Sunday Salon: Bi Visibility and the Literary Other

Today, September 23rd, holds a special place in my calendar every year: Celebrate Bisexuality Day. It’s been marked like that for a few years now, and yet I’ve never really “celebrated” it outwardly in any specific way. In a random coincidence this year, though, I looked at my calendar yesterday and realized that my Sunday Salon post would fall on it this week, and that the purpose of the post I was writing was to tell you all about an amazing LGBT-oriented event I’m going to be participating in next month – The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event.

While looking for some kind of pseudo-official link to direct you towards, I also found out for the first time that CBD is called, in some parts of the world, Bi Visibility Day. I’m going to be honest: I kind of like that name better. I think I might have to change the recurring event in my calendar, in fact.

So in the spirit of today, I’m just going to lay this out there for anyone who doesn’t already know: for over half of my life, I’ve identified as “bisexual”. In the last few years, I’ve begun referring to myself as “queer” instead, but it really depends on the situation and the political sensibilities of the people around me. But it’s become something that the people around me don’t think about as much anymore, because I’ve been in a long-term relationship with Zaid for almost the last five years. And so, without thinking about it, I’ve been the unwilling recipient of bisexual invisibility for at least that long, for better or for worse.

I love the steps that I see being taken in the book blogging community to make more of an effort to read and talk about LGBT issues in literature, and for that reason, I’m going to be taking part in the Literary Others event next month. I have a few books lined up that I’m planning to read and review:

  • Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas
  • Landing by Emma Donoghue
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • Jumpstart the World by Catherine Hyde Ryan
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
  • Homosexuality and Islam: Critical Reflections on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle

I’m still on the lookout for more books to read, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments! In the vein of today’s post, I’ve managed to find quite a few books that deal with homosexuality (of both the gay and lesbian variety), transgender issues, and intersexuality, but it’s proving difficult to find portrayals of bisexuality (aside from erotica*, which is a whole other rant for me to go on later) for me to read and talk about. Just one more example of bisexual invisibility at work.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to participating in the event. I hope that you will, too, if only to aim for one book or to read and comment on posts that other bloggers make during October. Hope you enjoy it!


* Here’s what happened when I tried to find audiobooks to read for the event last week:

For the time being, and for brevity’s sake, let’s just say that I don’t think I should have to pro-actively request titles in order to “fix” this search-related problem (though yes, I admit, there’s probably a content-related problem as well).

7 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Bi Visibility and the Literary Other”

  1. This is a wonderful post – thanks for sharing it with all of us. And I’m so glad you’re joining us in The Literary Others event!

    Your reading list looks FANTASTIC. You’ve got some of my favorite books on it: Running With Scissors, Boy Meets Boy, Memory Mambo, Jumpstart the World, and Middlesex. Each of them is brilliant in its own way (and its a wide variety of material, so you definitely won’t get bored!)

    Looking forward to October! 🙂

  2. I had no idea there was a Bi Visibility Day. Very cool – and clearly needed. I can’t think of a single book I’ve read with a bisexual character. I know the new John Irving book “In One Person” features a bisexual narrator. I like his work, so I will try to read that one soon. Good luck with your project!

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