So everyone on the Queer Internet– or at least Queer Twitter– has been talking about this awful article in XOJane, and there are a few things I want to say about it.
The first is that this is biphobic as hell. Bi people get our queerness policed all the time. I get that people are mad that we have passing privilege, but the privilege to pretend to be something you aren’t and have a part of your identity unrecognized unless you are constantly reaffirming it isn’t fun. In addition, we’re disproportionately subjected to violence and suffer from higher rates of mental illness and suicide than lesbians. (spidey_j, over on Twitter, did a great round-up of the facts on this.)
I saw responses on Twitter that were attempting to turn this around by saying “well if you’re really bisexual you aren’t who the article is talking about”, sometimes actually including that maybe we’re the biphobic ones by thinking it was.
Here’s the thing: when a bunch of bi people read a thing and say “hey, this contributes to a culture that explicitly marginalizes and excludes us”, you should fucking believe us.
The second thing is that this is yet another thing that is trying to place gayness at the center of what it means to be queer, and that’s fucking bullshit. Queerness is an intentionally big umbrella because there is room for a lot of different people under it. For all that the article drops some stuff about dating non-binary folks, it’s explicitly about women who, for whatever reason, don’t date women, and saying they’re co-opting queerness by claiming that identity.
There’s a ton of women who absolutely have claim to queerness if the want to, even if they don’t date women. Transgender women, asexual and/or aromantic women, women who don’t date or fuck at all for whatever reason, women who aren’t able to publicly out themselves because of danger, and a lot more kinds of women who aren’t– however they present themselves, since many people have been coerced into the closet– cisgender and/or heterosexual.
The third is that this article made me feel less welcome in queer and/or lesbian spaces, and the women who posted agreement with it made me feel less safe, even though I’m doing the “correct” things that the author wants me to do, like outing myself all the time and shoving my queerness in the straights’ faces all the time. This kind of piece gives people permission to play Queer Police, to make us have to make sure we’re Gay Enough to occupy queer spaces, that we’re passing the You Must Be This Gay To Ride test. Knowing that well, I’m not one of those bisexuals doesn’t help, because my queerness isn’t a condition that can be erased just because the “real gays” don’t approve of it.