Author Topic: Bi invisibility and the term "queer"  (Read 1193 times)

Offline Underdog

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Bi invisibility and the term "queer"
« on: Aug 19, 2014, 03:48:09 PM »
Speaking to somebody who roughly said that they sometimes ID as "bisexual" and sometimes ID as "queer"... Sometimes they felt the need to identify as bisexual because it shows solidarity to a section of the population usually rendered invisible...

How do people feel about this idea?

I use the term "queer" rather than "bisexual", though occasionally it depends on my audience. I see "queer" as a term which is anti-label; for me, it doesn't restrict the kinds of relationships I can have and the possibilities of gender and romantic/sexual engagement... But for people who don't know what "queer" means, or who still see it as an insult, I'll say I'm "bisexual".

So apologies for the ramblings... I was just wondering if some people use both terms, or have a preference for one term?

Is there a level of educational privilege linked to the word "queer"?

Is "bisexual" too binaristic (i.e. assuming only two genders) to represent your view on gender and/or sex?
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Offline Jenny Talia

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Re: Bi invisibility and the term "queer"
« Reply #1 on: Aug 19, 2014, 10:08:13 PM »
I use the word queer as that is the only one which comes close to labelling me correctly.  I hate the word however, Queer.. yuk, and due to this I can see the 'educational' aspect.  To a lot of us Queer is merely an umbrella term, which says nothing worthwhile about who you are.  It won't tell you the long struggle I had admitting to myself I liked girls, or the homophobia I faced on the streets, or the endlessly, never-ending occasions I had to put myself out there and come out to people I barely knew.  Queer just tells you that I'm not straight.  But to many self-identified queers, who have sat through gender studies, or marched in solidarity with queer resistance, the word has a long and varied history which tells you everything about who they are.  But if the label fits, wear it.  If it looks like ketchup, and tastes like ketchup, then it must be ketchup.   

I've actually thought about the solidarity thing before.  I do use bisexual, in the sense that I would never correct someone who made that assumption.  Among a mainstream audience it allows me to be frank about my history without confusing anyone, or allowing anyone to whitewash my previous relationships.  Among a queer audience however it doesn't have the same power, and actually takes away from my identity.   I'm obviously much more aware of bi issues now, and they're something I genuinely regret my lack of awareness before, so in a lot of ways my social presentation is of myself as a bisexual women. 

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Offline bikegrrl

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Re: Bi invisibility and the term "queer"
« Reply #2 on: Aug 20, 2014, 01:56:40 AM »
don't have much time to type right now, but i tend to use 'queer' to describe myself and other folk.

but sometimes explain that if i had to choose from L, G,B and T, it would be B.

i came out as 'bisexual' when i was a teenager, and haven't identified as monosexual in the decades since. i started using 'queer' about myself in the 90s and much prefer it. now i know many more people whose gender doesn't fit into any binary system, 'bisexual' doesn't feel so accurate.  i suppose in my head i think 'pansexual' nowadays, but it's not as widely understood/ used by most of the population, so isn't so useful.

Offline Jenny Talia

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Re: Bi invisibility and the term "queer"
« Reply #3 on: Aug 20, 2014, 06:48:23 PM »
And right now there is bi solidarity happening on Twitter.
You may be wondering what a map of the trade winds of the North Atlantic is doing on page 134 of a book entitled Is Sex Necessary? In our opinion a map of the trade winds is equally useful in understanding women as a cross section of the female anatomy -James Thurber

Nothing risqué, nothing gained