Jo from the Student Wellbeing Team talks about LGBT+ History Month – this week ‘B’ is for Bisexual…
Following on from last week’s blog in recognition of LGBT+ History Month (‘G is for Gay’), this week’s blog is ‘B is for Bisexual’…
A number of events have already taken place on campus in support of LGBT+ history this month; if you didn’t make it to anything yet, don’t worry, there are still some great events coming up! (see details of remaining Events listed later in this blog!).
How do you define Bisexual?
Bisexuality can be a confusing topic because people define it in many different ways.
The term tends to be used to refer to the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to a person regardless of gender or sex, or to people of more than one sex.
When talking about bisexuality, it is sometimes useful to distinguish between behaviour and identity. Someone who has had sexual experience with or even just attractions to people of more than one sex can be described as bisexual, but may not identify that way. Likewise, one can identify as bisexual regardless of sexual experience. Furthermore, identities can change over time. Definitions can change too.
Dictionary definitions of bisexuality that rely on an idea of “both sexes” are inadequate. As human beings, we live and love in a world that is far more complicated than these narrow ideas allow. Our attractions do not stay within tidy borders, and every one of us must make sense of our own experiences and assign to them our own meaning.
Stonewall, the LGBT+ campaign group, advises that the bisexual community prefers the definition:
“A changeable sexual and emotional attraction to people, where gender may not be a defining factor”
Ancient Greeks did not associate sexual relations with binary labels, as modern Western society has traditionally done. Men who had male lovers were not identified as homosexual, and many had wives or other female lovers. Ancient Greek religious texts, reflecting cultural practices, frequently incorporated bisexual themes.
Records of men who have sex with women and men in Japan also date back to ancient times, and several writers have noted the strong historical tradition of open bisexuality among male Buddhist institutions in Japan.
In Ancient Rome, it was expected and socially acceptable for a freeborn Roman man to want sex with both female and male partners. The morality of the behaviour depended on the social standing of the partner, not gender, and both women and men were considered normal objects of desire.
Cara Delevigne is an English fashion model and actress who signed with Storm Model Management after leaving school in 2009. Delevingne won the “Model of the Year” award at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and 2014 and has appeared in shows for houses including Burberry, Mulberry and Dolce & Gabbana. She started her acting career with a minor role in the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina and will co-star in the superhero film Suicide Squad later this year (2016).
Delevingne is openly bisexual. In June 2015, she confirmed she is in a relationship with American musician Annie Clark, who is best known by her stage name ‘St. Vincent’. She previously dated fellow celebrity and actress Michelle Rodriquez for several months in 2014.
George Shelley is an English singer, songwriter and radio presenter. He is best known for being a member of the boy band Union J and rose to fame on the 9th series of ‘The X Factor’. On February 3rd this year, Shelley confirmed his sexuality in a video, which he uploaded to YouTube. He stated that he is attracted to both sexes and that “I’ve had girlfriends that I’ve loved and they’ve been amazing periods of my life. But I’ve also had boyfriends. And I just want you to know that whether I decide to be with a girl next or a guy next, it’s because I love them and it shouldn’t be a big deal’’.
Billy Jo Armstrong is the singer, song-writer and guitar player for the band Green Day, famous for the songs ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ and ‘American Idiot’. Despite having had a wife for 21 years, the musician is open about his bisexuality and has spoken to the media about it on several occasions. One of these interviews provided the following quote: “I think I’ve always been bisexual. I mean, it’s something that I’ve always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it’s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of ‘Oh, I can’t.’ They say it is taboo. It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.”
Kinsey is a 2004 American biographical drama film, written and directed by Bill Condon. It describes the life of Alfred Charles Kinsey (played by Liam Neeson), a pioneer in the area of sexology. His 1948 publication, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was one of the first recorded works that tried to scientifically address and investigate sexual behaviour in humans. Kinsey’s research revolutionised how sex is perceived and the work laid the ground for the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s. In the film, Kinsey and his team discover the wide range of ‘acceptable’ sexual behaviour, and their own sexual freedom.
Don’t miss the remaining LGBT+ events this month!
22 February: Ruth Hunt Talk and Q&A Session
Ruth Hunt is Chief Executive of Stonewall, an organisation dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBT+ people to be themselves. Ruth will be talking and taking questions about her career and her own experiences of being a lesbian and catholic.
5.30pm: Refreshments and Networking; 6pm: Talk and Q&A;
Hadyn Ellis Building Lecture Theatre, Cardiff.
This talk will focus on Hollywood movies, specifically bible epics and gay identities in America in the 1930’s;
6pm, Main Building Council Chamber, Park Place, Cardiff.
LGBT+ History Month Events Calendar details all of the events happening this month.
Don’t forget to look out for the flying Rainbow Flag
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If you missed last week’s blogs, take a look now:
Jo, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
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