Friday, April 02, 2010

My Weekend Crush

So little Anna Paquin is family. Yesterday she came out as bisexual in a public service announcement for the We Give a Damn campaign. Now I think that may be the first outing via PSA in history. You’ve got to admire her efficiency. But what it really is is another reminder that we are everywhere. It’s also important to note that this news is not at all muted by the fact that Anna is engaged to her “True Blood” co-star Stephen Moyer. That’s pretty much the definition of being bisexual – you can be in a relationship with a man or a woman. Being with either one does not negate the other. If she is with a man it doesn’t mean that she is straight, just like if she is with a woman it doesn’t mean she is lesbian. It’s about either, that’s key.

This news also makes me want to take my gaydar in for a tune-up because she did not ping me at all. Granted, I haven’t seen much of her most recent work (remember, not a “True Blood” watcher – yet). Also I think some of it might be a resistance to seeing Anna in that way. I still vividly remember her as that precocious little girl in the sparkly blue beret hoisting her Oscar. Of course time passes and she is now 27, so that’s well into the age when it’s appropriate to have inappropriate thoughts about a person. Through her career Anna has chosen her roles judiciously. She has often taken smaller roles in good projects (“X-Men,” “Almost Famous,” “The Squid & the Whale”) instead of leads in uninspiring commercial pap. And I love that she kept that gap in her teeth. Now I’m off to think naughty things about Rogue and Kitty Pryde together. Welcome, Anna. Happy weekend, all.


EDITOR’S NOTE: It is not my policy to interfere with comments. That is your space to express your opinions, oppositions, whatever you want. I respect that inherently. I get the whole frontpage to blab, you need your space, too. So while I normally do not, as a rule, wade into the conversation, please know that I do read everything and appreciate your input.

Certain comments, while hurtful, unhelpful and ultimately just terribly ignorant, are part of this conversation. I vehemently disagree with bi-phobia. It is wrong. I believe we can only truly be accepted by the larger society if we accept all segments of our own society. The world is such a big and strange place I do not understand people who insist that their small segment is better than another small segment. We all want happiness and as long as we are pursing our happiness with a consenting other human being, who are we to judge?

Small-minded thinking cripples us all. I believe to be gay is to be open to a big umbrella of sexual otherness. There is plenty of room underneath for all of us and together we’ll shield each other from the downpour of negativity the rest of the world showers on us daily. I welcome this discussion and I hope it is looked at for what is could be: an opportunity to change minds and a reminder of the work that is still to be done.

p.s. AWESOME story about Anna checking out your girlfriend's rack, Julie.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spare me. As far as I'm concerned the only reason biseauls even exist is:

1. To hold onto Heterosexual provilege.

And

2. Safely maintain acceptance by heterosexuals while pandering to lesbians and gays.


You need to stop making excuses and be real.

Anonymous said...

biseauls =bisexauls

NOT biseals LOL

Jan_Ham said...

That's pretty harsh, anonymous. Yes, sexual identity is publicly expressed, but privately felt (probably as an orientation), so yes people might lie about it. But why? What real benefit is there to "pandering to lesbians and gays"? How does a bisexual in a same-sex relationship hold onto heterosexual privilege? Assuming your doubt extends deeper, consider that the possibilities your private experience might exclude, could be included for another.

L. Dawson said...

I'm appalled that anti-bisexual rhetoric continues to permeate the queer community. What are we hoping to accomplish by breeding a culture of exclusivity within the parameters of our own marginalized sphere? Is it not obvious how this emulates the oppressive nature of heterosexual judgement? Let's get over ourselves and celebrate the fact that Anna Paquin, for all intensive reasons, is on the team.

Sarah from Chicago said...

Wow, so not only is Anon a biphobe, they're also a coward for posting hate under something other than their name.

Funny that.

Look, I'm lesbian (though I'll pass as straight in any room), and a lot of my exes have been bisexual ... and their sexualities are as real, valid, and queer as my sexuality could ever be. Awesome, wonderful, strong queer women, that I admire and respect extremely, who I would date a million times over, any day of the week and twice on sunday, before I would date someone like Anon.

We need to squash and shame out hatefilled stereotypes and myths like those posted by Anon, in our community. There are reasons so many bisexual women don't feel included in our queer female spaces, and that's due to 'people' like Anon. Their opinion isn't 'harsh', it's wrong (like "hey, there's WMD's over there" wrong), bigoted, and honestly no different from the hate of the like of Phelps and his ilk.

I'm surprised DS hasn't deleted that sh*t actually, to be honest, but then maybe she just hasn't seen it.

But, good on Anna Paquin, not only for coming out, which is always a BFD, but for doing it in a PSA, increasing it's impact, and making it a political statement, not merely a personal one, and not one done for personal publicity. Welcome to the community Anna, I'm really pleased you could be one of us ... particularly as a fellow ex-pat kiwi :)

Fannie said...

Well said, Sarah. Anti-bi rhetoric has no place within the LGBT community.

Welcome to the family Anna!

L. Dawson said...

Dear Sarah from Chicago...

While I agree with your sentiment (see my post above), I am surprised at your suggestion that Dorothy delete comments made by Anonymous.

This is why. An opinion, by nature, is a subjective manifestation of one's own feelings. To say that Anonymous' opinion is "wrong" is a rather bold and self-righteous statement. On the contrary, it deserves merit in its own right, since it is exactly this kind of opinion that encourages a much needed discourse. For that we should be thanking Anonymous.

Sarah from Chicago said...

L. Dawson -

No, the statement that Anon's opinion is wrong is actually a self-evident, not self-righteous, statement. The denigration and denial of existence of an entire sexual minority is wrong on a moral level, but it's also wrong on a simple evidentiary level, as bisexuals plainly and obviously do exist, as sexualities in their own right.

The elevation of the 'opinion' as something supposedly beyond challenge is a trend I've noticed developing online, and that worries me, because not all opinions are valid, nor even have a right to be said, simply because some moron, like Anon, has the bigotry to hold such a one.

Furthermore, opinions don't have a right to be heard. A civilised and mature society/group/culture/forum/etc can decide what speech is worthwhile and what isn't, and most western cultures have decided that speech that denigrates and denies a whole group of people is speech that isn't worth having in that culture, and that's something I personally stand by.

I state again, Anon's opinion is not only wrong, it also shouldn't get a space/forum to be vomited up in. It's an act of hate speech, and so it's effects are real and profound.

If DS decides she doesn't want to delete it, cool, her space, her forum, her rules. But I'll quietly disagree with her on that.

Teena said...

Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Period. And an "opinion," by its very nature, can never be "wrong."

Facts can be wrong. Judgments can be wrong. But "opinions" are not wrong. They are personal and subjective. So they can be ignorant, juvenile or hateful (or, in this case, all three), but they can never be "wrong." Sorry, Sarah.

While I disagree with what "Anon" posted and welcome Anna P. with open arms, I do agree with L. Dawson that the comment opened the door to an important discussion here.

p.s. Don't ya just love how the second anonymous poster still spelled "bisexauls" wrong. :)

Julie said...

My partner was invited to the Golden Globes afterparty (is that actually a word?)by a friend who writes for True Blood. Since it was glitzy LA, she got her oh-so-hawt butch on and wore a suit with sexy black buttondown shirt. She met many of the writers and cast members. As she was chatting with some writers, Anna Paquin purposefully walked away from her fiancee and across the room to her, the only obvious lesbian in the room, introduced herself, and then took a not-so-subtle peek down my honey's shirt. Said writers were amazed at Ms. Paquin's friendliness, since apparently she has a bit of a rep. And THAT was how I came to learn that Anna Paquin was bisexual. I am not making this up! My only brush with fame: Anna Paquin checked out my lady's rack.

jetgirl said...

Maybe if Anon wasn't in such a hurry to post their hate speech then:

1. He/she would've actually read the blog post and learned something about bisexuals.

And

2. Corrected his/her spelling mistakes.

Any queer person who hates on bisexuals are moronic hypocrites who cannot see beyond their own experience. Sorry if a bisexual you dated has left you for the opposite sex or vice versa (boo hoo, get over it).

If you are part of a marginalized group or a minority, then you of all people should be the last person to hate on another.

Not to belabor the point that Dorothy has made, but Anna Paquin's very own status as a bisexual currently engaged to a man is the very essence of bisexuality.

Keep your minds open, maybe you'll learn something.

PS. Julie, that's a pretty awesome story!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 IS wrong, on account of being bigoted, insensitive and ignorant. But freedom of speech remains.

Facts are facts, and therefore cannot be wrong, only misinterpreted. Opinions can be wrong, but there's no power in the 'verse that can prevent an individual from expressing an opinion that's wrong.

la la said...

i just discovered this blog via sugarbutch chronicles, and can i just say: thank you so much for this post. too often lesbian-geared sites meant to be inclusive of bi/queer women either ignore these women entirely, or unabashedly replicate the same tired, old biphobia that's been plaguing our for far too long. what's more, celebrities that come out are commonly subjected to hyperscrutiny and doubt. while it's true that many have used such declarations insincerely and opportunistically, it's refreshing to see a celebrity's self-identification taken at face value.

also, anon: *you* need to get real, and stop attempting to undermine and police others' self-definitions.

Anonymous said...

My only two bisexual female friends are both married. To women.

alice said...

Wow - I came into the comments expecting to feel awful and attacked, and I have to say that this is one of the most unequivocally positive and inclusive discussions in a non-bi space that I've found in a while. I really, deeply appreciate that.

I for one am glad that DS hasn't deleted the comment, though I'm VERY glad of her in-post support. Bi-phobia is alive and well, and pretending that it's a non-issue doesn't change things. Over the last 16 years, the 'you don't exist', 'you're just lying to get attention' and 'pick a side, already' comments always crop up, especially when I'm in a monogamous relationship. (When dating, I at least get to switch over to 'what an indiscriminate ho' - variety!)

I can understand not getting it - I personally can't imagine being attracted to only one gender, as it just makes no sense to me. But I still believe you monosexuals exist :) . I can even understand some of the hostility; when dating a guy, I *can* get read as hetero, and though my identity gets erased, there are privileges that come along with that. I just can't understand the 'you don't exist' thing.

L. Dawson said...

Dear Sarah,

I do believe that you have missed the point. Anonymous is not outwardly denying the existence of bisexuals, she is simply stating, albeit ignorantly, what she believes to be their motivation in identifying as such.

Of course bisexuals exist. (Hear, hear Anna!) Anonymous needs to go no further than Ani Difranco’s ode to bisexuality, In or Out to warrant its legitimacy (which she will undoubtedly own if she is a ‘true’ lesbian... gotta love irony.) Ani states “I’ve got more than one membership to more than one club / And I owe my life to the people that I love.” This is indeed a self-evident statement, based on personal truth and evidentiary to one’s own experience.

You said that “the statement that Anon's opinion is wrong is actually a self-evident, not self-righteous, statement.” This Sarah is your opinion, and one that you have the right to express.

Furthermore, I fail to see how you have come to the conclusion that the idea of the online ‘opinion’ is being elevated to something “beyond challenge.” Is the idea of challenging opinions not the very essence of this forum?

I certainly never stated nor implied that Anonymous’ opinion should not be challenged. Indeed, I felt compelled to do just that, just as you have felt the need to defend your own opinions. If opinions based on ignorance and bigotry does not have a platform for discussion, how do you propose we go about redirecting these misconceptions? I would even venture to say that you are inadvertently facilitating an underground cultural of anti-bisexual rhetoric that goes unchecked by suggesting that it has no place on a queer public forum.

Sure, we could espouse the ideals of censorship and regulated opinion but last I heard that was called fascism and it didn’t work out so well. Don’t you see? We can’t simply get rid of speech that “denigrates and denies a whole group of people” by willing it away and pretending that it doesn’t exist. We must embrace the enemy of ignorance in order to defeat it.

Anonymous said...

the grown up version looks totally different!
I can't believe she is same person.

by the way, today's post seems something
similar mood that I think I know what it is.

I'm gonna gently and joyfully pass through
the door. exit.

thank you for the post ds,
have a great weekend!

Bi-Happy said...

It's heartwarming to see all the positive comments for the one or two negative comments toward bisexual women.

I am one. I dated men, married one, had sex regularly and enjoyably with them (I know it grosses out the true lesbians- sorry!) Now I am in a committed three year relationship with a woman I cannot imagine being without. Our sex life is amazing and our emotional relationship is beyond anything I could dream of :)

I regularly have to answer the "who would you date next?" question, to which I respond that the question is absurd. Only players & cheaters of any sexuality are planning their next partner while in a committed relationship.

My only disappointment is when people claim bisexuality as they progress toward their true gay identity but I don't begrudge them as it is their personal identity development to handle and hence none of my business. Just as it's nobody's business to tell me what my sexuality is or is not.

Sarah from Chicago said...

L. Dawson -

Actually, virtually every single western country aside from the US, and I include my wee country in this too, New Zealand, HAS included speech constraints, they have gotten rid of speech that denigrates and denies whole groups of people, and still none of these countries are descending into totalitarianism at all ... I would say the US is actually considerably further along that line. The US has not include such constraints, and in fact cannot due to constitutional preventions, and while I respect their right not to, it certainly is a minority opinion amongst western nations.

Moreover, if you read what I wrote, I said that Anon was saying that bisexuals don't exist as sexualities in their own right, as worthy of respect, etc. That Anon does do.

Moreover, I maintain an opinion can be wrong ... the facts, the statement, the base of an opinion can be wrong ... just merely because it is an opinion, and subjective, somehow does not magically make it not assessable as to right or wrong. You can hold an opinion, but that doesn't make it right. One would simply be holding an opinion that is wrong.

Further, my point about opinions in general was that opinions, as subjective, as you say, simply do get protected as though being opinions, they're above reproach as something that has a right to be said, as though they're special. Debating a point is a different matter entirely. Just because someone holds an opinion does not make it valid, correct, nor worth being said.

I'm not missing the point at all, I know what you're arguing here, I just disagree.

KellyBean76 said...

I'm so happy Anna Paquin has come out of the bi closet. Bisexuals have been underrepresented in the "public" discussion of lgbt, so this high profile actress admitting something many of us hide from our coworkers might make it easier to do so down the road. Maybe she'll be our Ellen? Nah, we'll need a big character on a network tv sitcom for that. Bisexuals aren't especially promiscuous or pandering to anyone. Just because we don't discriminate between genders doesn't mean we shouldn't have the same right to be who we are without being discriminated against, ourselves.
If you can be born entirely one way or another, can't you just as easily be born somewhere in the middle? It's all biology as well as psychology. In my life, I have always been attracted to both genders, including transexuals, from a very young age. I'm attracted to people. I love and have married a man, but that doesn't change what turns me on or pulls my heartstrings or how I identify, and I make no excuses. I have chosen to be in a monogamous relationship with a man. I have several bi girlfriends who have married or partnered with women, too.
For anyone in any circumstance there is a tradeoff of "privileges" and each of us suffers and triumphs in our own ways.

Anonymous said...

okay,

let me support asexual.

singles.

let them marry whoever they want,

if they marry opposite they are straight,
if they marry same they are gay.

very simply,
I'm smart.

Kristin said...

Yeah, okay. She announces this statement when she is getting married to a guy? Why didn't she say this while she was supposedly with a woman? Any woman can just say she is bi when she has the comfort and stability of a man on her arm.

KellyBean76 said...

Hi Kristen, I understand where you're coming from, but being there, I have to disagree. It's brave to for her to say she's bi when she's with a man because there is as much risk of being rejected by the lgbt community as well as straight folk. If she were with a woman people would just say, "Why can't she admit she's a lesbian?" or "She's still young, she's going through a phase." Coming out is difficult, no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Just another voice on tolerance...far be it from me to exclude anyone who identifies as queer from supporting our community. Because that is what Paquin is doing, at the end of the day - she's coming out personally, but also in support of equality for all of us.

Hate is hate and hurts us all. Free speech is fine, but hate is not.

Anonymous said...

I do support whatever their sexuality is,

by the way, just comes up my mind,
when I walk up on stair I looked at down
and found a classmate, she looked waving
her hand so, I did same thing.

when I turn back and looked up, I found that
a man actually waving his hand to her.

my point is that,
It is idiot to respond cus
she is not waving her hand to me.

what I want to say,
when I'm talking I intend
where my message should go,

whatever the noise around
(like me waved my hand) is none of my
business.

the crustybastard said...

I'm reminded of a recent episode of Archer where an obviously gay fellow was queued up to have sex with his uberhawt female colleague.

Another colleague says to him, "but I thought you were gay!"

To which he replies in his thick homoslavian accent, "nobody's THAT gay, honey."

I am not bi myself, but I totally, completely understand bisexuality — and frankly am a bit jealous of it.

Cheers, queers.

PhillyDyke said...

Great discussion. I identify as bi. I don't really like to because of how much the queer community judges it. I've been with women for the last 9 years and would prefer the term queer to identify myself because it's less binary.

That being said, I feel biphobia comes from internalize homophobia. The fear that so many lesbians express about women leaving them for men speaks to the fact that they themselves wish they had the "choice" to be "normal". Perhaps subconsciously asking themselves the question, "why would you want to be with me if you could be normal". Why else would they be so afraid that bi women will leave them for men or use them temporarily to experience what it's like to be with a woman.

Bisexuality is often confused with bi-curiousity. While there is nothing wrong with being bi-curious, it is a different identity.

thank you again for this discussion. It's so nice to feel so supported by other queer women.

alice said...

PhillyDyke, I just wanted to echo you on preferring the term queer. I tend to stick with 'bi' in a lot of situations because of the lack of bi visibility, but I HATE that it implies that I like men and women, and that's All There Is, so suck it, transfolk. I switch off between them (pun intended), but hate that both terms have a downside.

Anonymous said...

All the negative comments just prove how widespread prejudice is. It's amazing how a group that has claimed to fight for tolerance can be so intolerant of other's differences. Hypocrites!

Anonymous said...

looks like publicity...and false...

Anonymous said...

Maybe part of the privilege Anna gets for currently being with a man is to strategically use that privilege to come out and be more accepted by our hetero-normative society. And maybe that is actually really helpful for us queers because it is more more chip of the wall coming down. Bisexuals in opposite sex relationships (the discussion of how being in open relationships affects this privilege we can set aside for now) DO pass, and thus do get hetero-normative privilege. Why not make use of that privilege and help us all out? It seems pretty clearly a strategic use of micro-politics to me.

Ruth the Brit said...

This is an interesting debate. Good on the lovely Anna for coming out regardless of her current partner's gender. There's never an easy time to come out as queer...I'm so glad my girlfriend is also bi because we both understand predjudice from the monosexual majority. I have a friend whose sister identifies as bi/pansexual; he once ironically joked "I'm a dirty mono".

Bisexuality is a complex identity to possess. I was more concerned with gay issues when I single and dating both genders. Now I'm exlcusive with a woman, I have happily retreated into the microworld of two humans in love...

Free speech is so important but it's a tragedy to use it to spread hate.

Anonymous said...

A bisexual woman engaged to a man.

Sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

Meh.. It's like Madonna claiming to be bisexual but only date men. I know women who likes to have their pussy eaten out by other chicks can be labelled bisexual.

But until these so-called "bisexuals" display the same public affection for their gf as they do their many boyfriends I see no reason to respect them. To me they are nothing more than attention fame whores.

There I said it.

PS: I respect bisexuals like Kristianna Loken, Lindsay Blowhan (despite all her faults and negatives), and Cynthia Nixon for having the courage to show their true bisexuality in public.

JadedRogue said...

I'm Bisexual, and as you can see, a huge fan of Rogue (the comic character). I've f*cked as many men as I have women. Constantly, I'm asked "Why don't you just pick a side?" Because I don't do anything "inside the box", I don't think inside the box, the box doesn't exist - There is no spoon when it comes to who I can be attracted too. Why is that so difficult for anyone to understand? I think DS should keep the comments up - these are forums where you can discuss these matters and should.

On that note, welcome to the fold, Anna - I always knew that Shadowcat and Rogue hooked up... ;)

tJR

Amanda said...

There's so much to say about this topic. I know a lot of lesbians whose worst fear is to be left for a man, and won't date bi-sexual women. The issue is complicated, and unfortunately bisexuals and pansexuals are caught in the crossfire of a socially acceptable way of life vs. a more "radical" one. I'm really glad to see this discussion, its an issue than needs to be talked about.

Amanda

Norma Desmond said...

Can't even lie, I'm appalled by the fact that so many lesbians can only accept bisexual women when they are with another woman. How does that even make an iota of sense? I find this really ridiculous. And, frankly, it pisses me off. No, I'm not bisexual, but as an open-minded, accepting, compassionate human being, I understand that there are many, many variations on sexuality, and the gay community, in particular, would be foolish to discriminate against ANYONE in our community. How the hell can we get anywhere if even WE'RE not on our side?

... Arg. It just makes me so mad. Welcome to Anna, anyway. Any addition to the FAMILY is a good one.

(Also, thanks for speaking up, DS. This is one instance where I'm very glad you did)

Anonymous said...

@Sarah from Chicago:

"I'm surprised DS hasn't deleted that sh*t actually, to be honest, but then maybe she just hasn't seen it."

The western world mostly consist of countries with freedom of speech. Just because someone doesn't share your views on certain issues doesn't give you the right to censor them and have their opinions deleted just because you don't agree with them, which btw makes you no better than fascists dictators like Ahmadinejad. Evidence:

"Furthermore, opinions don't have a right to be heard."

Congratulation, you are a totalitarian fascist. I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

As a bisexual woman, I would never question who someone loves, or why. Intolerance is all around us, but is particular hard to take coming from people who themselves have faced intolerance their entire lives. Love is love.

Anonymous said...

Anna Paquin: "I'm bisexual, and I give a damn."

Anna Paquin, honey, take a look at your engagement ring. You're marrying a man. You are entering a legal heterosexual relationship. So unless you plan on being a swinger & bringing women into your relationship and bedroom.

You're not Bi anymore!

Caitlin said...

Man there are a lot of fucking ignorant lesbians commenting here. Quiet times, biphobes, there is more than enough hate in the world already.

I've loved Anna Paquin forever, and I kneeewwwwww Rogue pinged for me. How lovely to have it confirmed that the lady is family. Well played, Anna.

/pissed-off lesbian out

Anonymous said...

Your sexuality and identity don't go away after you commit to a monogamous relationship. Bisexuality isn't about picking sides! You're aware of being attracted to people gendered male and people gendered female, and that is all there is to it. Be respectful of whatever gender expressions a person loves.