Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of bisexual-books. It’s gone by so fast, we’ve met some incredible people in the bisexual community, and read some fascinating books. But most of all, we’ve learned a lot - about books, about tumblr, and about the process of blogging.
There is still a deep and abiding need for more bisexual literature and literary criticism.
When we started this blog, Sarah and Ellie thought it would be the two of us and the handful of friends that we’d peer pressured into following us on this silly adventure. So we’re still awestruck that we have over 4,600 followers and picked up a third contributor, Evan. Clearly, Bisexual Books is an idea whose time had come!
There are more bisexual characters than you would think.
Time was we could count the number of bisexual books on the fingers of one hand. In the last year we’ve found TONS of bisexual characters – but no one ever uses the word bisexual! Book jackets, publishers, and characters use euphemisms – “no labels,” “batting for both teams,” “hearts not parts.”
It’s like we’re stuck in a 50s-era pulp. Bisexuality has become the sexual orientation that dare not speak it’s name. Half of what we do here is play detective with overly vague book jacket copy to find out if this ‘sensual cutting-edge coming-of-age exploration about how love comes where you least expect it ’ is about a bisexual person.
People like free stuff. Like a LOT.
You probably love free stuff too, so go check out our 1 year birthday give away.
We’ve gotta do something about all this transphobia guys
Despite decades of bisexuality being defined as “attracted to same and different genders,” cissexist and even downright transphobic definitions of bisexuality are pervasive. And no wonder – even in our literature, we use phrases like “attracted to both genders” or “attracted to men and women.” In Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner records instances of transphobic language in some of our most foundational works. Bi literature doesn’t do enough to challenge monosexuals and baby bisexuals to question their cisgender worldview. Bisexual literary criticism should be challenging the transphobic language that makes trans and non-binary bisexuals invisible.
Monosexuals think they’re so original.
Oh good God this. More than once, we’ve seen instances of monosexual authors who think they are being sensitive to the needs of bisexuals, or telling new edgy stories about bisexuals, when in reality they are recycling the same old biphobic tropes that make our eyes bleed. These authors aren’t necessarily malevolent, but they are so painfully unaware of bisexual stereotypes that they actually think they are being original. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
WE NEED MORE BISEXUAL COMING OUT LITERATURE
People love to gush about gay and lesbian literature (particularly YA) for being “more than just coming out stories.” Isn’t it great to have romances that “just happen” to have some lesbians, or epic fantasy adventures that “just happen” to have a gay guy?? This is all code for “we’re sick to death of hearing gay and lesbian coming out stories because they are so damn common”. Once upon a time, they nearly dominated gay and lesbian literature.
But that was important dammit! Coming out is an important part of the queer experience, both personally and in literature. Coming out stories were the bedrock of gay and lesbian literature; it was a part of proving that gay and lesbian people (and characters) exist. Once you establish the narrative of coming out and acknowledge that gay and lesbian characters exist, you can start telling other stories – romances, and dragons, and spy thrillers and historical and everything else.
But bisexuals? We’re still trying to get that coming out narrative. We don’t have those foundational stories about people who have to struggle to identify as bisexual when the world insists we either don’t exist or we’re really just confused or skipping through the daisies with our bisexual privilege or whatever. And what we’re left with are flimsy characters who act as thought the word bisexual doesn’t exist or beat around the bush with euphemisms.
We need more coming out literature – both for bisexuals who are going through the process themselves, and so we can finally have stories where it is okay to use the word bisexual.
Don’t drink and blog.
Or maybe we should do it more. Take your pick.
So Happy Birthday, Bisexual Books. And thanks for all of our amazing followers who have made the last year possible.
- Ellie, Sarah, and Evan