Had another professor (in my Sociology of Sexuality class, ironically) do the whole “bisexuality doesn’t acknowledge intersex or trans* people” bullshit.
This needs to fucking stop. I’m emailing my college’s LGBTQ center again, and I’m done trying to be overly polite about the whole issue. It’s problematic and biphobic as hell, and that’s not acceptable in a university that claims to be “LGBT friendly” and is developing a LGBT minor.
Suggestions on what to include in my email/discussion?
Oh my god. I’m practically seething here.
Idk you could link to the faqs and definitions of the biggest bi websites? They practically all tackle this iirc and it might be useful to prove that most of us feel this way - less easy to write off, in a way?
Apparently trans and intersex bisexuals don’t acknowledge themselves
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I’ll let you know what comes from this. I’ve realized that part of the issue has do to the authority professors have, and the little credibility/validity that bisexuals/bisexuality has. So, trying to tell my Women and Gender Studies/Sociology professors that they have incorrect concepts related to bisexuality is a very hard task. My professors have gotten really defensive, as they feel like they’re being corrected.
I think it says a lot about the ingrained nature of biphobia/bi erasure that these professor who specialize on LG(BTQIA) topics are so unwilling to learn about bisexuality from actual bisexual people. And since there’s been a lack of mainstream bi information/resources made by bi people, they assume that the little they do know about bisexuality has to be correct, since it’s been decided upon by non-bi academics. (And academia has been oh so wonderful about including more than just the gay/straight cis men dichotomy…not.)
Really, it seems like bisexuality is seen as not worthy to study or learn about. Hey, if it’s this nasty, temporary, cissist, binarist, slut-shaming, sleep-with-everyone, phase, why learn about it? It’s not queer enough to be “interesting.” And obviously no trans,* intersex , or asexual people can identify as bi—they’d be oppressing themselves in the eyes of the academic world. And in these classes, bisexuality is always always always defined in opposition to pansexuality, instead of in relation. And this just furthers to holier-than-thou “hearts not parts” concept (granted, some bi folk do adopt that phrase).
And it’s sad that my professors can talk about how the labels of gay and straight create a power structure/hierarchy, but they completely ignore how bisexuality challenges that. It’s the epitome of bi erasure in such an ironic way.
Finally, there’s one aspect of all of this that really makes me this strange combination of pissed off and deeply sad. Spreading these intensely biphobia messages under the guise of academic truth is incredibly hard to fight against. Like I said before, professors hold a lot of power and influence. My professor definition of bisexuality carries so much more validity to a student than my definition, even though I’m bi. And that’s the kicker. Someone’s definition of my identity carries more weight than my definition. It is so classically biphobic that it hurts. “Let’s define bisexuality in the most constrictive and subtly negative way (or not even mention it at all), to therefore perpetuate the gay/straight dichotomy, heterosexuality, and monosexism while still maintaining a public front of “intelligence queer dialogue.”
And if I say something in class, I have to out myself while looking like a complete ass/attention whore (since bisexuals apparently can’t have valid issues or complaints about anything). And if I try to talk to the professor in private, I get a facade of polite interest. Then I’m dismissed. My passion somehow reads as delusion; as wanting to be more queer but not willing to commit to an identity that’s perceived as more stable, accepted, and legitimate.
Professors. So quick to point to the history of gay rights. Yet unable to Google the history of the term “bisexual,” or look into the handful of books in our LGBT center. It’s their fucking job to learn about LGBTQIA issues. And yet they are so fucking unwilling to examine their own monosexual privileged or biphobia due to some kind of academic pride. Snobbery, even. There are academic articles that exist of bisexuality that are good! We have them at our library—why wouldn’t my profs read them, since you know, they teach LGBT classes? That’s what academics are supposed to do—LEARN MORE THINGS ALL THE TIME. If you want to challenge your students then challenge yourself. Stop dismissing what I say—it’s fucking hypocritical.
It’s strange. In the academic world, there’s even more rules on how to be a “good bisexual.” In fact, usually there’s no good way at all. The concept is seen as inherently flawed, and there’s a whole lot of academic bullshit to make them feel comfortable being biphobic. (Or in their words, “being critical,” or using “popular understandings of bisexuality.”)
They always talk about how much they learn from their students. Yet they won’t learn from me.
It’s fucking bullshit.