To make sure that people can see you if you are bi, today is Bi Visibility Day. I didn’t know it was a thing last year. If I did, I didn’t apply it to myself or think about how it could help me. This year is a different animal all together. This is now clear to me. When I recently came out as bisexual (Hi! My name is Bisexual.) 🙂 It took me a long time to figure out this about myself and be able to say it. At first, I didn’t know what it meant when I felt attracted to more than one person. Because I didn’t know that I could be bisexual, I didn’t know that was something I could say. Biphobia and bi erasure are very real things that people have inside of them. As a book nerd, I turned to books about bisexuality because that’s what I like to do. As someone who didn’t know a lot about bisexuality before, I welcome you and ask that you join me on my journey to learn more about bisexuality. It’s not another kind of gay. It has its own direction. A real person can be confused about their sexuality. It is not a phase. It does not mean I am straight or a lesbian. I’m a person who isn’t a man. Because we’re real, we don’t get the same attention as other groups. The following are four books about bisexuality that helped me learn about and claim it for myself.
Queens of Geek and The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde
I love Jen Wilde so much that I’ll read everything she writes. As well as making me laugh and want to read, these two books made a big impression on me. I read both of these while I was having a hard time coming to terms with my sexuality. There were so many cute stories with bisexual characters doing what they wanted to do that it was great to see. These books made me feel like I was important in a way I didn’t even know I wanted. Queens of Geek has a good amount of queer people, but The Brightsiders is even better. As well as the main character, there is also a bisexual male secondary character and many other gay and lesbian characters that you’ll love to read about in this book. These young adult books made me feel right at home at a very important time.
Honeybee by Trista Mateer
There is a book of poetry called Honeybee by bisexual poet Trista Mateer that is very good. You can find poems about both love and sex, as well as poems about bisexuality and biphobia. When I first read it, it made me sad. Now, when I read it, it makes me both sad and happy. When I’m feeling down, I usually turn to poetry for help. This book was especially great for me because I usually turn to poetry when I’m feeling sad or down. People can think about things that don’t have names because of poetry. To make my feelings clear so they could be thought about, Honeybee helped me along.
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner
Besides the book itself, how I found it also helped me. It was at the new gay cafe in my city that opened a few months ago. I saw a copy of the book. People went to a “Big Gay Concert” at a cafe called Glitter Bean. People from all over the city came to the coffee house to show off their best work as gay artists. I went with a new friend I made earlier this year who is also gay, like me. Lots of people came to the show. There were some great performers. With my friend and these performers, I felt so at home. I didn’t even know that I was missing that kind of feeling in my own home. After the show was over, I looked around the cafe to see what interesting things they had. There was a lot of books in one thing (I obviously gravitated toward this). A lot of them looked good, but this one by Shiri Eisner caught my eye. One about bisexuality is a whole book! There aren’t a lot of them out there because I was so new to this that I had never seen one before. I knew I had to get my own copy of this book. This is a good book. Bi is a little more dense and academic than I thought it would be, but I kind of like it. It talks about a lot of bisexual issues from a very radical point of view, and it was just what I needed at the time.
Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
It’s a beautiful memoir that uses rich language and stark images to show how water has changed over time. As Yuknavitch tells her story, she moves back and forth in time, breaking down the very idea of memoir, memory, and time. In her book, she talks a lot about her body. She talks about drug use, giving birth to a child, gender, destructive relationships, abuse, swimming, grief, and sex. Chronology of Water is a book about Yuknavitch’s bisexuality. There is a lot of hot sex writing about women, men, and BDSM in the book. Another thing she does very well is talk about writing itself: “My first book came out of me in a great burst of the unrepressed.” Like a blood clot had come loose. Women and girls who had their stories get stuck in their throats.
The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo
In both queer studies and writing about film and media, there’s been a huge gap. This 2014 Lambda Award winner for bisexual nonfiction fills that gap! There are a lot of ridiculous ways movies and TV shows avoid saying “b.” San Filippo’s book is for people who have been annoyed by how they get around saying “b.” It doesn’t matter if she talks about art movies, vampire movies, “bromances,” or popular TV shows. She talks about them all. There are a lot of things that the book talks about, like Chasing Amy, Mulholland Drive, Angelina Jolie, Roseanne, The L Word, and a whole lot more. Not only does Filippo make a strong case for how common it is for people to be forced to be monogamous in media, but she also does really interesting bisexual interpretations of movies and TV shows that you’ve seen before.
A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández
Hernández’s memoir about growing up is just amazing. She talks about her family, Colombian and Cuban American culture, Latinx spirituality, losing your mother tongue, racism, money, growing up poor, and, of course, being bisexual. A lot of Hernández’s writing is very honest, especially when she talks about her bisexuality: “There isn’t a good verb for what starts to happen in college.” The answer is yes, but I’m not one of them. I still find men attractive, but I think about women in a different way now. You can move your weight from one leg to another, and you have another. Kissing women is like discovering a new part of your body.