Bisexual Erasure in Academic Research

A new research paper outlines that bisexuality is often marginalised, under represented and erased across social sciences literature. The paper is written in collaboration by BiUK’s Prof. Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield and BiUK), Dr Sally Hines (University of Leeds) and Dr Antony Osborne (University of Huddersfield).

The abstract states:

‘This article provides a review of sexualities scholarship within the social sciences between 1970 and 2015. It takes an innovative approach by focusing on the way in which bisexuality is addressed in this body of literature. The article reveals the marginalisation, under-representation and invisibility of bisexuality within and across the social sciences in relation to both bisexual experience and identity. Reasons for this varied across the different eras, including the heterosexist nature of the literature, the impact of gay and lesbian-focused identity politics, and queer deconstructionism. In addition, patterns of bisexual erasure and invisibility were uneven, with some scholarship taking inclusive approaches or criticising prejudice against bisexuality. The initial findings of the review were enriched by critical commentary from key relevant sociologists and political scientists. The article concludes that future sexualities scholarship could be enhanced by greater consideration of bisexuality.’

 

The paper is available to read here.

Its full reference is: Monro, S, Hines, S & Osborne, A. (2017) ‘Is Bisexuality Invisible? A review of sexualities scholarship 1970–2015’, The Sociological Review, pp. 1-19.

 

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).

New Book Published: Surya Monro’s Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories

BiUK trustee and Purple List-er Surya Monro‘s new book Bisexuality: Identities, Politics, and Theories has just come out.

Monro

Bisexuality has been largely erased from studies of sexuality and gender, and people who desire others of more than one gender often remain invisible. This book sets a new agenda for considering sexualities and genders, by focusing on the lives of people who are bisexual or who have other identities that are not heterosexual, lesbian or gay, in an international context. What are bisexual people’s lived experiences? How can these be understood using social and political theories? What are the implications of bisexuality for future theorising and research? In addressing these and other questions, this book maps out under-explored territory. It does so by looking at topical themes, including sex and relationships, community, the commodification of bisexuality, and activism. The book also shows how understandings of bisexuality can usefully inform the social sciences in areas such as identity construction, social inequalities, postcolonial relations, and citizenship.

“Despite the interesting discussion about sexual fluidity that has captured academic attention, sexual identity categories remain the basis of identity construction and politics for most of us in Euro-American nations. For students and professors wanting a wide-ranging and thoughtful overview of bisexuality, one need look no further then Surya Monro’s ambitious and engaging book.” -Steven Seidman, State University of New York, United States

“This is a must-read book for anyone in the field of sexuality. Not only is it the first academic book for years to deal with the woefully invisible topic of bisexuality, but it is also of much broader appeal given that it synthesises and integrates sexuality theories and research in a way that is both sophisticated and engaging. The global perspective of the book also sets it apart, and will provide a strong foundation for future scholarship and activism in this area to build on.” – Meg John Barker, The Open University, United Kingdom

Would you like to buy this book? Or are you able to support research into bisexuality and sexuality more broadly by asking your library to buy one? Please order it here.

The Advocate on Bisexuality and Fluidity

A useful article in The Advocate on bisexuality and fluidity:

Exploring the Umbrella: Bisexuality and Fluidity

A growing body of research indicates that for some people, sexual attractions change over time. But that’s not an endorsement of ‘reparative therapy,’ nor is it a bad thing for our movement.

For years, much of the case for LGBT rights has been based on the argument that sexual orientation is fixed and immutable — baby, we were born this way, and it’s wrong to discriminate against us for something we didn’t choose.

But an increasing body of social science research posits that a sizable number of people experience some degree of fluidity in their sexual and romantic attractions: being drawn to the same gender at one point in their life, the opposite gender at another. Researchers emphasize that this is not something that can be imposed from without, as “ex-gay” therapy would attempt to do, but something that occurs from within. Although our supporters already recognize that why we love who we love is irrelevant, embracing fluid orientations may call for a new approach in advocating for our rights.

The research to date indicates that fluidity is more common among women than among men, but scientists note that this could change as studies continue. Reliable data has only emerged in recent years, but there are now several studies that have found that 10 to 14 percent of American women describe themselves as mostly, but not completely heterosexual, and 6 to 9 percent of American men who self-identify the same way, says Lisa Diamond, a professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah. Studies in other countries have found the same general range, she says.

“It’s far more common to be someone who is a little bit attracted to the same sex than someone who is exclusively attracted to the same sex,” says Diamond, author of the 2008 book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire. Read more…

Amazing new bisexuality book – out this week!

Depicted as duplicitous, traitorous, and promiscuous, bisexuality has long been suspected, marginalized, and rejected by both straight and gay communities alike.

Eisner
Bi takes a long overdue, comprehensive look at bisexual politics—from the issues surrounding biphobia/monosexism, feminism, and transgenderism to the practice of labeling those who identify as bi as either “too bisexual” (promiscuous and incapable of fidelity) or “not bisexual enough” (not actively engaging romantically or sexually with people of at least two different genders). In this forward-thinking and eye-opening book, feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist Shiri Eisner takes readers on a journey through the many aspects of the meanings and politics of bisexuality, specifically highlighting how bisexuality can open up new and exciting ways of challenging social convention.

Informed by feminist, transgender, and queer theory, as well as politics and activism, Bi is a radical manifesto for a group that has been too frequently silenced, erased, and denied—and a starting point from which to launch a bisexual revolution.

For more about what the book is about (and links to excerpts), click here

Read more of this post

Freud on bisexuality

Lou Andreas-Salomé’s ‘Freud Diary’ (from her discussions with Freud c.1913). Describing a lecture by Freud on Feb 15 1913 to the Wednesday Group: “He spoke very sympathetically of the enrichment which can be attain by bisexuality and the extent to which it need not disturb normal development. Only when it has already become abnormal does the neurosis take change of the situation and batten on it mightily” p.100 (diary entry Feb 15, 1913)

Some people are bi

Today is international day against homophobia and transphobia but instead of the obvious post about the bi erasure going on in that title we’d like to celebrate a couple of bits of bi visibility that have happened this week.

First Stonewall introduced a facebook banner to add to their ‘some people are gay, get over it’ campaign. Good on you Stonewall!

Second, Amy Andre, the authors of Bisexual Health: An Introduction, is conducting a fascinating interview with researcher Lisa Diamond over at The Huffington Post.  Lisa is a committed bi ally and her work on sexual fluidity in women is really important for challenging fixed ideas about sexual ‘orientation’.

When Dr. Lisa Diamond gave a keynote speech at the recent BECAUSE conference, I just had to sit up and listen. As whipsmart as she is unapologetically outspoken, this University of Utah psychology professor has her finger on the pulse of human sexuality research — and the attention of homophobic and biphobic conservatives who try to twist her findings to further their own agenda. She’s the last person who’s going to take that lying down.

Dr. Diamond isn’t just the author of the groundbreaking book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire. She’s also a lesbian, a self-identified ally to the bi community, and a social scientist who declares that bisexuals “represent the vast majority of individuals with same-sex attractions” and are the norm in the LGB (lesbian, gay, bi) population!

In this two-part interview I got a chance to learn more about Dr. Diamond’s research, her precedent-setting commitment to the truth about bisexual lives and lesbian desires, and how she stands up to bigots at the federal level. Here is part one:

Read more.

Queer lecture

Meg talking about the different meanings of queer at Birmingham University:

 

You can see the presentation here.

Queer prezi

There’s a prezi presentations from Meg here on what queer means and why it might be useful for practitioners and others to engage with it. It covers queer as an insult, a reclaimed word, a form of politics and a kind of theory.

Reasons we might usefully engage with queer include the way it opens up LGBT to various sexualities, genders, relationships and practices which are outside heteronormativity but don’t fit within LGBT, and the challenges it presents to binaries of gender and sexuality (man/woman, gay/straight). However, the associations that some may have with queer (due to their generation or culture, for example) as well as the potential it has to erase bisexuality, mean that it is worth being careful in the ways in which we employ queer.

Tatchell on bisexuality

Intriguing post by Peter Tatchell here on the future of sexuality: Beyond gay and straight.