As much progress as we, as a western society, have made in understanding gender and sexuality, the fact remains that these complex constructs still perplex even the most informed among us! This is brought to the surface in a vivid account by Dawn Moon titled “How Queerness Erased Bisexuality” In this article Dawn recounts the challenges lurking under the surface over the years working as a queer activist. Her explanation of “Q” is one of the best I have seen:
To me, as a queer activist and young scholar in the early 1990s, the term queer seemed to capture it all — the political urgency of combating heterosexism, my feeling and knowledge that the binaries of gender and sexual orientation were created through forced conformity and repression, the indeterminateness of my own experiences of gender and sexual attraction.
But the message of her article focuses on the many ways in which bisexuality is erased in the contexts of even our most dedicated LGBTQ spaces where sexual and gender diversity are valued. Drawing on her own experience of feeling compelled to hide her bisexual identity for fear of being relegated to an “outsider” space in that even the most radical queer theorists and activists tended to imply bisexuality as being pretty much “straight.” The fact remains that the prevailing ideas of L, G, and T remain anchored in a realm of gender and sex binaries of male or female. Queer theory and activism has aimed to dismantle and problematize these binaries, but have failed so far to deal with “inbetween-ness” possibilities and complexities. Dawn described how she came to feel compelled to tell her story, concluding that:
The alphabet soup acknowledges all the people who are harmed by a rigid gender binary, but queer politics is just beginning to open up to the vast ranges of human possibility.
I highly recommend reading Dawn’s story – it raises important issues for all of us!