Reading list on bisexuality and ageing

Here’s a reading list of academic literature on bisexuality and ageing. It’s a pretty small field, so the heading ‘Empirical studies of bisexuality and ageing’ is everything I know of that focuses on ageing and bisexuality i.e. that’s not about LGBT ageing more generally. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know! The ‘Non-empirical literature’ list is not exhaustive, these are just some of the most commonly cited academic book chapters and articles.

Empirical studies of bisexuality and ageing

Special Issue of the Journal of Bisexuality on Ageing and Bisexuality (2016) 16:1:

  • BÉRES-DEÁK, R. (2016) “I’ve Also Lived as a Heterosexual”—Identity Narratives of Formerly Married Middle-Aged Gays and Lesbians in Hungary. Journal of Bisexuality, 16, 81-98.
  • HILL, B. J., SANDERS, S. A. & REINISCH, J. M. (2016) Variability in Sex Attitudes and Sexual Histories Across Age Groups of Bisexual Women and Men in the United States. Journal of Bisexuality, 16, 20-40.
  • SCHNARRS, P. W., ROSENBERGER, J. G. & NOVAK, D. S. (2016) Differences in Sexual Health, Sexual Behaviors, and Evaluation of the Last Sexual Event Between Older and Younger Bisexual Men. Journal of Bisexuality, 16, 41-57.
  • WITTEN, T. M. (2016) Aging and Transgender Bisexuals: Exploring the Intersection of Age, Bisexual Sexual Identity, and Transgender Identity. Journal of Bisexuality, 16, 58-80.

JONES, R. L. (2011) Imagining bisexual futures: Positive, non-normative later life Journal of Bisexuality, 11, 245-270.

JONES, R. L. (2012) Imagining the unimaginable: Bisexual roadmaps for ageing. IN WARD, R., RIVERS, I. & SUTHERLAND, M. (Eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ageing: Providing effective support through understanding life stories. London, Jessica Kingsley.

JONES, R. L., ALMACK, K. & SCICLUNA, R. (2016) Ageing and bisexuality: Case studies from the ‘Looking Both Ways’ Study, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK https://bisexualresearch.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/looking-both-ways-report-online-version.pdf

ROWNTREE, M. R. (2015) The influence of ageing on baby boomers’ not so straight sexualities. Sexualities, 18, 980-996.

WEINBERG, M. S., WILLIAMS, C. J. & PRYOR, D. W. (2001) Bisexuals at midlife: Commitment, salience and identity. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 30, 180-208.

 

Non-empirical literature on bisexual ageing

DWORKIN, S. H. (2006) Aging bisexual: The invisible of the invisble minority. IN KIMMEL, D., ROSE, T. & DAVID, S. (Eds.) Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aging: Research and clinical perspectives. New York,ColumbiaUniversity Press.

FIRESTEIN, B. (Ed.) (2007) Becoming visible: Counseling bisexuals across the lifespan, New York, Columbia University Press.

JOHNSTON, T. R. (2016) Bisexual Aging and Cultural Competency Training: Responses to Five Common Misconceptions. Journal of Bisexuality, 16, 99-111.

KEPPEL, B. (2006) Affirmative psychotherapy with older bisexual women and men. Journal of Bisexuality, 6, 85-104.

JONES, R. L. (2016) Sexual identity labels and their implications in later life: The case of bisexuality. In: PEEL, E. & HARDING, R. (eds.) Ageing & Sexualities: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate.

KEPPEL, B. & FIRESTEIN, B. (2007) Bisexual inclusion in addressing issues of GLBT aging: Therapy with older bisexual women and men. In: FIRESTEIN, B. (ed.) Becoming visible: counselling bisexuals across the lifespan. New York: Columbia University Press

RODRIGUEZ RUST, P. C. (2012) Aging in the bisexual community. In: WITTEN, T. M. & EYLER, A. E. (eds.) Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender aging: Challenges in research, practice and policy. Baltimore, US: The John Hopkins University Press.

 

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White House Bisexuality Briefing

Rewriting The Rules

On 26th September 2016 I attended a historic bisexuality briefing at the White House. Bisexual community leaders had met with the White House on previous occasions, but never before had the meeting been live-streamed, recorded, and made public during and after the event. There were well over a hundred bisexual activists in attendance, and the two hour event mixed together talks and panels on vital topics as well as some powerful music, poetry and other creative input about bisexual experiences.

It was extremely valuable to me to have the opportunity to learn about how bisexual matters are being discussed and engaged with in the US. Speakers emphasised many of the same issues that affect bisexual people globally: invisibility, discrimination from both straight and gay communities, and high rates of mental health struggles due to biphobia. However, it was also striking how much careful attention was paid to intersectionality. That is the idea that sexuality intersects with many other aspects of experience…

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New Resources by National LGBT Hate Crime Unit Published

Professor Surya Monro has worked on behalf of BiUK with the National LGBT Hate Crime Unit. They, and in consultation with other bi* activist groups, have produced a series of resources to help individuals affected by hate crime, and to support agencies tackling hate crime. These are published in advance of National Hate Crime Awareness Week that will take place from the 8th to 15th October 2016.

The 17 resources, and 5 videos, offer guidance and practical help on a wide  range of subjects, including:

  • Emergency Accommodation
  • Financial assistance schemes
  • Practical help keeping a record of incidents
  • Guidance for LGBT parents on talking to their children about bullying
  • Tackling Biphobia and Transphobia

The full set of the 17 resources, and 5 videos, can be found  on the LGBT Hate Crime Unit’s Public Resources pages or at:  www.lgbthatecrime.org.uk.

The leaflet on Tackling Biphobia: A Guide for Safety Services is available to download here.

 

British Bisexuality: Purple Prose out now!

Meg-John Barker reflects on the awesome new book on British Bisexuality…

Last week saw the launch of a book project that I’m very excited to be part of: Purple Prose.

pp

This collection, edited by Kate Harrad, brings together experiences from a diverse spectrum of bisexual folk in Britain today. It works as a how-to guide to British bi communities and identities, as well as providing a fascinating insight into the wide range of experiences under the bisexual umbrella.

A particular strength of the book is its focus on intersectionality. Most writing on bisexuality, including The Bisexuality Report which I was part of, focus on bisexual people as a fairly unified group: how they are represented, the challenges they face, bi-specific discrimination, etc. The problem with this approach is that bisexual experiences – like all experiences – are very different depending on other intersecting aspects of identity and experience such as gender, class, race, disability, geographical location, generation. Also, as Shiri Eisner points out, there are vital links between bisexual activism and feminist, trans and queer activism, anti-racism, and other anti-oppression movements, which are vital to attend to because a single-issue kind of activism can’t get us very far.

For these reasons it’s great to see a book in which at least half of the chapters are devoted to specific intersections (e.g. ‘Bisexual and disabled’, ‘Bisexual Black and Minority Ethic People‘, ‘Bisexuals and Faith’).

Even within these chapters there is a clear sense of the range of experiences that exist amongst any specific group, such as older bisexual people or non-monogamous bis, for example. In the chapter that I co-edited with Fred Langdridge, ‘The Gender Agenda’, we decided to foreground the experiences of non-binary bisexual people, given that there are already books about bisexual women and bisexual men, but none on this topic. While we included the voices of bisexual people of many genders, we gave specific attention to those who are non-binary in terms of both their sexuality and their gender. Even within that group we discovered many differences in relation to how they related to the term ‘bisexual’, how they experienced their gender and sexuality, whether these things changed over time or not, and how they were navigated in their close relationships and communities.

We still have a long way to go on bisexuality in Britain given that the biggest group under the LGBT umbrella still has the highest rate of mental health problems, and gets the least attention in policy and practice, both outside and within the LGBT sector. Purple Prose is definitely a step in the right direction.

New case studies available about older bi(ish) people

There are some brilliant case studies available about older LGBT people, where someone’s individual story powerfully makes the case for why sexuality and gender identity continue to matter in later life, for example here. But until now, there’s been a bit of a shortage of case studies about bisexual older people (and there is still a shortage for trans older people). There are one or two but usually only focusing on the person’s same-sex relationships, not on what it means to have had relationships with more than one gender.

So about three years ago we – Rebecca Jones, Kathryn Almack and Rachael Scicluna – decided to do something about this. We set out to interview people aged over 50 who either identified as bisexual, or had bisexual pasts but didn’t now describe themselves as bisexual. We only had little bits of money to enable various parts of the study, so it took us two years to gather 12 interviews but we’re really pleased to now be able to present the case studies within a short report.

This research shares the limitations of much other research on LGBT issues, in that we mainly managed to recruit participants from within organised LGBT communities, and via personal networks. This means that our sample is disproportionately white, middle class and highly educated relative to the general population. We recognise that this is a significant limitation of this work, but nevertheless hope that these case studies will be useful to practitioners seeking to meet the needs of this sorely under-researched population

The report and the case studies are copyright, but with a creative commons BY licence which means that anyone can reuse and rework them, as long as you acknowledge the original source. We would love to hear any feedback.

You can download the Looking Both Ways Report online version here.

Pink Therapy: Beyond Gay and Straight

On March 12th 2016 the UK LGBTQ+ therapy organisation Pink Therapy ran a conference on working with bisexual people. You can read summaries of the conference here and here, and view all of the talks on the Pink Therapy YouTube channel for the conference.

2nd Call for Papers: EuroBiReCon Amsterdam 28 July 2016

First European Bisexual Research Conference (EuroBiReCon): Bisexuality and (Inter)National Research Frontiers

28 July 2016, University of Amsterdam

EuroBiReCon is a conference for anyone with an interest in contributing to, or finding out about, current work on bisexuality. The conference aims to bring together academics, professionals, activists, and bisexual communities. It builds on BiReCons held in the UK every two years organised by BiUK (see the BiUK website for information about past BiReCons). This year it will take place on Thursday 28 July 2016 at the University of Amsterdam* which will be followed by a three day community organised event (www.eurobicon.org).

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Surya Monro‘s (University of Huddersfield) book Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories is published in the summer of 2015. She has also written multiple books on sexual diversity including Gender politics: Activism, Citizenship and Sexual Diversity (2005) and Sexuality, Equality and Diversity (2012 with Diana Richardson).

Dr Alex Iantaffi (University of Minnesota) is editor-in-chief of Sexual and Relationship Therapy. Alex has written multiple articles on bisexual identities, sexual-explicit media use of MSM and bisexuals and (white) privilege.

What are we looking for?

We welcome papers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including social sciences, health sciences, arts and humanities, therapeutic practitioners, activists and others. We encourage contributions from postgraduate students, early career academics and more senior academics from Europe and beyond.

We invite papers and workshop sessions that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bisexuality, wellbeing and health (including mental health and sexual health).
  • The implications of bisexual identities and labels.
  • Bisexuality, space and communities.
  • Bisexual people’s access to, and experiences of,health and other services.
  • Inclusion and erasure of bisexual people in politics and activism.
  • Representations of bisexuality in media, culture, and literature.
  • Intersections with other aspects of experience such as physical disability, age, race/ethnicity, nationality, gender (both trans- and cis-gender), sexual practices, religion, education and social class.
  • Bisexuality and relationship styles (e.g. monogamies, polyamory, swinging, open couples and non-monogamies).
  • The role of technologies in bisexuality and forming bisexual spaces and communities
  • Methods for researching bisexuality
  • Public engagement in bisexuality research.

During the day there will be opportunities to:

  • Find out about issues affecting bisexual people
  • Hear from experts about cutting-edge research on bisexuality
  • Discuss ways in which organisations can better work with, and for, bisexual people, drawing on good practice
  • Take part in workshops on specific issues

If you would like to present at EuroBiReCon, please provide a 250 word abstract and a brief biography (max. 100 words), by 26th February 2016 to Emiel Maliepaard (e.maliepaard1@gmail.com) and Dr Caroline Walters (carolinejwalters@gmail.com).

If you are interested in facilitating a workshop, roundtable, or panel discussion at BiReCon, which can include data gathering for current projects or research, then please email Emiel Maliepaard (e.maliepaard1@gmail.com) and Dr Caroline Walters (carolinejwalters@gmail.com) with a brief description of your proposed session by 22 January 2016.

Language: For logistical reasons, the conference’s common language will be English, and abstracts must be submitted in English. If you wish, you can send us your abstract in another language, provided that you also submit it in English. It is highly recommended that presentations during the conference are in English. However, we are exploring possibilities to use translators to provide space to people who would like to present in their mother tongue.

Funding: EuroBiCon and EuroBiReCon are community organisations so unfortunately there are no funds for presenters or travel expenses. However, EuroBiReCon will provide an excellent opportunity to network with others working in the field, to share good practice, and there will be spaces available to conduct research which fits within the ethos of the event.

* Conference venue: Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 (in between Spui and Waterlooplein in the historical centre of Amsterdam).

Bisexual Health Videos

There’s a brilliant set of videos on bisexual health available now on the Rainbow Health Ontario website covering friendship, partners, family and service-providers. Here’s one of them to give you a flavour.

See more…

It’d be great to do something like this in the UK in future. Take note all LGBT organisations who’re looking to up your B profile! Meanwhile thanks so much to Rainbow Health Ontario for this 🙂

BiUK response to Stonewall bi consultation

Back in February, several of us from BiUK were involved in a consultation between Stonewall and the UK bisexual community about how they could improve their work around bisexuality. You can read Bisexuality Report author, and head of The Bisexual Index, Marcus Morgan’s summary of this hopeful day here.

Last month Stonewall published a report of that consultation which you can download here.

Here is BiUK’s response to Stonewall’s report, also downloadable as a pdf here.

CAMPAIGNING AGAINST BIPHOBIA

BiUK’s response to the outcome of Stonewall’s consultation with bi communities

  1. BiUK remains supportive of Stonewall’s decision to consult with bi communities with a view to becoming more proactively engaged with challenging biphobia in the United Kingdom. We also welcome Stonewall’s acceptance that some of its actions over its first twenty five years, whilst claiming to represent the interests of bi people, often led to greater marginalisation and exclusion of people who identify as bisexual, or may have identified in this way had they not been made to feel unwelcome as bi within lesbian and gay communities and spaces.
  2. BiUK was pleased to receive the short note prepared by Stonewall following its consultation session with around 40 bi activists and others in February 2015. Like others though, we regret that it took until late July for the note to appear, some three months after the promised circulation date of Easter.
  3. In terms of the contents of that note and the actions Stonewall proposes to take internally and externally, we of course welcome any steps which will seek to challenge biphobia in L&G and straight communities and to enhance bi visibility within Stonewall and beyond.
  4. In particular, we support Stonewall’s proposals to empower its staff to be bi allies and role models. We regret however that Stonewall has failed to acknowledge that at present none of its trustees or senior staff identify as bisexual, nor did it propose to take steps to rectify this situation. Stonewall has undertaken at least two trustee recruitment exercises in the last twelve months and on neither occasion did it identify that bi people were under/un-represented on its board. BiUK notes that this is in stark contrast to the efforts Stonewall has made to recruit both a trans trustee and senior staff member, which we nonetheless fully support.
  5. We would also ask Stonewall to recognise the difficulty that is presented by asking comparatively junior staff to take the lead on engagement with bi communities. Whilst we welcome the fact that the staff coming to BiCon 2015 to continue Stonewall’s conversation with bi communities are bi identifying, and the engagement of the same staff in liaising with bi organisations, it is problematic that they are not in a position to commit Stonewall in policy and resource terms.
  6. Turning to what Stonewall proposes to do externally, we welcome the initiatives identified in the note, particularly by empowering bi role models and campaigning against biphobia within lesbian and gay communities. Our deputy chair, Edward Lord, has already offered to assist Stonewall in securing some funding for this work and our chair, Meg John Barker, has made some content suggestions for the anti-biphobia campaign.
  7. In supporting this work, however, we expect to see Stonewall pay more than just lip service to bi people. We would hope that graduates from the bi specific role models programme would be used by Stonewall in its work in schools and workplaces to ensure that Stonewall role models are more fully reflective of the wider LGBT community.
  8. In terms of the proposals to hear, listen, and engage more with bi people, we look forward to hearing much more about how Stonewall proposes to make this a reality as we are yet to see any significant evidence of active engagement with bi communities. BiUK, as the UK’s national organisation for bi research and activism through its expert academic trustees and associates wants to reiterate its comprehensive and open offer to partner with Stonewall to ensure that its publications, campaigns and programmes are fully reflective of the needs and experiences of bi people and in line with the most up to date research data available.
  9. We were disappointed that Stonewall’s most recent research-based report, Unhealthy Attitudes, did not make use of this offer. BiUK would certainly have emphasised the need to tease apart the data from LG and B people given what we know about how bi people generally suffer more in these areas, and how amalgamating data erases this difference and means that resources rarely get to bi people. It would also have been nice to see some reference to ‘The Bisexuality Report’ and to the recent Equality Network ‘Complicated?‘ report which dealt with very similar issues in the bi community specifically.
  10. Finally, whilst we accept entirely that this will take time to get right, we are disappointed that the next report from Stonewall is not planned until late 2016, potentially almost two years since the first consultation event. We would urge Stonewall to consider an interim report in early 2016 and also recommend that Stonewall establishes a small bi advisory group to assist it to remain focused on speedy and effective delivery. We would naturally be willing to participate in such a group.

Dr Meg John Barker

Chair, BiUK

August 2015

The Bisexuality Report in Metro

Today’s Metro included a great article about biphobia which included numerous mentions of BiUK’s Bisexuality Report.

Many thanks to journalist Francesca Kentish, and to clinical psychologist Siri Harrison for some great insights throughout the article.

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‘Just a phase’? This is why we need to talk about biphobia

Unless you’ve been in hiding for the past 40 years, chances are you know what homophobia means.

The same can’t be said for biphobia.

Simply put, biphobia is when people are prejudiced towards bisexuals.

It’s pretty similar to homophobia, except people often aren’t aware it’s happening.

Bisexuals often face added discrimination from people within the LGBT community as well as discrimination from heterosexual people.

Chances are you will have seen biphobia on TV or heard someone make a biphobic comment without even realising it.

Ever heard someone jokingly say bisexuals are greedy?

That’s biphobia.

Or that bisexuals should make up their minds?

Biphobia strikes again. Read more…