In 1971 Petty Officer Robert A. Martin Jr. became the first US Servicemember to publicly fight his discharge for being a LGBTQ person. Said journalist Randy Shilts in his 1993 book Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military,
In the tens of thousands of hearings since World War II where comparable actions had been taken on the basis of comparable evidence, the matter ended there, with the sailor skulking away in disgrace. Petty Officer Martin, however, went public with what had happened to him and swore to fight for an honorable discharge
Despite the support, he received a general discharge in 1972, but he continued to fight and in 1977 his discharge was upgraded to “honorable”. wrote historian David Eisenbach in his 2006 book Gay Power: An American Revolution,
Martin’s groundbreaking public battle against the Navy kicked off a series of well-publicized challenges to military discharges that harnessed and directed the energy of the gay rights movement in the 1970s.
Despite the words gay, gay , gay being endless thrown about Petty Officer Martin, (who is better known by his nom de guerre Stephen Donaldson and his pen name Donny the Punk) is a famous and important bisexual activist.
Though he did die just short of his 50th birthday (yes from AIDS, in many ways he completely epitomized the “sex and drugs and rock-and-roll” lifestyle of his era with all it’s excesses, pitfalls and it’s joyousness) he had an amazingly full life and quite the wild ride. In 1966 he founded the first LGBTQ Student Group, he was an active member in the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) & Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) the groups that sprang to life immediately the day after the Stonewall Riots and most famously in 1972 he helped draft the Quaker Committee of Friends “Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality”, perhaps the earliest public expression of a new bisexual consciousness.
An actual argument I’ve see on Tumblr is that people who are transgender can’t be/shouldn’t be bisexual, since doing so supports the gender binary.
Oh *Yawn* look More Biphobia! and mixed together with a little transphobia too. What a surprise, Not! They are very frequently found together, (see Mitt Romney 4 example). People interested in the topic might want to read this article about some of the roots of this disturbing phenomena.
Just why do these people think that the over one third or more of the the Trans* and Gender Non-conforming founders, current leaders and members of the Bisexual Community are supposed to listen to them anyway?
Being bisexual just means people who can ♥ people of same gender as themselves + can ♥ people of different genders/gender presentations from themselves. But when biphobic bigots ignore the bisexual community’s longstanding self definition and make up fake ones so they can attack them, tell me how are theses self-appointed identity police are any different than the anti-LGBTQ Str8 people who do the same?
A study looking at nonmono and questioning students.
it is entirely possible that the poor woman was totally misquoted everywhere, but right now it looks to be an expensive, useless, exercise in bisexual erasure and invalidation not to mention extensive victim blaming and seems to be more along the line of a bad joke: wacky professor drives students to drink and depression by insisting they don’t exist
would have helped if she had given almost any sign of having even heard of current research (Lisa Diamond on Bisexuality as a stable orientation; SF 2011 Bisexual Invisibility Report; BiUK Bisexuality Report, practically anything and everything in the Journal of Bisexuality, etc.) for say the last ten years or so … *sigh*
Here’s where I’ll be for the next two weeks:
February 28. Denison University (Granville, OH)
February 29. University of Akron (Akron, OH)
March 1-2. Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
March 5-6 Southwestern University. (Georgetown, TX)
March 8. State University of New York at Fredonia (Fredonia, NY)
You can find my schedule for the rest of the semester at www.robynochs.com.
And I’m currently booking for the 2012-2013 academic year.
[UK]: On February 15th, 2012 BiUK - in collaboration with the Open University - launched “The Bisexuality Report”
Bisexual people are included in the acronym LGBT but often our issues and circumstances are not separately understood in practice. This is despite clear evidence that we experience discrimination in education, in society, and in the workplace and that we are more at risk of mental health problems than lesbian, gay, or heterosexual people.
Bisexual people are subject to a specific form of discrimination - “biphobia” - because we do not fit the simplistic “you’re either gay or straight” model of sexuality.
This in-depth report summarises national and international evidence and draws out useful recommendations for future bisexual inclusion in many different settings.
This is from the chapter about monosexism and biphobia, from the sub-section about internalized biphobia (and the sub-sub section about internalized biphobia in intimate relationships). I wrote about three types of internalized biphobia inside intimate relationships; this is the second.
Similar to social settings, internalized biphobia might also influence people inside intimate relationships in a way that is disruptive and harmful both to the relationship and the people within. Inside relationships, some bisexual people might treat their partners in ways similar to those of biphobic monosexual people, as informed by stereotypes about bisexuals’ dishonesty and lack of loyalty, as well as returning to some of the basic underlying themes of internalized biphobia such as lack of acceptance and worthlessness.
Bisexuals who […] choose to date other bisexuals might […] be influenced by internalized biphobia, often in subconscious ways. Many bisexuals people might fear that their partner might cheat on them or leave them for a member of another gender. If the relationship is nonmonogamous, then people might need to deal with more jealousy or a feeling of being threatened when their partner hooks up with someone of a particular gender. For example, in one of my relationships, my partner and I needed to deal with her internalized biphobia when I started dating a man. She feared that he might be able to satisfy me in ways that she couldn’t and that I might leave her for him (despite our polyamorous relationship). True to the under-the-radar character of internalized biphobia, she didn’t realize that this is what it was until I pointed it out.
I’ve found that these sorts of fears are more often triggered by (potential) male partners rather than anyone else, and regardless of the gender of the person in the relationship. To simplify: whether the person inside the relationship is a man, a woman, a non-binary gender or any other gender, these feelings might be more likely triggered by interest in a man than a person of any other gender. This means that these fears are more related to masculinist* and patriarchal** values than to categorical gendered thought (i.e. “this other person is of a different gender category than me, therefore they are more threatening”). The social presumption that males have more value here plays out through the assumption that bisexual people of any gender would always prefer men. Thus, the fear that one’s bisexual partner might leave them for the proverbial “someone with a penis”*** are informed both by sexism (assuming men’s superior value) and by biphobic notions according to which bisexuals are “actually” monosexual. In addition, a contributing factor might be people’s feelings of worthlessness as bisexuals, thinking themselves as undeserving of love and intimacy, or as “not good enough” to be with and thus dismissible by their partners.
* Patriarchy means the system of male superiority and rule.
** Masculinism is the system attributing more value and power to masculine people or to anything else which might be perceived as masculine (personality characteristics, hobbies, interests, social values, etc.)
*** Note that not all men actually have penises (notably, many transgender men). However, popular sexist, cissexist and heteropatriarchal thought often constructs men as metaphorically phallic (or as possessing phallic power) whether or not they “possess” the organ itself.
Here’s my take:
Bisexual and pansexual identities often look the same:
- Both bisexual and pansexual people might feel desire towards any amount of genders. People who feel desire towards people of more than one, more than two, many, multiple or all genders can identify as bisexual or as pansexual (or really anything else): The word people use to name their sexual identity does not predict or convey the number of genders they might desire.
- Both bisexual and pansexual people might be cisgender, transgender* or genderqueer*: Whether people identify as bi or pan does not predict or convey their gender identity.
- Both bisexual and pansexual people can support transgender* and genderqueer* liberation/rights: Whether people identify as bi or pan does not predict or convey their levels of such support or their levels of transphobia/cissexism.
- Both bisexual and pansexual people can support bisexual* liberation/rights: Whether people identify as bi or pan does not predict or convey their levels of such support or their levels of biphobia (and yes, people who identify as bi can be biphobic, too).
Bisexual identity and pansexual identity are not the same:
- Bisexuality comes from a type of political thought based on sexual identity, pansexuality comes from a type of political thought based on gender identity: Talk to a bi person about bisexuality, they’ll often talk about sexuality and desire, and focus on biphobia; talk to a pan person about pansexuality, they’ll often talk about transgender and genderqueer identities, and focus on transphobia.
- The definition of pansexuality is often dependent on the definition of bisexuality (and, dare I say, the rejection thereof): If bisexuality is defined as desire towards people of more than one gender, pansexuality can be defined as desire towards people of more than two genders; if bisexuality is defined as desire towards people of many genders, pansexuality can be defined as desire towards people of all genders; if bisexuality is defined as desire towards people of genders similar + different than our own, pansexuality can be defined as desire regardless of gender. But: both bisexuality and pansexuality can - and have - been defined as any of these things.
And herein lies the problem: many pansexuals feel the need to define bisexuality as attraction to no more than two genders (a definition which most outspoken bisexuals here on tumblr vehemently dispute) in order to constitute the difference as related to desire rather than as related to politics. This is where all the erasure and biphobia comes into play and where it gets fucked up, violent, silencing and oppressive.
Another problem here is that this kind of dependency on meaning and comparison erases pansexuality as an identity in its own right. I’d like to believe that pansexuality can stand quite well on its own [excuse my ableist language, I couldn’t find an alternative phrase] without being dependent on bisexuality like that.
My advice to everyone on this issue is to stop this focus on the desire-related differences between bisexuality and pansexuality: none can be defined in any way that can be agreed by everyone. Concurrently, I would also advise people to stop defining other people’s identities for them: they can do it perfectly well themselves. Since the pansexual side of the debate is usually the one doing these things, I urge pansexual people to consider the power relations here (obviously working against bisexuals), to take responsibility for themselves on the personal level, and to call each other out and encourage accountability on the community level.
To the bisexual side I would say… try not to assume that all pansexuals are necessarily biphobic or against us. Memes such as “police all the bisexuals” (accompanied with a pansexual flag) convey a lot of justified pain and anger, but they’re still in bad taste as they assume exactly that. Yes, many of them are, and yes we have grown used to expecting a lot of bullshit coming from that direction… but then again, many are not, and we might find even more allies within them yet.
Really, my dream in that regard is to have an awesome shiny bi/pan movement to make an awesome shiny bi/pan revolution with.
Solidarity for all.
Shiri hath spoken! but seriously I’s listen to what she says if I were you, she’s usually correct.
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