This is why we need a bi community

There is a television drama series on BBC3 at the moment called Lip Service which depicts the lives of a group of lesbian and bisexual women in Glasgow. I’m really enjoying the show and i’m pleased that the BBC is doing something to increase the visibility of lesbian and bisexual women on television. It hasn’t done a great job of depicting bisexual people so far, but i was pleased in the last episode when they showed that Frankie’s bisexuality is more than just words.

The episode provoked a strong biphobic reaction from a lot of people who were apparently shocked to see Frankie, one of the main characters, having sex with a man. They apparently missed Frankie talking openly about being bisexual in the first episode and flirting with a man in the second episode. I wasn’t at all surprised at the way the story developed; it made perfect sense within the storyline.

I commented on twitter that it was a shame to see such a biphobic reaction. Somebody gave me this response:

not biphobic I don’t think, just disappointment that what was billed as a lesbian drama has turned out to be a bi one. That’s fair

Well unfortunately, that comment in itself sounded biphobic to me. I pressed the person whether a gay character in an otherwise straight drama would make the series a gay drama. As it turned out, the issue was more that they felt the show had been wrongly advertised.

We chatted a bit more. I said i thought it was realistic: bi people exist within the LGBT community, and we often feel marginalised, and i wondered whether they could see how these comments make us feel exculded. To which i got this response:

yes I totally agree that bi exsists in the queer community but not in the lesbian community, they are two conflicting lables

At this point i was so upset and shocked that i decided to pursue it no further and went to bed. But this should not be left unchallenged. This is prejudice from within the LGBT community: this person (who identifies as lesbian) believes that bisexual people are unwelcome in the lesbian community. This person claims not to be biphobic but makes comments like “LESBIANS DONT SHAG MEN!!!!!”

Bi women do exist within the lesbian community. Some are open about their bisexuality, and some are not. Some people who describe themselves as lesbian sometimes enjoy sleeping with men. Some are scared to admit their attraction to men in a community that might consider them a traitor. I know all this is true because i know people in these situations.

I just find it so sad that people who know what it’s like to be discriminated against feel it’s quite okay to do the same to others.

The upside to this is that it made me all the more grateful for the bi community, which is so accepting of everyone. Gay, lesbian and straight people are welcome in the bi community, as well as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual and queer people. The bi community is a place where all kinds of people feel at home in their diversity. I rarely see discrimination, and i often see great care taken to be inclusive of everyone. People make an effort to learn about different minorities and how to be more encompassing. I’ve known people to feel terribly distressed if they unintentionally discriminated against somebody through their lack of understanding.

I was recently asked why we need a bi community. Being put on the spot, i floundered a little and said something like, “Because it’s nice to be part of a community where no questions are asked and no assumptions are made.” If i were to be asked the same question again now, i might answer, “Because, sadly, we are not always accepted within the wider LGBT community.”

I’m looking forward to Lip Service tonight, to see how the characters on screen react to Frankie having slept with Jay. I wonder whether the reaction will be similar or different to the overwhelming negative reaction on twitter.

Advertisements

30 days to fix my life

These are the last few hours of my 30-day trial of various changes to my life. For the last 30 mornings i have got out of bed and got going at 7am consistently. I have completely cut out coffee, i have gone to bed at a decent time and i have prioritised my evenings more effectively, much reducing the amount of time i spend watching television.

By consequence i’ve felt a lot happier, more engaged, more enthusiastic to do my job and do it well. My weekends have seemed more structured. I’ve felt emotions that seem somehow more authentic, and i’ve looked forward to my bedtime, enjoying a good read in bed. I’ve often woken up before my alam sounds in the morning, and enjoyed dozing in bed listening to the birds and the weather. I’ve given up chocolate almost by accident, and i’ve no intention to start eating it again. I’ve come to absolutely love Rooibos Tea! :)

Several people have asked me: what happens next? Well, ideally more of the same. I spent 30 days exercising my self-discipline, forcing myself to follow a routine in order to establish a habit. I’d like to think it won’t be difficult to keep it up now. I used twitter extensively, tweeting every morning that i’d got up on time. Some of my followers will be glad to hear that i won’t be doing that anymore! Twitter is a great motivational tool, but i no longer need it. I think it would feel weird now to stay in bed after my alarm has sounded.

So the experiment has been a great success and it has set me up to continue the good habits that i’ve established. Thank you everyone for your encouragements during the past month. I’ve really appreciated it!

Ben Mitchell, the BBC, and diversity

I’m going to do the unthinkable and blog about a soap opera!

Yes, i watch Eastenders. Sometimes it’s really good. The whole Stacey and Jean bipolar storyline has been the most powerful drama i can ever remember watching. Both Lacey Turner and Gillian Wright are incredible at acting, and they portrayed the story with heart-wrenching emotion.

Jean and Stacey

Sometimes Eastenders really annoys me. The Syed and Christian storyline has been bothering me for almost a year because apparently nobody has ever considered the possibility that Syed could be bisexual. I strongly disapprove of the notion that Syed has to choose between straight and gay, and having slept with Christian and enjoyed it, Syed is for evermore labelled as gay. This, as far as i am aware, is definitely not how sexuality works. Eastenders had the perfect opportunity to do a good bisexual character, and they messed it up time and time again.

Christian and Syed

My latest gripe has been with the Eastenders treatment of Ben Mitchell. Ben is an annoying winging kid whose whiney voice often gets me screaming at the television! (Do these kids go to acting school?!)

Ben Mitchell

But Ben had a moment of glory dancing to Love Games by Lady Gaga. I cheered at that. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Ben enjoy dancing and shunning “traditionally masculine” activities. Of course, everyone thought they saw exactly where the BBC was going with this. I saw where it might be going and hoped desperately that they weren’t about to do the obvious.

So it was with some frustration tonight that i saw Ben’s dad, Phil Mitchell, bring up the gay thing. Credit to the BBC they did the best thing for diversity that they possibly could do: effeminate flamboyant dancer Ben Mitchell fancies a girl! Hooray! Or is it?

Ben definitely played the pronoun game to start with. Whether that was for dramatic effect by the script writers or if they are paving the way for a future coming out for Ben, i don’t know. I sincerely hope they’re not going to fall prey to stereotypes and make Ben gay. I think there is so much more potential for Ben as a role model for young straight boys who are comfortable enough with their sexuality not to feel the need to be tough and act macho.

Which reminds me: BBC: don’t do this horrible “abused becomes abuser” thing that it looks like you’re about to do. Seriously, we don’t want to see it. Ben can be tough and strong without becoming a bully.

Thank you, that is all.

A rare blog post

Wow, i have been sooooooo busy lately, haven’t had time to write here even though i wanted to.

I know that almost every post i do write seems to be about my job, and this is no different. I am still loving it. I have realised that it is possible to write a successful web application with Ruby on Rails, not really understanding much Ruby at all! It’s quite odd to find out how much i didn’t know … i used to go to all sorts of extreme measures to make things work when i didn’t know you could do it with a single ennumerable block statement. I knew nothing about Prototype and Script.aculo.us although i used them without understanding what they were actually doing. I am being forced to raise my game significantly, and it is giving me a huge buzz!

In my spare time i am still working hard on Shea Bliss. It is coming on really nicely, and we have some great plans to extend it beyond what we were given from FreeWebshop. At the moment i am focussing on HTML optimisations and ensuring valid XHTML compliance. It’s quite a fun task because i enjoy running it through the validator, zapping the errors and watching the error count come down! :)

Yesterday we had a nice trip out to Chichester to do some shopping. It was a pretty place, and lovely weather so we had a very good time. Unfortunately i missed the Winchester Hat Fair, and by the looks of today’s weather, i’m not going to be going today either!

Oh my gosh, Doctor Who last night … what can i say that adequately expresses my awe at the quality of that episode?! Russell T Davies is incredible. After last week’s episode, i wondered how it could possibly get any better … but oh my, the finale totally eclipsed it. It was deep, profound, hilarious, exuberant and tragic, all in one mind-blowing episode. I cried floods of tears and was sniffling all evening! I have downloaded a Donna Noble wallpaper from the BBC website in commemoration.

Britain's Got Talent

In case anyone has not yet seen this little angel by the name of Andrew Johnston … i saw this 13-year-old kid on Sunday Life this morning, and oh my gosh, this purity of voice brought tears to my eyes. Especially when you hear the back-story of bullying and realise all that Andrew has overcome to get to this point.

Grab yourself a packet of tissues and click Play. I promise you, it is well worth it.

I think i will be watching Britain’s Got Talent from now on!

The Choir

Funny TV for a Friday night, but oddly un-tear-away-from-able … The Choir, “Boys Don’t Sing” where Gareth Malone takes Lancaster School in Leicester and forms a choir out of nothing and takes them to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. I watched both episodes, and i was completely in tears by the end of it last night! It is so inspiring … incredibly admirable what Gareth and the kids and staff managed to do!

The buzz at the Royal Albert Hall felt so tangible, and i felt Gareth’s pride at the end of it. Okay, the first song was horribly out of tune, but the second was brilliant, and i loved how Gareth brought together the varying skills of so many different people. (I thought the headmaster could have been a bit more encouraging though!)

Does anyone know where i can get the video for the final performance? My usual friend Youtube has come up short so far.

Wrock on!!

I am continuing to enjoy the Wizard Rock music i have found! I discovered that i really like Ministry of Magic which, as a band, is much more dance oriented, and have a few funny covers of well-known songs.

My favourite would be Here In Your Car, a parody of Here In Your Arms, because it strokes the Harry/Ron slashy bunny in me! ;)

You are the one, the one who flies next to me
Whispers, “I’m scared!”
“Look out! It’s a willow tree!”
You’re my best friend, my best friend so suddenly,
That there’s no place else, I could be but here in your car

Haha, genius! :O There’s a great fan video for the song too! :D Although watching that video just reminds me how cringeworthy some parts of the movie were. Did they really need to have Harry fall out of the car, hanging on by one hand, and almost get crushed by the Hogwarts Express?! It’s like in the 3rd movie where Aunt Marge flies away and into the night! There is such a thing as over-kill.

Oh wow, i really loved Torchwood tonight! I am totally going to love this season! Say hey for the Glorified Bisexual Agenda!!! :D

Heroes Wednesday

I have finally persuaded my partner to watch Heroes! I accomplished this by saying that both Christopher Ecclestone and George Takei have big parts in it tonight (which is true – i read it in a review on the way home)!

The review also said that you can start watching tonight and still pretty much understand the storyline. But after tonight the plot starts to accelerate so quickly that you’d have to get the whole box set to have any chance of understanding it! Apparently. Which is interesting, because i thought i can pretty much see by now where this series is heading. Maybe i can’t!

So yay! We will both sit down at 9pm to watch Heroes, and hopefully my partner will enjoy it just as much as i do! :)

Heroes

A colleague has been a complete hero for me and recorded Heroes whilst i was away. Therefore i have two episodes to watch tonight, and another two tomorrow because it’s a double-episode on BBC2. Hurrah! :)

So no holiday snaps going online tonight, heheh!

Oh yes, and i’ve just remembered i am babysitting for cousins tomorrow night, so that’ll be a marvellous opportunity to watch Heroes on their nice widescreen flatscreen TV.

Yay! It's Heroes Wednesday!

Heheh, time for me to move on and start talking about something other than the LJ screw-up!

I have felt so excited for Heroes all afternoon! I have high hopes for it … probably because i’ve heard American friends talking about it on Twitter for several months! :) I have only watched 3 episodes, but i am enjoying it very much so far. I have a colleague at work who has downloaded the entire first two series and watched them all – it’s very hard not to give me spoilers! Another colleague is watching for the first time. We’ll all three of us be tuned into BBC2 tonight for episode 4. :)

My partner is having a battle with the PC – the PC appears to be winning. I expect i’d better go and make some dinner!