It’s International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, also known as Bi Visibility Day. I usually observe the occasion by joking on Facebook that the reason I haven’t seen a bunch of posts supporting Bisexual folk is just the algorithm hiding them from my timeline. And observing that perhaps one of these years, that joke will be funny.
Your Humble Blogger is a straight guy, but my Best Reader is bisexual and our daughter, the Perfect Non-Reader of this Tohu Bohu, identifies as asexual biromantic and quite rightly claims a share of the day. For me and my Best Reader, after twenty-five years of monogamy, the notion of bisexual invisibility is an old sore spot; we’re used to it (he says, speaking for them both) and while it’s still irritating, it’s the Way Things Are. Our daughter is still outraged by it, and still believes it can change. Expects it to change. Holds the world to her higher standards. On gender issues, our daughter is, as I believe the kids say, woke as fuck.
It’s not easy to stay woke. It’s not easy to live with someone who is woke, frankly, and part of that is the reminder that we have been asleep for so long. I mean, we’re aware of injustice in the world, and we totally support the potential for change, but we’re middle-aged and comfortable in the world as it is. We know how much work change really is, and we are totally in favor of people doing that work, but we also know that people have limited time, energy and money, and they have jobs to go to and lunches to pack and dishes to wash. And while I won’t say we make excuses for injustice, we have a certain sympathy for some of the people who have difficulty adjusting their habits—habits of thought as well as their habits of action. And, of course, we’re dealing (particularly on gender issues) with a standard of comparison that is very different from my P N-R’s; just as an example point, the director of the summer camp she has been attending has been at the forefront of transgender rights within the Reform community, put the future of the camp on the line when he decided that transgender kids would be welcomed (and probably again when he hired trans counselors) and was one of the driving forces behind the URJ adopting a resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, all of which seems utterly amazing to me. A director of a Jewish Summer Camp (even a Reform Jewish Summer Camp) allying himself with the trans rights movement! And yet, there were times this year when he made some decisions about the use of pronouns and such things which were wrong, and rather than giving the old man a break, my P N-R was outraged.
So she ought to have been! It’s easy to close our eyes to misbehavior by allies and even by heroes. It’s all too easy to rest on such achievements as we have made, knowing that there is further to go but accepting that we won’t get there today. That’s what lulls us to sleep. We’re right, of course, that we won’t get there today, but in truth if we get there at all it’s because young people get woke and stay woke, and wake the rest of us up, now and then. Hold us to their standard of wokefulness.
So, this year, for Bi Visibility Day, in addition to making the usual jokes and observing how unfunny they are, I’ll try to remember to be outraged. Because it’s still true that bisexual erasure is outrageous, and it’s still true that people like my wife and daughter are excluded from both the queer community and belittled among us straights, and it really, truly doesn’t have to be that way. Keep those eyes open, keep those feet moving, ever forward, never back, and for my Perfect Non-Reader’s sake: stay woke.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,