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Gender Identity: Male (grrly boi)
Location: Victoria, Australia
Sexual Identity: BIsexual
"Some Thoughts on BIsexuality and BIculture In Australia"
Who Is This Guy?
I suppose I should start this by telling you all a little about me. I am thirty-one, a very openly and proudly BI man, partnered to a very openly and proudly BI twenty-eight year-old woman. We have three children and live a quiet, though not closeted, lifestyle in rural Victoria, Australia. I have been an activist working heavily in Queer politics, support, HIV care, fund raising and counseling. My partner is by nature quieter than me, preferring to take on a support role. I am the flag waver. I disappeared for a while when we left the city for rural life, but I have recently returned to BI politics with a vengeance.
I am a librarian in a large country Catholic school, my partner is currently at home with the children. We are self sufficient farmers and our political leanings are Green/Socialist. I describe myself as gender indifferent, being equally attracted (physically and emotionally) to men and women. Gender plays no part in my attraction to potential partners. I just happened to end up with a grrl. Most of my written work is BI friendly humourous satire, though occasionally I churn out discussion pieces like this.
I include this information because some of my views are a little extreme. I base them on my personal experience and observation rather than research. I raise them as points for discussion only.
I have often been accused (usually by monosexuals) of being prejudiced AGAINST monosexuals (monophobic?) as my discussions and postings on various lists usually follow a hard line activist stance. I don't dislike all monosexuals, but I do dislike monosexuals that dislike BIs. I do however refuse to label monosexuals as anything other than monosexual, mainly because it is easier, when referring to a group to give it one label rather than "gay/lesbian/heterosexual etc. Of course, many monosexuals get offended at the label, which is interesting as they are still happy to apply clinical labels to us. To monosexual readers, sorry if this distresses, but my articles are about celebrating being BIsexual, not you.
Some Thoughts on BIsexuality and BIculture In Australia
It's very easy to be a closeted BIsexual in Australia. You can pretend to be heterosexual, and live a tidy, little straight life, or pretend to be GL and enjoy the relative security of the GL community. To be openly BIsexual, however, is to invite ridicule, prejudice and blatant discrimination by the extremists of both ends of the monosexual cultures. To be openly BIsexual in rural Australia is downright dangerous.
So Why Do We Do It?
Firstly, I'm effeminate. A grrly boi. Hiding my sexuality was never an option. I demonstrate traits that make the redneck element want to beat me up anyway. So,do I get beaten up for looking gay, or do I get beaten up for being BI? Not much difference either way, except to the self-esteem. I'd rather be sneered at honestly than be sneered at by mistake.
I am by profession an educator. I just can't help it; I am convinced that silence and ignorance are our greatest enemies. We have to out there in their face all the time. If I can do it in a Catholic school in rural Australia, it can be done anywhere. The BIsexual "community" in Australia is the least visible of our minorities.
I don't want to ride on the coattails of the GL communities' achievements. I want our history, our networks, our own community. Not to diminish any of the considerable successes of the GL community, but because the history of non-hetero struggle has always been perceived as the homosexual struggle. We were there, but have never been acknowledged or granted full participation. And though rejection grates, the greatest tragedy is that we even have to ask.
Australia's GL community does not want us to play with them: thirty percent of the voting membership of GL Mardi Gras organization do not believe we should be included. That is enough to have us excluded from their organization.
NO Australian GL rights organization, political lobby, migrant lobby or counseling service has or intends including BIsexuals in their title, although many claim to represent our interests. My suggestion to most major groups that they change their name and charter to read GLBT rather than gay and lesbian was met with silence. Very few organizations even responded to my mail. Nobody has acted on visibly including us.
BIphobia, as a phenomenon, is as real in Australian GL culture as homophobia is in straight culture. The oppressed become the oppressor when it suits them. GLs explain our sexuality away as "closet", "playing around","confused", "can't decide" or in a recent example from a gay businessman, "closet poofs hiding behind women!" In fact they use on us the very labels that when directed at them by the straight community cause such offence. Sadly, we get it from both ends.
I believe that there is an opportunity for us to develop a uniquely BIsexual culture. I personally favour a radical, communal lifestyle system where families can live together free from monosexual prejudice. I'd like a bit of environmental awareness too, but hey I'm a greenie!
We are the only sexual orientation that openly embraces non-monogamous relationships. Not to say that all GL or straight people are monogamous! But we do not hold up monogamy as the only ideal. Are we all running around looking for Mr. or Ms. Right? Or are many of us looking for Mr. and Ms. Right? Obviously many of us are monogamous, my point is that culturally we can accept that there are legitimate alternative relationship models, and not just from a sexual perspective. My leanings are towards virtual tribalism, relationships based on any number of partnerships, complete with extended families.
My current major concern is tendency for gender polarity to manifest itself on our social and discussion lists. As a very broad generalisation, grrls join the lists to meet grrls and socialise, bois join the lists to troll for sex. Bois are interested in bois, grrls in grrls. A group recently organised social events for women only, with suggestions that the guys meet separately. To me this has serious implications on the sense of community.
NO : I do not sleep with anything that movesWhere Do We Go From Here?
We get out . We get loud. We meet. We organise. We take ownership of our sexuality, our culture and stop being the bit tacked on tho the end of the phrase Gay and Lesbian. I have no intention of ever being the "token BI."Cheers,
Copyright © 2001 Rob Pearson. All Rights Reserved. Posted by permission of the author. Do not copy or post without the author's permission.
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