Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Duncan from Blue comes out. Etc.




Another week, another celebrity comes out as bi. I stopped posting on bi celebrity long ago, but there is something about male celebrities coming out as bi that does, in fact, deserve more attention.

I’ve done the women, as it were – Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, et al all the way back to Madonna c1990… well, they may be bi, or they may not. They may have felt a sudden desire to be, like, totally honest with their public at this particular moment in time, or they may have seen a marketing opportunity.

Celebrities, eh. You just can’t trust them/their public images/their people. And they do real bi women no favours at all.

However, female bi celebrities don’t really get flak from anyone (apart from the likes of me, who matters not diddley-squat in the big old world of music PR). Bi male celebrities (like bi men in general) are not seen as that teensy bit sexier, they are seen as pretend gay men with all the homophobia and ridicule that implies in mainstream society.

Complementary posts
Two blog posts on this subject cover pretty much everything I could or would have said on the subject. I have never heard of Gary Nunn before, but Marcus Morgan is a long-time UK bi activist, and knows of what he speaks.

However, I want to highlight the many comments these posts attracted. The negative comments, that is; the positive comments are similar and from people who actually know other bi people or are bi themselves.

Obviously, the Guardian’s Comment is Free site attracts a different set of prejudices to that of Pink News – a gay news site. Specifically, CiF commenters tend to believe that there is no problem in being gay or bi these days, that gay/bi people still “shouting from the rooftops” aka mentioning their sexuality are somehow oppressing heterosexuals. Or, connected, that we should just all love whoever and it really doesn't matter any more.

Biphobia really does exist
But it is depressing that the bile posted on PN by gay people (men) beats that on CiF by the factor of many. Specifically, that bi men cannot be trusted because X poster has met a no-good one (or two).

Perhaps most people who are out as bi have heard this already - God knows how many times I have heard this in my life! So bi people are supposed to police / apologise for the bad behaviour of every other person who has ever said they were bi. You can't be judged as yourself, but against what others may or may not have done.

I find that extraordinary, nothing but downright prejudice. It puts us in an impossible position. We “good” bis, by our attempts at openness and honesty, are as nothing beside these bogeyman “bad” bis. And there are bad bis, of course. There are bad people of all sexualities. Sexual identity does not correlate to good or bad behaviour.

'Bi now, gay later'
I don’t know where those gay people posting get the idea that being bi is so much easier than being gay. That, as a result, all the bi (men) they have ever met who then turned out to be gay negate the very existence of genuinely bi men.

One commenter says that a lot of people who say they are bi are really gay. How does he know? Some people say they are bi and are really gay. True. Some people say they are gay and are really bi. True. Presumably, both think that the sexuality they profess is easier to manage / more acceptable than the one they feel in their hearts that they are.

Well, I have met plenty of gay men who turned out to be bi. Including some bi men who have girlfriends they do not tell the gay community about. And married bi men who were completely honest with their wives. And monogamous bisexuals by the bucketload.

The supposition remains: bi men = really gay; bi women = really straight. Are men, or perhaps Men, really so irresistible?

9 comments:

Kevin said...

Hear, hear!

Karen said...

Brava!

The idea that being out as bi isn't seen as being queer by straight people baffles me. It's not like straight culture doesn't just lump us all in together as Other. I love the post over at Bilerico Project by Ellyn Ruthstrom, 'Who's Using Whom?' [http://www.bilerico.com/2009/03/bisexuality_whos_using_whom.php], which discusses how gay people use bi space and bi people to learn acceptance of their own orientations - it turns the "bi people use gay space" moan on its head in a shrewd and insightful way.

The problem of bi women being more saleable and bi men being targets of greater hostility strikes me as a really glaring example of how male sexuality is still considered to be more important than female sexuality. Any way you slice it, our sexuality is culturally owned by straight males, but it's the men who challenge the gender norms and boundaries who are seen as genuinely threatening because their sexuality carries more weight in a far from egalitarian society.

badman said...

I'm 47 and married and I told my wife I couldn't work out my sexuality before we even had sex the first time, before we were married. We've been together 15 years now and the only person who isn't bothered about me being bisexual is her. I think it's very isolating because I'm not like a straight man and I'm not like a gay man. I pass as straight with straight men and women and I pass as gay in gay environments like my gay gym but I feel a hypocrite in both and I can't be honest in either. If I mention a kid in the gym it's like I'm on the other side, and if I put on a singlet for a straight gathering everyone is freaked out. I always used to think that you must have a sexual preference and the only thing was to decide what you preferred and go with that. Now I know that's not possible. You have to eat AND drink. I don't mean I'm unfaithful, in fact I'm not. But I notice everyone, I fancy everyone, and it's always worrying me. Anyway, thanks for your blog, there just aren't enough confident bisexuals out there.

Jen said...

I'd quite like to run this one in BCN as well? ~:o)

Heather said...

It was not hard for me to accept that as a woman I found other women attractive. However, it was difficult for me to accept that I was also attracted to men. I feel like I'm on the outskirts of both communities, never really fitting in and like I'm somehow letting the gay community down. And you know what, it hurts that a lot of the flak we get comes from the gay community. They should know that sexuality is never easy, never exactly in one slot.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I had a gay roommate but never came out to him or his friends. Because instinctively I knew that my bisexuality would not be accepted. The biggest problems that bisexuals face is being ostracized by both the heterosexual and homosexual communities.

Jake said...

Wow this blog is brimming with good information.

I've recently become more and more aware of bisexuality recently. Not only because I am a new officer in my university's LGBTI student run org on campus but also because we recently had the pleasure of having bi-activist Robyn Ochs give two beautiful lectures here on campus. (Look up her new book "Getting Bi" if you haven't.)

And if only I didn't have class during it's time, I could attend the meetings of our bi club called 'Bi the By.'

I guess I don't understand biphobia, unless it's just day old homophobia but I'm learning. I've always thought that bisexuals had it well. They have the potential to experience romantic attatchment to both sexes and the opportunity to know both sexes intimately, something that I as a gay man - as much as a few girls want me to know the deeper part of them essentially because that's supposedly my role in the straight girl's life - will probably never experience. I'm only 25 so you never know. Anyway, it seems very romantic and magical in a way.

Our org has a blog (http://gladuntblog.blogspot.com/) that could probably use more bi-news. So I'm perusing blogs and found your's. Happy find!

Kayla said...

I am a recently outted bisexual woman. I find it difficult living in between the communities. I look at women and I look at men and I enjoy both. I feel more confident about it now than I have before, but there is certainly a prejudice. Some men find it sexy and start talking about threesomes and asking for stories, while others become paranoid that when I go hang out with my women friends that we are being sexually active together. Fidelity has nothing to do with sexuality! There are misconceptions on both sides by straights and gays. People think Bis are more promiscuous and can't have a serious relationship. This too is untrue. It is hard being both, you want to fit in on each sides and are accepted by neither. I have said I am a lesbian in gay bars and in other bars no one asks, just assumes I am straight. Yet, neither is correct because it negates the other. I think there is just a general fear that bi people are going to change into only one direction or the other, that its not possible to live in between. But we are born bi just as others are born straight, gay, or feeling like they should be the opposite gender. I do believe that the term Bi has been used as a gateway for many people in the transition stage, not yet ready to commit fully to one side or the other. However, that does not mean that we have to only favor one sex.

As someone else said earlier, we DO need more strong Bi figures because I feel that often we are forgotten in the gay community and not fully accepted into the straight one. Thank you for your blog, it was very surprising to find a BI website with legitimate and intelligent postings.

Anthony Blake said...

Its widely accepted in the gay community that bisexuality is a mere stepping stone. A process of discovery or acceptance. However, psychologically speaking, it has been suggested that humans are never 100% Straight or 100% Gay. Many psychologists argue that everyone falls into the grey area in between the two extremes.
I guess its a bit like dogs who sniff each others bits...curiousity killed the cat ;)