Exciting as this may be, it was when I was perusing the CofE's official news item on its website (http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2013/11/pilling-report-published.aspx) that I came upon this sentence - "It warmly welcomes and affirms the presence and ministry within the church of gay and lesbian people both lay and ordained."
Oh here we go, I thought. Where are the bisexuals please?
So I am going to search the report (PDF: http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1891063/pilling_report_gs_1929_web.pdf) for the word 'bisexual' and write notes here as I go (I haven't the time to read through the whole thing, thought I wish I could).
1. First mention is in the classic LGBT list in paragraph 32 on page 6. Not a good start.
2. Same again in par. 41
3. Ooh, quoting stats now. 2012 British survey by Office of National statistics - 0.4% identified as bisexual. Unsurprising that, seeing as it is misunderstood, marginalised, and discriminated against by straight, gay and lesbian people!
4. OMG they've raised their game, I'm impressed! The next paragraph is actually quite rational and reassuring: These data give a combined total of 1.5% of the adult population that self identifies as homosexual or bisexual...only gives a snapshot of those who self-identified in this way when the survey was taken. It does not take into account those with a degree of same sex attraction who chose not to identify as homosexual or bisexual, those who would have identified as homosexual or bisexual in the the past but who no longer chose to do so, or those who did not identify as homosexual or bisexual at the times of the survey, but might go on to do so in the future.
5. Par. 199 acknowledges that sexual fluidity is probably a thing! Again, surprised and pleased at the level of knowledge show.
6. FOLLOWED BY THIS AMAZING PARAGRAPH: Rather than thinking about the human population in terms of a fixed binary division between two sets of people, those who are straight and those who are gay, it seems that we need to accept that while there is a large majority of people who only ever experience heterosexual attraction and a smaller number who only experience homosexual attraction, there is also a significant minority of people who either experience some form of bisexual attraction or who move between heterosexual and homosexual attraction at some point or points in their life.
7. And back to being part of the LGB/T list.
8. Interesting phrase "bisexual and same sex attractions" in par. 418. What are bisexual attractions?? I think they've gone too far with trying to use inclusive language. But good on them for trying!
9. OOH Par. 419 points out that we're well beyond just dealing with homosexuality and homophobia! Yay.
10. "What...would the Church of England say to someone...who says they identify as gay or lesbian or (increasingly likely) as bisexual..." Interesting.
11. Oh, mention of those bisexual attractions again, quite a few times.
12. And finishing back in the LGBT list.
Wow, okay, that is encouraging. Amazing that the investigation really stuck into the nature of sexuality, an understanding of which is, I believe, crucial. I think it is that education, above all, that has enlightened the writers and led to their recommendations of progress and improvement. Small steps, but my Church might just be on the right track after all!!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I can't talk about what it's like for boys, because my equipment is different, but I can go into gory detail about what it's like for girls ( under the cut )
Some of the swabs might get parcelled up to be sent away; some of them might be tested right there and then. I suspect this depends entirely on the facility you get tested at. In terms of my tests today three were done while-u-wait and the rest I have to phone up for in a couple of weeks.
And that's it. I'm not going to try and claim that it's fun, but it's not that bad, and it's necessary.
*Still mysterious, but the surgical adhesion theory seems to hold water because the pain is mostly gone since I lost over a quarter of my body mass...
**Other high risk groups include men who have had sex with other men and anyone who has had sex with filthy foriegners, as well as the ones everybody thinks of like sex workers.
***YAY for knowing everybody who has drunk in a pub in the lower valley the last 15 years
****seriously, one of my funding priorities for the NHS would be astroglide. Even if most people don't bother going for sexual health screening, half the population has to have smear tests on a regular basis...
*****thrush is not actually an STI per se; although it can be sexually transmitted, most of the time it just develops all by its own sweet self. But when you go for sexual health screening makes sense for them to check for that while they're down there.
|Women in the 1990s: less likely to have sex with other women|
|Lesbian power couple: Alice Arnold (left) and Clare Balding|
But to be fair, I think it is also true that some parts of the lesbian community, anyway, are more tolerant towards women who aren't 150% lesbian, though understandably perhaps not towards women who are "experimenting".
A guest post by Milena Popova which originally appeared here.
Stonewall today have launched a major campaign to combat homophobic language in schools. But with the focus on the word “gay”, it yet again leaves bisexuals on the sidelines.
In fairness to Stonewall, the original stat they shared was for LGB pupils.
Look how quickly the BBC managed to erase bisexuals:
Now, this stat is not technically incorrect. Lesbian and gay pupils are a subset of LGB pupils, and it’s safe to assume (within tolerance) that if 99% of lesbian, gay and bisexual kids hear “gay” used as an insult, then 99% of lesbian and gay kids hear “gay” used and an insult. But where did the bi kids go? Are they not worth mentioning? Or is it easier to throw them under the bus in favour of simplifying the message? After all, no one uses “That’s so bi!” as an insult.
But you know what? Hearing “That’s so bi!” used as an insult would actually be progress for us bisexuals. Because right now, most people don’t even seem to think we exist.
I continue to wait with bated breath for the day when a national self-styled LGB organisation runs a major campaign on bisexual issues. We do, after all, make up over half of the LGB community.
I was very lucky on a recent project to meet a member of the stage management team of a well-known theatre company whose latest show is currently running in London, and through that contact secured 6 weeks with the show. I'm just coming to the mid-way point as I type, and I've mostly been with stage management, but I've also been with the production management, design, and lighting teams.
I have yet to use the word 'bisexual'. And I feel bad about it. The question is whether I should feel bad, whether there was an onus to on me to come out early on, make it clear and obvious (but not in a way that shoves it down people's throats. We wouldn't want that) to which I have somehow not lived up. Because I have no idea if any of the people that I have met, got to know, and worked with over the last three weeks have any idea that I'm bisexual, and I suppose I want them to know.
[Oh no, I can already see this post getting self-psychoanalytical... Bear with me, I'm sure there'll be a point somewhere along the line.]
I can tell you that I've tried, attempted to spread the word. Just today in fact, I was talking about my hair, how it refuses to be anything but straight, "which is ironic, because I'm not straight" I said. Seems quite a neat trick to getting it out there, or at least, that's what I thought. I was irritated that none of the three assistant stage managers with me within the small, dark box room hidden on set questioned this statement. Similarly, at another time, I mentioned the project I just finished, and upon being asked to explain further, I told of the LGBT nature of the research. And again, no comment was made to clarify my own orientation.
I can tell you. I'm disturbed that my reaction of disappointment shows an unconscious desire for drama and intrigue about my orientation - I'm pretty sure this stems from my pride being hurt, which I do not like to realise about myself; compared to how I feel consciously and objectively, which is that I want interest, as opposed to intrigue, and no drama.
I haven't talked about much else that's personal with them, we haven't reached that stage in our working relationships; plus I am here on a temporary basis, and establishing deeper friendships is unlikely to occur in this situation. So it does seem like communicating that I'm bisexual is unnecessary, the same as my love of Disney, and how I schedule my meals.
But it's an integral part of who I am, especially how I interact with people - I'm a very flirtatious person, I really enjoy being flirty even with people I have no intentions on, and obviously I flirt with people of all genders, so surely giving that interaction some sort of context will improve things. I have my cross round my neck at all times to express my Christianity, which puts things like anecdotes I might tell from church into a context that negates the need to extra exposition. But I have nothing like that for my bisexuality.
And yes, it would be irritating as hell if I constantly had a bisexual flag pinned to my chest every day. Religion is one thing, something that influences all aspects of my thought process, behaviour, and decision making, but orientation involves personal relationships, and sex, and all sorts of things that don't actually have an impact on most other parts of life, especially at work.
As you can see, I'm of two minds on this one; objectively, revealing my orientation would be helpful, but it is not necessary, but emotionally, it feels like hiding, like dishonesty, and I suspect people not knowing (or at least, not knowing if people know or not) affects my behaviour and interactions. Should be letting it get to me, or should I be more laid about about it? I don't know.
QTIPOC and Erotica
What does it mean to us when we have a skewed presence in erotic fiction? Too often we find ourselves squashed into specialist (and hard to access) publications, or we are simply made invisible. People of colour are rarely presented in erotic fiction; for QTIPOC the…
It does seem to have added a lot compared to the print booklet for some people :)
CN Lester displays the manly side of the gender binary
The girly half of the gender binary
It wasn't full moon, but Kat is still a werewolf regardless.
Having fun with corsets!
Transpose Halloween Edition.
I had the pleasure to perform at Transpose at their Hallowe’en edition. I felt right at home as soon as I walked across the sticky floors of the University of London’s Student Union bar. CN Lester had provided some sparkly vegan pumpkin cookies, which were yummy. I met up with Sandra Alland, who I hadn’t seen in years, and Kat Gupta who is always fun and full of energy (plus they had a brilliant werewolf tee-shirt!)
The event started with some wonderful songs from CN Lester.
I read a story about a singer who was born a woman but dresses like a man as part of their performance. When they start living as a man, they find little in the way of acceptance until they start to embrace the fluid nature of themselves.
There was also a story with a great take on a kelpie; a re-imagining of the Little Mermaid, and a film and poetry readings that were brilliant. Towards the end of the evening there was an auction to raise funds for TENI. I had to leave before the band finished it all off, but I had a fab time.
Transpose was a fantastic night, and I am already looking forward to the next one in February 2014.