There’s a lot of bisexuality sloshing around this show.
Dan Savage is starting to see some movement away from biphobia. Slow movement, but movement none-the-less.
First of all, he’s talking to actual bisexuals instead of talking about us. This is a step. Second, he is giving bisexuals a platform to talk other bisexuals. Good. Third, this podcast recommends two great books about bisexuality — Bi Any Other Name and Bisexual Men Coming Out Every Which Way. Important progress is being made.
Buuuuut lets be honest. Listening to this podcast is almost painful. I feel like I should trigger warning it.
Ellyn Ruthstrom of the Bisexual Resource Center does a great job with this given Savage’s prickliness, and reputation. She also hints at an important point that I want to make it explicit.
Savage claims that when he came out in the 80’s no one had his back, but that isn’t true. The gay community had his back. He was living in Chicago and he could find gay bars and gay pride parades, gay books and gay political action groups. When gay men of his time period came out YES they risked rejection from family and friends, being fired, and yes AIDS but they also knew there was a gay community that would help them. The gay community of that time period makes me think of the line from Lilo and Stitch — It was “little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.” It was a meager safety net — but it was one and it was there for him.
Bisexual people coming out do not have that. Period. End of sentence. The same LGBT community that bears our letter in the initial often does not have our back. Bisexual people often face as much harassment and dehumanization from LGBT organizations as they do from the straight world. There are no bi bars. We get kicked out of pride parades. Finding books about bisexuals and bisexuality is incredibly fucking difficult — TRUST ME. The entire purpose of this blog is to look for them because it’s like panning for gold for bi people to find themselves in literature.
Gay men like Savage did not pull themselves up by their bootstraps and change the world. They had help.
To expect bisexuals to come out and change the world when no one has our backs seems to me like a monstrous set-up to fail. It allows Savage to concern troll bisexual people about how we ‘do this to ourselves’ by not being out. And it allows him to blame us for biphobia then justify his past biphobia against us because hey, we can’t even be out so why should he have to take our concerns seriously.