowhere last year or the year before, some time after Madonna kissed Britney. Bisexuality exists everywhere and at every time. And not just for teenagers, either.


Greg K Nicholson said...

“And it was published! In the Guardian!”

I take it you've not heard of Julie Bindel then.

Sue George said...

Oh, I've heard of her all right...

Actually, I'd forgotten Bindel's piece. That's partly because, on Comment is Free posts, when other people can comment, their comments can nullify the stupidity of the original post. I do think that Bindel gets the exposure she does because so many people hate her views, thereby driving traffic to the CiF site.

In 2002 that option didn't exist. If it had, I wouldn't have got so angry because a come-back would have been easy. In those days, all you could do was write a letter for the letters page in the paper (which Tom Robinson did, in fact).

Queers United said...

its nice to see some positive bi stuff published

Jen said...

It's a good while since we printed any of your work in BCN; could we take this one?

Sue George said...

Sure Jen, delighted.