My queer sister, who identifies as bisexual, sent me the below article from Dan Savage at THE STRANGER. The premise of Dan's column, "Savage Love", is that a reader writes in their concern about a sex issue and Dan, who is gay, writes back with his advice and insight.
In today's column the writer discusses her disappointment in the LGBT community for dismissing bisexuals. His response really upset my sister (although I found Dan's comment about Tila Tequila quite amusing).
So I'm opening it up for debate. What do you think about Dan's response? And what how do you feel about bisexual's treatment in the LGBT community?
On the SLOG today:
Here is the letter:
I'm a 21-year-old bisexual woman, writing to air a few grievances with the ever-tolerant GLBT community. Question number one... What does the B in GLBT stand for? Because I was under the impression that it stood for bisexual, but apparently I was incorrect. I constantly feel forced to identify myself sexually based on who I am dating at the time, as though bisexuality is a child's sexuality for people who are "confused," "experimenting," or "attention-seeking." If I'm dating a woman, I'm just not being honest about my sexuality, and if I'm dating a man (or single, more often than not) it's assumed that I'm just using physical attraction to women to get attention from men, an idea that in practice I think is disgusting and demeaning.
Frankly, these assumptions come just as frequently (if not more frequently) from the GLBT comunity than even from the straight community. Everyone is constantly shocked that I've never been in a threesome, and think that it is constantly okay to pressure me to be in one, despite my assertion that threesomes may be great, but they just don't do it for me. This attitude permeates through my friend group, my family, my partners, and the world at large. It is a kind of ignorance no one seems to care to stop.
My anger boiled over, strangely enough, when I was watching the first episode of The Real World this season. The transgendered woman on the show, while speaking to her mother, said that the woman who spent the majority of her life dating women, and who is now dating a man "used to be" a part of the GLBT comunity. Wait, wait, wait. Because she's dating a man now, it means that she is no longer attracted to women? Her membership to the club is revoked? Strangely enough, I don't particularly think that the transgendered woman is mean, or intolerant. I just think that this is an attitude so engrained in everyone's minds, that it is just utterly socially acceptable.
For the record? I like eating pussy as much as I like sucking cock. Equally, assuming that they are quality pussy and cock. This does not make me a slut, confused, attention seeking, or experimental. I also like being in monogamous relationships. And I'm tired of suffering constantly against undefended assumptions that for some reason, all those things can't be true.
Help a sister out.
Strong Bisexual Woman
HERE IS DAN'S RESPONSE"
Let me guess: "B" stands for bellyaching?
Look, SBW, it seems to me that a strong bisexual woman wouldn't be so devastated by some offhand remark made by one of the idiot housemates on The Real World. Everyone on that show is a moron—gay, straight, bi, whatever—and has been for the last decade at least. You pretty much have to fail some sort of personality test to even be considered for The Real World. Isn't that part of the premise? Don't we know that going in? If you don't want to listen to dumb-but-good-looking people saying dumb-but-good-looking things then watch The Real World like I do: with the sound off.
And if everyone in your life is pressuring you about having threeways—your friends, your lovers, your family members (your family members?)—then there's something wrong with your friends and lovers and family members (your family members?). I don't think it's fair for you to project the attitudes of those you chose to hang out with, sleep with, and, um, be related to onto the entire TGIF community. Don't like their attitudes of your friends, lovers, and relations? Find better friends, fuck better lovers, and, um, get better relations.
Finally, SBW, while I don't doubt for a moment that your bisexuality will stand the test of time, you have to accept the fact that for many gays and lesbians bisexual identity was a phase, a label they clung to at a time in their lives when they were "confused" and/or "experimenting." The fact that many gays and lesbians identified as bisexual once—or lied and claimed to be bisexual—can induce a bit skepticism on our part when meet an honest-to-God bisexual, particularly a young one, once we're all grown up and completely out. Not entirely fair, SBW, but entirely understandable.
Think of it as your cross to bear. And what cross do we gays and lesbians have to bear? Well, how about watching our bisexual friends who are lucky enough to fall in love with opposite-sex partners—and it's spooky how lucky our bisexual friends tend to be—run off and get legally married while we get fucked over and over again at the ballot box.
As for the "attention-seeking" stereotype, well... you can blame Tila Tequila, one of your own, for that.