Sunday, December 24, 2006

Rhymes with Snitch spreads aged lesbian and inaccurate gossip
Rhymes with Snitch’s author suddenly discovered renowned womanist author Alice Walker and her daughter, author Rebecca Walker, are queer. Google’s news alerts picked up on the blogger’s post “Did You Know Alice Walker Was A Lesbian?” on December 22.

Reading through the responses some posters are outright homophobic, most are amusing stating the obvious “duh!,” and one or two people got it right that Alice and her daughter,
Rebecca Walker, are both bisexual – which led to some comments about queers breeding queers.

As the name of the blog suggests, it’s a bratty bitching session where not only the author spews her (I’m assuming the author is female due to the author’s only identification being “bitch”) thoughts and opinions about celebrities, especially their most embarrassing moments, and encourages others to respond. It reminds me of high school, but that’s the point of this blog as the author states, “What you'll get here is the stuff found written on bathroom walls.”

Not only did the author suddenly discover Alice’s and Rebecca’s women loving women ways – but mislabeled them as lesbians when they are bisexual women – but she tried to present old news, that has long been six feet under, about the schuffle between Rebecca and her mother’s former partner, singer Tracy Chapman, as “new” news. Talk about regifting 10 years later…it’s out of fashion and it’s not going to be recycled.

It interests me that this tidbit of dried up well reported on gossip that isn’t really gossip since neither Alice or Rebecca have ever hidden their relationships with men or women is circulating again. Right at the moment Alice is promoting her new book,
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Light in a Time of Darkness, and Rebecca’s book Baby Love, about her reflections on becoming a parent and her first year with her son, will be out late March 2007. Is “lesbian” or shocker “bisexual” supposed to be harmful to one’s celebrity and career? Outing someone who is already out…well I don’t know how that can be gossip.

What interests me even more though is that people continue to insist on foisting a binary societal image upon bisexuals. In the process we are invisible until we come “out” creating a constant cycle of “outing” ourselves, because if we don’t come “out” assumptions will be made and we slip right back into the abyss of one community or the other. Once we come “out” suddenly many people are confused or angry and often remain that way. They stubbornly want to hang onto stereotypes and myths about bisexuals that just aren’t true.

To combat the invisibility and biphobia within the queer and straight communities bisexuals are simply standing up to be counted. With books and media showing positive images of bisexuals and the public asking for more (it doesn’t hurt to have Angelina Jolie, Margaret Cho, or Alice Walker in our corner), bisexuals have the power to push for more and better images to combat misperceptions and misunderstandings. Visibility provides bisexual people more power as we stand up for social justice as Angelina did a few weeks ago when she stated that until all people can get married Brad and she aren’t going to tie the knot.

The bells are ringing though. It is starting to look like 2007 will be bisexuals’ year. Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski kicked off the year early in November with their book,
The Bisexual's Guide to the Universe: Quips, Tips, and Lists for Those Who Go Both Ways, a hilarious must have read for queer, straight, and people questioning all things in this world, just in time for those stockings and other sparkling packages under the tree and for Hanukah. Jennifer Baumgardner’s Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics is scheduled for release around the same time Rebecca’s book hits the market.

Hmmm…things are quickly going to become more complicated in the bisexual image category. We are no longer lusting nymphos and sex addicts spreading diseases. No, we are having children and creating families. That’s right Jennifer is a mother too. The Christian Right and any other biphobes might as well run and duck for cover. These women are intelligent bisexual third wave feminists parents raising future socially intelligent men. Add a check mark next to the box that says, “this is what a bisexual looks like” just to begin creating that “bidar” so we don’t fall back into the shadows. It will be interesting what Jennifer and Rebecca have to say about being bisexual mothers raising boys and I’m sure this is exactly the image “W” and the Christian Right have when they tout “family values.” No worries though, Nicole and Mike will help ease the pain of the sting with their fun and witty ways.

The diversity Nicole, Mike, Jennifer, and Rebecca represent for our community in terms of the way bisexuals live is only the beginning. Sexologist and bi femme activist
Amy André is pushing Frame Line, which hosts the annual International LGBT Film Festival in San Francisco, to include more films with positive bisexual images (see October for “call for films”). The lovely women at AfterEllen.com have been tracking hot sassy intelligent bi women in media for several years and continue to fabulously represent us. And of course, yours truly is bringing more visibility to the Bay Area Reporter and all of the publications I write for. I’m also continuing to seek a publisher to move forward with the bisexual women anthology to demonstrate the beautiful simple complexity of our lives and how we navigate hard and shifting lines between social ideology and reality.

So, a tip for Bitch at Rhymes with Snitch, if you’re going to cover celebrity gossip first of all do a fact check, it will save you some embarrassment and will validate your efforts so you don’t cover ancient news and try to “out” someone who is already very much open about their sexuality and sexual orientation. Second don’t assume that commenting about romantic and familial relationship troubles or “outing” someone is good celebrity gossip journalism – it’s just so Star and Enquirer tacky. Third if you aren’t willing to be out in the open about your identity and take the heat you’re trying to dish – that’s just cowardly.

2 comments:

That Bitch! said...

Your post is a little tiny bit inaccurate. I stated in the beginning that I didn't know she gay or lesbian or whatever. I also stated the stuff was from 1990. All in the first sentence.
And actually, the post wasn't about outing but about Tracy Chapman shutting down the coffee shop, and like it or not, lesbian and gay sex is much more interesting than straight sex, the shit is juicy.
*Wonders if it matters to these self-rightous soap-boxers that I'm bi-sexual?*
Love your blog, by the way. Very well written.

Bi Girl Friday said...

Thank you for the complement about my blog.

I know people wonder about other people's sexuality and sexual orientation, hence the popularity of "outing" celebrities, but I happen to know that Rebecca and her mother have a good relationship.