I told myself I was going to write a discussion post every month this year, thinking it would be mostly about bookish things. But since then, a problem has become glaringly obvious to me, and I thought where better to talk about it then here?
The problem is the lack of representation and understanding of sexuality in the world. And I’m not talking about straight or gay people; there’s plenty of shows that talk about them, or books featuring them as main characters. I’m talking about the rarer ones, like bi, pan, asexual, etc., although I’ll only be talking about bi people in this particular post.
Here’s something you should probably know before we carry on with this post; I’m bi. This is the first time I’ve said this online, so this is kind of a huge deal for me… I feel nervous just writing it, let alone posting it. Only a handful of my real life friends know, but I think I can trust you guys not to judge me. I don’t think it’s a huge thing, but for some reason it’s become a huge thing. And I think part of that is because of a lack of representation.
Okay, pause for a second. How many bi characters can you think of? Or even real life people who are in the spotlight? I can think of one; Brittany, from Glee. Oh, and Captain America, but I only found out he was bi when I did some more research into it for this post. When we’re so poorly represented, how can anyone be expected to know what bisexuality even is?
When I told my parents, they didn’t believe me. My mum said she would accept me if I was a lesbian, but she doesn’t really believe in bi people. I mean, what? Am I a unicorn or something?!? (that would be way cooler to be honest). It’s not at all that she has a problem with homosexuality, it’s just that she thinks bi people don’t know what they’re talking about. We’re straight people who are experimenting, or lesbians who can’t accept that about ourselves. But I can tell you that I perv at hot guys on the street just as much as hot girls. In fact, there’s some stat saying that a majority of women are bi. So why was it so hard for her to grasp? This isn’t me saying I don’t like my mum for this, or anything like that. I think all too many people think exactly the same thing as her. And I don’t hate you for that – I just wish it wasn’t that way.
I guess it makes it hard for me, and anyone else who’s in one of these minorities. Whether you’re bi, pan, asexual, and so many countless other things that I can’t even name, we’re not well represented at all. It makes it hard for so many reasons; how can I even know that I’m bi if I don’t know anything about bi people? How can you explain to someone that you’re asexual, if that’s something they might not even know it exists?
Here’s where we get to the discussion part. If you’re one of these people that doesn’t fit into the gay or straight camp, I want you to know that I’m here for you, for whatever you might need (ew, not that!). Can any of you think of books with a minority in them? Is this something you’ve noticed? Do you think it’s enough of a problem that I can do a media studies study on it for scholarship?