Bisexuals get a minuscule amount of funding because of Biphobia.
LGBT+ organisations rarely provide anything specific for bisexuals because of Biphobia.
The unique experiences of bisexuals are usually incorporated into LGBT+ reports and stats, but never separated by individual sexual orientation because of Biphobia.
Black and POC charities for LGBT+ are terrible at welcoming bisexuals, providing resources for bisexuals and even saying the word bisexual. And why? Because of biphobia.
We are the B in LGBT+ but are rarely represented by Queer organisations. We regularly receive violence and abuse at Pride events from Lesbian and Gay folks. And if we live with other oppressions, our lives can be unbearable. Because of Biphobia.
Queer Hate doesn’t only come from Straight people. Hell, they don’t have to lift a finger, because so many Lesbian and Gay folks do the work for them.
So if you want to shine a light on bisexual visibility, then shed some of that light on how we face biphobia inside the so called LGBT+ communities as well.
Bi Activists Vaneet Mehta, Bi Artist and designer Chris Morris and Rainbow and Co have brought the world a colourful line of bisexual merchandise. The launch of these items were covered by Gay Times magazine. The t-shirts go from a XX Small up to a 5XL, which is great.
The line includes t-shirts cantering Bisexual men, Bisexual women and Bisexual nonbinary folks. There are items in both the hashtag version or as a graphic t-shirt. This is truly a first in my experience.
Vaneet Mehta created the hashtag: #BisexualMenExist which brings attention to an often overlooked portion of the LGBT+ community. Bi and Pan men, whether cisgender or transgender, are often demonised – by being blamed for spreading sexually transmitted diseases to their straight partners, by living on the “Down Low” or by denying that they are ‘really gay’ but in hiding. All of these toxic messages only add to the biphobia that bisexual/pansexual men face inside the LGBT+ community and outside in the heterosexual world. These t-shirts are a clear message that Bisexual men are here and queer – get used to it!
Reposted from my personal blog
I was born in 1969, just as the UK switched from Imperial to the Metric system. One half of my old family were stuck with inches, yards and shillings. The other half of my family used millimetres and kilograms. I was stuck exactly in the middle. I learned how to be familiar with both, but I was never really comfortable.
This kind of straddling two worlds reflected itself in other ways. The place I was born had a huge Black Caribbean population, but I still felt like a minority because the white voices were very loud and pretty racist. I was not supposed to mix with white kids. I was not supposed to make friends with them. I seemed to have missed that memo however, and so I was called “Coconut” from the time I was five all the way until I was in my forties. I was never considered a “proper” Black person.
Feeling unwelcome in either world was something encouraged by my violent and abusive family – it seems a common thing that many survivors experience. Having no trusted friends meant having no source of help or support. I was totally dependent on the people who made my life a misery until I ran away from Tottenham.
I realised I was bisexual after a memorable episode of Star Trek the Next Generation. As I took in the bridge crew of the Enterprise, I knew I was sexually attracted to almost all of them – men, women, alien and android. My initial joy was short lived though. Bisexual was an orientation that was unwanted by everyone: from my straight white boyfriend to the rest of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Gay and Gay) communities. Black and fat was unwanted by most of the white bisexual community too. It was almost five years before I met a Black bisexual woman on holiday. I tried to straddle two worlds once again, however I was considered too straight by Black gay men to even hold a conversation with, let alone be friends. I was downright shunned by Black lesbians, presumably for ‘sleeping with the enemy’ twice over. White queer folks were openly racist. Once again I belonged nowhere.
I became an activist a few years after coming out. I fought against racism in the LGBT communities. I joined DIY groups that wanted fat liberation. I put a word to my romantic feelings: Polyamorous. I became vegan. I felt like a powerhouse! And then the bricks started to crumble away. Racism and Fatphobia in veganism was massive – and still is to this day. Fat liberation was a complete blizzard when I joined, and remains so in the UK. I was treated as if Black people were not really human in the first place, unless it involved sex. A high percentage of the white bisexuals and polyamorous people who were accepting of me, became distant and cold outside of the bedroom*. There was no place I could feel at home.
Now in 2020 I see everyone on this planet stating Black Lives Matter. Countless numbers of Black Trans women and Black sex workers are brutalised and murdered around the world every day. The perpetrators sometimes include Black men. Nobody goes on marches for them, or acknowledges that they were even part of the Black race. Black women are mistreated and murdered, by racist violence, the police, and often times by Black men they know. Very few people say their name. Even less want to look at the reality of living in a body that is supposed to shut up and put up with everyone else’s pain. Black Lives Matter, but as a fat, bisexual, nonbinary, disabled Black person, I have rarely felt like my life held any worth. I have lived with trauma, abuse, violence and my own self-hate for most of my life. I have been so desperate that I self harmed as a way to cope being an abuse survivor with several mental health illnesses. My first suicide attempt was when I was eight years old. Everyone says Black Lives Matter, but the reality is unless you’re a cisgender straight man living in America, your Black life doesn’t mean that much at all.
I do not feel hopeful for the future. I have seen the way older people without a family are left to rot by systems that are supposed to care. When I was last in a mental health hospital, the fact that I had no family meant I was destined to stay there for good, despite being assaulted twice by other patients in just eight days. It was my white friend with a posh accent, who called the secure ward and convinced them to let me out and into their care. As grateful as I am to my friend, it saddens me to know the hospital medics would rather listen to a white middle-class person they had never met, than listen to my pleas to be discharged before I was assaulted again. Medical racism, biphobia and fatphobia is literally life threatening for me.
Does my Black life matter to you? If you are white or a non-black person of colour, are you only concerned with Black folks murdered in the U.S, while ignoring those Black people being killed the next street over from you? If you are Black, do you only care about other Black folks who look like you? Do you ignore the most vulnerable Black lives because they are also queer, old, fat, disabled, homeless, or a sex worker? Do you pick and choose which Black lives matter to you?
There are some worlds I can straddle, but many more I cannot when I am shoved between the cracks. If the only way my Black life matters is to keep my sexuality a secret, ignore my gender presentation, and pretend I’m just like you, then my life never mattered to you in the first place.
Imaan, the Muslim LGBT+ group are holding their first ever festival! Tickets are on sale now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/imaanfest-muslim-pride-tickets-90779683477 and include low-cost tickets of Queer Muslims on a low income. We at Bisexuals of Colour are so pleased this is happening. LGBT+ Muslims face racism, queerphobia and Islamaphobia inside and outside of Queer communities. This is the an opportunity for often-alienated LGBT+ Muslims and their supporters to come together and celebrate who they are. We stand with our Bisexual Muslim friends and siblings!
On #worldaidsday please remember the bisexuals and pansexuals of colour who are demonised as spreaders of sexually transmitted diseases, when the reality is that we face racism and biphobia when trying to access S.T.I help. We experience multiple barriers from medical institutions, from Queer communities and from communities of colour too. It often feels like there are few safer places for us. We shouldn’t have to fight battles on so many fronts. Bi’s of Colour are here for you (link in bio), but we are just one volunteer run group. You can support other bi & pan people of colour by calling out organisations who erase us. You can include us in your events & projects. You can stop being defensive and violent when we demand you stop pushing us under the bus. HIV & AIDS doesnt discriminate. You can do better than a disease.
A guest post from N. Gupta
I have basically a 99% hard limit re ‘no white people as lovers/play partners/fuckbuddies.
Because I am done showing/sharing my skin and body with people who have no clue what their white skin means.
And no investment in learning *to the level that I need for any encounter to be remotely good/pleaseuable for me*
if im ever gonna have that intimacy again
and tbh it feels unlikely and I go back and forth on how i feel about that
i am prirotising black and brown bodies like AND unlike mine:
– trans, gender non conforming, bi, crip, mad, working/mixed class, immigrant bodies, goddess/magic/witchy bodies.
Bodies that contain multitudes and borders.
Bodies that get stopped and searched at borders and on the street.
Me, reading this back. OH. Right. Yes!
with endless thanks to Rhizome Syndrigast Coelacanth Flourishing whose writing and making and thinking and feeling and re-imagining have been so inmportant to me in last couple years Love and solidarty to u, mate xx
It’s a 99% limit because someone being BIPoC doesn’t guarantee a connection. or that they won’t be shit to me, or me to them.
I donn’t get to ‘disappear’ into that world coz it’s not magically free of transphobic, biphobic, ableist, classist, sanist, capitalist, racist, liberal, faily etc bulllshit.
And if someone is qtibpoc but is that more comfortable hanging on to instead of challenging that stuff, our skin doesn’t make us kin.
And coz if you wanna be my lover .. you literally have to come round and deali with my messy house. Coz I’m largely housebound these days.
It’s a 99% limit because there are *and always have been* white working class people in my chosen fam. (and some of their families pretty expolicity chose/’adopted me)
We share and connect on many of these lines in ways.
And coz I have rarely found absolutism to be a useful/positive force/ i need pluralism and options.
I attended the first Bi Pride on 7th September 2019. I was surprised at the turnout – it felt like hundreds of people were there! I was also pleasantly surprised at being at the most diverse mainstream* bisexual event EVER.
I spoke on the Mental Health and Bisexuality panel, about the problems with long waiting times, how NHS mental health services are awful and putting bi and trans people in danger. I also spoke up as an audience member during the session on Bi Community. I raised the point of the barriers to building bi communities, when so many meet-ups and events were held in pubs, which are often unfriendly to visibly queer, POC, those who wear religious clothing, and/or gender non-conforming clothes. These places are also often inaccessible to those with mobility issues.
Overall I was impressed at how professional the event was – the scale of things to do, and the community marketplace. Also the Sensory relaxation room was small but it was AMAZING!
*mainstream, as in the event was not for bi people of colour only
We at Bi’s of Colour have known Andre for years, and have been impressed with his activism, his positivity, and his ability to keep going with a smile on his face. We are all proud to have Andre as our first ever Bisexual of the Year!