Bisexual Books
Bisexual Books
onemorethingimaddictedto
In PLL, they have made both Jenna and Alison bisexual, while I don't think either were in the books, if I remember correctly. So it's not all bad.

argenterica:

bisexual-books:

Introducing more bisexual characters is great, but even if they get up on top of a chair shouting “I AM BISEXUAL!” while flapping their arms in some fashion, it still doesn’t make up for the damage that is done by gaywashing Emily.   Plus I’m not exactly hearing good things about the way Jenna and Alison’s characters have been handled.  Color me unimpressed.  

- Sarah 

Yeah, the show has a long way to go with both Jenna and Alison. For one thing, from what I can remember, the show hasn’t explicitly stated that either of them are into girls. In both cases it’s just pretty strongly implied, and hopefully in Ali’s case they’ll explore it a lot more. Overall, just look at PLL’s track record with bi and probably bi character:

  • Maya (definitely bi) - dead, even though she’s alive in the books
  • Ali (probably bi) - abusive toward the main character pre-show
  • Jenna (probably bi) - she’s a rapist (she wasn’t in the books) and generally an antagonist 

So ummm there’s almost nothing good to say about bi representation on the show.

onemorethingimaddictedto
In PLL, they have made both Jenna and Alison bisexual, while I don't think either were in the books, if I remember correctly. So it's not all bad.

Introducing more bisexual characters is great, but even if they get up on top of a chair shouting “I AM BISEXUAL!” while flapping their arms in some fashion, it still doesn’t make up for the damage that is done by gaywashing Emily.   Plus I’m not exactly hearing good things about the way Jenna and Alison’s characters have been handled.  Color me unimpressed.  

- Sarah 

metal-rider
the thing that really turned me off of PLL was how happy and reassuring the EP was when she said that Emily was gay on the show, it really bothered me. Same with Glee when they were so reassuring that Blaine was gay it's like there's nothing worse than being bi and the monosexuals shouldn't have to worry about their idols being anything else

Oh don’t even get me started on how Glee needs to fluff and buff up monosexual anxiety.  I can’t say anything about that which doesn’t end with me in a flailing rage so I’m just going to stop right there.   I got no patience for monosexuals who get the vapors every time their fav is presented as even slightly fluid.  

- Sarah

onemorethingimaddictedto
About PLL - the TV series is actually very different from the books. The writers of the show have stated multiple times that they are following a different plot from the books, so, maybe in their plot, Emily is a lesbian. Yes we see her with a boyfriend at the start of the first series, but she never seems to enjoy kissing him. So I think it's not necessarily bi-erasure.

Actually I think that makes it a more blatant case of bi-erasure.  Someone said “hmmm this is something we should deliberately change.”  They took deliberate steps to make sure they didn’t show her enjoying kissing her boyfriend.  The bi erasure wasn’t careless or accidental, it was deliberate and calculated and done with callous disregard for what it means to bisexual people to have their sexual orientation stripped from a character that originated in a New York Times Bestseller.

- Sarah 

mockignjays
i actually was very confused when i got into pll and saw that the fandom kept calling her lesbian??? so i thought /i/ was the one who got her sexuality wrong lol

Well and the only reason I knew Emily was supposed to be bisexual was because I read the first book and some of my friends read the whole series.  I feel bad for all the people who just watch the show and have no idea what happened behind the scenes.   

- Sarah

queerbookclub:

bisexual-books:

queerbookclub:

[see this post]

I have nothing but respect for you queerbookclub, but there’s something about your review of Beyond Magenta that just doesn’t sit right with me as a person who works with teens in my professional life.   Where you see exploitation in this book, I see so much strength.  And I see a lot of ageism in your review. 

Now would this project have been done better if Kuklin was trans?  Absolutely, but I think that you’re really selling these teens short if you assume that 16-19 year-olds are inherently incapable of consenting to a project like this just because of their age.

What I liked best about Beyond Magenta was that it wasn’t made FOR teens, it was made in collaboration WITH them.  That is so rare for teen media.   If you read the notes in the back, the author approved everything with these teens before publication, so she did not “decide what made the cut” as you put it.  She’s said in interviews that “While actually writing I tried to choose statements that told their story but were not voyeuristic. To be sure that everything was accurate, the teens were invited to read their chapters throughout the editing process.”  She did not approach these teens.  Teens were informed that someone was doing this project, and it was up to them if they wanted to reach out to her. Several of them are teens in the technical sense not the cultural sense since they are over 18; as adults it is entirely their choice to participate or not.   

But I’m also uncomfortable with your criticism of these teens for making the choice to share photographs of themselves pre-transition.  It sounds like you’re saying they shouldn’t do that, or that Kuklin must have roped them into it.  But if these teens are comfortable with it, then that is their choice and one that I think deserves support, not criticism.  It’s a trope when talkshows, media, and cis people demand those kinds of photos not when trans people freely share them.    It seems to skirt into respectability politics to say that those trans teens shouldn’t have shared those photos.  It implies there is a right or real or proper way to tell a trans story and these teens are somehow failing at doing it right because they are too young and foolish to know better.

I also feel like raising the specter of “how are these young people going to feel about this book in ten years, or heck, in two?” is ageist and insulting to teens.  Teens do embarrassing stuff ALL THE TIME.   If they are anything like the teens I work with every day, they are hyperaware of how something can be embarrassing.  Maybe they will look back on this book and cringe.  Maybe they will not.  Maybe years later an adult will look back on a book they were in and cringe.  They deserve respect and praise for taking that risk in order to give much-needed representation to trans teens like themselves.   I think it’s condescending to assume that they don’t understand the concept of consequences because they are young.

No one is telling these stories and if they are, it’s in novels like Freakboy not in non-fiction work.  Mainstream media does not take the stories of trans teens seriously.   I have seen my trans teens at work pour over this book like it is the second coming because they’ve never seen people that look so much like themselves before.   It is not a perfect book and I agree that there are problematic elements — the fatphobia made me wince, it was intermittently cissexist, and the Resources section was shitty.   But I think you’re selling these teens way to short because of their age. 

- Sarah

bisexual-books offers a different perspective on Beyond Magenta. I admit that I didn’t give the young participants enough credit. Perhaps I was too harsh in general, seeing as this book is probably something they’re proud to have been a part of. I was trying to shift focus off of them in my review, since my problems are with Kuklin, not with them - but perhaps I sold them short instead. I do commend them for their boldness, but I would rather have read a book that they had thought up and designed themselves.

While it’s great that the teens were involved in the editing process, I do think Kuklin had more editorial control than you imply. From her own words: “The profiles you read were taken from a series of taped interviews that were edited by me. When information on the tapes was not relevant to the narrative’s topic, it was deleted… The participants were then invited to read their chapters.” I would also argue with your assertion that my discomfort with the pre-transition photos skirts into respectability politics. There is overwhelming pressure on trans people to tell this certain kind of narrative, that these photos - and not their real faces - are what are most important. This doesn’t just apply to young people, and it isn’t about naivete. Before maybe a year ago, I had never seen a book or interview or story anywhere about a trans person that didn’t involve pre-transition photos. If she was offered pre-transition photos, I think Kuklin had an opportunity to say, “no, that isn’t what this book is about”. Maybe she did, and the participants were insistent, I don’t know. If that’s the case, I think that’s fine - but I also cannot find any information in her process notes about whether these photos were freely offered or requested.

I did try to think about how I would feel about this book if I had picked it up when I was first coming out as trans. I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by all the things that bug me now. It probably would have been meaningful for me to read. But what I meant about there being “not much new” here is that, to me, Beyond Magenta ultimately reinforces what I gleaned from trans-related media I saw when I was younger - that trans people’s stories are valuable when they’re about transitioning, and when they’re filtered through a cis person. I think that’s why I was so harsh with this book - my expectations are high. I wish this book could have lived up to its full potential. Trans teens deserve better. Is Beyond Magenta better than a lot of talk show interviews? Yes. Do I think trans teens deserve better venues for their stories than this? Absolutely.

Thank you for your comments, Sarah. I welcome readers to check out Beyond Magenta for themselves and let me know what you think.

Thanks for such a thoughtful dialogue RJ.  I agree with most of what you’ve said here, especially “I would rather have read a book that they had thought up and designed themselves.”  I hope Beyond Magenta is the first book in a greater opening up of nonfiction about transgender teens.   

- Sarah

birolesmantic:

commanderabutt:

birolesmantic:

So are we just not gonna talk about the bi/pan erasure in Pretty Little Liars?

do a lot of people on tumblr watch that show

Yeah. The fandom is pretty horrible, that’s why I stopped watching the show.

Well, that, the biphobia and the plot/writing is getting more and more terrible, like it’s so obvious that they’re going for shock value instead of writing an actual plot.

I watched part of the first season and it was interesting, but I got behind.  Then I heard that they gaywashed Emily from bisexual to lesbian and NOPE NOPE NOPE.  

- Sarah 

closetvisibility
Hey, I just wanted to talk about that post you did on bisexuality not existing in literature. I hear that. I want to be a writer, particularly one that writes LGBT fiction (though I'm just starting out) and I just read your post and realized one of my characters in my story is bisexual, but I hadn't thought of him in that way before. He is now. Bisexuality will be in my story. And though this may not actually be a huge deal to anyone really, I just wanted to let you know your voice was heard.

Are you serious?  OMG I’m gonna cry now.  Good tears.  Happy tears.  Oh-God-I’m-Actually-Achieving-Something-In-My-Life tears.  Bless you and I hope you find $20 on the ground. 

- Sarah

mybisexualfury:

Queer baiting sucks. Why not give us out and proud interesting queer characters of different orientations, races and genders with interesting storylines and bait us with that? Not dumb homoerotic situations that lead to nowhere. The sad part is that directors know that there is a huge lack queer representation in tv, so they bait us with this crap, knowing that it’s because we’re so desperate for some sort of representation we fall for it. That is so wrong.

queerbookclub:

A tale of two trans teen books… OK, these books don’t have too much in common, but I read them back to back and can’t help comparing. They’re both by authors who are not transgender, and I approached them both with trepidation. One did a better job winning me over than the other. Here are my thoughts:


Freakboy by Kristen Elizabeth Clark is a novel in verse told from the point of view of three characters: Brendan, who is struggling with depression and dysphoria; Vanessa, Brendan’s tough but sensitive girlfriend; and Angel, an adult trans woman who extends a lifeline to Brendan. The title of this one kept me away for a while (and honestly, I still kind of hate it - what young person questioning their gender wants to pick up a book with this insult on the cover?), but I decided to give it a chance because of the author’s preface. Clark emphasizes that she is writing a transgender narrative, not the transgender narrative. This book does have its problems - Angel (a character of color) employs slang that sometimes feels like Clark (who is white) trying too hard, and like I said, that title continues to rub me wrong.

Generally, though? I am glad this is a YA narrative that’s out there. Its multiple first-person point of views offer an access point for trans, cis and not-sure-I’m-either readers. It’s a refreshing change from books like Almost Perfect and Luna that only view trans girls through cisgender characters’ eyes. The expressive verse style might be a hook for readers who wouldn’t otherwise read a story like this. And overall, I think Clark does a good job achieving her stated goal - creating a narrative that is self-evidently just one perspective in a vast world of trans experiences.


Beyond Mangenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin is a collection of first-person-style essays gleaned from interviews with transgender people in their late teens and early twenties. I’m not going to beat around the bush: this book made me really uncomfortable. I couldn’t shake the vibe of exploitation - this is an adult cis author putting the childhoods and coming out stories of young trans people on display. Yes, I gave Freakboy's cis author a bit more leeway, but this is a non-fiction book that involves young, often vulnerable participants. Is a cis woman who admittedly didn’t know much about trans people when she decided to make a book about them the right person to handle this project? She edited these stories down into narratives - how did she decide what made the cut? For example, why did a bunch of casual sexism and fatphobia make it in? I don’t necessarily blame the young folks profiled in the book for that stuff - that’s sort of the point, that they’re just “typical teens”. But how are these young people going to feel about this book in ten years, or heck, in two?

Among my least favorite elements are talkshow-trope “before” photos included in two of the profiles. The author also interjects an “XX chromosomes mean your body does this, XY means your body does that” into one chapter - first, my body disagrees, second, this doesn’t come up again or get complicated further despite the inclusion of an intersex teen in a later chapter. While I’m glad the book has a “Further Resources” section, it’s a mixed bag - the non-fiction list is pretty good, but the only fiction mentioned is Middlesex and Luna, two books I would probably not hand to a trans teen. The movies list is also not inspiring - early 90s films like The Crying Game, M. Butterfly and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert probably should have been passed over for more recent, relevant movies like Gun Hill Road  and My Prairie Home.

This book might be OK as a Trans 101 - I was glad that it included trans women, trans men, and non-binary trans people, and that half of the interviewees are people of color. But there’s not much new here. If you’re looking for non-fiction trans books for teens, I would instead recommend one of the many out there that were conceived and authored by trans people: Revolutionary Voices, The Gender Book, Kicked Out, Hello Cruel World or Gender Outlaws.

I have nothing but respect for you queerbookclub, but there’s something about your review of Beyond Magenta that just doesn’t sit right with me as a person who works with teens in my professional life.   Where you see exploitation in this book, I see so much strength.  And I see a lot of ageism in your review. 

Now would this project have been done better if Kuklin was trans?  Absolutely, but I think that you’re really selling these teens short if you assume that 16-19 year-olds are inherently incapable of consenting to a project like this just because of their age.

What I liked best about Beyond Magenta was that it wasn’t made FOR teens, it was made in collaboration WITH them.  That is so rare for teen media.   If you read the notes in the back, the author approved everything with these teens before publication, so she did not “decide what made the cut” as you put it.  She’s said in interviews that “While actually writing I tried to choose statements that told their story but were not voyeuristic. To be sure that everything was accurate, the teens were invited to read their chapters throughout the editing process.”  She did not approach these teens.  Teens were informed that someone was doing this project, and it was up to them if they wanted to reach out to her. Several of them are teens in the technical sense not the cultural sense since they are over 18; as adults it is entirely their choice to participate or not.   

But I’m also uncomfortable with your criticism of these teens for making the choice to share photographs of themselves pre-transition.  It sounds like you’re saying they shouldn’t do that, or that Kuklin must have roped them into it.  But if these teens are comfortable with it, then that is their choice and one that I think deserves support, not criticism.  It’s a trope when talkshows, media, and cis people demand those kinds of photos not when trans people freely share them.    It seems to skirt into respectability politics to say that those trans teens shouldn’t have shared those photos.  It implies there is a right or real or proper way to tell a trans story and these teens are somehow failing at doing it right because they are too young and foolish to know better.

I also feel like raising the specter of “how are these young people going to feel about this book in ten years, or heck, in two?” is ageist and insulting to teens.  Teens do embarrassing stuff ALL THE TIME.   If they are anything like the teens I work with every day, they are hyperaware of how something can be embarrassing.  Maybe they will look back on this book and cringe.  Maybe they will not.  Maybe years later an adult will look back on a book they were in and cringe.  They deserve respect and praise for taking that risk in order to give much-needed representation to trans teens like themselves.   I think it’s condescending to assume that they don’t understand the concept of consequences because they are young.

No one is telling these stories and if they are, it’s in novels like Freakboy not in non-fiction work.  Mainstream media does not take the stories of trans teens seriously.   I have seen my trans teens at work pour over this book like it is the second coming because they’ve never seen people that look so much like themselves before.   It is not a perfect book and I agree that there are problematic elements — the fatphobia made me wince, it was intermittently cissexist, and the Resources section was shitty.   But I think you’re selling these teens way to short because of their age. 

- Sarah

ellimist:

Hello!

My name is Scott and I’m currently doing research on bisexual stereotypes for a class at Washington State University. I would greatly appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete a survey. This survey is specifically geared toward bisexuals and other polysexual orientations, however, I would still appreciate data from monosexual gay and straight people. Link is below.

Thank you for your time!

https://caswsu.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9NaUqWDZrRT37tr

Tides by Betsy Cornwell

betsycornwell:

loveaffairwiththelibrary:

image

Released: 4th June, 2013 

Genre: YA, myth, lore, selkies, fantasy, kickass ladies, urban fantasy, lgbtq fiction, love stories

Synopsis: When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family. (Via GOODREADS)

Perfect reading for: I would love to read this book when I’m down south at the beach. Sitting by the rockpools and reading this would have been amazing. 

How I read it: I read this on a rainy train ride into university for the most part. The storms delayed the trains, leaving me more time for reading (no complaints here, many complaints from the rest of the carriage). The lovely author offered me a digital copy of Tides, and how could I refuse! (insert Barbie and the Princess and the Pauper singalong here..)

You should read this if you liked:  I’m really not very versed in selkie lore, so this book was really my introduction! I’m missing the summer weather and the ocean as winter is rolling toward me, so reading this was such a lovely escape. 

Cover:  (I mean look at it, it’s so pretty. The colours are gorgeous)

Writing style: ★★★★

Plot: ★★★★★ (I loved the pacing to this book. There was a lovely combination of flashbacks to Maebh and Gemm’s story, insight into selkie lore, and the individual stories and struggles of the main characters Noah, Lo, and Mara)

Characters ★★★★☆ (I’m so grateful for all of these characters. They’re so wonderfully real. All of them are beautifully developed, which is an accomplishment given that Tides is written from multiple perspectives) 

Overall enjoyment: ★★★★★ (Had me so engrossed that I stopped monitoring my facial expressions. The guy next to me sniggered every time I forgot I was in public and murmered something to myself or gasped) 

Would I read it again: Yes and yes! I really loved the selkie lore, and I have no doubt that I’ll want to reread this when start missing summer. 

Aah, this is such a great review! (Is it terrible that I’m happy the book made you forget your facial expressions? PERHAPS.)

halfboyfriend:

"are there any straight people in your story?”

"no they’re not relevant to the plot"

Though the powerful will pay lip service to the concept that bisexuality is a distinct orientation, they constantly refer to “gay and bisexual men” as a group. And the assumption, of course, remains fixed in stone that bisexual men will always leave their wives for a man in the long run. To be sure, it’s true for gay men. So they assume it’s true for every man with some amount of same-sex desire. Research isn’t required. The course of their own lives is enough.

Bill Wedin, Ph.D

bidyke:

[Three images: one showing a crochet scarf in bi colors, one showing crochet bookmarks in bi colors, and one showing the cover image for the book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution]

Just a friendly reminder that whoever donates $50+ on my fundraiser to help me attend the Lammys in NYC gets a scarf, a bookmark, and a digital copy of the book.

Isn’t that awesome? :)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DONATE TO SHIRI IF YOU CAN

She has done such amazing things for the bisexual community with her work and she deserves this so much.

Even if you can chip in $1.  Every little bit helps. 

- Sarah



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