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For Writers: Bisexual Erasure


Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Brian Cherry:

Gay for you, bisexual erasure and gay romance with only one or no actual gay or bi character in the relationship.

We have a long history of trying to make things black or white in our society – we like people to fit into either/or boxes. Even in the LGBTIQA community, this has been a problem.

This has manifested itself in various ways over the years, many of them affecting our bisexual friends. For instance, for a long time, many gay men who fought hard to be open and proud about their identities thought of bisexuals as people who hadn’t fully embraced their own gay or lesbian identity.

To be fair, that did happen occasionally – bisexuality was sometimes a safe pitstop for gay men on the way to fully coming out. But this glosses over the fact that bisexual people are simply that–people who are sexually oriented to two sexes, not just one, and to suggest otherwise is just plain insulting.

In other cases, the idea of “gay for you” in fiction, while romantic, has also served as a method for the erasure of our bisexual friends. I mean, who doesn’t wanna believe we are so fricking attractive and charismatic that we can “turn” that handsome straight guy or pretty girl? It’s a romantic trope for a reason. Yet it also glosses over the fact that this rarely or never happens in RL, and that it’s far, far more likely that our GFY guy or girl was actually bisexual in the first place.

Speaking of RL, I saw the erasure dynamic in action recently in the news, when Oregon Governor Kate Brown, openly bisexual, was shoved into the “lesbian” box by the media. We love our little binary boxes.

So my questions to you today – have you seen bisexual erasure at work in queer speculative fiction? And as writers, what can we do to unerase our bi friends?

This chat is a hot button topic, so please keep it civil – I’ve seen you guys do it before. :)

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