Friday, March 25, 2011

Thinking on bisexual invisibility..

Y'all should know by now that I did a post on Starman over on Prism Comics that specifically dealt with bisexual invisibility.  Well, after writing that I had an email conversation with Alexander Lyons about Madame Xanadu and her bisexuality.  Alex said that there is an interpretation of Madame Xanadu that explains her sexuality as being down to her otherwordly status, and so she may can be seen a snot specifically bisexual but more pansexual.

I thought the same thing could be applied to Mikaal in Starman - he's allowed to be bisexual because he's an other, an alien, and so he doesn't have to conform to human norms.  Human norms in this case being straight or gay.

But you know, I want to claim Mikaal as actually bisexual.  I want heroes like me.  I want visibility for bisexual people.  As I write this I'm 30 years of age and I have only recently come to accept that I don't have to rely on gay culture for my identity as not straight.  I don't fit in with straight culture either, I'm caught between the two.*

I appreciate that people might find it challenging to write a bisexual character and incorporate that into their personality.  It may be daunting - there's not a whole lot of examples to draw on, and if the writer doesn't know any bisexual people they may not know how to write clealry bi characters.

But that's not a reason not to do it.  It's certainly not a good reason.  I argued in the above linked Starman post about ways to write about bisexual characters.  James Robinson did it well.  Gail Simone did it well in Secret Six - 6 degrees of devastation.

There's not enough gay characters in comics (or films, tv, or books) and there's certainly not enough bisexual people.  We need icons and heroes who identify as bisexual.  We need them to be normal people, with varied interests and different lives, just like the straight and the gay folk.

C'mon writers, make an effort.  Please.

(This post was sparked off by a tweet from InnerBrat reading:
"As we know, bisexuals don't exist. RT @: Glee writers confirm "Santana is a lesbian." ")

*That's not really a problem for me - it used to be, it did used to cause me a lot of heartache.  Now I don't really care.  I'm me, I accept myself.


notintheface said...

I'm straight, but I couldn't agree more with you. A prime example is Todd Rice aka Obsidian. Before his appearances in Manhunter, the speculation was that he might be gay, but I remember reading a past Infinity Inc. issue where he expressed (in his thoughts) his attraction to both Starfire and especially Raven of the Titans. When Marc Andreyko wrote him in a relationship with Damen in Manhunter, I assumed he was bisexual. But every reference to Todd online since then addressed him being a gay character. Bisexuality was never even mentioned as an option.

The only thing that sucks about Todd being a bisexual role model is that his power set often leaves him open to corruption or mind-control by dark forces, leading to occasional bouts of villainy (see "Princes Of Darkness" in JSA).

Saranga said...

I'm not really upset about role models being villains - it's enough for me that they exist as real, in depth characters.

I wrote alittle bit about Obisian here:

I'd assumed he was gay.