Words, binary and biphobia, or: why “bi” is binary but “FTM” is not

I found this pertinent to recent discussions.

Bi radical

This text also appears in my book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution. If you like it, please consider buying a copy.

Before I write – a disclaimer: this post contains criticism of the non-bisexual-identified transgender community and discourse. Please be aware that I am writing this criticism not as an outsider, but as a genderqueer person involved in transgender community, and activism. I hope this criticism is taken in the same spirit in which it was written – that of passion and solidarity.

This is a long post. But trust me, it is good. Take your time in reading in, it will be worth it 😉


A(n) (long) introduction

It appears increasingly acceptable of late, in transgender/genderqueer communities and activist discourses, to portray bisexuality as a binary identity, and thus intrinsically transphobic. As the claim classically goes – since the word “bisexuality” has “bi” (literally: two) in…

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Bisexual / Pansexual discussion

I would like to open a discussion which has been on my mind quite a bit over the last year. I have heard the term “pansexual” used specifically to dissociate an orientation from bisexuality by suggesting that the former includes trans and intersex people, while the former excludes it. In my experience, this has never been true of any bisexual person who did not possess a negative attitude toward such people.

While the term “pansexual” may be more accurate (there are more than two possible biological sex categories, much less gender identification!), I find myself uncomfortable about this shift in terminology for reasons I am not entirely able to articulate. It sometimes seems like those who claim the term pansexual are doing so out of a wish not to be identified as bisexual, and that leads me to wonder if the specificity they claim is really unique.

Hence, I would like to ask a question: For anyone in my audience who identifies specifically as bisexual, if you are comfortable with making this information known, do you also experience attraction to trans and/or intersex people? Have you known any people who identify as bisexual and do not?

Basically, I would like to gauge how many people would hypothetically fall under the pansexual identification while instead identifying as bisexual for any or no reason.

It’s okay to be gay in the SCA

Well straight, gay, bi or queer
Just know that you’re welcome here
It’s OK to be gay in the SCA
So put a blue feather in your hat
And crawl up in your lover’s lap
It’s OK to be gay in the SCA

With thanks to the Bards of KeyPoynt, whose lovely performance at Temple Caffeinea was much appreciated for a young-in-experience genderfluid Solstice.

The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, a name chosen by famous author Marion Zimmer Bradley) resembles and bills itself as a recreation of 17th century Europe, similar to Renaissance fairs — but the difference is in the C, for Creative. To quote the official website,

You will frequently hear SCA participants describe the SCA as recreating the Middle Ages “as they ought to have been.” In some ways this is true – we choose to use indoor plumbing, heated halls, and sewing machines. In the dead of winter we have more to eat than King’s venison, salt pork and dried tubers. However, a better description is that we selectively recreate the culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us.

Practices differ from region to region, but in the Kingdom of An Tir, it isn’t unusual to see pirates, Egyptians, Romani and sometimes even the rare steampunk, to say nothing for the propane-powered torches, heaters and stoves. Temple Caffeinea, mentioned above, is a coffee shop which sells food on the side. I went into my first event expecting Ren Faire, dressed in a kilt (the most archaic garb I could muster) and left contemplating possibilities. It helped when I learned that the Temple was run by a drag queen (albeit one out of ‘uniform’), hinting that the SCA wasn’t nearly as formal as I had first assumed. I was better prepared for my second and third events, held back to back.

This is Solstice, my SCA alter ego, and never have I felt so comfortable in my own skin.