Today is Bisexual Visibility Day–can you see all of the bisexuals around you? Or, are they invisible, and you don’t have your special viewing lenses to see them?
But seriously, now, folks…
Bisexuals are a sizeable, but still largely invisible, sexual minority amongst the vast spectrum of queer identities. How bisexuality is defined is a matter that is up for perennial debate, even in the minds of many bisexuals (not that it should be otherwise!). Are bisexuals simply self-identified, or is someone who identifies as gay but occasionally sleeps with women, or who identifies as straight but is on the down-low for whatever reason, also bisexual and just self-deluded? Answers at every point all across the board are just as tenuous and controversial as anything, and there are no real once-and-for-all “rules” or “guidelines” on which to make such determinations responsibly or in full deference to the integrity of each person to self-identify as they might wish.
No matter how acceptable gay and lesbian identities have become over the last few decades, bisexuality is still misunderstood, marginalized, and even to an extent vilified by not only straight people (who sometimes see bisexuality as little more than “gay with hope for conversion” much of the time) but also gay people (who often see it as “a stop on the way to gay-town” rather than a destination on its own). Biphobia is alive and well, unfortunately, along with many of the other “-phobias” out there.
But, on a different note, what is interesting or unusual in terms of bisexual visibility these days?
One thing that I can highly recommend is the new comics anthology, edited by Charles “Zan” Christensen of Northwest Press, called Anything That Loves. I supported the Kickstarter campaign for this book, and I enjoyed it very much indeed, and look forward to reading some of Northwest Press’ other publications in the near future (and have read some of their current ones as well, which I hope to review on here in the months to come!). It is about the various ways that bisexuality can be identified, according to a number of different comics artists; and the title of it is based on one of the old bisexual newsletters from this area of the world (Northwest Press is Seattle-based), which was called Anything That Moves. The book does not provide answers, it simply exhibits many different ways that the question has been approached by different individuals over their lifespans and in the context of their own artistic work. And, it can also serve as a great introduction to the work of many of the artists featured in the anthology, which is also great! So, I highly suggest picking it up!
And, since this is the blog that it is, I’ll just also note that Hadrian, for all that many modern historians want to say he was “gay,” was from all that we can tell not unlike any other Roman or Mediterranean upper class male of his day, i.e. culturally bisexual, enjoying the physical appearances and emotional attachments to males as well as females, and his different sorts of love for Antinous and for Sabina (and probably any number of other males and females throughout his life) are not any kind of mystery for anyone who actually sees what was going on with his life, rather than reading into it any modern notions of identity for their own self-justification. Just sayin’.
Today is the first day of class for the Fall quarter, and I’ve got one coming up shortly, so I must rush off. But, my colleague Tony Mierzwicki sent me the following article link on the poverty of college teaching, amongst other jobs, and to say that it rings true for my own experience is a colossal understatement. Eeesh. So, all of you underpaid, undervalued adjunct collegiate teaching personnel (and other teachers as well) out there, my respect and solidarity to you as the quarter starts again.